Unit 4 board to look at Washington, Garden Hills plans

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board will review design plans for rebuilding Washington Elementary School and expanding Garden Hills Elementary School at a study session tonight, with the goal of approving designs for the two schools at its Nov. 9 meeting.

The board meets at 7 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

Convicted robber gets 15 years for separate burglary

URBANA – An Urbana man already serving a seven-year prison sentence for robbery will now have to serve a few more years for a residential burglary he committed just before the robbery.

Judge Tom Difanis on Friday sentenced Khaled Alghadi, 27, who last lived in the 900 block of Burkwood Court, to 15 years in prison for an April 15, 2008, break-in to an apartment in the 600 block of East Green Street in Champaign.

Trial for second suspect in 2006 killings to start today

URBANA – The second of three people charged with the brutal murders of a Champaign couple three years ago is set to go to trial today.

Crystal Myrick, 32, whose last known address was in Bloomington, Ind., is the person who implicated herself and two other men for the July 2006 murders of Jeremiah and Sue "Chi" Haigh. Their bodies were discovered on July 4, 2006, in their home at 1702 Scottsdale Drive. Each of them had been repeatedly beaten and stabbed.

UI stepping up patrols after armed robbery on campus

CHAMPAIGN – University of Illinois and Champaign police are increasing patrols in the campus area following an armed robbery early Sunday morning.

According to a University of Illinois police report, a man was walking north on a sidewalk across from the intersection of White and Third streets at 3:15 a.m. when he was approached by another man.

Scramble for county board, statehouse seats to begin

Although there have been a number of announcements by candidates for statewide races, including U.S. Senate and governor, there hasn't been much news on the local front.

That should change Monday, when filing for the Feb. 2 party primary elections begins.

Vermilion County men taking charge with vehicles

DANVILLE – Every day, Judge Michael Clary drives his 2001 Ford Ranger truck to work with the "check engine" light shining, but never "checks" his engine.

He's not worried.

His truck has no engine.

It also has no exhaust system, no gas tank and no radiator.

The truck looks like any other Ford Ranger, but runs on an electric motor and 24 six-volt golf cart batteries – six under the hood and 18 in the truck bed – that weigh about 65 pounds each. Open the gas cap door to fill 'er up, and there's an electrical plug.

The circuit judge bought the truck in March, gutted it, and from April to August spent most nights and weekends in his garage transforming it into an all-electric vehicle.

Crime report

The following crimes have been reported to area police recently:

UI's annual faculty meeting will have new roster at top

URBANA – Monday's annual meeting of the University of Illinois faculty may require a lineup card.

Normally the session hosted by the campus senate is a chance for professors to question the president and chancellor, and sometimes the provost, on all manner of issues.

Judge denies bid to reduce sentence in fatal DUI crash

URBANA – A Champaign County judge Friday denied a Champaign woman's request to reduce her sentence for killing a woman in a drunken-driving collision in December.

Judge Tom Difanis declined to reconsider the 14-year prison term he handed Elizabeth Drewes in May following her guilty plea in April to aggravated driving under the influence.

Champaign in no rush to set up police review board

CHAMPAIGN – The fatal shooting of a Champaign teen when police answered a burglary call this month has sparked renewed calls for a citizen police review board. But city council members are not inclined to reopen that issue now, saying that there are other priorities.

A police review board was among demands from an overflow crowd Tuesday night at the Champaign council meeting.