Champaign visitors agency working on replacing director

CHAMPAIGN – The chairwoman of the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau says she hopes a new executive director will be hired within seven weeks.

"I'd like someone hired by the first of October," said Teri Legner of the search for a replacement for Scott Hockman, who resigned June 15 after three years in the job.

VeraSun auctioning Tilton land as part of bankruptcy

TILTON – More than a year ago, VeraSun Energy Corp. bought more than 700 acres of farmland southwest of Tilton as part of its plan to expand its production of ethanol, but now that land is being offered at auction as part of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Champaign man gets 25 years for beating girlfriend

URBANA – A former Champaign man convicted of beating his girlfriend as she drove him in a car was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

"Victims need to understand that help is available, and the abusers of the world have to understand that society is not going to tolerate ... literally beating someone from head to toe," Judge Tom Difanis said before handing the sentence to Maurice Jake Jr.

Danville school officials unveil balanced budget plan

DANVILLE – Danville school officials on Wednesday unveiled a balanced budget proposal for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Though the district no longer is facing "devastating" cuts in state grant funding and reductions in popular programs, officials said they're still uneasy about finances in this new fiscal year because of the uncertainty of state funding.

Rantoul worker admits stealing using village's credit

URBANA – A former Rantoul employee who admitted stealing from his employer will have to repay the village.

Ronald Shadix, 46, who listed an address in the 1300 block of East Grove Street, Rantoul, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to felony theft, admitting that from January 2007 to September 2008, he used a village credit card to put gasoline in his private vehicle.

Champaign man faces charges in vehicle burglary

URBANA – A Champaign man is due back in court in October to face a charge that he burgled a car.

Reuben Johnson, 53, who listed his address as the TIMES Center, 70 E. Washington St., was charged Wednesday with entering a car in the 500 block of East Springfield Avenue in Champaign on Tuesday.

Vermilion County plans to drop its recycling program

DANVILLE – A myriad of funding factors have prompted Vermilion County Health Department officials to end the county's recycling program effective Oct. 31.

"It is purely a money issue," said Stephen Laker, administrator of the Vermilion County Health Department.

Lynn Wolgamot, coordinator of the recycling program, said it's just a very sad situation.

Eastern Champaign church takes in tent city residents

CHAMPAIGN – St. Mary's Catholic Church in east Champaign apparently will be the home for the Safe Haven tent community for the next month.

The Rev. Tom Royer, pastor of the church at 612 E. Park Ave., sent a letter to Mayor Jerry Schweighart and the city council, dated Sunday, that "the parish of St. Mary has decided to host the Safe Haven tent community for 30 days."

Animal-welfare agencies to be at 'Market at the Square'

On Saturday, animal-welfare agencies from Champaign and Douglas Counties will be at "Market at the Square" in Urbana from 7 a.m. to noon to raise awareness of the numbers of local homeless animals.

This third annual event will spotlight the services that animal welfare agencies provide to find those animals new homes.

Champaign man arraigned on charges of selling drugs

URBANA – A Champaign man on parole for leaving the scene of an accident and who is in custody for a pending domestic-battery case has had additional charges lodged against him.

Andrew Falls, 32, whose last known address was in the 1500 block of West Church Street, was arraigned Wednesday in Champaign County Circuit Court for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.