Urbana mayor to take close look at position

URBANA – With the chief administrative officer position vacant in Urbana, Mayor Laurel Prussing says she's examining how other cities handle top administrative duties.

She might recommend changes to the duties and title of the administrative officer position that Urbana has used for 32 years and is part of the city code.

Blagojevich a no-show at pension hearing

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich skipped a six-hour hearing on his pension proposals on Thursday, angering the lawmakers he ordered back to town early for that very purpose.

"This is ludicrous," said state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

Panel backs bid to rezone vacant building

DANVILLE – A request to turn a vacant commercial building into an automotive-detailing business garnered an hour's worth of discussion from the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday.

Anthony and Nicole Dye have owned the building at 104 Porter St. since 2000. The couple would like to open an automotive-detailing business there and have spent time and money improving the building.

Champaign firefighters extinguish three fires

CHAMPAIGN – Firefighters extinguished a fire in the kitchen at a Champaign restaurant early this morning.

Deputy Chief Tim Wild said the fire was reported at Bob Evans Restaurant, 1813 N. Neil St., Champaign, at 1:13 a.m. today.

Annual poker run set for Saturday

DANVILLE – The Danville Firefighters Local 429 will hold its annual poker run Saturday.

This event benefits a local organization each year. This year's beneficiary is the Aunt Martha's Vermilion Area Health Care Center.

New security features at Ford County's courthouse

PAXTON – Ford County's courthouse should have its first full-time security system in place by Aug. 1, according to Sheriff Mark Doran.

When the security plan gets under way, everyone (including employees) who enters the courthouse will have to use the south entrance. Individuals requiring assistance because of stairs at the south entrance will use a buzzer to enter through the north door near the ground-level elevator.

State hires D.C. firm to help get FutureGen

SPRINGFIELD – The state has hired a top Washington, D.C., consulting firm to help bring the $1 billion FutureGen project to Illinois.

Cassidy & Associates will earn $111,600 for a contract that runs through the end of October, FutureGen for Illinois spokesman Andrew Ross said Thursday.

Board member hired for finance post

DANVILLE – After 10 years on the Vermilion County Board, Nikki Bogart has given up elected office to become the county's financial resource director.

County Board Chairman Jim McMahon Thursday announced Bogart's hiring, which was effective Tuesday. Bogart, a Democrat, resigned her seat on the county board effective Monday. That gives the board 60 days from Monday to fill her vacancy in District 5.

Thieves prey upon church for its copper downspouts

DANVILLE – Three weeks in a row, thieves struck St. James United Methodist Church – not for money or computer equipment, but for downspouts.

The copper they're made from makes them valuable.

Hoopeston moves ahead with planning initiative

HOOPESTON – The city of Hoopeston approved two resolutions Tuesday in conjunction with two Rural Community Development Initiative grants.

The first resolution recognized the housing task force committee formed from sessions that were held from April to June to map out a vision for Hoopeston.