New transit district holds first meeting

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign South West Metropolitan Transit District was birthed Wednesday evening, with the board holding its first meeting, selecting officers and hiring an attorney.

Southwest Champaign residents voted 922 to 237 last March to create a government body, then known as the South West Champaign Mass Transit District.

Westville school: No spirit left behind

WESTVILLE – The noise from the stands at Judith Giacoma Elementary School home games might be a little louder next school year.

Principal Melinda Pollock told Westville School Board members Wednesday that she wanted to keep the school's cheerleading squad but will add an informal pep squad in the fall.

Danville council members consider changes to pawnbroking codes

DANVILLE – Champaign-resident Tiffany Jefferson, 26, drives to Danville four times a month to buy used movies from Gold Rush Pawnbrokers Inc. on Hazel Street.

"I like this pawnshop," Jefferson said as she thumbed through a selection of titles, priced at $4.95 each.

Group seeks to slow down fast-track legislation

SPRINGFIELD – A new group wants a constitutional amendment to end fast-track legislation in Illinois.

Democracy Project Chairman Jim Broadway said state lawmakers are increasingly being forced to take action on budgets and other lengthy, complicated bills with less than a day to review them. The result is lawmakers who don't always know what they are voting on and a public that has no time to ask questions or provide input.

Group at Wal-Mart was mistaken for Champaign charity

CHAMPAIGN – A nonprofit group that ministers to the homeless says it's not affiliated with a Chicago-based charity of a similar name that raised money in Champaign recently.

Representatives of United Restoration Ministries in Chicago, a Christian home for men and women recovering from addictions, collected money outside the Champaign Wal-Mart for several days recently, a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Danville School Board to consider adopting same calendar

DANVILLE – Vermilion County public schools could be on the same calendar starting next school year.

That means students throughout the county's 12 school districts would start classes on the same day, students, teachers and staff would take breaks at the same time, and teachers and staff would even hold professional development training on the same days.

Vermilion County officials seek meth solution

DANVILLE – The recent arrest of four Tennessee men trying to steal anhydrous ammonia in Vermilion County has some local officials calling for new deterrents to the methamphetamine problem.

Vermilion County Board Member Russ Pollitt believes the best solution would be a chemical additive that renders anhydrous ammonia useless when manufacturing meth.

Chicago lawyer named UI trustee

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has named a Chicago lawyer and University of Illinois graduate to be the newest member of the UI Board of Trustees.

James D. Montgomery is a litigator in the Chicago law firm Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Montgomery. He earned his bachelor's degree from the UI in 1953 and law degree from the UI College of Law in 1956.

Restaurant workers left in dark

URBANA – The waning months of the Jolly Roger restaurant in downtown Urbana were anything but jolly for the employees.

They'd come to work in the morning and would have to go out and buy food out of their own pockets to feed the customers.

Champaign City Council approves Clearview package

CHAMPAIGN – City council members Tuesday approved, 9-0, an annexation agreement and package of financial incentives for the 236-acre Clearview office park and residential development near the intersection of Interstates 74 and 57 in northwest Champaign. Mayor Jerry Schweighart said he was told construction could begin in March.

Part of Clearview includes construction of a $30 million Christie Clinic building, plus a 70-acre facility for Carle Clinic and Carle Foundation Hospital.

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