Danville personnel policy changes in works

DANVILLE – The Danville City Council's public services committee will receive details about proposed changes to the city's personnel policy on Tuesday, including a new Internet policy.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the employee policy encompasses not only personnel issues, but also safety, drug, alcohol and cell-phone policies.

Suspect charged in shooting death

RANTOUL – A Rantoul man was murdered Friday evening, and police made an arrest within three hours.

Christopher Napier, 22, of Rantoul, who was shot about 8 p.m. Friday, was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 8:49 p.m., Champaign county Coroner Duane Northrup said.

Going back to his first love

DANVILLE – Vermilion County Probation Supervisor Bill Day had one piece of advice for probation officer Mark Learnard when he left to take a teaching job at Danville High School earlier this month: Don't let the seniors sell you an elevator pass.

When he was a student, the seniors would sell "elevator passes" to the younger students as a joke, but students weren't allowed on the school's freight elevator, Day recalled.

Tardy tax bills compound schools' budget problems

TUSCOLA – The Tuscola school district is owed $3.9 million this year in property taxes.

But the district hasn't seen a penny yet, because Douglas County's tax bills haven't been mailed. The real estate tax bills usually go out in May or June.

People pack church to pay last respects to area soldier

URBANA – Urbana and Danville laid a hero to rest Saturday, with a line of dozens of cars and motorcycles following Spc. Justin Penrod's hearse from his funeral to Danville National Cemetery.

Spc. Penrod, 24, who lived in Danville, Rantoul and Mahomet before he was killed in his second tour of duty in Iraq, was remembered as a loving brother, father, son and husband Saturday at Urbana Assembly of God Church.

Tuscola officials make plans for business park

TUSCOLA – The farmland surrounding the Fuel Mart on U.S. 36 east of Tuscola is awash in corn and soybeans this summer.

But city officials hope the land can someday be converted to a business park for distribution centers and light manufacturing. Its name: the Tuscola Business Centre.

It's your business: Concrete coatings a chance for creativity

If you think concrete work is just for guys, Roberta Hoch and Mindy Billick stand ready to change your mind.

The two Champaign women, friends since childhood, are now partners in a business they're calling Creative Concrete Coatings.

Firm's innovation could allow drill platforms, naval bases at sea

URBANA – An Urbana-based company is hoping to sell clients on an invention that could keep huge platforms afloat in deep water.

Conceivably, the device could make possible drilling platforms, mobile ports and even military bases in the middle of the ocean.

Friday final day for Motorola in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – A former Motorola employee credits leaders of the company's local software design center for initiatives that brought Yahoo and Qualcomm to Champaign-Urbana.

Rajnish Chauhan, a senior software engineer whose last day with Motorola was Friday, said site director Walter Shore and three key employees – Brian Redding, Mark Holderbaugh and Cathy Singer – helped chart the future after Motorola announced on June 19 that the center would close.

Crowd thrills to record-setting horse pull

RANTOUL – When it comes to horsepower, it's hard to beat real horses.

Seeking to set a record, Half Century of Progress show organizers hitched up 48 well-trained Belgian horses to a 32-foot disc that weighs about 17,000 pounds – to see if the horses could move something it takes a 150-horsepower modern tractor to pull in the field.

No contest!