Champaign-Urbana crime reports

The following crimes were reported recently to Champaign and Urbana police:

Construction manager has niche in Greek market

MONTICELLO – Nat Rassi credits a trip to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for opening his eyes to how big his professional world could be.

Rassi, who has lived in East Central Illinois since he was 10 years old, worked in construction management for PKD Inc. before deciding to go out on his own.


First Busey to assess Florida market, business plan

CHAMPAIGN – First Busey Corp.'s management team in Florida will assess that market to see whether the banking company's business plan works there, company officials said.

Last week, Urbana-based First Busey reported a $20.5 million second-quarter loss. The company attributed much of it to loan problems in southwest Florida, where real estate values climbed sky-high before plummeting the last two years.

Ebert on Urbana: 'I was born at the center of the universe'

I was born at the center of the universe, and have had good fortune for all of my days. The center was located at the corner of Washington and Maple streets in Urbana, Illinois, a two-bedroom white stucco house with green canvas awnings, evergreens and geraniums in front and a white picket fence enclosing the backyard. Hollyhocks clustered thickly by the fence. There was a barbeque grill back there made by my father with stone and mortar, a dime embedded in its smokestack to mark the year of its completion.

There was a mountain ash tree in the front yard, and three more down the parking on the side of the house. These remarkable trees had white bark that could be peeled loose, and their branches were weighed down by clusters of red-orange berries. "People are always driving up and asking me about those trees," my father said. He had planted them himself, and they were the only ones in town – perhaps in the world. They needed watering in the summertime, which he did by placing five-gallon cans under them with small holes drilled in their bottoms. These I carefully filled with the garden hose from the backyard, while making rainbow sprays over the grass around.

In Savannah, moss-dripping trees, butter-drenched food

If you want to experience genuine Southern hospitality, try Lowcountry cooking and visit a city of unique charm and 300 years of rich heritage, pack your bag and chart a course to Savannah, Ga., fondly referred to by Savannahians as the "Southern Lady."

You can explore the historic district, delight in blended styles of architecture, visit 21 miniparks graced with oak tree allees, view stately mansions enhanced with tall white columns, take a Savannah River paddleboat cruise, peek through elaborate wrought-iron fences guarding intimate formal gardens, and encounter the essence of Southern life of bygone days, artfully wedded with modern development.

Rantoul man arrested for cocaine possession, battery

CHAMPAIGN — A Rantoul man remained jailed Saturday after being arrested  Friday night for aggravated battery and possession of almost an ounce of crack cocaine.

Lightning strike sparks fire at Champaign home

CHAMPAIGN — A lightning strike on a Champaign house early Saturday has left a family temporarily displaced.

Champaign Fire Department spokeswoman Dena Schumacher said firefighters arrived at the home of John and Elisabeth Barclay at 908 W. Church St., C, at 12:39 a.m. to find heavy smoke coming from the west side of the attic of the two-story wood frame house.

2009 Showcase of Homes reflects trends, tones

SAVOY – Colors in today's brand new houses form stark contrasts.

A black cabinet hangs on a dark green wall atop baseboards painted white.

Family spends summer showing its sheep at fairs

URBANA – Gary Craig's sheep have come home – to the right county, anyway.

Craig has more than 100 sheep at his home in St. Joseph, and 50 of them have been traveling the state this summer, going from one fair to another in quest of honor, glory and prize money.

Mayor, others shrink from art project cost

URBANA – A proposed combination newspaper rack and art project at the Champaign County Courthouse is seen as a financial extravagance by Urbana City Council members and the mayor.