House panel backs lieutenant governor bill

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that would require a candidate for governor to
run with a chosen candidate for lieutenant governor was approved by an
Illinois House committee Thursday.

But the bill faces an uncertain future because the powerful speaker of the
House, Chicago Democrat Michael Madigan, plans to offer a constitutional
amendment to abolish the office of lieutenant governor in January 2015.
Madigan will formally introduce his measure on Wednesday.

The sudden interest in the oft-forgotten office of lieutenant governor is

More charges of molestation against former Urbana man

URBANA — The Champaign County state’s attorney has filed additional charges against a former Urbana man alleging he sexually molested another young girl.

Kenji Haley, 31, who last lived in Hazel Crest but formerly lived in Urbana, was charged Wednesday with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child for conduct that occurred between February and April 2004 with a young girl in Urbana who was the child of a woman Haley was dating.

If convicted, he faces a mandatory prison term of between six and 30 years.

Reports of crimes to area police

In crimes reported recently to area police:

— 500 block of South Russell Street: Mahomet man seen looking in woman’s window about 8:50 p.m. Monday.
— Merry Ann’s Diner, 1 E. Main St.: Someone paid for food with counterfeit bill Friday.
— White Horse Inn, 112½ E. Green St.: Purse stolen Saturday.
— 200 block of East Chalmers Street: Window broken Saturday.

C.O. Daniels on campus set to reopen -- to patrons 21 and up

CHAMPAIGN – A Campustown bar closed since May will try to reopen this weekend for the first time under a new entry-age restriction.

C.O. Daniels, 608 E. Daniel St., is shooting for a Saturday-night reopening, bar owner John Phillips said Wednesday.Patrons under the age of 21 will not be allowed to enter.

The bar closed last year after it "had too many underage tickets, according to the city," Phillips said.

Workshop to help those in danger of foreclosure set to visit Danville

DANVILLE – Last year, 481 Vermilion County homes went into foreclosure.

Although that's 103 fewer than in 2008, it's still more than four times the number of foreclosures in 2006, when only 85 homeowners lost their homes, according to Realty Trac, a national database that tracks foreclosure filings.

General Assembly makes moves to limit, eliminate scholarships

SPRINGFIELD – Hours after a committee failed to approve a measure eliminating General Assembly scholarships, the full Senate approved a bill to restrict their use.

It was part of a full day of political posturing regarding the controversial scholarships that have been part of Illinois government for more than a century.

Man in Mahomet motel incident charged

URBANA — A man accused of holding his girlfriend against her will in a Mahomet motel Tuesday could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

State House committee holds off on bill for 4-day school week

SPRINGFIELD – The Jamaica school district in southern Vermilion County could save as much as $100,000 a year by moving to a four-day school week, Superintendent Mark Janesky said Wednesday.

Janesky and state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, appeared before the House Education Committee to promote Black's bill that would allow school districts to lengthen their school day while shortening their school week.

The bill is being held in committee, Black said, while the State Board of Education reviews it.

Danville school board OKs arts-themed 'Upper House' at high school

DANVILLE – Danville High School staff said they'll be able to take the school's rich history with the arts to the next level with the approval of the ACE House's new curriculum.

Danville school board members on Wednesday approved curricula for both the ACE and GLOBAL "upper houses," aimed at boosting student engagement and achievement. The educational programs for sophomores, juniors and seniors in those houses will kick off in the 2010-11 school year.

Amendment to abolish lieutenant governor office advances

SPRINGFIELD – A proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the office of lieutenant governor cleared the House Executive Committee on Wednesday with no opposition.

The measure, sponsored by powerful Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, was approved 8-0 with three lawmakers voting present.

To become part of the Illinois Constitution, Madigan's resolution needs to be approved by the House and Senate, signed by the governor and then approved by voters this fall.