Minority trades program proposed

RANTOUL – A program to pay minority students to learn lucrative building trades is winning support from several government bodies.

Under the proposed construction education plans, 19 juniors and seniors at Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul schools would earn $7.50 an hour while spending four hours a day in summer school, followed by another 40 hours of training in the school year.

Mahomet fire destroys home of caretaker

MAHOMET – A controlled burn that got out of control destroyed the home of a caretaker at the Urbana Sportsman's Club in Mahomet on Monday.

The small, wood frame home at 705 W. Hickory St., Mahomet, was destroyed, according to Chief John Jay of the Cornbelt Fire Protection District.

Urbana council clears way for multicolored message board

URBANA – A multicolored electronic message board that changes its message every 10 seconds will be a part of the Pines at Stone Creek Commons neighborhood shopping center.

Urbana aldermen voted 7-0 Monday night to grant two major variances from the city's zoning ordinance to the Atkins Group, developer of the Pines at Stone Creek Commons, to allow the firm to install the sign. The new shopping center is located at the southeast corner of Windsor and Philo roads.

Urbana man slated for county board run

URBANA – The Prairie Green Party has slated an Urbana man to run for Champaign County Board.

The party's central committee selected Mike Lehman, 52, at a special meeting Sunday. He is seeking the seat held by Urbana Democrat Brendan McGinty in District 9; the general election is Nov. 4.

New jail superintendent brings 30 years experience

URBANA – Champaign County's new jail superintendent brings 30 years of experience from the largest county jail in the nation to his new post in Urbana.

Michael Moore, 57, of Country Club Hills, started Monday as the civilian superintendent at a salary of $79,000.

Area soldier dealing with injuries from Iraq blast

PAXTON – If all goes as planned, Derek Whitaker will soon be going back to school, doing what he loves most – working with his hands.

But, as he knows all too well, his future plans depend on his legs – one leg, specifically.

UI to develop master land use plan for Orchard Downs

URBANA – After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, the University of Illinois has shifted gears with the way it plans to redevelop Orchard Downs, the family and graduate housing complex south of campus.

UI Chancellor Richard Herman notified neighbors on Monday the university will not hire a developer to overhaul the site as originally planned. Instead, a master land use plan will be developed for the 160-acre parcel.

Rubens Chocolates closes; owner will keep making candy

CHAMPAIGN – For Chris Thurston, a painful accident in February was a wake-up call:

It's time to slow down and enjoy the chocolate.

Thurston, the master chocolate maker with a Belgian accent and longtime owner of Rubens Chocolates, has closed her store at the Shoppes of Knollwood.

Mansfield trustees OK work to address flooding

MANSFIELD – Drainage work will soon begin on Newton Street in Mansfield. Trustees voted 5-0 on Monday to allow engineers from Farnsworth Group to survey the flooding problem on this street for a cost of about $2,500.

"If we're going to solve any water problems in Mansfield, that's the way to do it," Treasurer Don Wack said. "This makes good sense to me."

Police issue burglary warning for Parkland Ridge

CHAMPAIGN – Police in Champaign are warning residents in the Parkland Ridge area to watch out for burglars.

Champaign police Lt. Joe Gallo said there have been a dozen burglaries in the area, and people should take steps to secure their valuables. He said police also are asking residents, citywide, to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.