Prairie Center detox unit closed, reducing choices for addicts


URBANA – Jim Ellis is waiting for the full effect of cuts in state funding for social services to make their way to his emergency-room door.

But Ellis, the chairman of emergency medicine for Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana and Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville, knows they're coming.

That's because the Prairie Center Health Systems was forced to close its detoxification unit at 122 W. Hill St. in downtown Champaign on Aug. 1. Last calendar year, the unit had 803 admissions – alcoholics and drug addicts who came there to sober up for an average of three to five days.

Rantoul to consider refitting old Chanute building for fire training

RANTOUL – A vacant building on the former Chanute Air Force Base could soon see new life as a fire-training facility for the Rantoul Fire Department.

The Rantoul Village Board will discuss a proposal by Fire Chief Ken Waters to pay for a new roof and refraction for the old Chanute fire-training building near Perimeter Road in South Rantoul at its meeting at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Rantoul Municipal Building, 333 S. Tanner St., Rantoul.

Coroner identifies Champaign man killed by train Saturday

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup released the name of the man struck by a train on Saturday evening.

Northrup said William "Billy" Hayes, 52, of Champaign was struck by a northbound train about 100 yards north of the Springfield Avenue viaduct while attempting to cross the tracks at about 8:25 p.m.

Local fatalities illustrate bad trend in motorcycle accidents

Caleb Roch, a 20-year-old Champaign Centennial graduate, was killed in a motorcycle crash in June.

His death and those of a Broadlands couple, a Westville couple, a Champaign man, a Clinton man, two Mattoon men and an Indianola man drive home a tragic trend: More people, locally and nationwide, are dying in motorcycle crashes.

Danville Class of 2012: Getting through first-day anxieties

Editor's Note: This is the first of an occasional series about the Class of 2012 at Danville High.

Thursday morning. The first full day.

It's still cool outside when Jessica Driver steps off a school bus outside Danville High School. She scans the crowd of students – all of them clutching new backpacks and notebooks, many of them likely just as anxious as she is.

Older students to help UI newcomers avoid 'freshman 15'

URBANA – College life can be dangerous for the waistline, as many university freshmen know.

Late-night pizza, all-you-can-eat dorm food, stress and, in some cases, alcohol all contribute to what's been known for years as the "freshman 15" – the 15 pounds, more or less, that can pile on in the first semester or two of college.

Man arrested after his teen passenger dies in car accident

WATSEKA – A Tennessee man was arrested Saturday after a car accident in Watseka killed his 18-year-old passenger.

Justin Sanders, 18, of Sharon, Tenn., was in the backseat of a car driven by Robert Rowe, 43, also of Sharon, Tenn.

It's Your Business: The Cage all set to play ball

A new indoor baseball and softball training center called The Cage plans to open Oct. 6 in Champaign.

Located at 2815 Hundman Drive, it will offer batting cages, dirt pitcher mounds and open spaces for drills, owner Shawn Tabeling said.

Local company focusing on converting, outputting solar energy

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign-based company has been chosen to take part in a federal solar energy project that could bring the firm as much as $6.25 million in revenue.

SmartSpark Energy Systems will be one of several companies participating in the Solar Energy Grid Integration System, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories.

Two shows opening Friday at UI's I space gallery in Chicago

CHICAGO – Two new exhibitions will be on view from Friday through Oct. 4 at I space, the Chicago gallery of the University of Illinois.

An opening reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the gallery, 230 W. Superior St., Chicago.