Power back on in central Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Power was restored Friday morning after a burning cable in central Champaign caused a power outage overnight.

The outage occurred at 11:15 p.m. Thursday when the cable burned at Randolph Street south of White Street, according to Leigh Morris, spokesman for Ameren Illinois Utilities. Power was back on by 7:10 a.m., he said.

Small fire closes Mettler for a day

CHAMPAIGN – A fire in a dryer at a Champaign fitness center late Thursday shut down the business Friday.

Eddie Edwards, facilities coordinator at Mettler Athletic, 1809 S. Neil St., C, said the business was closed at the time of the fire, about 11:22 p.m., but a cleaning crew was in the building, smelled smoke and called the fire department.

'Upper houses' for Danville High School students taking shape

DANVILLE – Danville High School freshman Tatiana Atcher said she's been able to make the leap from middle to high school without much problem, and she credits that to being part of a small learning community.

Under the new Freshman House program, all of her core classes are on the first floor. Many of the same students are in those classes. And her four teachers can keep a close eye on them and intervene when they need help.

"It's almost the same as middle school," Atcher said, referring to the close-knit environment. "You just feel comfortable."

Gates Foundation program is model for tech house

Danville High School's upper house focusing on technology is being modeled on New Technology High School in Napa, Calif., said Kathy Houpt, director of secondary education.

"New Tech High," funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the result of local business people's frustration that students were coming out of school educated but lacking work skills, she said.

Lawmaker starts online petition for governor's impeachment

DANVILLE — State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, launched a local petition drive Thursday to expedite Gov. Rod Blagojevich's removal from office.

The petition can be found online at

FutureGen Alliance buys land for plant near Mattoon

CHAMPAIGN – The FutureGen Alliance bought more than 400 acres of land Thursday to build the world's first clean coal-powered plant.

Officials plan to announce the move, along with results from a new geology test, at 10:30 a.m. today at Mattoon Schools Administrative Center.

Wind turbine plan scrapped by University of Illinois

The University of Illinois has canceled its plans to build wind turbines on campus, citing the university's "deteriorating fiscal condition."

A contract for GE to build and deliver a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine for the South Farms was sent last week to the university from GE, but university officials did not sign it.

Employee praying for jobs to be saved after word of ACH closing

CHAMPAIGN – When Paul Hayes took a union job with plenty of overtime 31 years ago, he thought he was set, even though A.C. HumKo had its ups and downs, "like being married."

The ups and downs included layoffs and restructurings as a former shortening company grew into an edible oil giant in a corporate family. The plant also makes coffee creamers.

ACH closing; former HumKo plant to halt operations in '09

CHAMPAIGN – Employees of the ACH Food Companies plant in Champaign were told this morning the plant will close in six to nine months, according to a high-ranking official of Teamsters Local 26.

"I was totally shocked. They've been in negotiations with us. We're working on a contract extension," said the local's president, Pat Gleason.

Car crashes on U.S. 150 near LeRoy

LeROY – A 23-year-old Farmer City woman died Wednesday after her vehicle overturned on U.S. 150 in rural LeRoy.

Amanda N. Isaacs, 23, was declared dead at the scene of the crash, about half a mile east of U.S. 136, at 11:30 a.m.