Johnson invited to hold meeting to discuss health reform

CHAMPAIGN – U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson is turning down a request for a town meeting in Champaign-Urbana devoted entirely to health care reform.

The meeting is being sought by health care reformers and some local small businesses.

Johnson criticizes health care proposals at meeting

VILLA GROVE – U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson said he hasn't seen any health care reform proposal that he could support.

Speaking to fewer than a dozen constituents at a town-hall meeting at the Villa Grove City Hall on Monday evening, the Urbana Republican staked out a position at odds with local health care reform advocates.

Champaign board approves magnet schools' themes

CHAMPAIGN – A magnet school at Garden Hills Elementary School will focus on international education, while a magnet school at Washington Elementary School will emphasize a science, engineering, technology and math program.

The Champaign school board approved the two magnet-school themes at its meeting Monday night, and it also designated which theme would be attached to each school.

Associate dean says trustee's relative got special favor

A member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees reportedly pressured the university to give a relative, at the time a student, preferential access to classes on the Urbana campus, a UI associate dean said.

In spring 2003, Mary Macmanus Ramsbottom, an associate dean in the UI's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said she received what she called a "directive" from the provost's office. The provost at the time was Richard Herman, who is now chancellor.

Experts surprised by magnitude of UI 'clout' system

CHICAGO – National education experts testified Monday that they were shocked by the scale of admissions interference at the University of Illinois and said universities need a "clear policy" to prohibit such outside influence.

Danville Art League pushing on with plans for building

DANVILLE – An Indiana development company's project to build a senior housing complex in downtown Danville has failed to get tax credit funding through the state of Illinois, but the company may reapply later this year.

Crash reported outside of Tuscola

TUSCOLA  - Emergency personnel have been called to the scene of a multi-vehicle crash approximately one mile east of Tuscola.

Clout list's 'magnitude' stunning, witnesses say

CHICAGO – National education experts testified Monday they were shocked by the scale of admissions interference at the University of Illinois and said universities need a "clear policy" to prohibit such outside influence.

University alumni, donors, and "the rich and famous" have always attempted to act on behalf of the admission of individual students, said Joyce Smith, who has been working in admissions since 1976. "That's not news," said the chief executive officer of the National Association of College Admission Counseling.

Ex-UI administrators call for changes on Board of Trustees

URBANA – Four past leaders of the University of Illinois are calling for major changes on the UI Board of Trustees to protect the "integrity" of the school following reports of a politically compromised admissions process.

Trustees appointed by former governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich have "pursued personal interests and saw themselves accountable only to the governor" rather than acting as stewards of the university, the former presidents and chancellors said in a strongly worded letter to the Illinois Admissions Review Commission.

Danville school board likely to decide on donated site

DANVILLE – More than a year after the old Walgreens Accounting building was offered to the Danville school district as a donation, school board members on Wednesday could vote on whether to accept it.

"We want to make a decision so we can move forward," Superintendent Mark Denman said.