AmerenIP worker seriously injured, sent to burn unit

URBANA – An AmerenIP employee was seriously injured in Urbana on Sunday as he tried to replace a power pole damaged by a motorist.

AmerenIP spokeswoman Natalie Hemmer said the man, whose name she would not release, came into contact with a 7,200-volt line around 1:10 p.m. The accident remains under investigation by the company.

Urbana firefighters investigate two overnight blazes

URBANA – Firefighters put out separate fires at an apartment on Lincoln Avenue and a house on Trails Drive overnight Monday.

Both fires are under investigation, according to Division Chief Jeff McDuffy.

Soldier packed a lot of life in 24 years

MAHOMET – Army Spc. Justin Penrod didn't have much time for dating as a teen, his mother says, because he cared for his older brother, a quadriplegic who lived on his own.

In between his service in the Army National Guard and his enlistment in the regular Army, Spc. Penrod had a job fixing air-conditioners for P&P Service Center in Mahomet.

Citizens weigh in on Farmer City land dispute

FARMER CITY – The Farmer City Council listened, but answered no questions in an ongoing land dispute with the Farmer City Fair Association board.

Citizens do not have any promises of when the council will take action. After the hearing, city Manager David Joswiak said the only immediate deadline is that imposed by the fair association, which has extended the city's park lease to the end of September.

Champaign officials want greater role in sports issues

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district needs to assert more control over how new sports programs are created and administered, say school board members.

The board on Monday night approved an exploratory baseball program for Edison Middle School students for the fall season – which began Monday – with the conditions that the program is evaluated by the district and the use of volunteer coaches complies with the district's teacher contract.

12 rescued horses being treated; final fate unknown

CHARLESTON – Twelve horses are being individually treated after being found on a farm with 14 decomposing horse carcasses and as many as 60 horses without access to water.

The horses, owned by Ernest Rose of Charleston, are in safe houses, said Coles County Animal Rescue and Education Center manager Julie Deters.

Couple to get liquor license to open nightclub-dinner club

TUSCOLA – A former bartender and waitress at the old Sonny's I-57 Sports Bar has begun leasing the building and plans to start a nightclub there.

Tonya Yoder and her husband, Rick, of rural Tuscola, asked the Tuscola City Council on Monday for a liquor license so they can reopen the sports bar into a nightclub called Tonya'z Club 57

Champaign support workers get new contract

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board approved a contract for its support staff Monday evening that gives employees raises, substantially increases the school district's contribution to health insurance premiums and increases wages for the lowest-paid cafeteria workers.

Nearly 500 workers, including secretaries, maintenance and cafeteria workers, teachers aides and bus drivers, will get a 4 percent raise this year and a 4.25 percent raise for each of the next two years of the contract.

City, Carle reach deal on street closures

URBANA – The city council and Carle Foundation Hospital officials appear to have reached agreement about how to proceed with the hospital's request to vacate portions of three streets near its medical campus.

The council, meeting as the committee of the whole, appeared Monday to support a plan to vacate two blocks of Coler Avenue and one block of Park Street that stand immediately in the way of the planned construction of a $144 million, eight-story addition to the hospital that Carle wants to build just west of its North Tower site. In return, Carle is agreeing that it won't close the streets if the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board doesn't approve the expansion project. If that happens, Carle would return the vacated streets to the city.

Dog's death at Vermilion shelter spurs concerns

TILTON – The Vermilion County Board chairman plans to look into claims that a dog died from heat exposure last week at the Vermilion County Animal Shelter and other claims that the shelter is using inhumane methods to euthanize animals.

Members of the Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support the animal shelter and promote the adoption of cats and dogs, discussed the allegations during the foundation's meeting Monday night at the animal shelter, a county-owned facility on Catlin-Tilton Road just west of Tilton.