SPRINGFIELD – Statewide testing in Illinois public schools would be dramatically scaled back under the budget agreement reached this week by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the four legislative leaders.
A $6.3 million reduction in funding for statewide student assessments is among the cuts slated for the State Board of Education's budget, requiring it to drop testing in some subject areas, said board spokeswoman Karen Craven.
URBANA – Assuming no appeal, the much-disputed Salt Fork River dredging project will go forth in September, but with some more twists as serpentine as the course of the little river that winds through eastern Champaign County.
Wednesday, Circuit Judge Michael Jones approved an amended assessment roll that will tax some 400 properties for the $335,000 first phase of the project. That phase covers a stretch of 14 miles from just north of St. Joseph to near Rantoul.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill this month raising the maximum income allowed for Illinois senior citizens to freeze their property's assessment.
The Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption allows senior citizens to freeze their property's assessment if their annual gross household income is $45,000 a year or lower. Previously, the maximum allowable amount per household was $40,000.
CHAMPAIGN – The redevelopment of Burch Village into mixed-income housing is set to move forward, now that a private developer has been awarded low-income housing tax credits expected to generate $5.3 million.
Housing Authority of Champaign County officials said the tax credits, the key component in the $7.6 million project, were awarded recently by the Illinois Housing Development Authority to Douglass Park LP, a limited partnership.
CHAMPAIGN – Barbara Shaw and fellow members of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership embarked on a five-city Illinois tour this week, promoting the task force's preliminary mental health plan for Illinois children.
Shaw, chair of the group, hosted the forum and answered an array of questions and concerns from children, teachers, parents and health officials throughout Champaign and neighboring counties, during the three-hour public meeting, held Monday at the Illinois Terminal. On the group's schedule after the Champaign visit Wednesday were stops in Mount Vernon, Edwardsville, Rockford and Chicago.
CHAMPAIGN – Four administrative positions were filled Wednesday night during a Champaign school board district special meeting, including the remaining three principal positions.
Sherry E. Alimi was named principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary, Rhonda C. Kruse was named principal at South Side Elementary and Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Administration Carol Stack was appointed the interim principal for Franklin Middle School. In addition, Lisa Geren was appointed assistant principal at Centennial High School.
DANVILLE – The wife of the Danville Township Supervisor was arraigned Wednesday in Vermilion County Circuit Court on charges that she took township funds.
Darlene H. Boen, 51, of the 500 block of Spelter in Danville, was arraigned on two counts of theft over $10,000 but not more than $100,000 and a third count of official misconduct. She is the wife of Roger Boen, Danville Township supervisor, and held a position in the township office.
MONTICELLO – Bunches of bee balm plants hang to dry in the old livestock barn, kohlrabi is chilling in a refrigerator inside the farmhouse, and in the gardens grow cucumbers, zinnias and oregano.
For the second summer in a row, interns at Allerton Park's Diversified Farm are growing a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Much of what they cultivate goes to the Allerton Conference Center, where guests dine on produce such as lettuce and sit at tables decorated with brown-eyed Susans from the farm.
SPRINGFIELD – Local lawmakers are eager to see full details in writing of the budget deal the legislative leaders and the governor have struck, but seemed generally satisfied with what they had been hearing on Wednesday.
"What encourages me about the budget from what I understand so far is that we've been able to defeat nearly all of the governor's proposals to increase taxes and fees on Illinois businesses," said state Sen. Rick Winkel, R-Urbana. "It also sounds like this budget would be $400 million less than what the governor had originally proposed, so we've succeeded in limiting spending in a deficit year."
URBANA – A Champaign woman accused of killing a Mississippi woman in a head-on collision Monday was well beyond the limit to be presumed intoxicated in Illinois.
An Illinois State Police report said Kristen Roseberry, 22, who listed an address in the 1800 block of Sadler Drive, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.254 percent. The limit under which a motorist can be presumed intoxicated in Illinois is 0.08 percent.