Man charged with armed robbery, home invasion

URBANA – A Matteson man was arraigned Tuesday on Class X felony charges of home invasion and armed robbery stemming from a Jan. 30 incident in north Champaign.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Joshua Hereford, 20, was arrested Feb. 13 in Olympia Fields on a warrant. He was wearing a leather jacket and had a cell phone, both of which had been taken in a Jan. 30 armed robbery and home invasion in the 2000 block of Moreland Boulevard, Champaign.

Thomasboro man faces charges of criminal sex abuse

URBANA – A Thomasboro man is due back in court in April after having been charged with having sex with a teen-age boy he met over the Internet.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Christopher Beckett, 21, was charged Tuesday with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse alleging that on Feb. 18 he engaged in sex acts with a teen he met through a MySpace account.

Rantoul, Air Force teaming up on projects

RANTOUL – The village of Rantoul needs to improve storm water drainage on the south side of the former Chanute Air Force Base so it can attract possible new industrial development.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is looking for soil to backfill an excavation area south of Heritage Lake.

Cold medicines can do more harm than good for young kids

The next time your baby has a cough or stuffy nose, don't reach for the medicine chest.

A new advisory from the Food and Drug Administration warns parents not to use over-the-counter cough and cold products for infants and children younger than 2 – and to take precautions before giving them to older children.

Georgetown to renovate park playground

GEORGETOWN – City officials voted Thursday in favor of a $75,550 renovation of the playground area in the city park, and hope to have most of the work done by the time school lets out this summer.

Georgetown City Council members voted to have Recreation Concepts, Inc. of Oswego provide and install two large play centers for children in the city park for about $75,550. City workers will move or remove most of the existing playground equipment in the park, pour a new sidewalk around the new playground area and install four benches in the area.

Sadorus to start new fire station

SADORUS – Officials will break ground Saturday on a new five-bay fire station to be built on 2 acres of land on North West Street in Sadorus.

Joining Fire Chief Carl Culkin and the Sadorus Fire Protection District board of trustees at the groundbreaking will be USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Patrick Lydic and Phil Bloomer, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Three children escape home fire

CHAMPAIGN – Three children home alone at the time of a fire in Champaign escaped Thursday night.

Champaign Fire Division Chief Tim Wild said the fire at 1612 Sangamon Drive, C, was reported at 7:28 p.m. According to a fire report, firefighters arrived at 7:32 p.m. They found the fire in the kitchen, according to the report.

Former Illinois football player McPhearson pleads guilty

URBANA – Former University of Illinois football player Derrick McPhearson, 21, will spend his summer in the Champaign County jail after pleading guilty this morning to felony theft.

McPhearson admitted stealing a laptop computer from a UI student's apartment on East Armory Street, Champaign, on March 2, 2007. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation, 180 days in jail with the ability to earn day-for-day good time, and ordered to make $110 restitution with co-defendant Joseph "Jody" Ellis, 21, also a former UI football player.

Bidders on home draw straws to break deadlock

CHAMPAIGN – It was a draw.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development foreclosed on a house in Tuscola, and two prospective buyers submitted identical bids for it.

Evening fire destroys home in Mahomet

MAHOMET – The state fire marshal's office has been asked to investigate a fire that destroyed a home in northwest Mahomet Thursday night.

Cornbelt firefighters and Champaign County sheriff's deputies were called to 1302 Westbrook Drive about 9:50 p.m. and found heavy flames coming out of the west side of the house from the basement area, which also houses the garage, a release from Cornbelt said.