MAHOMET – The Mahomet Library Board originally thought its quest to build a new library building would be a short story.
But new twists and turns have made the tale more like a series of books.
Rural subdivisions? They're a no-no. Environmental protections for streams and rivers? For some waterways, but not all.
Several months after residents spoke out against new zoning regulations proposed for rural Champaign County, an ad hoc bipartisan committee has come up with new recommendations.
FISHER – For three decades, Milt Kelly has been Fisher's Renaissance man.
Kelly, a native of Fisher who came home to teach at his old school after earning a degree at the University of Illinois, spends his mornings and early afternoons as the band and choral director at Fisher Junior and Senior High School.
CHAMPAIGN – The March 21 primary ballot in Champaign Township just got a lot more complicated.
Not to mention much, much thicker.
SPRINGFIELD – The sponsors of competing bills to reform school funding in Illinois have united behind a compromise version of the legislation, but the measure is still considered by many to be a long shot.
The compromise, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Winkel, R-Urbana, and state Sen. James Meeks, I-Chicago, would raise the personal and corporate income taxes in order to reduce property taxes and provide more money for elementary, secondary and higher education.
URBANA – For John Schmitt, the decision to make his restaurant chain smoke-free came last fall after an eye-opening visit to the doctor.
Schmitt, a nonsmoker who is the operating partner of the Ned Kelly's Steakhouse chain, was suffering from a severe case of bronchitis. The illness hit him after he had been having almost a year-long debate with his restaurant partner, Ernest Hovath, about whether to prohibit smoking in the Ned Kelly's chain of four restaurants, in Peoria, Springfield and Bloomington as well as at 1601 N. Cunningham Ave. in Urbana.
CHAMPAIGN – Eighteen-year veteran Champaign Central High School mathematics teacher Kathleen Smith stunned board members by resigning as a protest, she said, against district and federal policies that force teachers to "teach to the test."
During Monday's school board meeting, Smith said she's resigning because she's at odds with current standards in the district and with methods imposed on teachers by George Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind legislation.
DANVILLE – Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville says it will appeal a Vermilion County judge's ruling that said doctors on the hospital staff don't have to make substantial increases in their liability insurance coverage.
The level of malpractice insurance doctors must carry became the subject of a lawsuit filed last fall, after the hospital began imposing levels of malpractice coverage that were five times higher than those doctors said their bylaws required them to carry.
CHAMPAIGN – Enrollment in Champaign kindergarten classes dropped this year, but, as usual, three schools still had waiting lists.
Reviewing kindergarten lottery results, director of equity and achievement Dedrick Martin told the school board on Monday that 575 students entered the lottery this year, compared with 649 students last year. Of those students, 557 were assigned to schools. Of those, 85 percent or 489 students got their first choice and 12 percent or 68 students got their second or third choice. That leaves 18 pupils still to be assigned a school.
URBANA – To Willie Summerville, there's more to making music than singing or playing an instrument. There's attitude.
"Good Character Builds Good Choirs" says a sign hanging in Summerville's classroom. The veteran Urbana High School teacher, who's retiring at the end of the school year, says students quickly learn that's exactly what he expects – or they don't stay in his choirs.