Two students charged in home invasion

URBANA – Two college students were charged Monday in Champaign County Circuit Court with home invasion for allegedly forcing their way into a man's home in the 100 block of East Healey Street in Champaign on Sunday.

Michael Romain, 23, of the 100 block of East Healey Street, Champaign, and Christopher Smith, 23, of River Forest, were also each charged with criminal trespass to residence for entering the apartment knowing someone was there.

Former Aunt Martha's chief staying closer to home

DANVILLE – Alice Kirby spent her first day as the new executive director of Project Success on a "pitch and ditch" mission.

She cleaned out her new office at 101 W. North St., saving relevant information and tossing out unnecessary papers. She had five full trash bags by Monday afternoon.

City council to vote on contract for evidence room job

CHAMPAIGN – Remodeling of the city police building to make room for evidence storage could begin this month if the city council approves a $479,000 contract for the remodeling.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Record number of open house exhibits expected

Marry a musical "keyboard" without keys and Tesla coils – think of them as artificial lightning generators, employed as speakers, no less – and the results aren't necessarily shocking (unless you stick your finger in the middle of things) but can be pretty cool.

A concert featuring Tesla coils hooked to a Continuum Fingerboard, a music synthesizer controller manipulated by finger pressure, kind of like a giant trackpad, is one of the things planned at the 2008 University of Illinois Engineering Open House, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Officials begin preparing for spring storms

While the first days of March were lamb-like enough to hint of better weather to come, Illinois got an early taste of the lion-like weather so often tearing up the state in the spring.

According to the National Weather Service, severe storms and flooding were seen in the southern half of Illinois – including central Illinois counties – in early February, and thunderstorms with large hail and wind damage, as well as a handful of tornadoes, hit central and northern Illinois on Jan. 7.

New stamp honors UI professor, inventor Bardeen

John Bardeen never ran for six touchdowns against Michigan.

Then again, Red Grange never won two Nobel Prizes nor invented anything like the transistor, the linchpin of the modern electronic age.

Which is why the late UI physics professor will join the Illini football legend Thursday as the latest person with local connections to end up on a commemorative stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. Grange was honored in 2003.

DACC program aims to help low-income residents

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College will host the 10th annual ENRICH program for low-income residents on March 14.

The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Vermilion Hall's Room 306 on DACC's main campus, 2000 E. Main St.

Vermilion County being considered for wind farm

DANVILLE – A Houston-based company that's building wind farms in Central Illinois is researching whether Vermilion County might be a good spot for energy-generating wind turbines.

Dwight Farber, a Horizon Wind Energy project manager based in Bloomington, said the company is in the very initial stages of evaluating sites in Vermilion County for construction of wind turbines. The company has contacted county officials to make them aware of their interest in the county. Farber said he couldn't provide more details, because the company is in the research phase.

Parkland program receives honors for its excellence

CHAMPAIGN – A center at Parkland College that helps students develop their academic skills is one of eight programs in the nation being recognized as exemplary community college programs.

Parkland's Center for Academic Success brings together several services to help students learn study skills, prepare for taking college-level courses if they are not at that level yet, and get tutoring help

Danville council revisits cuts to fire protection items

DANVILLE – The city council on Tuesday will continue discussion on the city budget following a proposal late last month by Mayor Scott Eisenhauer to cut nine firefighter positions and close a fire station.

Eisenhauer proposed the cuts to make up for a projected $335,000 gap in the city's fiscal 2008-2009 general fund spending plan.