CHAMPAIGN – After more than a year of noisy, messy construction on the One Main Street development in downtown Champaign, the first tenants are set to move into the brand new building on Tuesday.
An occupancy permit arrived Friday morning, clearing the way for about 80 employees of Volition Inc. – the company that has been a driving force behind the new development – to move across town into their new offices, according to One Main's Director of Development, Mike Royse.
URBANA – It's a balmy May afternoon, and a few of the regulars have begun to drift into Les's Lounge and claim their seats around the oval-shaped bar.
The owner, Les Johnson, is perched on one of the bar stools. He can easily name the folks already there and those likely to be dropping by soon.
URBANA – Curtis Road, as it bisects the southern edge of Champaign-Urbana, is a typical rural road – a fairly wide two-lane surrounded by mostly farm fields.
While it appears a quiet rural road on the urban fringe, Curtis Road is fast becoming a point of contention as local governments attempt to make plans for the local transportation network.
ARTHUR – Ken and Marge Byers of Bloomington have been selling tomatoes, sweet corn and other vegetables at the Bloomington farmers market for a few years now, and almost every week they sell all their produce.
Because it's just the two of them planting and picking produce from their gardens and they don't have much time to expand their operations, the Byerses occasionally will add to their farm stand by buying produce wholesale at an Amish produce auction in Rockville, Ind.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A tear rolled down the cheek of Jim Howie as the Danville man viewed the National World War II Memorial for the first time.
"My heart is so full, it brings tears to my eyes," said Howie, a World War II veteran. "It makes me think of the guys I knew who fought both in Europe and in the Pacific."
CHAMPAIGN – Ten years ago, Robeson Elementary teacher Barb Good searched for a fun theme to liven up her classroom atmosphere.
"Third grade is so stressful. It's the first grade they take state testing. They have to learn more responsibility than they did in kindergarten, first grade and second grade," she said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four area World War II veterans who laid a wreath Friday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers said the experience made them think of friends and loved ones who died defending their country.
Steve Johnson, a 79-year-old Army veteran from Champaign, dedicated his participation to the memory of six friends who died as part of an amphibious assault in the Philippines during World War II.
CHAMPAIGN – Local investor George Shapland has agreed to buy a majority interest in the Worden-Martin automobile dealership, pending approval from automotive companies associated with the business.
Shapland said company founders Lloyd R. Worden and Howard R. Martin are both retiring, and the transaction would ensure that the dealership remains locally owned.
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich and all four legislative leaders on Friday endorsed a school reform compromise that would maintain the State Board of Education as Illinois' education agency but grant the governor more power over its members and budget.
The new legislation is significantly less sweeping than the governor's initial proposal to gut the State Board of Education and replace it with a Department of Education under his control; it is even watered-down from a compromise Blagojevich and Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, had agreed to earlier this month.
SPRINGFIELD – The retirement systems for university employees, state workers, judges and General Assembly members are still hoping to get the entire $2.4 billion they say they will need for the year beginning July 1, but it appears increasingly likely that the state's budget will provide a lesser amount.
The governor's pension commission released a report late Thursday that makes no specific recommendation but offers four options for the state to address the short-term needs of the retirement systems.