Champaign school board candidates offer their ideas at forum

CHAMPAIGN – One of the first issues new Champaign school board members will face is how to add classrooms in north Champaign and formulate a building referendum to go before voters next spring.

Candidates for the school board discussed how they would proceed at a forum Tuesday night at the Urban League of Champaign County. The forum was sponsored by the Coalition for Action on Racial Equity and Excellence in Education.

Proposal calls for enlarging Urbana schools' athletics site

URBANA – Architect Vic Isaksen on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to add more outdoor space to the crowded Urbana High School and Urbana Middle School athletics complex.

That proposal, made by Isaksen and members of the district's land use committee, calls for putting artificial turf in the high school athletic stadium. It carries a price tag of about $800,000.

Champaign man charged with selling scrap copper

URBANA – A Champaign man who was selling scrap copper believed stolen from the University of Illinois was charged Tuesday with felony theft.

Daniel B. Denton, 50, who listed an address in the 300 block of South Randolph Street, was arrested Monday afternoon at Marco Steel Recycling, 302 S. Market St., C, in connection with a March 30 incident at the Abbott Power Plant, 1117 S. Oak St., C.

Hoopeston native – and alligator – hope to meet president

RALEIGH, N.C. – Hoopeston native Dan Breeding has met Kelly Ripa, Jay Leno and David Letterman.

On Monday, Breeding anticipates adding President Bush to that list.

Thanksgiving in Urbana: Turkeys captured

URBANA – Chet Utterback was at the poultry club's omelet breakfast Tuesday when his cell phone rang.

The turkeys were back, his wife told him.

Possum Trot alumni open new eatery

URBANA – A new restaurant called The Timbers plans to open Thursday in the former Ned Kelly's building in Urbana.

Restaurant owners Johnny and Cheryl Lee have been working to get the place, at 1601 N. Cunningham Ave., U, ready for guests. They have decorated the place with colorful toy trucks and tractors and moved a piano into the entry area.

Ned Kelly's saying 'G'bye' to 3 locations

URBANA – Fans of Ned Kelly's Steakhouse can still enjoy the remaining restaurant in Bloomington, but the three others in Urbana, Springfield and Peoria have closed.

Ned Kelly's Ventures, the limited liability company that operated the restaurants in Springfield and Peoria, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on March 19, listing assets of $1,217,550 and liabilities of $2,454,988.

$2.5 million in West Nile prevention grants distributed

SPRINGFIELD – Those new tires you bought helped provide $2.5 million in West Nile virus prevention grants to local public health departments, including those in Champaign and Vermilion Counties.

In 2003, the state began charging a 50-cent fee on each new tire purchased to help pay for surveillance and other public health activities related to preventing mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile. On Tuesday, 87 public health departments received grants from that fund.

Playground co-chair earns 74th award

DANVILLE – Though the AMBUCS Playground for Everyone opened in 2001, Bob Richard's work on the 30,000-square-foot, universally accessible structure in Winter Park did not end.

The playground co-chairman helped add an open-air pavilion and other amenities to draw more families to the park. Then he and co-chairs Bill Fulton and his nephew, Bill Fulton, put their knowledge of building playgrounds and desire to help others into two more projects – AMBUCS Independence Playground, which opened in Lincoln Park in 2004, and AMBUCS Sprayground for Everyone that's in the works for Garfield Park.

Youth's arrest sparks heated debate at council meeting

CHAMPAIGN – An incident last Friday in which a young man was subdued by Champaign police, pepper-sprayed and arrested for resisting arrest became a topic of heated debate at Tuesday's city council meeting.

At one point, Mayor Jerry Schweighart, a retired police officer, escorted Champaign resident Martel Miller out of the council chambers, without resistance, because Miller kept interjecting comments and asking questions of council members after he had already spoken for five minutes.