Public service could lower $50,000 state fine

URBANA – Champaign County might be able to do community service work to trim down a $50,000 fine for time and cost overruns on its $24 million nursing home, which had been plagued with mold.

But the county would have to come to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, explain the reason for delays and ask for the service as an alternative to the fine, said the board's director.

Monticello resolution seeks permanent easement

MONTICELLO – The Monticello City Council passed a resolution Monday to secure a permanent easement for two tracts of land owned by Heartland Pathways.

The resolution was a last-minute attempt of city officials to avoid using the power of eminent domain in negotiations with a representative that has dragged on for over a decade.

Man gets seven years for campus robbery

URBANA – A former University of Illinois student was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for a robbery last year.

Judge Thomas Difanis imposed the sentence, with credit for 71 days already served in jail, for Ahmed Yusuf, 22, whose last known address was in the 900 block of South Locust Street, Champaign.

Rantoul couple facing new charges

URBANA – A Rantoul couple faces new federal armed bank robbery charges after a second indictment by a federal grand jury.

Ahkeem J. Thomas, 19, and Krystal Brown, 18, are due to be arraigned Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Urbana on the superseding indictment, which accuses them of the Sept. 28 robbery of the Busey Bank branch, 200 E. Sangamon Drive, Rantoul, and the June 15 robbery at the Busey Bank branch, 1717 S. Philo Road, at Sunnycrest Plaza in Urbana.

Woman's home, man's auto, store among robbery targets

CHAMPAIGN – Police are investigating three robberies in Champaign, including a carjacking, convenience store robbery and an armed robbery of a woman in her home.

The latest robbery occurred at 7:45 p.m. Monday in the 700 block of Tawney Court, according to Champaign police.

Mahomet-Seymour High School helps families in need

CHAMPAIGN – Late Friday afternoon, a small convoy of cars and pickup trucks laden with food pulled into the lot at Restoration Urban Ministries.

As charity officials watched, students from Mahomet-Seymour High School's student council delivered more than 1,000 pounds of food collected during a recent drive.

Position filled despite questions from candidate, public

OGDEN – Former Ogden zoning board member Dan Bruce accepted a seat on the Ogden Village Board to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jim Gilliland last month.

Village residents at the meeting last week questioned Bruce's appointment by Mayor Jack Reidner and the approval by the board, mostly because Bruce did not run in the last election, and at least one of the candidates who did run was interested in filling the spot.

Champaign staff against funding another cable channel

CHAMPAIGN – The city's staff is urging the council to reject using city funds or higher cable bills to pay for a proposed public-access channel to serve Champaign-Urbana.

The council will consider the issue tonight in study session at 7 at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Carrie Busey students raising money for Crisis Nursery

CHAMPAIGN – 'Tis the season for Christmas lists and making gift requests of Santa. But the kids at Carrie Busey Elementary School are also thinking about giving.

The school is holding a fundraiser this week to collect money for Crisis Nursery. Students are collecting change in their classrooms for the "Change for Change" fundraiser, and they hope to raise $1,800. To do so, they are asking for help from the community.

State seeks to keep grads in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – A new state program aims to prevent "brain drain" by offering discounted student loan rates to graduates who stay and work in Illinois. Even bigger reductions are available for those earning less than $50,000.

"This program will provide much needed relief for thousands of students and their families, and it will help boost employment by encouraging students to pursue careers right here at home in critical areas like teaching and social work," said a statement from Gov. Rod Blagojevich.