Douglas County board chief wants funds for ambulance service

TUSCOLA – In Chuck Knox's opinion, citizens of Douglas County are far more likely to see the inside of an ambulance than the county jail.

That's why the county board president would like to use some of the money generated by a possible public safety tax to support the county's ambulance service.

Lightning listed as probable firestarter

DANVILLE – Firefighters think lightning may have started a fire Saturday at the Sleep Inn in Danville.

According to a Danville Fire Department report, firefighters were called to a fire at the inn, 361 Lynch Road, at 4:43 a.m. Saturday.

Retirements create two judge vacancies

The Illinois Supreme Court will soon be appointing two judges for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Justice Rita Garman, who represents the central portion of the state on the high court, announced recently that she'll be accepting applications for the vacancies created by the upcoming retirement of DeWitt County Judge Stephen Peters and Macon County Judge John Greanias.

Missing Villa Grove girl located

VILLA GROVE – Scores of searchers spent several hours early today looking for a 9-year-old Villa Grove girl who had spent the night with a friend without her parents knowing.

Villa Grove police spokeswoman Beth Elston said Marissa Shelby was returned home safely early today when the mother of the friend she spent the night with saw the morning television news that an Amber Alert had been issued and contacted police.

Champaign official seeks funds for facilities master plan

CHAMPAIGN – The city of Champaign has tens of millions of dollars tied up in its facilities, including the city building, the police department, the main fire station and six other fire stations.

But, despite that investment, the city doesn't have a regular schedule for things such as replacing carpeting or painting, or replacing roofs and air conditioning and heating systems.

Oakwood student helps bring in 85 pounds of aluminum for charity

OAKWOOD – When Paul Wasser of Oakwood asked fellow church members to save their aluminum-can tabs for a charity close to his heart, he hoped to get a few bags.

He was bowled over when Oakwood High School student Amie Burke recently presented him with a bag filled with 85 pounds of tabs collected by the school's student body.

Alleged thefts blamed on price of scrap metal

TUSCOLA – Douglas County Sheriff Charlie McGrew says thefts of scrap metal and other metal may be on the rise because of rising costs of metal commodities.

And two recent incidents illustrate that trend.

Vermilion officials want 2nd contract with firm to overhaul GIS

DANVILLE – Almost six years ago, Vermilion County started a geographic information system and raised document filing fees to help pay for it, then signed a multiyear contract for hundreds of thousands of dollars with an outside firm that would help start the system.

Now, the system is not functioning at the level it should be, according to county officials who want the Vermilion County board to approve another contract with Bruce Harris and Associates, allowing the firm to overhaul it.

Motorists warned about standing water; 1 death in Coles

ARTHUR – Arthur Mayor David Conlin said he has never seen so much water in his community.

"There's more standing water around town than I've seen in my lifetime, and I'm 75 years old," Conlin said.

Solving signal interference among jobs tackled by growing firm

CHAMPAIGN – If you've ever taken a commercial airline flight, you've heard the familiar warning to turn off all cell phones and electronic devices before takeoff.

The reason: The signals might interfere with the plane's electronic communications systems.