News

News

Champaign council still looking to make more budget cuts

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the Champaign City Council will discuss nearly $2.4 million in budget cuts from police, fire, public works and administration in continuing efforts to reduce spending.

The budget discussion will be made in a council study session starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Champaign city building, 102 N. Neil St.

Champaign County's DUI court to dedicate more time to crime

URBANA – Champaign County's presiding judge is adding another layer to the criminal-court system. But Tom Difanis asserts his idea – to have a separate court dedicated to hearing driving-under-the-influence cases – will increase the efficiency of the judicial process.

With 35,000 traffic tickets issued annually in Champaign County, Difanis said, it's "easy for the DUIs to get swallowed up in the morass of traffic court."

"It's important we provide the appropriate attention to this serious problem. A lot of people still think it's a traffic ticket," Difanis said. "With this setup, we have one judge, one courtroom. It lessens the burden in traffic court."

Champaign County Board to consider plan for fewer panels

URBANA – A plan to pare down Champaign County committees will go to the full county board later this month.

The policy committee agreed to send to the full county board on May 21 a proposed reorganization of county board committees from six down to four.

Duo fashions targets for police and military training, shooting ranges

BROADLANDS – In his home-based shop, you might find Steve Smith or his partner Dean Rothermel burning a chicken silhouette from 5/8-inch ballistic armor plate. As co-owners of a Broadlands-based shooting-target company called Rack Systems, the two childhood friends have been producing hand-machined, reactive steel targets since 2001.

Rack Systems has supplied specialty targets to police training academies, several federal agencies, prisons, the security departments of community colleges and rail transport companies – and occasionally to the public for personal sport-shooting range.

Healey Street to close at Prairie Street for sewer work

CHAMPAIGN – A portion of Healey Street will be closed this week for sanitary sewer work.

Tina Stephens of Stephens Excavating said work crews will close Healey Street just west of Prairie Street beginning Monday to excavate the middle of the street in order to gain access to a city sewer main.

Zoning ruling won't affect couple's plans for orchard

DANVILLE – Lindsay and Marie Varner are forging ahead with their plans for an organic apple orchard on West Lake Boulevard on Danville's north side, despite the Danville planning and zoning commission's recommendation against changing the property's zoning from residential to agriculture.

Champaign street to be closed Monday

CHAMPAIGN – A portion of Prairie Street will be closed this week for sanitary sewer work.

Tina Stephens of Stephens Excavating said work crews will close Healey Street just west of Prairie Street beginning Monday to excavate the middle of the street in order to gain access to a city sewer main.

Champaign man faces murder charge in shooting

URBANA – A Champaign man wounded by an Urbana man last fall has been arrested for that man's murder.

Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said Kenneth Allen, 28, of Champaign came to the Urbana police station Friday afternoon to talk to police, knowing they were looking for him in connection with the fatal shooting Wednesday of Kenneth Nolan, 28, of Urbana.

Fairbury man still in hospital after accident

PESOTUM – A Fairbury man remained hospitalized Saturday with injuries he received when his car hit a tree Thursday on Interstate 57.

Illinois State Police at Pesotum said Corey L. Peters, 21, was driving north on I-57 near the Pesotum rest area at 8:45 p.m. when he ran off the road into the grassy median. He over-corrected and went back across the roadway into a ditch, hitting a large tree with the driver's side of his car.

University Avenue business owners ready for streetscape

CHAMPAIGN – Mohammad AL-Heeti operates his World Harvest International & Gourmet Foods grocery store just off of one of Champaign's busiest streets, University Avenue.

So the store owner is excited that, starting next month, a major section of University Avenue, between Third and Wright streets, will undergo a comprehensive streetscape upgrade. The work will include resurfacing University Avenue and installing new curbs and gutters, sidewalks, streetlights and trees.

"It's time," AL-Heeti said. "It's one of the busiest streets, and it's an entrance to the city. It should look good."