Mayors want to explore water utility purchase

URBANA – Mayor Laurel Prussing says that, in the wake of a proposed 60 percent water rate increase, it's time for Urbana and Champaign to study purchasing Illinois American Water Co. local assets.

And Champaign Mayor Jerry Schweighart said this morning that he agrees with Prussing.

Marshall police seek help identifying victim

MARSHALL – Police in Clark County are looking for help in identifying a man found dead in Marshall late last month.

On Jan. 25, about 9:45 a.m., someone found the body in a garbage bin in the 200 block of Walnut Street outside the Cherry Street Apartments.

Judge: County must arbitrate with firm

URBANA – A Champaign County judge has ordered the county and one of the contractors for the new nursing home to arbitrate unresolved issues.

The effect of Judge Jeff Ford's ruling is to put on hold a lawsuit filed by the county last May against the Peoria-based Farnsworth Group.

School board approves Garden Hills youth initiative

CHAMPAIGN – A project to provide educational, vocational and recreational opportunities to children in the Garden Hills neighborhood, beginning this summer, conflicts with a plan to put air conditioning in Garden Hills Elementary School.

The Champaign school board enthusiastically supported the joint initiative of the school district, city of Champaign and the park district to provide youth programs in the Garden Hills area.

Funds shortage could force Chanute museum to close

RANTOUL – Chanute Air Museum President Jim Eldridge says he is excited about a new exhibit about the dream of flight, scheduled to open on April 5.

He just hopes the museum has enough money to pay its bills until that date.

State cites Georgetown junior high

GEORGETOWN – School officials learned Monday that Mary Miller Junior High School had been recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education for its academic performance.

Mary Miller Junior High Principal Lisa Gocken said she recently learned that the school had received an Academic Improvement Award from the state board of education because of the students' performance on the standardized tests in 2007.

Lawmakers not giving up efforts on behalf of Mattoon

MATTOON – The Illinois House appears to be united in its support for keeping FutureGen in Mattoon.

Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, last week introduced a resolution asking Congress to reverse the Department of Energy's decision to pull the plug on FutureGen.

Man's murder trial postponed until July 7

DANVILLE – The trial of a man accused of shaking 2 1/2-year-old Reagan Williams to death in 2006 has been postponed until this summer.

Ryan Allhands, 23, of Tilton was scheduled to stand trial this week on four counts of first-degree murder stemming from Reagan's death on July 2, 2006. But on Monday, a judge granted a defense motion to continue the trial, Vermilion County State's Attorney Frank Young said.

Danville official taking time off to help out Obama

DANVILLE – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will be receiving some local help this week when Danville Neighborhood Development Manager John Dreher leaves on vacation Wednesday.

Dreher, 53, plans to spend the week in Dayton, Ohio, campaigning for the Illinois senator before the primary election there on March 4.

Developers show interest in troubled downtown Danville site

DANVILLE – Two individuals with an interest in redeveloping Bresee Tower plan to meet next week with local officials to discuss the building.

"They've expressed serious interest from the beginning," said Rachael Dietkus, director of Downtown Danville Inc., the downtown business association that has taken the lead in finding a developer for the vacant building.