State to help kids commute to school

Hoopeston, Danville and Urbana will get some financial help to make kids' walks or bike rides to school a little safer.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Thursday that $8.3 million will be awarded this year for 112 projects around the state to aid in that effort.

UI accused of withholding public records

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois came under fire Thursday for its response to requests for public records.

State Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, criticized the UI for what he sees as a pattern of "unresponsiveness" on Freedom of Information Act inquiries from students and journalists, on subjects ranging from utility costs to the retirement of Chief Illiniwek.

Plans for Ogden Dollar General store placed on hold

Even with more than half a million dollars in incentives over 20 years lined up for the developers who had planned to build a Dollar General store in Ogden, the project has been put "on indefinite hold due to the economics of the deal," according to a recent letter to the mayor from a representative of one of the real estate firms involved.

Bob Elkan of the Westmore Realty Group in St. Louis sent the e-mail message last Friday to Mayor Jack Reidner. Earlier in the week, Reidner said, he had been given the impression that the deal was still on and simply awaiting approval from the lawyers on some language in the contracts.

Survey's responses point to no change in Ogden burning rules

When the village of Ogden sent out a survey with its 337 water bills in February asking residents for input on whether to change the village's burning ordinance, board members figured they would be doing pretty well if they got back 50 of them.

But the issue proved to be a little more on residents' minds than the board expected, and 166 of the surveys came back.

Serious problems at 'Unofficial' down this year

CHAMPAIGN – Officials say there were fewer problems with "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" this year, and, if Champaign Mayor Jerry Schweighart is right, there may not be any problem next year.

"I think the attractiveness was taken out of it," Schweighart said Thursday. "I think it will be no big deal next year."

Eleven funds benefit from state income tax refunds

SPRINGFIELD – Breast cancer research, military family relief and nine other special causes want a sliver of your Illinois state income tax refund this year.

Or, if you're not getting a refund, a few extra dollars added to your tax payment will do.

Zoning change for Teepak Credit Union could set precedent

DANVILLE – If Teepak Credit Union is allowed a storage building, Anthony and Nicole Dye may be allowed their detail business.

The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission approved a request from Teepak Credit Union on Thursday night to change the zoning of 102 Porter St. from single residential to highway business.

Downtown Danville director quitting to go back to school

DANVILLE – Downtown Danville Inc. board members hope to find a new executive director by the first of May, when the current director will leave for graduate school.

Executive Director Rachael Dietkus announced Thursday that her last day with DDI will be May 2, because she has been accepted into the master's degree program in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois. She will begin classes in June.

Man dies after accident on I-74

DANVILLE – A Michigan man died Thursday morning at Carle Foundation Hospital from injuries he sustained in a three-vehicle accident on Interstate 74 near Danville.

John E. Cramer, 44, of Ypsilanti, Mich., was pronounced dead at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the hospital, according to a news release from the Champaign County Coroner's office.

Police search for armed robbery suspect

DANVILLE – City police are investigating the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man that occurred late Wednesday night.

At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the man made a delivery to the unit block of Beard Street.