New UI theater department chief took detour to passion

URBANA – If you listen to Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion," you have a good idea of what kind of life Brant Pope had growing up in Minnesota.

It would have involved hockey, baseball and Norwegian ancestry, but no small town like Keillor's fictional Lake Wobegon.

Lincoln Square hosting used-records sale Saturday

The Vintage Vinyl sale, with thousands of used records, tapes and CDs offered for sale, takes place Saturday at Lincoln Square Village in Urbana.

An entrance fee of $5 will be charged from 8 to 11 a.m. Admission is free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fairbury man critically injured in I-57 crash

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

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.

Police make arrest in Urbana murder

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 late 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.

May 15 is deadline for small tax-exempt groups to file

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding small tax-exempt organizations that they need to file their annual electronic informational return by May 15.

IRS spokeswoman Sue Hales said this marks the second year the tax-exempt organizations need to file either a Form 990-N or an e-Postcard. Any tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are $25,000 or less are required to make a filing.

Champaign panel seeks to increase wind-farm buffer zone

CHAMPAIGN – City planning officials like the idea of using wind farms to generate electricity. They really do.

But not in the city's backyard.

At the city's plan commission meeting this week, members voted 5-0 to not protest a proposed county zoning ordinance text amendment that would allow wind farms in the county Agriculture 1 zoning district with approval of a special-use permit by the Champaign County Board.

Judge tosses out Urbana man's cannabis-trafficking case

URBANA – A Champaign County judge Thursday threw out a cannabis-trafficking case against an Urbana man for lack of evidence.

At the close of the state's evidence, Judge Michael Jones issued a directed verdict of acquittal for Carlos Campbell, 27, of the 900 block of North Gregory Street, declaring that Assistant State's Attorney Dan Jackson had not given the jury enough evidence to prove Campbell guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of possessing about 27 pounds of cannabis intended for sale.

Bill to make renewable-energy districts held in state Senate

SPRINGFIELD – The winds of change are being held in check for the time being, but sponsors of a state bill to create energy-production districts hope they will be back even stronger.

The bill, HB 3646, sponsored by Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, creates the Renewable Energy Production District Act, allowing any area within a single county to be incorporated as a renewable-energy production district.

Buildings, offices on EIU campus to close early Fridays

CHARLESTON – In an effort to save money, Eastern Illinois University will close some buildings and offices at noon Fridays during the summer.

The shorter hours begin Monday.

Urbana's proposed fiscal 2010 budget eschews layoffs

URBANA – The city of Urbana is proposing a $48 million fiscal 2010 budget that avoids the kind of major budget cuts going on in Champaign.