Driver dies on water-covered road in Ford County

A Paxton man whose vehicle became submerged on a water-covered road and washed into a field died this morning in what Ford County Coroner Doug Wallace said is a possible drowning.

Bradley Swan, 24, of Paxton was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. in the emergency room at Gibson Area Hospital in Gibson City, Wallace said.

Police searching for suspect in armed robbery

DANVILLE – Danville police are seeking information on a weekend armed robbery at a north-side pizza parlor.

Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said two employees reported that a masked man entered the Papa Murphy's at 3100 N. Vermilion St. at 8:46 p.m. on Sunday.

Vote on highway workers' contract planned

DANVILLE – Ten months ago, the county ratified the first of seven labor contracts that expired in late 2006. Tonight, the Vermilion County Board will consider ratifying the seventh and final collective bargaining agreement, this one with the county highway workers.

Teamsters Local 26 already ratified the tentative four-year contract, and the full county board will vote on the agreement at tonight's regular meeting.

Panel OKs repainting Georgetown community center stage

GEORGETOWN – City officials voted Monday to have the stage in the community center repainted for the first time in many years.

Georgetown City Council members voted to buy up to $250 worth of paint and to have city workers repaint the stage in the center.

Police looking for witnesses to fatal accident

DANVILLE – Vermilion County sheriff's investigators are seeking information on a car that was seen near Danville High School around the time of a fatal car crash on Jan. 2.

Investigators said a light-colored Chrysler Pacifica, possibly gray or bluish-gray, or a similar type of hatchback vehicle was seen on North Jackson Street north of Williams Street in Danville around 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday. They said the driver or any occupants may have witnessed a police pursuit of a Ford van and the van's crash west of the high school, which killed 22-year-old Alexis Torres of Danville.

No changes predicted for Tuscola plant after merger

TUSCOLA – Lyondell Chemical Company may have a new name, but officials say its merger with Basell AF won't change everyday operations at its Tuscola chemical plant.

"As far we understand at this point, it's business as usual at our Tuscola plant," said Tom Nunheimer, regional public relations manager for LyondellBasell Industries.

Crumbling building blocked off

DANVILLE – Bresee Tower is not the only downtown building with barricades around it.

City officials blocked off a section of sidewalk late last week in front of the former AT&T building at 25 N. Walnut St. after noting small chunks of concrete had fallen from the vacant, two-story structure.

Champaign council to consider new policy in utility rate cases

CHAMPAIGN – In recent years, the city of Champaign has with increasing frequency intervened in rate cases before the Illinois Commerce Commission, seeking to oppose sizable water and electric rate increases.

Such actions are becoming so common that City Manager Steve Carter is now asking to be able to intervene in utility rate cases and to be able to prepare for them, such as by hiring consultants and entering into intergovernmental agreements to share costs, without obtaining prior city council approval.

Urbana school board plans 'retreat' to talk about priorities

URBANA – The Urbana school board is planning some bonding time Tuesday night, with a scheduled "retreat" instead of a regular study session.

"It's a retreat for the board, and we're going to be looking at board priorities and some of the major issues facing us," said school board member Cope Cumpston. "It's a chance for us to sit down and talk together."

Danville seeks to take billing services

DANVILLE – The city may take back over billing services from Aqua Illinois Inc.

The city council's public works committee will consider a resolution to end its service-fee billing and collection contractual agreements for sewer and trash accounts with Aqua Illinois on Tuesday. The resolution will need final approval from the city council.