Southwest Champaign question will be on ballot

CHAMPAIGN – Residents of southwest Champaign have cleared the final hurdle in their efforts to put a question on the ballot to create their own mass transit district.

The 4th District Appellate Court last week denied a request by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to appeal a decision made on Nov. 17 by Associate Judge Chase Leonhard.

Korean War Museum likely to leave former Chanute base

RANTOUL – Organizers of the National Korean War Museum are making plans to move from Rantoul to a larger community.

Citing low attendance at the former Chanute Air Force Base, the museum's board of directors voted Saturday in Joliet to direct the board's building committee to look for new locations for the museum.

Council OKs plan to station police in schools

CHAMPAIGN – With top administrators from the Champaign school district asking for help, the Champaign City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday night to instruct city staff to negotiate an agreement to place six uniformed, armed police officers in the district's middle schools and high schools.

The officers – who would be specially trained school resource officers – would begin work with the start of the 2006-07 school year. Special details of Champaign police will continue working overtime during school hours at Champaign Central and Champaign Centennial high schools and at the Columbia Center Alternative Program for the rest of this school year, with the school district footing the bill.

Local school districts hoping to strengthen bonds with UI

CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois' strategic plan commits to forging stronger ties with Champaign and Urbana schools.

It's not very specific, however, about how UI development plans would affect the schools' tax base and tax revenues.

UI's strategic plan includes more diversity, research, tuition hikes

URBANA – More minority and international students, more opportunities for undergraduate research, a branch research office in Washington, D.C., a redeveloped Orchard Downs, faculty working in Singapore – they are all part of the University of Illinois' strategic plan.

Accomplishing these goals will mean tuition increases of about 10 percent per year in the next five years, and budget cuts so money can be redirected toward the priorities outlined in the plan.

UI's community focus pleases city officials

Champaign and Urbana officials say they're pleased with a strategic plan released this week by the University of Illinois and how university leadership appears to be focused on strengthening city-university ties.

Champaign City Manager Steve Carter said the top two UI officials – President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman – deserve credit.

Champaign robberies increased 18 percent in '05

CHAMPAIGN – Robberies in Champaign increased 18 percent last year.

That increase in total robberies – including strong-arm robbery, armed robbery, carjacking and aggravated robbery – concerns police officials, according to Champaign police crime analyst Gary Spear.

Danville basketball coach reinstated

DANVILLE – In a close decision, Danville school board members decided Monday night to reinstate the Danville High School boys' basketball coach after a 20-day suspension.

After more than an hour discussing the situation behind closed doors, the school board voted 4-3 to immediately reinstate coach Scott Olson.

Rantoul grocery exec: Playing field not level

RANTOUL – In Rantoul, 18-, 19- and 20-year old cocktail waitresses can legally sell and serve liquor even though they aren't old enough to drink it themselves.

But their counterparts at the Rantoul IGA are prohibited from ringing up packaged beer, wine and other alcohol. Jerry Reynolds, president of Kirby Foods, the owners of the Rantoul IGA, says he believes the double standard is unfair.

Parkland College students gearing up for Olympics

CHAMPAIGN – Kaizad Irani's landscape design students in China have set their sights on Olympic gold.

They're getting ready to work on the country's biggest production in centuries – Beijing 2008, the summer Olympics. Irani said landscaping companies are already recruiting his students at Beijing Vocational College of Agriculture so they'll have personnel with high-level design and installation skills to make them competitive for the massive project.

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