Board's vote on mold issue last week questioned

URBANA – The Champaign County Board violated the state's Open Meetings Act last week, according to a veteran attorney.

On Thursday, the board went into executive session, came out to open session and passed a resolution calling for binding arbitration with the Farnsworth Group, PKD Inc. and Otto Baum for mold remediation, in accordance with construction industry arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association.

Governor signs co-op measure

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation late last week that would help defray costs for smaller districts seeking to form cooperative high schools.

While school consolidation is still highly controversial, the cooperative high school option allows districts to maintain their own elementary and middle schools while forming a single, larger high school. Several area districts have considered the idea, but a lack of state help with the costs of such mergers has been an obstacle.

Urbana library's executive director will retire in May

URBANA – Fred Schlipf, who has been the Urbana Free Library's executive director since August 1974 and who recently oversaw a major library expansion, is planning to retire next year.

Schlipf, 64, said he will step down next May. The 10 months of lead time will give the library board plenty of time to have a successor in place when he steps down, he said.

MTD director pleased with Danville-to-Champaign results

DANVILLE – Renee McDaniels sometimes sleeps in the last seat on the 40-minute bus ride from Danville to Champaign.

She is a regular on Danville Mass Transit's number 10 route, the latest addition to its system.

Obiter Research to stay in area

CHAMPAIGN – And the winner is: Champaign.

Obiter Research, which makes hard-to-obtain research chemicals, has decided to build a $4 million facility in Champaign's Apollo industrial park, rather than move to Iowa City.

Creation of foreign trade zone weighed

CHAMPAIGN – Tired of talking with Peoria and Decatur about possible inclusion in their foreign trade zones, Champaign County is considering setting up one of its own.

The Champaign County Economic Development Corp. is researching the possibility of hiring a Kansas City, Mo., law firm, Miller & Company, to help set up such a zone.

Farmer City ambulance service downgraded

FARMER CITY – Until a few weeks ago, if a person suddenly suffered a heart attack or other medical ailment, Farmer City residents could count on an ambulance with a paramedic, intravenous equipment and drugs on board to arrive in a few minutes.

All that changed on June 7 as a result of a state decision because the city no longer has enough trained paramedics.

Ohio town hopes labor pool will lure Honda plant

Bill Mount and Paul Johnson meet at the Courtview Restaurant every morning for coffee. On this day, Johnson has to rush off, not to a job, but to let the dogs out.

He and Mount are longtime friends and retired from a local steel company that's closed now. Although they don't need jobs, both are rooting for Honda to put its new manufacturing plant in Washington Court House, a community that's been good to them.

Justice career born of tragedy

URBANA – She's only 33 years old, but Renae Yandell already has worked for 14 years in two state's attorneys offices, a sheriff's office, a police department and for the FBI.

Her interest in the criminal justice field was sparked by tragedies that struck her own family when she was a child.

Kids from meth families face extra difficulties

A 14-year-old boy said that after his mother started using methamphetamine, she no longer acted like a mom should.

In contrast, his 13-year-old brother believes the government is persecuting their father unfairly.