Tuscola principal urges increasing credits for graduation

TUSCOLA – The Tuscola school board is considering raising its high school graduation requirements.

On Monday, Tuscola High School Principal Kyle Ransom proposed increasing the number of credits needed to graduate from high school from 20.5 to 22.5.

Paxton funds to be used for road repairs

PAXTON – After stockpiling motor fuel tax funds for several years, the Paxton City Council is ready to spend some of that money.

On Monday night, the street and alley committee voted 4-0 to recommend spending up to $160,000 to repave portions of Taft and Summer streets, two of the busiest streets in town.

Attorney to draft cell-phone ordinance

URBANA – A proposal to ban cell phone use while driving in Urbana appears to enjoy support on the city council – though proponents of a ban might still be one vote short of a majority.

In a voice vote at the end of a four-hour meeting Monday night, aldermen directed acting City Attorney Ronald O'Neal to draw up an ordinance banning most instances of cell phone use while driving. Council members did appear inclined to exempt drivers whose job requires them to communicate on a two-way radio, such as tow-truck drivers and delivery drivers, as well as safety and emergency personnel like police or ambulance drivers.

Study: Global warming might help insects in war on plants

When University of Illinois researchers found that soybean plants heavily exposed to carbon dioxide at an open-air lab here suffered more insect damage – and that the insects damaging them lived longer – they wondered what was behind the effects.

UI trustees consider proposed hikes in tuition, fees

URBANA – Tuition rates for in-state freshmen could jump nearly 10 percent at the University of Illinois next year, and fees are slated to rise 6 percent.

UI trustees will meet Wednesday to consider a package of tuition and fee proposals, including a 9.5 percent increase in the general tuition rate for new undergraduates at the Urbana campus. That cost, now at $4,220 a semester, would rise by $401 to $4,621, or $9,242 a year.

Middle schoolers to attend Junior Citizens Police Academy

DANVILLE – Students from South View and North Ridge middle schools will begin attending the Junior Citizens Police Academy on April 1.

The HALO Project, an outreach of Provena United Samaritans Medical Center and the Danville Police Department, will present the five-week program for 32 students. They participate in educational, informational and fun activities that allow them to meet police officers and learn more about law enforcement jobs.

Centrue headquarters set to relocate

OTTAWA – Centrue Bank's parent company, Centrue Financial Corp., plans to move its corporate headquarters from Ottawa to St. Louis, the company announced Monday.

Company President Thomas A. Daiber, who spent much of his banking career in the St. Louis market, called that market Centrue's most promising for growth.

Vermilion County car dealership moving, merging

DANVILLE – Next week, the Vermilion Chevrolet Cadillac dealership will leave its longtime north Danville location to merge with Royal Buick Pontiac GMC in Tilton.

Shapland Automotive LLC, owner of Vermilion Chevrolet Cadillac, 3533 N. Vermilion St., Danville, has reached an agreement to buy the Royal dealership at 1615 Georgetown Road, Tilton.

Climate change could help bugs, hurt plants

Higher carbon dioxide levels associated with man-made emissions – generally thought to play into climate change and global warming – appear to make plants, soybeans anyway, more susceptible to insect damage by impairing their chemical defensive systems.

Champaign, Urbana vehicle and garage break-ins reported

Champaign and Urbana police reported several break-ins to vehicles and garages.

Urbana police said tools, electronic equipment and miscellaneous items were stolen from a garage in the 1700 block of East Fairlawn Drive. Taken were a circular saw, a jigsaw, a two-way radio, an in-dash compact disc player, 120 compact discs, a sports bag and running shoes. The theft was reported about 8:05 p.m. Saturday.