DUI arrest made after crash on Illinois state police grounds

PESOTUM – A motorist from Urbana picked the wrong place to have an accident Saturday night.

The 19-year-old driver lost control of his pickup after exiting Interstate 57 near Pesotum and crashed into the grounds of the Illinois State Police District 10 Headquarters on U.S. 45, according to a state police report.

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.

Board believes now is time to build before schools are overrun

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school board members present a united front as they face the challenge of selling their March 21 bond issue to voters.

At issue: a $66 million building package to construct three new elementary schools, air-condition and refurbish old elementary schools and lay the groundwork for a second referendum to move work up to the middle and high school level.

Buy? Sell? Wait? What's best in 2006?

There's no question the last few years have been a boom time for the housing market in Champaign County.

Interest rates were at historic lows. New homes popped up to expand the fringes of Champaign, Urbana and their suburbs. "Sold" signs appeared in a matter of days after "for sale" signs. Home prices kept creeping – and leaping – upward.

Alloy shows steely dedication

CHAMPAIGN – Five months after Alloy Engineering & Casting was acquired by Indiana-based Wirco, the company is picking up new business from steel mills.

Alloy, which employs 89 at its plant at 1700 W. Washington St., C, continues to serve the heat-treating industry clients it's always served.

The heat is on – your checkbook

You've gotten your December power bill, and it doesn't look pretty.

$200, $300, even upwards of $500 to keep a home warm for one month.

Take the case of Kelly Searsmith, who usually paid $158 to heat or cool her 1,500-square-foot home in Mahomet. Like many consumers, she knew in the fall that an increase was coming due to the spike in natural gas prices. She and her husband were prepared – they had even installed an insulated garage door.

But the big bill still came: In December, she discovered they owed AmerenIP $266 after her budget plan was readjusted.


Area parking restrictions on agenda

URBANA – The Urbana City Council will consider Monday night whether to impose a weekday two-hour parking limit in a north Urbana neighborhood that residents say is being overrun with commuter cars.

The city council meets at 7 p.m. Monday as the committee of the whole at the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

City reworks program to retain jobs

CHAMPAIGN – The city of Champaign has reworked its economic development program to make sure that industrial projects that involve new construction, but primarily involve job retention, can still receive economic incentives.

City officials said the moves, approved by the Champaign City Council this week, will help fill gaps in the city's economic development program.

IMPE taking timeout

CHAMPAIGN – Many University of Illinois students and employees will soon need to find a new place to work out.

The campus' main recreational facility, the Intramural Physical Education Building, or IMPE, will close at the end of the month for a two-year expansion and renovation. Jan. 29 is the last day the main part of the building, at 201 E. Peabody Drive, C, will be open. However, the east wing, with basketball courts, a strength and conditioning area and locker rooms, will remain open.

Union demands prison hires

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois prisons are dangerously understaffed, union representatives said on Thursday, urging the state not to wait for a tragedy before addressing the problem.

But prison officials say they are managing their staff and facilities with safety in mind, and claim assaults on corrections employees are actually down.

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