Urbana mayor: Proposed aid for displaced too costly

URBANA – Mayor Laurel Prussing and city staff have come out against a proposal to give displaced tenants at least $2,000 if they are forced to move because of a city condemnation or code violations.

But two aldermen are indicating some support for the idea.

METCAD director will retire this month

URBANA – METCAD Director Rick Kallmayer, who has headed the county emergency dispatching agency for almost five years, will retire effective June 26.

Kallmayer said in a statement that: "It has been an honor to work with the METCAD policy board, the public safety agencies and the staff at METCAD."

Many administrative changes coming in Champaign schools

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district plans to eliminate one central office position for the coming school year, and several Champaign school administrators are taking on new assignments.

The district will reduce staff by one position to save money, said Beth Shepperd, assistant superintendent for human resources.

Ameren requests another rate hike

SPRINGFIELD – Ameren filed for a $226 million rate increase Friday that would raise both natural gas and electric costs for most residents of downstate Illinois.

The typical residential customers of AmerenIP, which includes those in Champaign, Urbana and Danville, would pay about $152 more annually – $97 more in electric rates and $55 more in natural gas rates. On a monthly basis, that would be about $8 a month more for electricity and $4.50 a month more for natural gas.

Former firefighter arraigned on arson charges

URBANA – A former volunteer firefighter charged with setting fire to a house near Ludlow last month is tentatively scheduled to be tried in August.

Andrew Bryant, 21, of Paxton, appeared in Champaign County Circuit Court Friday to be arraigned on residential arson and arson charges filed against him last month.

Motorcyclist hurt on I-74 entrance ramp

MAHOMET – A Champaign woman was injured when she was thrown from a motorcycle Friday morning.

Illinois State Police at Pesotum said Lee Ann Fouret, 50, was on the entrance ramp from Prairieview Road to Interstate 74 eastbound about 10:20 a.m. when she hit loose gravel.

Confirmed swine flu case in Piatt County; patient recovering

MONTICELLO — Public health officials have received word of the first confirmed case of swine flu in Piatt County.

David Remmert, administrator of the DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department, said the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the positive results Thursday.

State budget woes putting Champaign County in bind

URBANA – The state's budget crisis is beginning to be felt by Champaign County government.

County Administrator Debra Busey told the county board's Finance Committee on Thursday night that the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts is months behind on salary reimbursment payments for employees working at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center and for the county court services department. State's Attorney Julia Rietz's salary is also paid by the office.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, ex-'Idols' to play state fair grandstand this year

SPRINGFIELD – Ticket sales for Illinois State Fair grandstand concerts start this weekend.

The grandstand box office opens Saturday, with special hours from 9 a.m. to noon. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The box office will reopen on Saturdays starting July 18.

Champaign's Garden Hills area to get sidewalks

CHAMPAIGN – Many of the 389 children who attend Garden Hills Elementary School in northwest Champaign walk to school.

With the lack of sidewalks in the Garden Hills subdivision, it's not an ideal situation, according to Garden Hills school Principal Cheryl O'Leary.