Kindergartner gets surprise holiday visit from father

RANTOUL – Five-year-old Jamison Sommer stood in music class holding a triangle when Pleasant Acres School Principal Cliff Englishharden announced the class was receiving an early Christmas present.

Crime report

In crimes reported to area police recently:

C-U area scores well in pedestrian safety in state

Champaign-Urbana is safer for pedestrians than other cities in East Central Illinois, according to a transportation lobby group in Washington, D.C.

According to the Transportation4America campaign, 10 percent of total traffic deaths in Champaign-Urbana in 2008 were pedestrians. That gives Champaign-Urbana a pedestrian danger index number of 14.5.

Carle Clinic doctors accept merger offer with Carle

URBANA – Carle Clinic doctors have voted to accept a $250 million offer by Carle Foundation Hospital to purchase the clinic system.

Now, it's up to the state's Health Facilities Services and Review Board to decide if medical patients and others in Carle's East Central Illinois service area would be best served by merging the two Carles into one.

Feds to review state probe of Carrington's death

CHAMPAIGN – The investigation into the shooting death of Kiwane Carrington by a Champaign police officer will be reviewed by federal authorities.

Rantoul board to consider hiring resource officer

RANTOUL – The Rantoul Township High School board on Monday will consider a proposal to put in place a school resource officer.

Superintendent Janet Koroscik has asked for community input on the proposal and expects to hear from people on both sides of the issue. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the cafetorium.

Catlin official: Late state payments hurting district

CATLIN – Superintendent Gary Lewis told Catlin school board members Thursday that late payments from the state may leave school officials with some tough decisions in March.

Lewis said that the financial situation may be so bad that Catlin and other school districts will have to look at cutting staff and programs next year.

Royal man loses control of car, lands in ditch

OGDEN – A Royal man was released from Carle Foundation Hospital on Thursday afternoon after crashing his car into a ditch in eastern Champaign County earlier in the day.

Champaign County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Cunningham said Christopher Huls was not seriously injured but had ice-cold water rushing into his car after running into a ditch off County Road 2100 N about 9:40 a.m.

Blaze damages apartment building in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – A Thursday morning fire sent one person to a hospital and caused heavy damage to an apartment building on a busy street in Champaign.

Champaign firefighters were called to 1405 W. Kirby Ave. at 9:18 a.m., according to a release from department spokeswoman Dena Schumacher. When they arrived three minutes later, heavy smoke was visible from the building and residents had gotten out. Firefighters put the fire out within minutes.

Decatur, Springfield join C-U's push for high-speed rail

CHAMPAIGN – Delegations from Decatur and Springfield joined with members of Champaign County First on Thursday to hammer out a strategy for bringing high-speed rail to all three communities.

Specifically, the cities are working with the Midwest High Speed Rail Association to establish 220-mph train service from Chicago to St. Louis by way of Kankakee, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur and Springfield.