County committee recommends referendum on auditor job

URBANA – Four Republicans and one Democrat on a Champaign County Board committee Wednesday night recommended that the county's voters be allowed to choose next year whether to make the county auditor's position elected or appointed.

The same panel voted to recommend that county recorder of deeds and coroner remain elected offices.

Ohrnstein picked up for scams after suspected drug relapse

URBANA – Mark Ohrnstein stood at a social-services rally in Champaign on June 20 and said without the services of Prairie Center in Urbana he'd be dead or in jail.

The 40-year-old recovering cocaine addict further declared to the crowd that they'd never see his name in another crime story in The News-Gazette, having been the subject of a front-page story two years ago on his fall from grace from popular grade school teacher to thief.

Monticello man treated, released after cycle crash on I-74

CHAMPAIGN — A Monticello man was treated and released from Carle Hospital Wednesday night after being forced to put his motorcycle down on an interstate highway.

Champaign street closed for repairs

CHAMPAIGN – The city announced that Foothill Drive between Lincolnshire Drive and Ridge Road is closed for pavement repairs. It will reopen Aug. 12, weather permitting.

Fireworks company owner fined over mishap in Arthur

SPRINGFIELD – The owner of a Missouri fireworks company has been fined $2,000 by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in connection with a June 27 accident at a fireworks display in Arthur.

A.M. Pyrotechnics LLC of Buffalo, Mo., was cited for leaving an explosive device unattended and for allowing the audience to be too close to a fireworks display, including a large 16-inch shell.

2009 Upward Bound grads honored at banquet

CHAMPAIGN – The Upward Bound College Prep Academy at the University of Illinois recently honored program graduates at its 43rd annual awards banquet at the I Hotel.

The event concluded six weeks of academic preparation for 60 high school graduates from Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul who will attend college this fall. They will head to Clark Atlanta University, Parkland College and the universities of Illinois, Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southern Indiana.

Catholic Worker House lunch program suspended

CHAMPAIGN – Lunch service at the St. Jude Catholic Worker House in Champaign will not resume when the facility reopens in September.

Group of men plans to give school items away to needy

A sampling of school supplies was laid out neatly on a table in a driveway – rows of pencils, notebooks, crayons, markers, glue sticks and backpacks.

Soon those materials will be given away to children whose families may not have the money to buy the items themselves. The school supply drive is courtesy of a group of men who call themselves the Heavenly Seven Club.

New building lets Carle's hearing-loss programs expand

URBANA – It was surgery that first gave Christopher Caulfield the gift of hearing.

But it was a local school and therapy program for deaf children that gave him the ability to use his hearing, to listen and turn sounds into spoken la

Man who said he kept gun for protection faces charges

URBANA – An Urbana man who told police he had a handgun for protection because he sells cannabis has been charged with armed violence.

Donald Forman, 43, who listed an address in the 1300 block of Montgomery Street, is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond and is due back in court Sept. 22. He was arrested Monday following a search of his home by Champaign police.