Delta's Willard ridership dips

CHAMPAIGN – A year and a half ago, the Champaign-Urbana community agreed to offer as much as $1.35 million in revenue guarantees to persuade Delta Air Lines to begin service at Willard Airport.

At first, the tactic appeared to be a great success. Delta attracted a lot of passengers with introductory low-cost fares to its Cincinnati hub. The new service didn't seem to hurt ridership on other airlines serving Champaign-Urbana. Overall ridership at Willard increased.

Tulane students adjust to UI

URBANA – Neither Jacob Dibble nor Kristen Elmer wanted to go to college at the University of Illinois.

Too many of their friends were going here. It would be too much like high school, seeing the same people from home everywhere, they thought.

Recalling the lost

TOLONO – Sherry Cripps can't go to sleep unless she has paper and pencil on her nightstand. Most nights, she doesn't sleep well anyway. Her mind races to recall items consumed by fire at her home on May 6.

And when an item comes to mind, she dares not let a second pass before recording it. That's because she has exactly one year from the date the fire destroyed almost all her family's possessions to recall them and file claims with her insurance company in order to be compensated.

Plans are brewing for ethanol plants

Two months after President Bush signed a comprehensive energy bill, a bill that calls for increasing production of alternative fuels like ethanol, several investors and companies are considering building ethanol plants in East Central Illinois.

Patrick Harroun of Thawville and his son, Andrew Harroun of Onarga, are proposing an ethanol plant for north of Roberts. A Dallas company called The Panda Group recently announced plans for a plant near Gilman. Alliance Grain Cooperative of Gibson City is considering building a plant in the region. And supporters of a plant for Tuscola are still mulling over the idea.

Conference at UI highlights research on walking's benefits

Good news, iPod devotees: Research indicates that if you listen to music you like while you walk – you don't necessarily have to use an iPod to do it – you tend to ignore fatigue, walk longer and get more benefits out of it.

Those are results from one of the more than 100 studies outlined at a University of Illinois conference on walking and walking research, many of them looking at the health benefits of physical activity.

Win or lose, UI wants off NCAA list

URBANA – Whether the University of Illinois wins or loses its appeal to the NCAA, the goal is to be off the list of schools the NCAA has deemed to be using "hostile or abusive" American Indian imagery by Feb. 1.

The UI filed its appeal Friday of the NCAA's policy restricting postseason competition for schools using the imagery. The policy prohibits those schools from hosting postseason competitions and from displaying such imagery at those events. It takes effect Feb. 1, 2006.

College events celebrate 95th homecoming

URBANA – The University of Illinois will celebrate its 95th homecoming with events all week long, beginning Sunday. The theme for Homecoming this year is "Ignite My Illini."

The following is a schedule of events this week. In addition to those listed, many UI colleges and departments are hosting receptions. For information, go to the UI's homecoming Web site at

Disability advocates hitting road against group homes

URBANA – Evoking the civil rights spirit of the 1960s, disability advocates will embark on a "freedom ride" Sunday to push for an end to institutionalization of those with disabilities.

About 30 people with disabilities, senior citizens and their families will make the 700-mile trek around the state, ending Thursday in Springfield, to drum up support for the Community First Act. The legislation would compel the state to spend its money on support services allowing the disabled to live in their communities, rather than institutions or large group homes.

Schools' condition shocks teacher

URBANA – An Urbana woman who brought aid to out-of-work teachers after Hurricane Katrina says the nation needs to open its eyes to endemic poverty in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Urbana High School social worker and teachers union president Grace Mitchell spent four days in New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La., delivering money collected for out-of-work educators in those two states and viewing the destruction done by the storm, especially to the schools.

Rise in runway will be repaired

RANTOUL – A pilot landing on the north-south runway of the Rantoul airport one day in June encountered a surprise: The runway suddenly sloped upward.

The man's plane immediately went airborne once again, and the pilot had to make a quick maneuver to complete a safe landing.