Urbana High School's restructuring getting rave reviews

URBANA – It's fifth period, and two girls recline in cushy chairs, one reading "Twilight," the other immersed in "The Memory Keeper's Daughter." Nearby, sophomore John Willrem works on homework, while a student near him writes in his planner.

What kind of class is this?

Welcome to Urbana High School, version 2008-09.

Before the school got news this fall that it had passed state testing benchmarks, everyone prepared for the worst. For four years, the high school hadn't made adequate yearly progress, and if it hadn't in the fifth, it would have to restructure – to change the school in ways that would make a tangible difference in student learning.

But, though the school did pass, it's restructuring anyway.

Pizza deliveryman attacked in apparent robbery attempt

URBANA – Two men attacked a pizza deliveryman in an apparent attempted robbery Sunday night in Urbana.

The victim was walking back to his car after making a delivery in the 2400 block of Prairie Green at 10:13 p.m. Sunday, according to Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan.

2 arrested in connection with shooting; 1 sought

CHAMPAIGN – Police are continuing to investigate a shooting at an apartment complex in Champaign over the weekend.

They are looking for a man who was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and fled in a car with two other men after a shooting of a 19-year-old man in a parking lot at the 88 West Apartments, 2001 Moreland Boulevard, at 12:20 a.m. Saturday.

Air Force looks for ways to offer help at White Hall

RANTOUL – The man in charge of environmental cleanup at the former Chanute Air Force Base said the Air Force has asked its attorneys what it can do to assist with improvements to White Hall.

"We are looking at anything we can do to help out with the situation," said Air Force Real Property Agency environmental coordinator Paul Carroll. "We are checking to see if any restrictions were placed on the property at the time of transfer."

DACC trustees to vote on adding wind energy degree

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College officials hope to launch a new associate degree program that would prepare students for a high-tech, high-paying, high-demand career in one of the fastest-growing segments of the energy industry – wind energy.

Champaign council to consider trash screening proposal

CHAMPAIGN – A proposal that would require the screening off of trash containers on properties built before 1997 is headed to the city council – and it appears a close vote is likely.

Mayor Jerry Schweighart said he opposes the proposal, calling it an unfunded mandate that will set apartment owners back $2,000 to $4,000, while council member Michael La Due says it makes little sense for the city to invest tens of millions of dollars in Campustown improvements and then allow open trash containers in plain sight.

Cabbie reports robbery by three men late Sunday night

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police are looking for three men who robbed a cabbie in that city Sunday night.

Police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said the 55-year-old Yellow Checker Cab driver was en route to pick up a fare in Urbana when he was flagged down by three men, 20 to 25, wearing dark clothing, including hooded sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up.

Fairmount woman dies in single-vehicle crash; grandson hurt

DANVILLE – A Fairmount woman died Sunday afternoon following a single-vehicle crash in rural Vermilion County.

Vermilon County Coroner Peggy Johnson said that Doris Castle, 60, of Fairmount, was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m. at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Emergency Room after a single-automobile crash on the Catlin-Homer Road.

Urbana police seek information on vandalism incidents

Champaign County Crimestoppers and Urbana police are seeking help this week regarding some vandalism incidents.

During the early morning hours Nov. 15, someone sprayed black and silver paint to draw graffiti on the walls of an underground garage, as well as a vehicle parked in the garage at 804 W. Illinois St., U.

Life Remembered: Mittendorf gracefully laid residents to rest

CHAMPAIGN – Of funeral directors past and present, perhaps John P. Mittendorf was the epitome of the profession.

"He was the iconic funeral director," said Pete Tomaras. "He would set the example because of his kindness and his ability to relate personally to people. He knew everybody. Champaign was a much smaller town in the '40s and '50s, and people were comforted by him and counted on him."