Bar manager accused of stealing cash from register

URBANA – A Champaign man is accused of stealing money from a downtown restaurant where he worked.

Jessup Coffin, 26, whose last known address was the 300 block of South State Street, was arraigned and pleaded innocent to a charge of felony theft. He was released on his own recognizance and is due to return to court for a pretrial hearing April 10.

Kitchen fire does $10,000 worth of damage to Rantoul house

RANTOUL – A kitchen fire did $10,000 damage to a Rantoul house Friday morning.

Rantoul Fire Chief Kenny Waters said firefighters were called at 6:30 a.m. Friday to a house at 345K North Drive.

Michigan man accused of selling counterfeit clothes

URBANA – A Michigan man is accused of selling clothing with counterfeit designer brand labels at a University of Illinois sorority.

Luther C. Dawson, 36, of Lansing, Mich., was arraigned on a Class 4 felony charge of counterfeiting or imitating trademarks. He is accused of selling 500 to 2,000 items of clothing with various phony brand labels.

Cellphone ban now in effect at courthouse

URBANA – Visitors to the Champaign County Courthouse seem to be getting the message about not bringing their cell phones.

A month ago, Presiding Judge Tom Difanis decreed that phones would no longer be allowed inside the courthouse as of March 1, because of the potential that they can be used as recording devices. Recording of any kind in Illinois courts is a violation of Supreme Court rules.

Associate library director offered top job

URBANA – A veteran employee of the Urbana Free Library has been offered the executive director position by the library board, but the two sides are negotiating a contract.

Kermit Harden, library board president, said the board has offered the position to Debra Lissak, 54, the library's associate director for 23 years.

Man accused of stealing firefighter's identity from police report

URBANA – An Urbana man who used information he apparently obtained from a police report about himself to obtain credit fraudulently has been indicted for financial identity theft.

Esley Carter, 26, who listed an address in the 1200 block of East Michigan Avenue, was arraigned earlier this week on Class X and Class 1 charges of identity theft and attempted identity theft. Both counts allege that on Jan. 22, Carter used personal information of an Urbana firefighter to get a line of credit exceeding $100,000 from two banks.

Student awaiting trial for pepper spray was attacked on Feb. 20

URBANA – A Champaign youth awaiting trial on charges related to him spraying pepper spray at Urbana Middle School was attacked as he attended a program that is designed to help him.

Champaign attorney Ed Piraino told Champaign County Judge Harry Clem on Friday that his client has been making great progress since being charged in connection with the Dec. 21 incident that ended up clearing parts of the middle school.

Firm to be hired to handle cable franchising deal

CHAMPAIGN – The city council is expected Tuesday to hire a Minneapolis firm to help Champaign and Urbana negotiate new cable television franchise agreements with Insight Communications.

The Champaign council will consider a proposed $139,000 contract with cable consultant Moss & Barnett and authorize an agreement with Urbana to split the costs on a two-thirds (Champaign), one-third (Urbana) basis.

Five young professionals to spend a month touring Taiwan

Starting Monday, five locals will be living the Taiwanese life.

For a month, this group of young professionals will tour schools, businesses, arts centers and media offices as part of a Rotary Foundation of Rotary International trip.

United Way's focus for new director: fundraising

CHAMPAIGN – When United Way officials went shopping for a new president and CEO, one attribute was high on the list: fundraising.

With the annual campaign stuck at just under $3 million for the last few years, board members were eager for someone who was experienced in fund development, said Emmie Fisher, board chairman for the United Way of Champaign County.