State disciplines, investigates local nurses, pharmacy

SPRINGFIELD – Two area nurses and one local pharmacy have been disciplined by the state, according to a report the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation released on Thursday.

The state has indefinitely suspended the registered professional nursing license of Ronald W. Blackwell for failure to comply with the terms of a previously ordered probation, according to documents provided by the department. Blackwell's last known address was in Tolono, according to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Summer program helps students who fall behind in their classes

URBANA – The Urbana High School students are absolutely honest about how they got into grade trouble and the steps they're taking to get back on track.

"I can't do what I've been doing," said Michelle Schultz, 17, who's attending the school's summer "recapture" class and is taking other action to make up credits to graduate with her class.

Mayor ends drug testing of new hires

URBANA – Many newly hired city of Urbana employees will no longer have to undergo mandatory drug testing to see if they have used illicit drugs.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing said she recently implemented the change – which will not apply to city police and firefighters, or to public works employees with a commercial driver's license – after learning about the city's drug-testing practices when the city made an offer to a candidate for city attorney.

Researchers explain two-way Chicago River, offer solution

In the late 1800s, Chicago officials decided that the city's shoulders were big enough that it could beat Mother Nature.

The system of canals, dams, locks and gates that turned the flow of the Chicago River around by 1900 – away from Lake Michigan – was considered one of the engineering marvels of the early 20th century.

Search under way to fill key positions

URBANA – This is a year of transition in leadership for the University of Illinois.

It has a new president, B. Joseph White, who took office Jan. 31. Richard Herman, who had served as interim chancellor since last summer, was selected to hold the post permanently in April.

Surveys will see cuts

SPRINGFIELD – The governor's budget office said it cut $619,000 from the state scientific surveys, housed on the University of Illinois campus, because they had leftover money in their budgets in recent years.

But that's not the whole story, the surveys said.

Area set up to aid those representing themselves in court

URBANA – People who want to try to represent themselves in certain legal matters in Champaign County now have help available.

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance last week opened a "Self-Representation Help Desk" at the Champaign County Courthouse on the first floor near Courtroom L, traffic court.

Students spend summer getting ahead in subjects

URBANA – Stefon Baker's only 13, but he's thinking ahead.

He's spending four mornings a week this summer in classrooms improving his skills in English and algebra. Stefon, who will be an eighth-grader this fall, wants to move ahead in those subjects so he's really ready to tackle high school work.

Judge rules in favor of canoe business

URBANA – A Champaign County judge ruled Tuesday in favor of a canoe rental business in Vermilion County that had been sued by the mother of a woman who drowned while on a canoe trip.

Judith Barnett, the mother of Sandra Barnett, 24, a University of Illinois graduate living in Champaign, filed suit last August against Kickapoo Landing, alleging that the Oakwood business was negligent in not providing ample warning of the risks her daughter faced when she went out on the Vermilion River on July 7, 2003.

Residents express disappointment with MTD annexation

CHAMPAIGN – Homeowners on the outskirts of Champaign-Urbana can expect to pay higher property taxes next year after the C-U Mass Transit District Board voted Wednesday to annex several neighborhoods.

With more than 50 residents of the affected areas looking on, the MTD board voted 5-0 to annex Cherry Hills, Rolling Acres and Sawgrass in Champaign and East Gate, South Ridge and Savannah Green in Urbana.