Group's rallies press for action on health care reform

CHAMPAIGN – When former Champaign County Board member Jennifer Putman was laid off recently from her job of nearly 20 years, she was determined to hang onto her health insurance.

Unfortunately, she soon learned, that single expense would eat up 97 percent of her monthly unemployment benefits.

Thieves steal jewelry from Champaign pawn shop

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police are looking for individuals involved in the break-in of a Champaign pawn shop early Tuesday morning.

According to a police report, somebody broke through a glass door at Leonard's Pawn Shop, 112 E. University Ave., C, sometime before 4:35 a.m. Tuesday and stole two black cases containing 114 rings, a third black case containing 72 rings, two black cases containing 28 women's wedding bands, two black cases containing 28 diamond solitaires and five watches.

Uni team's protein model wins regional award

URBANA – Low-density lipoproteins carry cholesterol to the arteries, causing heart disease. What if you could trick them with a protein that carries it to the liver and out of the body?

Well, you can't do that now, but a team of four teenagers have won a regional award for science that could be accomplished in the next 20 years in a program called ExploraVision.

Disney's 'High School Musical' to grace Assembly Hall rink

The original is hitting the ice arena for an adaptation like no other.

"High School Musical: The Ice Tour" will make a pit stop at the Assembly Hall, and the title sounds exactly like what the show entails: a band of talented young entertainers recreating the familiar dance sequences on ice.

Bon-Ton Stores reports $87.7 million quarterly loss

CHAMPAIGN – The company that operates Bergner's and Elder-Beerman department stores recently reported a quarterly loss of $87.7 million.

But aside from closing an Elder-Beerman store in Hamilton, Ohio, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. doesn't plan to close any of the 280 department stores it operates in 23 states, said Mary Kerr, vice president of investor and public relations for the York, Pa.-based retailer.

Parkland College trustees updated on gym remodeling

CHAMPAIGN – When Parkland students return to school next fall and step into the college's gym, they'll see a much different place, with new bleachers, flooring, lights and paint colors.

"It's a brighter look. It's a more modern look," said Jim Bustard, director of the Parkland Physical Plant, of the planned gym remodeling. "It's almost a difference of night and day."

Scooter driver remains hospitalized after accident

URBANA – A Champaign man remained hospitalized Wednesday with injuries he received when he was thrown from a motor scooter in Urbana on Tuesday evening.

An Urbana police report said James Hamilton, 40, of the 1200 block of Cambridge Drive, was eastbound on Water Street when a westbound car turning left onto Walnut collided with him.

$300,000 sought to make repairs at Jamaica schools

SIDELL – Jamaica schools officials are looking to issue at least $300,000 in life-safety bonds this spring to make repairs to the school buildings and parking lot.

"It's time to make these improvements," board President Ron Metzger said. "We don't want to get to the point where things get rundown."

Savoy taps funding for share of Curtis Road work

SAVOY – The village of Savoy will use a debt certificate account through Chase to fund its share of the $11 million cost of phase two of the Curtis Road construction project.

Savoy is planning on funding $1.7 million. The remaining amount will be paid by Champaign County, the city of Champaign and federal funding.

Westville school officials hope to renew 2 programs

WESTVILLE – School officials heard a presentation Wednesday on the status of the district's summer school and after-school academic programs, both of which are seeking renewed funding.

Alice Kirby, the executive director of Project Success, said the district had benefited greatly from the grant-supported 21st Century Community Learning Program over the past four years, and that she hoped to be able to renew the grant for another five years to continue the programs.