Paxton bridge funds expected to be released in winter or spring

PAXTON – The Holmes Street bridge in Paxton that spans the Canadian National Railroad will be built, pending release of promised state money.

Earlier this week, Paxton City Attorney Bob Martensen told the city council that the promised state funds are expected to be released sometime this winter or spring. Once that word is secured from the state then construction bids can be let.

Amendment approved for Curtis Road project

SAVOY – The Curtis Road project is moving right along.

The Savoy Village Board unanimously approved a fourth amendment on Wednesday to the Curtis Road intergovernmental agreement for Phase 2, which will be construction from Wynstone Drive and Wesley Avenue.

Man mugged in robbery attempt

URBANA – An Urbana man was mugged in an attempted robbery outside his home Wednesday night.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said a 33-year-old Urbana man was out in his yard, getting something out of his vehicle in the 800 block of Hawthorne Drive at 8:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Man gets three-and-a-half years in prison for sex with minor

URBANA – A former Urbana businessman will begin serving a prison sentence next month for having sex with a minor two years ago.

Judge Thomas Difanis on Wednesday sentenced Cameron Belk, 40, who previously owned Mahri's Fashions in Urbana, to three-and-a-half years in prison, with credit for two days already served in jail.

City, county settle with community activists

URBANA – A local community activist who claimed police violated his civil rights when they took his camera as he was videotaping traffic stops four years ago hopes that police and the community can work better together in the future.

Patrick Thompson and Martel Miller filed a federal civil rights lawsuit three years ago against local police and Champaign county prosecutors. The case was settled this summer.

Danville education officials want parents to be more involved

DANVILLE – Danville school officials said they're pleased with the recently released 2008 report cards.

They also said new initiatives aimed at boosting student achievement such as Danville High School's Freshman House and South View Middle School's curriculum improvements are off to a good start.

The one thing they would like to see more of this year: parent and community involvement.

McCain campaign official to speak at GOP festival

URBANA – The Illinois deputy co-chairman of the McCain-Palin presidential campaign will be among the featured speakers Sunday at the Champaign County Republicans Fall Festival.

The festival will be held, beginning at noon, at Frasca Field in Urbana. Food will be served at 12:30 p.m. and a short program will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Autopsy shows truck driver died from natural causes

The semitrailer driver whose truck crashed Tuesday near Interstate 74 and Prospect Avenue apparently died of natural causes.

A preliminary autopsy Wednesday showed that Gregory T. Strickland, 41, died of heart disease, according to a release from Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup. Strickland's semi collided with a concrete divider on westbound I-74 at about 6:15 Tuesday evening. He died at 6:55 p.m. at Urbana's Carle Foundation Hospital, the coroner's release said. Strickland was a resident of Slocomb, Ala.

AVID program providing collegiate boost in Champaign

Once thought to be 'for dumb kids,' AVID class now has a waiting list

CHAMPAIGN – From day one, Centennial High School Spanish teacher Stacy McAndrew can spot students from the AVID program in her classroom.

Two detained for hunting too close to interstates

CHAMPAIGN – Two men were detained Wednesday evening after reports of gunfire near the interchange of Interstates 57 and 74.

Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Allen Jones said two men were hunting doves when birdshot from one of their shotguns struck a car on an interstate completely by accident.