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Plaintiffs critical of report

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district has not sufficiently shown how it will meet the goals of its federal consent decree, say the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case.

Instead, in a Sept. 22 report filed with the federal district court, the district provided a narrative of "many previously attempted and sometimes failed strategies or new strategies with inadequate monitoring provisions," and restated broad goals, they say. The plaintiffs particularly took issue with the failure to set out interim steps to reach the district's goals and measure its progress.

House speaker continues push for special session

SPRINGFIELD – House Speaker Michael Madigan on Monday renewed his call for a special session to extend the state freeze on electricity rates, even after utility companies warned that it could drive them into bankruptcy.

"The ramifications of an extended rate freeze would be devastating," said Ameren Illinois President Scott Cisel, who testified before a House committee in Springfield.

Urbana tax receipts estimate presented

URBANA – A possible reduction in the city's property tax rate would cost about $86,000, according to the city comptroller.

Comptroller Ron Eldridge spoke during a hearing Monday on the city's property tax levy that reducing the tax rate from $1.312 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.294 – matching the tax rate proposed in the city of Champaign.

Parkland officials worried about men posing as students

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College officials say they're worried that area residents might be bilked by two young men posing as Parkland students.

"They're going door-to-door soliciting money for Parkland, saying they're trying to raise the other half of the money they need to study abroad," said Public Safety Director Von Young. "They're two white, college-age males who are well groomed, and one might be carrying a backpack," Young said. "They have nothing identifying them as Parkland students. They're not selling anything. They're just going from door to door begging.

Champaign to consider right-turn restrictions

CHAMPAIGN – The city council will consider Tuesday whether to quantify how many pedestrian crossings must occur in a crosswalk to justify a no-right-turn-on-red restriction.

The council meets in study session at 7 p.m. at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Scientists using carbon nanotubes to detect chemical weapons, explosives

Airport screening might become an easier process – for the screeners and the screenees – if things go the way University of Illinois Professor Michael Strano and colleagues plan.

Think simply walking down the hallway to your flight through a network of tiny sensors you don't see, which can sniff out even molecular-scale indications of explosives accurately, reliably and in real time as you and other passengers pass by.

Gibson City man arrested in weekend bank robbery

DEWEY – A Gibson City man was arrested Sunday afternoon in connection with the armed robbery of a bank Saturday in Dewey.

A man with a small handgun robbed the Dewey State Bank in Dewey Saturday and fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

County releases documents on mold

URBANA – Champaign County released Friday the last of the nursing home mold documents sought by The News-Gazette in a lawsuit.

The reports detail the types of mold found in the new $24 million facility, which has yet to open, and the county contractors' efforts to eradicate it.

UI offers contract to union

After more than a year of negotiations, the University of Illinois has offered a contract to members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 698.

The union, which represents about 400 UI employees from laboratory assistants to librarian technicians, will meet later this month to vote on the contract proposal.

Champaign police chief says he's OK with citizen review board

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney said Friday he could live with a proposed citizen review committee that would give him input on complaints filed against city police.

A subcommittee of the 22-member Champaign Police Community Relations Committee has said its "preferred model" of citizen oversight of complaints against police would be creation of a citizen review committee. The recommendation was contained in an 18-page report issued last month.