Swimming guru's lessons attracting students from all corners of state

HOMER – If Bruce Miller's swimming pool feels a little like "Field of Dreams," there's good reason.

There are no dead baseball greats wandering around, but his larger pool – a cerulean blue rectangle smack dab in the middle of corn and soybean fields in rural Homer – does attract a lot of talent from far away.

New hires mean new routines for all involved

CHAMPAIGN – Deb Foertsch describes the feeling of starting the school year with a new principal as "unsettled."

There are so many adjustments to make: adapting to a new leadership style and personality, figuring out how the new principal is going to work. How will classroom visits be handled? Will the new principal make time for one-on-one chats with teachers? Will he or she learn all the kids' names?

It's your buiness: T.J. Maxx remodeling to deliver improvements

Expect to see changes at the T.J. Maxx store in Champaign, if you haven't been there in a while. A full remodeling job has been under way at the store at 21 E. Marketview Drive, and was nearly done as of late last week, the company said.

Some of the changes: A new checkout area designed to be faster, new dressing rooms and an expanded home department to add more furniture, according to Thea Houghton, a spokeswoman for the Framingham, Mass.-based chain.

Minneci brothers sell restaurant after quarter-century

CHAMPAIGN – For 25 years, the two Minneci brothers – Joe and Pete – and their wives – Mary and Maria, respectively – worked side by side (by side by side) at their Italian restaurant in Champaign.

But when Minneci's Ristorante reopens for business July 14, it will have two new owners who happen to be the same ages Joe and Pete were when they started out in the food business.

Indoor course puts golf in a new light

CHAMPAIGN – As a grandmother of two, Elisa Testory could see there just weren't enough places in Champaign-Urbana to play when the weather's not so nice.

So she and her husband, Dave Bolt, have created such a place – an indoor, black-light miniature golf course – at one of their two Champaign bowling alleys, Arrowhead Lanes.

Minneci brothers' secrets: Food, friendliness, respect

CHAMPAIGN – How do two couples work together daily for 25 years without killing each other, divorcing each other or splitting up the business?

"We respect each other. We talk about it," said Maria Minneci, who works at Minneci's Ristorante with her husband, Pete, and his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Mary. "Communication is the best way to run a business."

Energy agrees to share FutureGen documents

The Energy Department has agreed to turn over documents concerning FutureGen to a House subcommittee, which is looking into why the clean-coal project was scrapped.

The investigations subcommittee of the House's Committee of Science and Technology met Thursday to discuss issuing a subpoena for the documents. The subcommittee decided three of the documents it wanted were important enough to issue a subpoena for, according to a science committee press release. Those included:

Arthur board to visit business to see flooding damage

ARTHUR – The Arthur village board will visit a local business on Monday to see damage caused by recent floods firsthand.

The board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Masterbrand Cabinet, 217 S. Oak St., Arthur.

Developer hopes to start building in fall

RANTOUL – A Rantoul developer said he expects construction to begin this fall on a new residential subdivision and a new commercial subdivision south of the Rantoul Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

Developer Joe Warner said he will proceed with the projects along South Murray Road following Thursday's vote by the Rantoul Village Board to create a tax-increment-financing district.

Bolingbrook man charged with criminal sexual assault

URBANA – A Bolingbrook man on probation for an incident involving getting alcohol for underage girls was charged Friday with criminal sexual assault of a 16-year-old.

Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales said Kenneth Draughon, 20, is accused of having sex with the girl against her will at an apartment in the 200 block of East Armory Avenue in Champaign. He met her through her Facebook page, Scales said. Scales said the girl got into an argument Wednesday with her mother and left her home. She sent Draughon a text message asking him to take her to the train station so she could run away.