Retirees share their knowledge, experience with high schoolers

CHAMPAIGN – Teacher Barbara Lyon liked the idea of having another adult in her child development lab at Centennial High School, helping with her two dozen high school students and the preschool children they care for.

Volunteer Wanda Giddings was hoping to share her knowledge of teaching children and learn about the young people going to high school in her neighborhood.

Tuscola students receive gift from 'their' soldier

TUSCOLA – Some fifth-graders at East Prairie Middle School in Tuscola received a special gift this Christmas season: a U.S. flag that flew over a military base in Afghanistan.

Grant will help update DACC engineering department

DANVILLE – Engineering students at Danville Area Community College are getting a boost in the classroom, thanks to the Alcoa Foundation.

The Alcoa Foundation gave the DACC Foundation a $15,000 grant through its community-based organization grant program. The grant will be used to buy instructional programs, current technology and laboratory equipment for the engineering program.

Local shops have plenty to offer for holiday procrastinators

Local food is trendy. Why not local gifts? They're greener, as they aren't transported over long distances, and the purchase of them helps support local artisans and artists, thus the local economy.

So if you're in need of last- minute holiday gifts, head to these places today or Wednesday to check out the hand-crafted wares. Better call first, though; some shops will shorten their hours on Christmas Eve:

Shooting-event funds to go toward DACC scholarship

DANVILLE – Members of the Danville Rifle and Pistol Club recently donated $3,000 from a fundraiser to honor the memory of Vermilion County sheriff's Sgt. Myron Deckard.

Each year, the club holds a shooting event to benefit to the Myron Deckard Scholarship. Established in 2006 with the Danville Area Community College Foundation, the scholarship helps DACC students who are the dependent of a law enforcement officer.

Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club facing negatives in cash flow

CHAMPAIGN – Every day after school, a bus takes Tyanna Jones' two kids to the hub of activity known as the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.

There they can get help with homework, work with a tutor, make an art project or just unwind from the school day until their mom gets off work at 5 p.m.

The club is a godsend for Jones, a single mom with a full-time job. Membership is $5 a year, which she knows is an "incredible" bargain. She probably couldn't afford that much day care, and the club is so much more.

GCMS students win first place again for safe-driving program

GIBSON CITY – Students at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School have won their second national first-place finish in three years for their safe-driving message.

The high school of 350 students encompasses five communities – from Foosland (in northern Champaign County) with a population of 90, to Gibson City (in Ford County) with a population of 3,400.

Heritage school board gets updates on upgrades

HOMER – Superintendent Andrew Larson presented Heritage School Board members with a construction update that shows the district's proposal for a $3 million project to upgrade the grade school and high school buildings could begin once the ground is thawed.

The plan calls for new kitchens in both buildings, additional classrooms and cafetoriums.

Five new courses will be offered next year at Monticello High

MONTICELLO – Monticello High School students will have five new electives to pick from next year.

The new courses include: business law, accounting 2, psychology, statistics and probability, and principles of engineering technology. These will be in addition to the two new advanced placement classes that will also be available next school year.

Illinois rules for drunken drivers change on Jan. 1

Come Jan. 1, first-time driving under the influence offenders who want to drive during their period of statutory summary suspension will have to take extraordinary steps.

Legislation approved in August 2007 requires the offender to install a "breath alcohol ignition interlock device" on his vehicle. The device prevents the engine from starting if the breath sample registers a blood-alcohol content of 0.025 percent or more. Anyone driving the vehicle will be required to use the device, which requires additional blows at random intervals throughout the trip.