Firefighters at blaze in Jamaica

JAMAICA — Firefighters are at the scene of a house fire in Jamaica.

UI to phase out art program in Washington

URBANA — Citing its high cost in a time of severe budget constraints, the University of Illinois will phase out an art history program headquartered in the nation’s capital.

Those with Washington ties celebrate school's history

CHAMPAIGN – With 13 school days left in the existing Washington Elementary School building, students, parents and teachers – past and present – celebrated the school's 50-plus years of history.

The school hosted a "Night to Remember" on Tuesday. The school will be vacated after the end of the semester. Students and teachers will move into the old Columbia building at Neil and Bradley, and Washington school will be demolished, making way for a new, two-story magnet school on the same site.

Exchange students add spice to Schlarman High School

DANVILLE – It's not uncommon to hear Schlarman High School students speaking French and Spanish, the foreign languages taught there.

Food for Fines drive gets under way today

HOOPESTON – Hoopeston Area residents can pay off their fines at the Hoopeston Public Library and help a good cause through the annual Food for Fines drive beginning today.

During December, the library will accept canned goods, nonperishable food items and household paper products. Each package is equivalent to $1 toward the fines.

Board delays Garden Hills vote after hearing new costs

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board postponed approving plans for a remodeled and expanded Garden Hills Elementary School after hearing that the price for the original design had increased by 25 percent.

The board was presented with two design options at its meeting Monday night. The original schematic design would cost more than $15 million, while a scaled-back design would cost $12 million – the original price tag for the project.

Champaign schools pilot new teacher-evaluation system

CHAMPAIGN – Angela Shargo went through her first evaluations as a new teacher last year, in which her principal watched her teach several times during the course of the school year.

This year, before her principal ever visited her classroom, they talked about her goals for the year, how she evaluates if her students are learning, and her classroom management plan, among other things.

UI presidential search panel to decide text of job ad

URBANA – The University of Illinois' presidential search committee will meet Wednesday to consider a job description for the new president.

The draft text, to be used in advertisements for the post, is similar to that used in past presidential searches at the UI and comparable universities, said Michele Thompson, secretary to the UI Board of Trustees.

UI student's wheelchair features rolling, with changes

URBANA – If gear shifting is good for motorists and bicyclists, why not for wheelchair users?

That's what Scott Daigle wondered as he watched people propel themselves around the University of Illinois campus in wheelchairs.

"They were going about as fast as they could. Their arms were the only things limiting them," said Daigle, a first-year graduate student in mechanical engineering.

School board to hear more about Garden Hills project

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board will hear more about plans for an addition to Garden Hills Elementary School when it meets next week.

The board will meet for a study session at 7 p.m. Monday at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.