Streets to be closed for UI marching band festival

Kirby Avenue will be closed Oct. 25 between First and Fourth Streets for the Illini Marching Band festival. The closures will be effective from 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Peabody Street will also be closed during that time, according to a University of Illinois press release. Other streets will be closed to accommodate the festival's parade competition, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

The parade will march north on Fourth Street from Kirby Avenue, turn right onto Peabody Drive and then north on Sixth Street. It will then go to Armory Avenue, where it will turn left. Another left on Fourth Street will return it to Memorial Stadium. Those streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

Villa Grove council OKs funds for football field sprinker system

VILLA GROVE – The city council approved a donation of $500 Tuesday night toward a new sprinkler system for use on the Villa Grove High School football field.

The individual organizing the fund drive to raise the amount needed for the new specialized sprinkler system had originally asked the council for a $1,000 donation.

Two more civil suits related to Jon White filed

URBANA – Two more civil suits were filed Tuesday on behalf of former students of Jon White, the former Urbana teacher convicted of 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, eight of them from incidents in Champaign County and two in McLean County.

The suits were filed by Urbana lawyer Thomas Bruno on behalf of Jane Doe-5 and Jane Doe-6, as well as their parents.

Danville college plans Founders' Day program

DANVILLE – The public is invited to Danville Area Community College's second biennial Founders' Day program on Friday.

It will begin at 1 p.m. at the Bremer Auditorium inside the Bremer Conference and Workforce Development Center on the main campus, 2000 E. Main St. The program is free.

Programs get Georgetown-Ridge Farm board's support

GEORGETOWN – School officials heard an update Monday from the executive director of the district's summer school and tutoring programs, and said they wanted to see the programs continue.

Alice Kirby, the executive director of Project Success, said the district had benefited greatly from the grant-supported 21st Century Community Education Center program over the past four years. She also talked about her plans for the next few months and her intention to seek the renewal of the grant that pays for the programs.

Mansfield school deemed free of bats

MANSFIELD – Students were expected to return to classes at Mansfield Elementary School this morning for the first time following the discovery of a bat in the school gymnasium.

School officials discovered the bat on Thursday. After the bat was captured, it was turned over to the Piatt County Animal Control Department for testing. The bat tested positive for rabies on Friday.

Coroner candidate fundraiser planned

BELGIUM – A fundraiser is set for Michael Rortvedt, Democratic candidate for Vermilion County coroner, from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Longbranch, 301 Spelter Ave., Hegeler.

Chicken, pork tenderloins and burgers with chips and other sides will be served. Other activities include a karoke contest and auction.

Champaign board OKs contract for teachers amid protest

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board unanimously approved a new three-year contract for teachers, but not without first hearing from some Stratton Elementary School teachers who were unhappy with part of their compensation.

About 16 Stratton teachers rallied outside the Mellon Administrative Center before Monday night's school board meeting, holding signs and chanting "equal pay."

After-school program aims to drum up interest in arts

CHAMPAIGN – Want to get the undivided attention of eighth-graders? Put some African drums in front of them and see if they can keep their hands off.

A dozen eighth-grade students at Franklin Middle School will learn the art of West African drumming this fall, and a dozen more will explore what art means to them through painting, sculpture or other visual arts.

Scientist brings mobile laboratory for children to Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Seven-year-old Krishna Subbiah spent a little time Saturday afternoon studying the death of a biological invader with wide-eyed interest from the back of a converted transit bus.

Its predator – a white blood cell – had overtaken a speck of bacteria with ease.

"I liked the movie," Subbiah said afterward. "I learned that white blood cells can eat all kinds of bacteria until they're full and it makes them die."

Though not the usual TV, the magnified microscopic mayhem on the small screen gave Subbiah and dozens of other kids in the Champaign-Urbana area this week a glimpse into the world of cell biology.

And that's just what Urbana native Ben Durbin-Thaler wants to do.

Durbin-Thaler is the education director of the BioBus, a mobile biology laboratory operated by Cell Motion Laboratories, a New York State non-for-profit educational corporation.

"We're practicing being scientists on a bus," he told a group of young spectators.

He spent this past week driving the BioBus to schools in the area, including the University of Illinois, before making a last stop Saturday at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum.