Franklin group also working on vision for successful men

CHAMPAIGN – When Henry Ross was growing up, he never saw a diploma displayed on someone's wall.

He missed a lot of school, and when he did show up, he didn't do what he was supposed to.

Champaign students' driver's education fees might quadruple

CHAMPAIGN – Students who get behind-the-wheel driver's training at Champaign's high schools could be paying four times as much for that instruction soon.

School district administrators have proposed increasing the fee from $50 to $200.

Champaign schools' tax request up for public discussion

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district will hold a public hearing Monday night on its proposed 2007 tax levy of almost $73 million – a 16.79 percent increase over the nearly $63 million in property taxes collected by the school district last year.

The district will likely collect about $66 million, an increase of $3 million or about 6 percent over last year, according to the calculations of Chief Financial Officer Gene Logas. So why is it asking for so much more than that?

Choose with caution: Drug plans more expensive next year

It was already hard for Shirley Stewart to make ends meet on her fixed income.

Then her Medicare Part D prescription drug plan dealt a surprise blow to her budget this year: big cost-sharing increases for all six of her diabetes medications.

School club's goal: Improving boys' grades, self-esteem

CHAMPAIGN – The 16 boys listened quietly as Edison Middle School Dean Edwin Wilson ticked off the reasons the odds were stacked against them.

Young black men like them were more likely to be turned off by education by the latter years of elementary school. That disconnect from academics leads to discipline problems.

Experts: Parents should follow instincts if they suspect abuse

When it comes to being away from their 3-year-old daughter, James and Helena Longfellow have it timed down to the minute.

James leaves at 2:50 each afternoon for his night shift at Conair in Rantoul, sometimes even 2:55. And Helena gets off work at the Rantoul Press at 5 p.m., so usually she rolls into their Paxton driveway by 5:17.

Authorities search for bomb at Parkland into night

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College officials brought in a bomb-detection dog Friday afternoon after finding a note suggesting explosives were on school grounds.

The note prompted an evacuation late Friday morning at the college.

Parkland College uses dog to hunt for explosives

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College officials brought in a bomb-detection dog this afternoon after finding a threatening note suggesting explosives were on school grounds.

By mid-afternoon, 17 officers had cleared four of 10 major college areas, and the search was expected to continue into the night, said Police Chief Von Young. He said the college plans to open for business Saturday. Officials evacuated students and staff members late this morning after finding the note they determined to be a "credible threat."

Student with bullet at Monticello school arrested

MONTICELLO – The discovery of a bullet placed Monticello High School in a heightened state of security on Thursday.

Monticello Police Chief John Miller said a 16-year-old high school junior was arrested for possession of a bullet by a minor and possession of ammunition without a firearm owner's identification card. The teen was released to his mother. Miller said the issue is being handled as a juvenile case.

Leonard Pitts Jr. urges students to find their gift, dream big

DANVILLE – As a child, Leonard Pitts Jr. wasn't exactly "the coolest kid in the icetray."

He was skinny, had acne and wore thick glasses and a pocket protector. Kids beat him up and took his lunch money.