Cuban expatriates reunite to recall revolutionary escape

CHAMPAIGN – "Salud!" the former Cubans shouted as they toasted the Catholic chaplain who welcomed them to Illinois 47 years ago.

The occasion was a weekend reunion for 11 of the 14 Cuban youths who finished their educations in central Illinois. Some reconnected in Florida 10 years ago. Others had not seen each other for 47 years.

Portuguese water dogs learn to do ancestors proud

Jan Eastburn was smiling as she stood in waist-high water at the Lake Park subdivision lake.

Her chipper little Portuguese water dog, a 2-year-old named Arthur, dutifully swam downstream, grabbed a float line bobbing in the water, and eagerly brought it to the Louisville, Ky., woman.

The basics on new Danville schools administrators

MARK DENMAN, 55, Danville

New position: Superintendent

Years in education: 34 1/2

Several Champaign schools likely missed yearly progress mark

CHAMPAIGN – As the target for meeting the requirements of No Child Left Behind rises each year, it gets tougher for schools to earn the designation of making Adequate Yearly Progress.

Culver putting administrator raises on hold

CHAMPAIGN – Administrators in the Champaign school district – including Superintendent Arthur Culver – will not receive raises for the coming school year, at least until the amount of state funding for the district is certain.

Culver told the school board Thursday that he would delay recommending any raises for administrators.

DHS alumnus supports grants with gift

DANVILLE – The Danville Public School Foundation is getting a big boost thanks to a donation from a Danville High School alumnus.

Julius W. Hegeler II, through his foundation, has pledged a total of $250,000 to the public school foundation over the next five years, its director announced Thursday.

'Bridge budget' proposed to spare service agency cuts

Illinois Senate Republicans want to enact a month-to-month "bridge budget" that would spare human service agencies from drastic budget cuts but would fund all state operations at the same level as a year ago.

A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said he welcomes the suggestion and would support it but only if he knew that it would eventually lead to Republican support for an income tax increase.

Judge tosses suits vs. Normal schools over Urbana teacher

URBANA – A Champaign County judge has thrown out lawsuits against McLean County school officials accused of "passing" convicted sex molester and former school teacher Jon White to the Urbana school system.

2 FutureGen backers pull out

MATTOON – The president of Coles Together says she doesn't believe the withdrawal of two companies from the FutureGen Alliance will affect prospects to build the clean coal plant in Mattoon.

Two weeks after the federal government revived its plans to build FutureGen in Coles County, two financial backers of FutureGen, American Electric Power Co. of Columbus, Ohio, and Southern Co. of Atlanta announced on Thursday they are withdrawing from the Mattoon project.

Group wants space at magnet schools

CHAMPAIGN – The Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club would like space to offer programs for kids at a rebuilt Washington Elementary School and expanded Garden Hills Elementary School.