Champaign, Mattoon share in federal grant funds

Police in Champaign and Mattoon say money from a federal grant will help them identify and prosecute child predators, fight child sexual exploitation over the Internet and enforce sex offender registration laws.

Champaign and Mattoon police are two of eight Illinois police agencies sharing a grant of nearly a half-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ficklin Road in Douglas County to be closed for work

Drivers using Ficklin Road in Douglas County may need to plan to take alternative routes this week.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Ficklin Road will be closed at the CSX Transportation Railroad crossing in Ficklin, west of Tuscola, for three to five days starting on Wednesday.

Hoopeston elementary school earns field trip grant

HOOPESTON – John Greer Elementary School in Hoopeston is one of 28 schools awarded a field trip grant to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield.

A Midwest Generation contribution to the library foundation allows school and groups that serve low-income youths to visit the museum.

Beckman Institute marks 20 years of collaboration

URBANA – In 1985, the Illini baseball field, Strawberry Fields and a cinder track, five laps to the mile, dominated the area near Wright and University.

Within four years, a $50 million facility jutted from the area, a 20-year experiment in bringing scholars from different fields under one roof that has paid off with research that benefits our daily life.

Mental health grant panel has youngsters in mind

CHAMPAIGN – Adrienne Spires has been a counselor, educator and parent of two daughters.

It's that last job that landed her on a panel alongside academics and agency directors who will help decide how to spend a $9 million Champaign County mental health grant.

An interim steering committee appointed this week will begin the planning process for the six-year federal grant, and 10 of the 19 members are teens or parents. The money – $1 million the first year – comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA.

Urbana district hopes suit shows need for sharing info

URBANA – The Urbana school district's lawsuit against the Normal school district is a way for it to recoup some of its financial losses from settlements to students abused by former Urbana teacher and convicted sex offender Jon White, said Joseph Perkoski, the Chicago attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Urbana school district.

The Urbana district has agreed to pay more than $2 million in present-day dollars in settlements to the families of White's victims.

Unit 4 nets grant to help with assignment plans

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district will evaluate and refine its student assignment system – which is using new criteria this year – with the help of a $250,000, two-year federal grant.

High school boundary proposals whittled to 2

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district has narrowed the options for drawing new boundary lines for its two high schools to the original two plans presented early this year.

Quinn, UI students rally for MAP grant funding

URBANA – Kimberly Nunley doesn't come from money – the Chicago native is a former ward of the state, and has three small children of her own.

She wants to continue her studies at Parkland College, and possibly on to Millikin University, but there's no money for the spring semester – because the Legislature didn't fund the second half of a state grant she was promised.

3 Lincoln-related exhibits set to open in Bement

BEMENT – Two new "Looking for Lincoln" exhibits and a Lincoln-related photographic exhibit are coming to the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site this weekend.

Site manager Marilyn Ayers said two Lincoln wayside exhibits will be unveiled and dedicated during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the historic site, located at 146 E. Wilson St., Bement.