New teachers begin learning Danville district's ropes

DANVILLE – On the first day of school, students in Elly Kirkpatrick's fourth-grade class won't be the only one with butterflies in their stomach. Their teacher will have them, too.

Blue Ridge schools alter transportation plan for pre-K program

FARMER CITY – Blue Ridge school board members approved the prekindergarten program for the 2009-2010 school year.

'Extreme' greeting will be delivered today in area

By the time you read this, one lucky family in central Illinois will be answering a knock on the door from Ty Pennington, host of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Just who is the local family? Their identity will be revealed this morning. Five finalists have been chosen among those who have submitted videos to the show. The family is not supposed to know the news until the door knock, which is expected to happen sometime between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Drivers urged to use caution around Champaign schools

CHAMPAIGN – Kids are back in school this week in Champaign, and if you're behind the wheel near a school, the Champaign police will be watching you.

The Champaign Police Department is stepping up traffic enforcement around several schools Thursday, the first day of school in Champaign.

Champaign district seeking properties near four schools

CHAMPAIGN – Officials from the Champaign school district assured some residents around Garden Hills Elementary School on Monday night that although the district wants their land, it will not use eminent domain to get it.

The pledge was made at the monthly meeting of the Garden Hills Neighborhood Association where the proposed addition to the 52-year-old school was discussed.

Chanute panel not ready to make decision on museum

RANTOUL – Members of the Chanute Redevelopment Commission want more information before they decide on a proposal by the Chanute Air Museum Heritage Foundation to replace the current museum with a new one on a prime piece of property at the former air base.

At its quarterly meeting, the commission agreed to study printed material it was provided before deciding whether to proceed.

Danville schools institute new emergency alert system

DANVILLE – Jessica Jacobs has always wondered how she would know if there were a fire or some other type of emergency at her son's school.

She was thrilled to learn about a new alert system allowing Danville school officials to send parents and guardians important information – both emergency and non-emergency – via phone, e-mail or text-message.

Health experts' 10 tips to keep kids sound at school

CHAMPAIGN – Sniffles, sore throats, coughs, earaches: Don't they just seem to follow your kids home from school sometimes, like a stray dog?

Every year, millions of kids miss school due to just colds and flu alone. But parents can help fight off those illnesses and others by promoting healthy habits at home.

Champaign school district wants public input on changes

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school administrators would like the public's input on the proposed designs and program changes at two north Champaign schools.

Champaign Unit 4 administrators and architects will be at meetings Monday and Aug. 24 to talk about Garden Hills and Booker T. Washington elementary schools.

Lawmaker Black asks to be picked to UI board

DANVILLE – Veteran state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, said Thursday that he asked Gov. Pat Quinn to appoint him to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. There are at least three vacancies in the board, and Quinn has asked all of the trustees to step down in the wake of an investigation into admissions abuses at the UI.

"I've written to the governor, told him I spent 10 years as an administrator at Danville Area Community College, taught at the community college, I'm on the (House) higher ed committee, I earned my master's at the university, I know where the campus is, and I sure would love to serve on the board if the governor would honor me with that appointment," Black said.