UI opera students to perform in original musical '1787'

URBANA – Theater artist Robert Picklesimer has adapted for the stage fairy tales, Greek tragedies and even the William Faulkner novel "As I Lay Dying."

Now he's tackling a much bigger project, an original musical he titled "1787: We the People," about the creation of the American Constitution.

H1N1 vaccine participation at schools less than 50%

CHAMPAIGN – Participation in H1N1 vaccinations at Champaign County public grade schools averaged less than 50 percent, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

The district has wrapped up vaccinations at elementary schools, with the exception of St. Matthew Catholic School in Champaign, and will offer vaccinations at middle schools and high schools in the week ahead.

GEO, UI resume negotiations Saturday

URBANA – The University of Illinois and its graduate student union will again negotiate at 3 p.m. Saturday, with a strike possible if the sides can't agree.

Among several things the UI and the union can't agree on is how much the assistants are paid in the first place.

Chinese educators learn from Parkland visit

CHAMPAIGN – China's new community college system could learn a lot from Parkland College, and apparently it has.

That's the consensus of five top educators from China who have spent the last two weeks at Parkland in an exchange designed to speed the evolution of their system, which is growing as fast as anything else in the rapidly changing land.

Coolest clique in school urges seat belt use

Kayla Thrasher was about to pull away from Urbana High School in her truck on a recent afternoon.

But before she did, she fastened her seat belt. She always wears it, she said. It's something her parents have always encouraged her to do.

Board sees lower tax bills next year

CATLIN – School officials approved a $2.23 million tax levy for the upcoming year on Thursday, which is expected to generate an additional $63,600 for the district.

Superintendent Gary Lewis said he expects the value of property within the district to increase by about $2 million to a total of about $43.6 million, allowing the schools to collect more money while reducing the tax rate.

Danville program considers adding GED course

DANVILLE – Six years ago, Melissa Gnaden and some other students she knew dropped out of Danville High School.

Music boosters launch candy sale

DANVILLE – The Danville High School Choral Music Boosters candy fund-raiser is under way.

Orders for See's Candies will be taken through Nov. 16 and delivered beginning Dec. 4.

Books for prisoners wins 2nd place

URBANA – The local Books 2 Prisoners program won second place in its category at the 2009 Governor's Hometown Awards in Springfield.

The awards were announced in late October.

Westville school officials unveil $2.3 million tax levy

WESTVILLE – School officials on Wednesday unveiled a $2.3 million tax levy for the upcoming year, and plan to formally approve it next month.

Superintendent Jim Owens said he estimated that the proposed levy would generate about $80,000 more than the current levy. He also said that he expects the value of property within the district to hold steady at about $50 million, allowing the schools to collect more money with just a small increase in the tax rate.