Parkland students getting on track for motorsports industry

CHAMPAIGN – Scott Breeding of Rantoul took a chamois to a freshly washed green and white Chevy Malibu Thursday afternoon at Parkland College, and Lucas Lange of Gibson City drove it onto the trailer that would take it to the St. Louis area, where they would be drag racing.

3 former educators charged in Jon White case aftermath

URBANA – Charges filed against former Urbana school administrators are justified and come as no surprise, say lawyers for several victims of a former teacher there.

On Wednesday afternoon, State's Attorney Julia Rietz filed misdemeanor charges of failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect against Gene Amberg, 58, of Urbana, former Urbana schools superintendent; Carmelita Thomas, 57, of Champaign, former human resources director of the district; and Janice Bradley, 55, of Champaign, former principal of Thomas Paine Elementary School.

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley board OKs teachers' contract

GIBSON CITY – The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board unanimously approved salaries for district personnel during a special meeting Wednesday, including ratifying a new three-year contract with district teachers.

The agreement with certified teaching staff will cost the district $604,736 in new money for salary and benefits, or a 12.14 percent increase over its three-year term, according to Superintendent Chuck Aubry.

Ex-Urbana school officials charged over Jon White case

URBANA – The Champaign County state's attorney has filed criminal charges against three former Urbana school district officials for failing to report suspected child abuse by a teacher now serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Julia Rietz said Thursday that she filed misdemeanor charges Wednesday of failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect against former Urbana Superintendent Gene Amberg, former Thomas Paine elementary school principal Janice Bradley, and former Human Resources Director Carmelita Thomas for their failure to report their suspicions about inappropriate conduct by Jon White, a teacher at Thomas Paine.

Panel to plan for future of Urbana school district's facilities

URBANA – Twelve people from around Urbana have a mission.

Their challenge, now that the school board has accepted them, will be to peer 10 years into the future of Urbana schools and come up with something more than fixing stairs or repainting an entrance.

Police ready to enforce speed limits in school zones

Police will be watching school zones for speeders as local schools reopen this month.

Champaign police Sgt. Dave Griffet reminded motorists that speeds in school zones are 20 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.

Centennial High School alum busy in first month on 'dream job'

CHAMPAIGN – On one of his first days on the job as Centennial High School principal, Justin Moore heard the music coming from near the school's parking lot, and he had to go outside.

He stood and listened to the Centennial fight song as the marching band practiced for the Fourth of July parade.

Teen birth rate falls to a 36-year low in Vermilion County

DANVILLE – Fourteen-year-old Candace St. Pierre was pressured to have sex once, but she knew how to handle the situation.

"I was able to think about the conversations we had in Smart Moves, and I said, 'No,'" she said.

Candace participated in the Boys and Girls Club's Smart Moves program, which uses role-playing scenarios between boys and girls to teach the importance of abstinence, the negative consequences of being sexually active and how to deal with a challenge to have sex. It also addresses self-esteem issues.

Land purchase for FutureGen project proceeding

MATTOON – The parties involved in attempting to bring the FutureGen clean power plant to Mattoon will finish buying the land next week.

Coles Together and the FutureGen Alliance are basically splitting the $6.5 million cost of about 400 acres that have potential to allow the storage of liquefied carbon dioxide deep underground.

County board committee advances school tax proposal

URBANA – Champaign County taxpayers could see property tax rebates in exchange for a sales tax increase under an agreement with county school districts.

The county board's policy committee voted 5-2 Wednesday to send the schools sales tax election issue on to the full board, which meets at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Brookens Center, 1776 W. Washington St., U.