Women's new Web service organizes folks to help out in crisis

When her sister's best friend was dying of brain cancer, Aimee Kandrac learned there's a lot friends can do to help in a crisis.

Sometimes they just need a little help themselves getting organized.

School's security measures slowing volunteer process

URBANA – It's not every day people need FBI clearance to shelve books in a school library or prevent food fights in the cafeteria.

Or maybe it is – now.

Salary error not critical, Unit 7 district chief says

TOLONO – A Unit 7 school board member is questioning a pay discrepancy of nearly $100,000 in the school district's budget for last year, caused by salaries being overpaid by mistake for the entire year.

The district's superintendent says the error is "nothing unique" and that the district is "moving on."

Unit 4 Officials: Leader's run in 105th not a problem

CHAMPAIGN – There's a chance that voters will decide on both a building bond proposal for the Champaign school district and on the Champaign school board president, Dave Tomlinson, for state representative in November 2008.

But Tomlinson and his fellow school board members don't believe having the school board president running for another office will affect the chances of passing a building bond proposal.

Rantoul schools conduct 'Code Red' drills

RANTOUL – Students were settled in J.W. Eater Junior High School classrooms, ready to learn, when Bill Trankina walked into the office shortly after 8:30 a.m. Thursday with Kevin Kaiser.

"I need you to call a Code Red," Trankina, superintendent of Rantoul City Schools, told Principal Mike Pennicook.

Williams brings life's lessons to new DACC job

As a Danville Area Community College instructor, Rickey Williams hopes to teach students about not just criminal justice, but also the importance of getting a college education, even if they already have a "good-paying" job.

"That's something no one can take away from you," Williams said of his bachelor's degree, which he earned 21 years after leaving college for a job at General Motors and 14 years into his tenure with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Space to play and learn

URBANA – Pebbles and a purple dinosaur do not a playground make – at least, not much of one.

But, along with swings and a truck-shaped metal structure, there isn't anything else on the Washington Early Childhood Center's south playground site. "This playground, as you can see, is old," said Principal Crystal Vowels. "'Barren' is the word that comes to mind."

Use of consultant discussed for Unit 4

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board is considering hiring a consultant to help with the long-range plan for the district's buildings.

Kristine Chalifoux and Greg Novak, the school board members who are developing a framework for the planning process, have met with two people and plan to talk with two more who have experience working with groups on planning. All are local, and several are connected to the University of Illinois.

Danville school district gets award for conservation efforts

DANVILLE – The Danville school district has been recognized for its efforts to conserve the environment.

At Wednesday's school board meeting, officials were given an energy stewardship award from Energy Education Inc., the Texas-based company it partnered with to run an energy conservation and management program.

Monticello union members file notice for possible strike

MONTICELLO – The Monticello Education Association voted "overwhelmingly" Tuesday night to file an intent to strike as the Monticello School Board and the union have failed to reach a contract settlement.

The teachers' contract expired in August, and the two groups met with a federal mediator last Thursday, but reached no agreement.