UI police officer accused of domestic violence

ST. JOSEPH – A University of Illinois police officer accused of battering his wife Thursday has been placed on leave following his arrest.

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh said Curtis Bolding, 49, of the 1400 block of East Grand, St. Joseph, was arrested by deputies Thursday night. Walsh refused to release any details of the incident but in bond court Friday, Assistant State's Attorney Chris Kanis said police were called to the home after 5 p.m.

$3 million would expand Heritage district schools

HOMER – Students at both schools in the Heritage school district will have a new combination auxiliary gymnasium and cafeteria by the end of 2009 under a proposal before the Heritage school board.

Superintendent Andrew Larson said the school board is considering a plan to sell $3 million in bonds to pay for expansion projects at Heritage High School in Broadlands and Heritage Junior High and Elementary School in Homer.

UI, grade-school theater students team up

CHAMPAIGN – The plays to be performed on the University of Illinois campus are short, but packed with imagination, emotion, humor and a reminder of how good the simplest things can be.

The authors are fourth- and fifth-grade students from Washington Elementary School in Champaign.

Urbana High initiatives succeed in improving discipline

URBANA – Harold Dean remembers not-so-fondly the environment at Urbana High School a few years ago.

"I was called things I had never been called before in my 30 years of teaching," said the retired teacher and frequent substitute.

State Honor Roll lists schools in the area

The Illinois State Board of Education announced the state's Honor Roll schools on Thursday, with about 30 percent of the state's 3,888 eligible schools receiving one of the achievement's three awards for 2006-2007.

Honors include the Spotlight Award, given to high-poverty schools meeting the No Child Left Behind test score mandates for 2007 and demonstrating "closing the achievement gap."

Two forums to educate parents on schools of choice

CHAMPAIGN – Parents can learn more about the schools in the Champaign school district at several upcoming events.

The district's Family Information Center will hold a community forum Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church, 1100 Broadmoor Drive, C. Parents of children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall can learn more about the schools of choice program and the registration process. They can also hear about the individual schools and talk to principals.

DACC receives grant for Big Read program

DANVILLE – When Barb Nolan, Ryan Stone and Kristin Dallavis attended a training session on holding a series of Big Read events, they found they were in the company of the majority of communities in their book selection.

Stone, a Danville Area Community College English professor, said the Big Read program grew out of a study by the National Education Association in 2004.

Villa Grove board moves to build up working cash fund

VILLA GROVE –The Villa Grove school board agreed to move money from one fund to another Monday, but this time it was a positive move to build up the working cash fund to $455,000.

"In a sense we are paying ourselves back for the loans we had to make in the beginning of the year," said Superintendent Steve Poznic, referring to the delay in state aid payments in the fall.

Towns reflect on their investments in FutureGen

Millions of dollars and countless hours have been spent locally in efforts to land the $1.8 billion FutureGen coal plant in Illinois, a project that has now been abandoned by the Department of Energy.

"I wouldn't want to speculate about a specific figure, but millions of dollars have been invested in our site," said Angela Griffin, president of Coles Together.

Flexible schedule approved for Danville middle schools

DANVILLE – Rhonda Ellis said her son, Tyler, has had enriching educational opportunities through a gifted program at North Ridge Middle School. She only wishes he had a chance to take more electives.

"He's definitely had an interest in taking a foreign language or some type of hands-on technology class," said Ellis, who thinks those classes would challenge her son, who's a seventh-grader, and her daughter, Taylor, who will be a sixth-grader next year. "If the opportunity were there, he would definitely take it."