Cold gels bus fuel, causing headaches

RANTOUL – Balky buses, fuel turned to gel by frigid weather, left some Rantoul students stranded at stops this week waiting for transportation to school that never arrived.

But Rantoul Township High School Superintendent David Requa said the district and parents quickly got the word about the bus breakdowns out – and the waiting students in.

Urbana school district plans external investigation

URBANA – The Urbana School District is moving quickly to hire an external investigator to look into the alleged sexual molestations at Thomas Paine Elementary School.

District 116 Superintendent Gene Amberg had said this week that he would conduct an investigation into the allegations against second-grade teacher Jon White, who has been charged with sexually molesting children in the school, but that an external investigation would also be conducted.

Parent of Normal student speaks out about Jon White

NORMAL – The Urbana second-grade teacher charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault acted inappropriately with a female student while he was a teacher in Normal, and the school district there knew about it, the girl's mother said.

The mother said that in the spring of 2005, Jon White – who was then teaching at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal – gave her fifth-grade daughter several pictures of an actress dressed in a bra and sport coat and told the daughter she looked like the actress.

Bement disciplines five students for drug incident

BEMENT – At a special meeting Tuesday night, Bement school board members voted to expel two students involved in a drug sales incident at the high school.

They also expelled three other students "in abeyance."

Urbana parents frustrated after meeting

URBANA – Even before the first question was voiced at a packed meeting for parents at Thomas Paine Elementary School, new information came from the school district related to the case about Jon White, the teacher charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

"Principal Janice Bradley was put on administrative leave," said district Superintendent Gene Amberg. "That was done this morning by me."

Deep freeze causes problems for workers

Recent freezing temperatures may make some ask, "What global warming?"

"Winter has finally reared its ugly face," said Samuel Shea, weather service climatologist for the Midwestern Region Climate Center.

Ogden woman dies in crash on I-74

The first major snowstorm of 2007 was to blame for three dozen interstate crashes in state police District 10, including one accident that killed an Ogden woman Tuesday morning.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Kristina Wills, 28, was a passenger in a van driven by her husband, David Wills, that was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 74 caused by the snow about 11:50 a.m. at the Illinois Central overpass on Champaign's north side.

Urbana school district will conduct internal, external reviews

URBANA – With the Urbana school board meeting barely begun, board President Joyce Hudson addressed concerns about the school district's process in hiring Jon White, an Urbana teacher at Thomas Paine Elementary School now charged with predatory criminal sexual assault.

Hudson said the board had asked Superintendent Gene Amberg to launch an internal review of the district's handling of the situation. "He is currently gathering the facts and will report to the board," she said.

Police investigation into school molestation widens

Police in Normal have opened an investigation into allegations that a teacher charged with molesting students in Urbana may have been inappropriate with students when he taught in Normal.

Normal Assistant Police Chief Kirk Ijams said Tuesday his department has received "several" calls from parents regarding Jon Andrew White, 26, of Normal, who was a teacher at two different grade schools in the McLean County Unit 5 school district from 2002 to 2005.

Municipal candidates set for area races

Monday was the final day for candidates to submit petitions for elected offices in area communities.

Here are candidates who filed nominating petitions or were nominated for village or city offices by their party caucuses in Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt and McLean counties.