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.

Thomas Paine meeting with parents set for Wednesday

URBANA – Parents of Thomas Paine Elementary School students will have a chance Wednesday to voice their concerns in the wake of the arrest of teacher Jon White, 26, of Normal, on charges of sexually molesting children in school.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., representatives from the Urbana school district and Mental Health Center of Champaign County and possibly the Urbana Police Department will be available to parents. The meeting will take place at the gymnasium in the school, at 1801 James Cherry Drive, U.

Mother 'furious' with Urbana school officials

URBANA – The parent of a young girl at Thomas Paine School who is believed to have been molested by second-grade teacher Jon White a year ago said she is "furious" with Urbana school district administrators and feels they are working to protect each other more than students.

"They're still stonewalling. This has to stop. We have to stop protecting careers over kids," said the mother, who agreed to talk to The News-Gazette on the condition she not be identified. The News-Gazette has a long-standing policy of not identifying victims of sex crimes.

Urbana school board president to step down early

URBANA – Urbana school board members will choose a new president when they meet next week.

Joyce Hudson, the current president of the board, has decided to step down from that post as of Tuesday, said district spokeswoman Kathy Wallig.