Group to honor recently retired Meade Park principal

DANVILLE – Alice Payne, who recently completed a 35-year career with the Danville school district, is being recognized as "Biggie of the Year" by the Progressive Chapter of Blacks in Government.

Payne will receive the award at the 16th annual Black Tie Affair at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Days Hotel & Conference Center, 77 N. Gilbert St.

Champaign board OKs design plan for Garden Hills

CHAMPAIGN – Plans for a renovation and addition to Garden Hills Elementary School will move forward, now that the Champaign school board has approved a $13.7 million budget for the project.

The school board approved a design plan for the school at a special meeting Monday night.

Danville students aim to pull the plug on cyber bullying

DANVILLE – When you buy a cell phone in Vermilion County, you may receive more than just the phone.

You also may receive a brochure on cyber bullying, created by area high school students.

Schools were braced for worst, but things stayed quiet

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district prepared for the worst.

But it was business as usual in the school buildings Tuesday.

Teachers and school administrators were instructed to be on alert and be ready for a "soft lockdown" of school buildings if the release of the report on 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington's death generated a negative reaction in the community. A soft lockdown means all outside doors of a school building are locked and all outside activities, such as recess, are canceled.

Champaign approves design for Garden Hills school work

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board approved a $13.7 million design for Garden Hills Elementary School at a special meeting Monday night.

Danville's three Catholic schools plan to merge

DANVILLE – As a member of Holy Family School's school commission, Christina Dietzen knew that merging Danville's two Catholic grade schools and high school was inevitable.

But she didn't think it would happen so soon.

Peoria Diocese calls for Danville schools to merge

DANVILLE – Following a recommendation from the Peoria Diocese, Danville's Catholic grade schools and high school will merge in the next 1 1/2 years, local church officials announced this weekend.

Holy Family and St. Paul's, both pre-kindergarten-through-8th-grade schools, will relocate to Schlarman High School. The restructured pre-K-through-12th-grade school, called Schlarman Academy, will open at the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Champaign Public Library earns high ranking

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Public Library is among the top 4 percent of busiest and best libraries in the country.

Library Journal magazine, the oldest publication covering the library field, ranks libraries based on service per capita: the number of checkouts, library visits, program attendance and public Internet use. The index compares the ratings by budget range and then assigns top libraries in each category a rating of three to five stars, based on their overall score.

Church reschedules festival around student's funeral

PAXTON – The Evangelical Covenant Church of Paxton has rescheduled its Christmas Bazaar, formerly known as the Lucia Fest, for Dec. 12, so it will not conflict with Natalie Johnson's funeral.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the church.

Students play roles to learn about immigrants' history

CHAMPAIGN – The immigrants stood in line, holding luggage or pillowcases stuffed with their belongings, waiting to enter Ellis Island.

The guards spoke harshly: "Stay in line." "Turn around." "Keep the baby quiet."