School board hopefuls offer views as Election Day nears

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school board candidates offered their ideas for the district, and what they could bring to the board, to voters before they go to the polls Tuesday.

The candidates – eight hopefuls for four open four-year terms and one candidate for a two-year term – appeared at a forum sponsored by the district's PTA Council on Thursday night.

Georgetown meet the candidates forum a modest hit

GEORGETOWN – The "Meet the School Board Candidates" forum on Thursday for the Georgetown-Ridge Farm school board was informative, if not well-attended.

Kerry Smith, the vice president of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Education Association, served as moderator for the forum, which allowed candidates to speak to the public about themselves and their views.

Program for migrant students in OK'd

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School this summer will welcome migrant students into a new program for students from kindergarten through high school.

Board members unanimously approved the program, which has been run by Champaign schools for years, and authorized Superintendent David Requa to hire nine teachers, four aides, two administrators and three recruiters to run it.

Foreign-language program awarded grant from state

DANVILLE – Danville schools' foreign-language program could get a boost thanks to a state grant.

The $30,786 planning grant comes from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Arts Council. The organizations teamed up to offer more than $625,000 to 26 school districts to strengthen their arts and foreign language programs.

Three Urbana school board hopefuls list strengths

URBANA – The three candidates in the Urbana school district's only contested race each emphasize a unique skill they would bring to the school board.

Incumbent John Dimit said his 20 years of experience on the board will help the district as it faces a great deal of change, including its first new superintendent in 15 years, and a number of teacher and administrator retirements.

Students: He's a stand-up guy

DANVILLE – Tiarra Beaver expected to be bored in her U.S. history class. But so far, she hasn't had the chance.

She credits that to Harith Tamimie, whom she and classmates described as a skillful storyteller and stand-up comic masquerading as a high school history teacher.

Parkland looking for residents to host 12 international students

CHAMPAIGN – Beginning this summer, Parkland College will work with the U.S. State Department to promote international understanding, especially in Muslim countries.

And area residents can help: College organizers of the new program are looking for residential situations for 12 students who will arrive on campus late this summer to study at Parkland for at least a year.

GCMS teacher promotes safe teen driving program

GIBSON CITY – There's an important deadline this week that doesn't have anything to do with filing income taxes..

This year the traditionally unlucky date of Friday the 13th could be a lucky day for area students.

Champaign school district needs new board to build with

The to-do list for the Champaign school district looks something like this:

– Look at building needs, develop a plan for a bond referendum, including how to add 200 seats in north Champaign, and rally public support before the 2008 primary election;

– establish an alternative school program to start this fall;

'I'm happy because I'm here'

Antonio Aguas is not griping about much these days. In fact, he's just downright happy to be alive.

"I say, 'Thanks, God, for the second opportunity to be around,'" said the 43-year-old husband, father, brother, son and business owner.

Late last summer, Aguas lost six days of his life to kidnappers looking to be handed a chunk of the money that he's worked so hard to earn in the last 20 years.