Champaign County Board votes to authorize school sales tax

URBANA – Champaign County Board members voted 18-4 Thursday night to authorize a new countywide sales tax to be used exclusively for school construction and building rehabilitation.

Champaign bookmobile gets a summer reprieve

CHAMPAIGN – For Marian McPhee, a woman with a disability, and Emma Jackson, an 8-year-old girl who likes to get books from the Champaign bookmobile, a decision made by the library board Thursday is a happy epilogue.

Annoying but safer mosquito will predominate this summer

With all this rain, it's hunting season for hungry mosquitoes. While you may be multiply bitten, these biters aren't the disease-carrying kind.

University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon said almost-daily rains have created a bumper crop of Aedes vexans, the inland floodwater mosquito.

Rock camp teaches hot licks, stage presence

CHAMPAIGN – The new rock band finishes playing "Wonderwall" by Oasis when an uncomfortable lull sets in. John Jordan, one of the adults in the room, tells lead singer Keller Warfel to talk to the audience. He suggests that Keller introduce the band.

"We're called the Stereotypes," the 9-year-old boy begins. "When we first got to rock camp we got together to decide on a name. We thought of a bunch of things, like Drunk Monkey and Infection."

Westville district's music teachers switching job duties

WESTVILLE – About two dozen parents and students got answers about the future of the band programs in the Westville schools on Wednesday, but no answers to their questions about why the Westville School Board switched the two band directors.

Chris Bontjes has been the director of the bands at Westville High School and Westville Junior High School for 10 years. Melissa Pinter has been the music teacher, chorus instructor and band director at Judith Giacoma Elementary School for two years.

Urbana school board members evaluating facilities report

URBANA – The Urbana school district could have a plan in place this fall for where it will house its early childhood program in the future.

The board began talking at its meeting Tuesday about a facilities report it received last month. Board members agreed replacing the decrepit Washington School was their top priority. And the sooner, the better.

Dr. Howard principal search down to 1 candidate

CHAMPAIGN – The lone finalist for the Dr. Howard principal job has spent most of her career in Florida, but is an Illinois native.

Heritage district again shopping for architectural firm

HOMER – The Heritage school board will switch architectural firms for its new gymnasium and cafeteria projects again this month, after it came to light that recently hired Controlled Technology Solutions (CTS) of St. Louis does not employ an architect on its design team. School code requires building plans be designed by an architect, said Superintendent Andrew Larson.

Danville school board approves administrators' salaries

DANVILLE – Two Danville schools administrators will get salary increases when they are promoted in a couple of weeks.

Danville school board members on Wednesday approved salaries for Dianna Kirk, the incoming associate superintendent, and Diane Hampel, the incoming director of educational support programs.

Champaign Dems reluctantly ready to OK school tax

URBANA – Champaign County Democrats seem poised to authorize – somewhat reluctantly – the 1 percent school sales tax that county voters approved April 7.

The sales tax for planning, land acquisition, construction and reconstruction of school facilities in the county will go into effect Jan. 1. It will apply to all purchases except automobiles, boats and farm equipment, plus food, drugs and certain medical equipment.