Deadline for new children's writing contest set at March 9

URBANA – A new children's writing contest, open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, invites children to discover the joy of literature by writing their own stories.

The deadline is March 9 to enter The Youth Literature Festival Writing Contest. Its goal are to encourage writing and self-expression and reward effort, said Violet Harris, associate dean for academic affairs in the University of Illinois College of Education, which is sponsoring the contest along with the University Library and WILL Public Media.

DACC schedules leadership day Feb. 25 at student union

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College will host "Leadership Development and Community Education Day" on Feb. 25.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lincoln Hall student union, 2000 E. Main St.

Central officials exploring options for new class schedule

CHAMPAIGN – How do you have a closed lunch for freshmen and sophomores at Central High School, with a cafeteria not big enough to accommodate two full grade levels of students?

Go to three lunch periods.

Central is getting some help to reorganize its schedule to accomplish some of the goals of its restructuring plan. A scheduling consultant, Elliot Merenbloom of Baltimore, was at the school Wednesday to help with changes to the master schedule. Merenbloom has worked with the Champaign school district before, on reorganizing the middle school schedules to allow more time for math and English.

GCMS Elementary expansion plans move forward

GIBSON CITY – School board members gave initial approval Tuesday to a concept for expanding the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Elementary School, a project they plan to begin this year.

The concept would add new rooms to both the southwest and northeast sections of the building. The plan was developed after a Jan. 30 meeting of the Building and Grounds Committee with district architects.

Laura Lee House group's 65th annual dinner set April 14

DANVILLE – The Laura Lee Fellowship House Association will celebrate its 65th annual dinner at 6 p.m. April 14 at the Days Hotel & Conference Center, 77 N. Gilbert St.

Social time begins at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by guest speaker Dalitso Sulamoyo, president and CEO of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies, also known as the Illinois Poverty Fighting Network, which provides advocacy, partnerships, connections, education, training and technical assistance to numerous nonprofit organizations and governmental entities in central Illinois. Sulamoyo will speak on "The D's for Success: Discovery, Dream, Design and Deliver."

Facilities panel: Condition of early childhood center in Urbana a disgrace

URBANA – "Disgrace" isn't usually a word presenters say in board meetings.

But on Tuesday, the Urbana school board heard that word, as Diane Marlin and Joe Vitosky – co-chairs of the district's volunteer facilities committee – presented preliminary recommendations for what to do about the school's buildings.

Gov. Quinn coming to Champaign-Urbana tomorrow

CHAMPAIGN – Gov. Pat Quinn will make his first visit to Champaign-Urbana tomorrow since becoming governor.

He'll meet with UI officials and watch the Fighting Illini play at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday evening, according to a press release.

Lincoln's Challenge kitchen will reopen Wednesday

RANTOUL – The cadets at Lincoln's Challenge Academy are expected to return to their dining hall Wednesday evening.

The hall has been closed since Sunday morning, after 19 students and the academy's director fell ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Five cadets were taken to an Urbana hospital for treatment.

Urbana High's principal to speak at state education meeting

URBANA – Today, Laura Taylor heads to Springfield to face a roomful of principals and other high school honchos from downstate Illinois.

It's an audience she's looking forward to meeting, because she'll be there to speak on a topic she's spent years practicing: school improvement.

Health official: Virus likely caused illnesses at Lincoln's Challenge

RANTOUL – Students at Lincoln's Challenge Academy were likely sickened this weekend by a virus, not by food poisoning, said Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

"We're working under the hypothesis that this is a viral infection – gastroenteritis, something like the Norwalk virus," Pryde said.