Proponents see soccer team as cultural bridge in Arcola

ARCOLA – Soccer has always been an important part of life for 17-year-old Hugo Delarosa Jr.

It's a tradition in his family; in his Hispanic culture. A possible way to get a free ride to college after he graduates in 2009.

G-RF district fails to meet progress goals for 4th year

GEORGETOWN – School officials said Monday they are concerned that the district failed to meet its adequate yearly progress goals for the fourth year in a row, but steps are already being taken to try to better prepare students for the standardized state tests they will take this spring.

Each spring, elementary and middle school students across the state take the Illinois Standard Achievement Test, and 11th-grade students take the Prairie State Achievement Exam. The results allow school officials to see how their students compare with their peers statewide, as well as how they are progressing from year to year.

Renovation ready for trustees' visit

DANVILLE – The last time most Danville Area Community College trustees were inside the Bremer Conference and Workforce Development Center, the $5.44 million renovation and expansion project was still months away from completion.

On Tuesday, they will see the building in its finished state.

Hoopeston board looks at changes in baseball co-op contract

HOOPESTON – Hoopeston Area school board members will vote next month on a baseball co-op with Rossville-Alvin and Hoopeston Area Middle School.

Board members discussed changes this week to the co-op agreement, which will allow both seventh- and eighth-graders to participate. Superintendent Hank Hornbeck said only eighth-graders were allowed last year.

Diesel helps fuel teen interest

CHAMPAIGN – Black smoke. Loud noise. A lot of torque. That's what area high school students think of diesel power.

But there's a lot more to it than horsepower and tractor pulls, Parkland College instructor Mark Ziegler said.

Not your typical school fundraiser

URBANA – It seems an obvious equation: Some children at Prairie Elementary School want bicycles, but their families can't afford them. The Bike Project in Urbana has about 20 children's bicycles to repair and give away.

But while the two clearly add up, both figure into an event much bigger: Prairie's first Fall Festival and Garage Sale this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The carnival/garage sale/craft fair is designed to raise money for school programs sponsored by the PTA and to get the community bonding over found treasures and marshmallow treats.

Administrators listen to school co-op options

ATWOOD – Before a crowd of teachers, administrators and parents, Dr. William Phillips presented plans that could close the doors of five area high schools.

"The hardest animal to kill in the state of Illinois is a high school mascot," said Phillips, a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Danville school officials hesitate over gift of former hospital

DANVILLE – Danville school officials want to meet with Provena United Samaritans Medical Center officials to discuss details surrounding a donation of the hospital's former Sager campus property to the school district.

School officials discussed the pending property donation in a closed meeting Wednesday night. Superintendent Nanette Mellen said the district has some concerns about the property but would not elaborate.

Westville school officials happy with state test results

WESTVILLE – School officials said Wednesday they are pleased overall with the results of the standardized tests district students took this spring, but want to see improvement in some areas.

Superintendent Jim Owens said all three district schools met their adequate yearly progress goals, but that the district as a whole did not because some students with learning disabilities did not perform well enough on the tests.

Solo Cup closing two plants; Urbana not on list

HIGHLAND PARK – Solo Cup Co. announced Tuesday it plans to close plants in Wheeling, Ill., and Leominster, Mass., as part of a concerted effort to reduce debt.

"These closures, which primarily affect our straw and cutlery product lines, will be managed to ensure no disruption to our customers," said Peter J. Mendola, Solo's senior vice president of manufacturing.