Kacich: Lincoln not the only one with a big birthday this year

This year, you may have heard, marks the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

Just as important, it's the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Kirby Avenue-Florida Avenue viaduct in south Champaign, the centennial of Tuscola's successful effort to retain its county seat and the silver anniversary of Champaign-Urbana's first shopping center.

Residents urge change at Danville school facilities forum

DANVILLE – Danville resident Dean Carlton still remembers feeling a draft in his North Ridge Middle School drafting class about 35 years ago, when the school would have been about 10 years old.

"They were poor designs and built on the cheap, and we've had to live with them," he said, also referring to South View Middle School and East Park Elementary.

Normal school district's culpability questioned in Jon White case

URBANA – The Normal school district may not have to pay any damages in a civil suit filed in federal court on behalf of one of the victims of former Urbana teacher Jon White.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bernthal of Urbana recommended that the allegations from one of White's victims – called Jane Doe-2 to protect the minor's privacy – against McLean County Unit 5 school district, its board and several employees be dismissed.

Urbana school volunteering strong; more helpers sought

URBANA – Between September and December 2008, volunteers contributed about 9,000 hours of free labor to Urbana schools.

At the Tuesday meeting of the Urbana school board – held at 7:30 p.m. at 205 N. Race St., U – Barbara Linder, the school district's community connections coordinator, will talk about volunteering in the district.

Danville district offering free preschool screenings at mall

DANVILLE – The Danville school district will offer free preschool screenings Thursday for all 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in Vermilion County.

The developmental screenings, which are funded by the state board of education, will be held at the Village Mall, 2917 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Danville district officials seek opinions on school buildings

DANVILLE – For several months, Danville school officials have been discussing what to do with the district's most problematic buildings, including East Park Elementary and North Ridge and South View middle schools.

Now they're asking community members for their input at three public forums this week.

Board members are hoping for good turnouts.

Extension site offers financial advice online

URBANA – Have tough times put you in turmoil? Are you facing a financial bind, not knowing which step to take next?

Spanish teacher's students to teach Latino community

CHAMPAIGN – When Montserrat Oliveras-Heras teaches Spanish at Parkland College, she wants to create as many opportunities for her students to speak the language as possible.

But the conversations in the classroom can be pretty artificial. She wanted to have her students talk with Latinos living in the community, in a way that would benefit both groups.

So next fall, one of her Spanish classes will teach basic computer skills to Latino residents of Shadowwood Mobile Home park in north Champaign. All the training will be done in Spanish, helping her students learn the language in a real-life situation. In addition to the training, residents will get computers and software to use.

Ex-Champaign educator developing program for administrators

DANVILLE – As a longtime principal and mentor to aspiring principals, Carol Stack knows both the pressures of the job and what makes a successful school leader.

Stack retired in 2007 after 31 years in education, almost all of it in the Champaign school district. But she hasn't left behind her interest in seeing talented educators take on leadership roles.

Retirees share their knowledge, experience with high schoolers

CHAMPAIGN – Teacher Barbara Lyon liked the idea of having another adult in her child development lab at Centennial High School, helping with her two dozen high school students and the preschool children they care for.

Volunteer Wanda Giddings was hoping to share her knowledge of teaching children and learn about the young people going to high school in her neighborhood.