Jeff Dunham coming to the Assembly Hall

Stand-up comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will be at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in March.

Local veterans to speak about Iraq, Afghanistan

CHAMPAIGN – "Memories of War – Iraq & Afghanistan" is the topic of a panel discussion involving local veterans.

Panelists include Sgt. Bryan Abbott, Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Johnston, Staff Sgt. Katie Maglia, 2nd Lt. Shannon Potts and Staff Sgt. John Robinson.

Children's agency celebrates 115th anniversary

DANVILLE – Over its 115 years of caring for children in need in the Danville community, a Danville agency has gone from a home where children stayed full time to a home for programs serving babies through teens.

The Center for Children's Services will honor its long history with a showcase of local talent at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Danville High School auditorium. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.

State shortfall may spell furloughs at UI

URBANA – The University of Illinois has so far seen only $400,000 of $317 million it is owed by the state, leading to a virtual hiring freeze and the possibility of furloughs.

UI flash index's big increase is its first in two years

URBANA – The University of Illinois flash index rose substantially for the first time in two years, but a UI economist said it's too early to tell whether the recession is ending.

The index rose from 90 in September to 90.7 in October, said economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Pumpkins flung far in fundraiser for schools foundation

CHAMPAIGN – Wide-eyed 8-year-old Elijah Wasson of Champaign was awestruck as he saw a pumpkin soar overhead some 900 feet before splattering in a grassy field.

"Whoa!" he said as he gazed at the sky. "That was awesome!"

South View class teaches principles of engineering

DANVILLE – South View Middle School seventh-graders Jelicia Cotton and Ashylee Harrier weren't sure what to expect in their new pre-engineering class.

After a few days, they discovered it involved doing things they like to do: drawing, building, using the computer and working with classmates.

Few apply to join Champaign schools' equity committee

CHAMPAIGN – Only three people have applied to be on a new equity committee for the Champaign school district.

The school district, which is seeking community members to serve on its new Education Equity Excellence Committee, planned to choose between five and 10 residents for the group.

Anti-gay bullying to be addressed

CHAMPAIGN – A Safe Schools forum next week will look at bullying of gay students in schools and how teachers and administrators can respond.

State Superintendent Christopher Koch will be part of the forum.

'Heart of the team' dies in morning crash

HOOPESTON – Hoopeston Area High School students and staff said a Rankin teen, who was killed in a pickup truck-semi tractor trailer collision early Thursday morning, was the heart of the boys' basketball team and the school.