Monticello school district's financial score up this year

MONTICELLO – School board members got a brief look at the district's financial situation this week.

The board heard both positive and negative news about the financial health on Wednesday.

UI Pollinatarium to host Eagle Scout induction ceremony

URBANA – The new University of Illinois Pollinatarium, a science center devoted to bees and other pollinators, will be closed for a special event Sunday.

The free museum is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., or by appointment. But this Sunday it will host an Eagle Scout induction ceremony for Alex Durack, who cleaned up the grounds for his scout project, said museum Director May Berenbaum, head of the UI Department of Entomology.

Danville students hang on visiting alum author's words

DANVILLE – G.M. Moore's first novel has been in print for only a few months.

But the fledgling author discovered Thursday that she already has scores of fans in her hometown of Danville – fifth-graders who read the action-adventure tale this month.

Danville Young Athlete participants show off their skills

DANVILLE – Lillian Gentry couldn't stop smiling as she watched her son, Mikel Kirby-Prater, on East Park Elementary's schoolyard on Thursday, throwing and catching rubber balls and kicking others into a net.

Nine months ago, she recalled, Mikel could barely catch a ball.

"He'd try to, but the hand-eye coordination wasn't there," she said. "He's really improved. I'm so proud of him."

Gentry credits the Special Olympics Illinois' Young Athlete program, piloted this year in preschool classrooms at East Park, Southwest and Garfield elementary schools.

Cyclists honor fallen, promote safety in Ride of Silence

CHAMPAIGN – As 21 bicyclists rode together down the streets of Champaign-Urbana on Wednesday evening, the only sounds that could be heard were of bike wheels turning and birds chirping.

The cyclists, many wearing homemade black armbands, rode in silence. A few of them occasionally paused to wipe away a tear or to pat another cyclist on the back.

Westville replacing high school fundraisers with fee

WESTVILLE – School officials approved a change to the Westville High School student handbook on Wednesday that would replace class fundraisers with a flat annual student fee to help pay for proms, class trips and picnics.

Westville High Principal Guy Goodlove said the school will eliminate the student athletic fee – currently $20 per sport for up to two sports with a $40 maximum per student per year – with a $20 annual activity fee for all students.

Rantoul's superintendent to take reins in district near Joliet

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School Superintendent David Requa has accepted a job as superintendent of the Reed-Custer school district near Joliet.

Requa was offered the job last week, and the Reed-Custer school board unanimously approved his appointment Wednesday night. His new job begins July 1.

"I still love Rantoul. I've enjoyed great support from this community," said Requa, superintendent for the last four years. "But I'm looking forward to new challenges in Reed-Custer."

Urbana panel calls for new elementary school

URBANA – The Urbana school district should build a new elementary school and use an existing elementary school to house its early childhood program.

That's one of the recommendations in a school facilities plan developed by a committee looking at the district's building needs. The committee has been working for the past nine months to evaluate the buildings and come up with priorities for capital improvements.

New UI Pollinatarium already abuzz with activity

URBANA – On this beautiful spring day the place is buzzing with excitement.

Thousands of bees crawling over a hive will do that to a roomful of fourth-graders.

"Ooooh, ooooh," they gasp as University of Illinois entomology Professor Gene Robinson pulls out a tray of bees busy making honey.

"You have to stay calm, because if you go crazy, they'll go crazy, and they'll sting you," warns junior bee expert Kayla Sharp.

UI students may get tuition break in fall

Tuition isn't on the agenda for the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, but it's looking more and more like UI students will get a break next fall.

Tuition would normally be on the May agenda; the trustees meet Thursday in Chicago.