School club's goal: Improving boys' grades, self-esteem

CHAMPAIGN – The 16 boys listened quietly as Edison Middle School Dean Edwin Wilson ticked off the reasons the odds were stacked against them.

Young black men like them were more likely to be turned off by education by the latter years of elementary school. That disconnect from academics leads to discipline problems.

Experts: Parents should follow instincts if they suspect abuse

When it comes to being away from their 3-year-old daughter, James and Helena Longfellow have it timed down to the minute.

James leaves at 2:50 each afternoon for his night shift at Conair in Rantoul, sometimes even 2:55. And Helena gets off work at the Rantoul Press at 5 p.m., so usually she rolls into their Paxton driveway by 5:17.

Authorities search for bomb at Parkland into night

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College officials brought in a bomb-detection dog Friday afternoon after finding a note suggesting explosives were on school grounds.

The note prompted an evacuation late Friday morning at the college.

Parkland College uses dog to hunt for explosives

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College officials brought in a bomb-detection dog this afternoon after finding a threatening note suggesting explosives were on school grounds.

By mid-afternoon, 17 officers had cleared four of 10 major college areas, and the search was expected to continue into the night, said Police Chief Von Young. He said the college plans to open for business Saturday. Officials evacuated students and staff members late this morning after finding the note they determined to be a "credible threat."

Student with bullet at Monticello school arrested

MONTICELLO – The discovery of a bullet placed Monticello High School in a heightened state of security on Thursday.

Monticello Police Chief John Miller said a 16-year-old high school junior was arrested for possession of a bullet by a minor and possession of ammunition without a firearm owner's identification card. The teen was released to his mother. Miller said the issue is being handled as a juvenile case.

Leonard Pitts Jr. urges students to find their gift, dream big

DANVILLE – As a child, Leonard Pitts Jr. wasn't exactly "the coolest kid in the icetray."

He was skinny, had acne and wore thick glasses and a pocket protector. Kids beat him up and took his lunch money.

Danville special education director hired

DANVILLE – The director of the Vermilion Association for Special Education has been tapped to replace the Danville school district's special education director, who will retire next year.

Danville school board members unanimously approved hiring Steven C. Runyon at a special meeting Wednesday. He will replace Lon Henderson, who is stepping down in June after 33 years in education, including 22 years with the district and eight as special education director.

Urbana dilemma: Happy meals or healthy meals?

URBANA – Though whole grains are popular on the menu at Urbana schools, they're not yet popular on the plate.

That's the problem facing Piper Harvey of Aramark, the company that provides meals for the Urbana school district. Harvey represented one of several independent contractors to the Urbana school district to speak at the Urbana school board meeting on Tuesday night.

Warning system not yet in place at PBL

When Paxton-Buckley-Loda's high school and junior high went into lockdown and students were evacuated Monday, administrators updated the district's Web site with news of the situation.

However, the district wasn't able to use a parent notification system that the school board approved at its November meeting.

Black girls meet to discuss interests and issues

URBANA – When Sheri Lewis started a discussion about stereotypes, the University of Illinois student started with the word itself.

Do you know what it means? she asked a group of black girls.