Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Unit 4: Lack of policy, but no lack of spending

State Police investigating use of district purchasing cards: 'I would say it's worth looking into anything that deals with public funds.'

Superintendent on probe: 'I'm very concerned because if an individual is making a decision, it’s a reflection on the people leading the organization.’

Bright ideas on the way for Garden Hills

CHAMPAIGN — In Amy Revilla's longtime neighborhood, the homes are mostly smaller-size ranches, many of the streets have female names that were popular decades ago, and the street lighting could best be described as sparse.

Downtown Champaign in midst of transition game

CHAMPAIGN — In the last few months, Bacaro, Radio Maria, Destihl, 51 Main and Memphis on Main have either closed or announced plans to move from downtown.

But One Main Development CEO Dave Jones isn't concerned.

New version of Nesbitt African American Cultural Center nearly ready to open on UI campus

URBANA — Fifty years ago, in response to black students' demands for more support from the University of Illinois, the Afro-American Cultural Program opened its doors.

Aloft Hotel, by Marriott, now slated to occupy downtown Champaign lot

CHAMPAIGN — Plans are still on track to develop an urban-style hotel on a small downtown Champaign lot, but the planned hotel brand has undergone a change.

Developer Doug Altenberger has been working with Marriott International to make the future hotel at 401 N. Neil St. an Aloft Hotel, according to Rob Kowalski, the city's assistant planning and development director.

Vermilion County dead last on Illinois study's health rankings

CHAMPAIGN — Your chances of living healthier and longer may depend, at least partly, on which county you call home.

Research released Tuesday that ranks U.S. counties from most to least healthy placed Champaign County in roughly the top third in Illinois — making it one of the state's healthier places to live — while Vermilion County was ranked dead last in the state.

UI Women's Resources Center struggling to meet demand

CHAMPAIGN — Tucked away in a second-floor office in a commercial building on Green Street, the University of Illinois Women's Resources Center is often the first stop for students or employees affected by sexual assault or harassment.

Small Towns, Big Deals | Wind-farm debate is talk of Newman

Throughout 2019, we’ll spotlight our area’s tiniest towns — and what makes them tick. Today: Newman (population 900), where a proposed wind farm has residents speaking out:

NEWMAN — At the only gas station in town, Terry Payton relaxes with his morning coffee, sitting at a small table with a picturesque view of the city of Newman.

Jingle bells: Restoration done in time to ring in Christmas Eve

CHAMPAIGN — Members of a venerable downtown Champaign church will be getting a Christmas present this year they have long awaited — the ringing of a 151-year-old bell that's been out of commission for decades.

Decades later, community still scarred by GM Foundry's closing

TILTON — Nearly a quarter-century later, the only sign that a bustling, 16-acre General Motors foundry was once here is a patch of old concrete.

Standing near a pile of twisted iron, GM retiree Jim Silvestro points to where the offices used to be located, in the front of the massive plant that, for a while, employed more people than Tilton, the town of 2,700 where it was based.