Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Brian Pruitt's mother: Let my son out of prison

Karen Pruitt says her son is far from the out-of-control teen he was when he stabbed his grandparents to death in their Danville home nearly 23 years ago.

"He grew up," she said of Brian Pruitt, 39, who is serving mandatory life in prison without parole for the Oct. 17, 1995, murders of her mother and stepfather, Roberta and Frank "Pat" McNeely. "He's grown into a good man."

Auction for two Campustown lots delayed after only 1 bid received

CHAMPAIGN — On the fourth floor of the Illinois Terminal on Thursday, no one was gathered for an auction of two city-owned lots near the University of Illinois campus.

Louis Fisher, national director of SVN Auctions Services, was turning people away, letting them know that the auction had been delayed.

Carle attorney: Property-tax fight based on 'dead wrong' assessments

URBANA — Former Cunningham Township Assessor Joanne Chester was "dead wrong" when she assessed the full values of four key Carle properties more than a decade ago, one of Carle's attorneys contended at a lengthy court hearing Thursday.

Full Illinois State Police reports shed little light on death of Dracy Pendleton

CHAMPAIGN — After losing an open-records request appeal, the Illinois State Police removed redactions from reports about techniques used during a 2016 shootout between SWAT teams and Dracy Pendleton.

But the additional details didn't reveal much more about the manhunt for Mr. Pendleton, who shot a Mahomet police officer May 7, 2016, after a traffic stop.

Are emergency vehicles' practices cause for alarm?

Leo Wilson still remembers the last day he spent with his youngest daughter, Kelly.

It was May 7, 2016, the day before Mother's Day, and the 26-year-old Decatur woman and her two young daughters — Ella Stolz and Addy Crowder — were over for dinner.

Wilson said his daughter was disappointed she had been called in to work at Panera Bread the next day.

Some trash services charge to break up with them

CHAMPAIGN — Thinking of switching your garbage service? You could be in for a surprise exit bill.

Lance McGrew of Champaign discontinued trash pick-up recently with Republic Services and switched to a different company to lower his monthly rates, he said. But after he paid his final bill to Republic Services, the company sent him an additional bill to come pick up its receptacles.

Data show harassment reporting on the rise at UI

URBANA — Sexual misconduct cases against employees at the University of Illinois have risen dramatically over the last two years, likely prompted by the burgeoning #MeToo movement, mandatory employee training and a new online portal that makes it easier to file complaints, officials say.

For the Record | Quashed warrants

In an effort to lighten the load at the Champaign County Jail, Judge Tom Difanis took a bold step earlier this year — quashing outstanding warrants for ordinance violations, some issued as long ago as 2001.

Staff writer Ben Zigterman pored over all 2,547 warrants that were set aside by the county's presiding judge. Here's what he found.

Safeguarding dementia patients isn't an easy task

CHAMPAIGN — They were both older women, living in Champaign-Urbana nursing homes. And they both died last year after wandering outside unattended — one on a hot June afternoon, the other on a bone-chilling December night.

At the very places entrusted with the care and safety of the elderly, how could this happen?

End of net neutrality has dangerous potential, experts say

Most of us remember those dial-up internet days, waiting for pages to load as we listened to the high-pitched whine, beeps and whoosh of the connection through cyberspace.