Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Area cemeteries say they've got plenty of space available

Surrounded by athletic fields and campus buildings, Mount Hope Cemetery in Champaign has little room to expand.

Yet its funeral director isn't worrying about one day running out of room — in part because the way we bury our loved ones is changing.

Tularemia confirmed in rabbit found dead

URBANA — The bacterial disease tularemia has surfaced again in Champaign County, this time in a dead rabbit found in Urbana, authorities said.

The rabbit in Urbana was diagnosed with clinical symptoms of tularemia at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine this month, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Sale of Champaign County Nursing Home delayed at least until late October

URBANA — A planned sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home is being delayed until after a state hearing process later this year.

Records show ICE activity on rise in Champaign County since 2016

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Over the past several months, local protesters have decried Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity in the area that has led to multiple arrests and intensified the fears of many undocumented people living here.

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."

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.

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.

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.