Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

Annual turkey drop scheduled for Thanksgiving Day

DANVILLE – For 12 years, local hot-air-balloon enthusiasts have taken to the air, weather permitting, on Thanksgiving Day for the Les Nessman Memorial Turkey Drop.

The Danville Balloon Group event begins at 6:45 a.m. Thursday with a pilot briefing in the parking lot at Turtle Run Golf Club and Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane.

Meadowbrook has 2 beavers, and they've been busy

URBANA – Along the Wandell Sculpture Garden trail at Meadowbrook Park is a special attraction, installed by nature's architect, the beaver.

The beaver dams on McCullough Creek are small but impressive. The first (upstream) is 35 feet across and about 6 feet wide. The water now, after all the rain, is 4 feet lower below the dam. The second, smaller dam is about 50 yards downstream. It is about 9 feet across and creates a 2-foot water level difference. Recent rains have left a good deal of standing and streaming water where it had been dry land two weeks ago.

Urbana pool planners would welcome residents' input

URBANA – Urbana residents are urged to participate in planning for an aquatic facility.

Champaign, Urbana park districts approve tax levies

Property tax revenues will increase for the Urbana and Champaign park districts.

Thanks to voter approval in April – raising the overall maximum tax rate from 69.5 cents to about 84.5 cents per $100 of assessed value – the Urbana Park District will collect about $900,000 more in taxes in 2010.

Parade, activities set for Thursday

DANVILLE – The Downtown Danville and Downtown Danville Rotary Club Night of Lights Parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from Vermilion and Williams streets, but before that a number of activities are planned in the downtown area.

From 3 to 6 p.m., First Presbyterian Church at the corner of North and Franklin streets will hold a chili supper. Cost is $4 for adults in advance or $4.50 at the door and $2 for children ages 4 through 12. Children younger than 3 eat free.

Urbana's pool-planning panel ready to dive right in

URBANA – Swim enthusiasts in Urbana can help the Urbana Park District plunge into planning for a new aquatic center.

Tony Clements, who retired as director of recreation at the University of Illinois, will lead the introductory planning meeting set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton St., U.

Late benefactor gives $1 million to Virginia Theatre

CHAMPAIGN – The late Michael Carragher would have loved the tribute to him on Tuesday evening – his 63rd birthday, no less – at the Virginia Theatre.

The Champaign Parks Foundation threw the glitzy party (black tie, optional) to announce that Mr. Carragher had given a gift of nearly $1 million for the renovation of the vintage theater he loved. A recent anonymous gift brought the amount to $1 million.

Danville YMCA kindergarten basketball league to start

DANVILLE – The Danville Family YMCA will start kindergarten basketball Nov. 21 for children ages 5 and 6.

A half-hour practice is held at 10 a.m. on Saturday mornings with a half-hour game following practice. The co-ed league focu- ses on learning to play the game. Each child will receive a T-shirt and participation trophy.

Police, firefighters take to gridiron in fundraiser game

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police Detective Joe Johnston was smarting Saturday night from the drubbing that his team of police officers took from firefighters on the football field earlier in the day.

"Chief Finney did say I'm done. I've lost my defensive coordinator job and I'm going to midnights," joked Johnston, who sported a houndstooth hat in the style of Bear Bryant and chomped a cigar for his role as coach of the police officers.

Pumpkins flung far in fundraiser for schools foundation

CHAMPAIGN – Wide-eyed 8-year-old Elijah Wasson of Champaign was awestruck as he saw a pumpkin soar overhead some 900 feet before splattering in a grassy field.

"Whoa!" he said as he gazed at the sky. "That was awesome!"