Parks and Recreation
Election Day is still six weeks away, but the first ballots in Illinois will be cast next week when absentee voting begins.
DANVILLE – Legislators have responded to Gov. Rod Blagjevich's $1.4 billion in budget cuts with bills that could stop the closure of 13 historic sites and 11 state parks, a backup plan if the recently passed funds sweep bill doesn't get final approval.
Meanwhile, supporters of the state parks and historic sites plan to continue their efforts as well.
URBANA – The future of Crystal Lake Pool is in doubt following a consultant's report that indicated the 27-year-old municipal pool "is significantly out of compliance with current safety codes and standards" and "should be replaced without further delay."
Caius Jennison, an architectural manager with Farnsworth Group, a Peoria architectural and engineering firm, delivered the gloomy report during a two-hour Urbana park board study session Thursday.
The University of Illinois freshman class this fall is bigger and brighter.
The university welcomed 7,299 freshmen to campus at the start of the semester. That's 350 more freshmen than last fall.
University of Illinois trustees on Thursday approved the university's budgets through 2010, increasing money for faculty and staff raises as well as for utilities and other areas.
The university's 2010 budget asks for $113 million more for the year ending June 30, 2010. The bulk of the increase is for strengthening the UI's academic quality, including salary raises that would average 3 percent for faculty and staff and boosting the amount of money available for recruitment, retention and filling in the salary gaps between pay for new hires and longer-term employees.
MONTICELLO – The Monticello City Council agreed to hire part-time employees to continue work on the new bike trail, which is being created at an abandoned railway bed that extends over the Sangamon River on the south side of town.
With all the city's summer employees back in school, work on clearing out the path has virtually shut down, according to city Superintendent Floyd Allsop.
A Fithian resident has organized a picket opposing the closure of Kickapoo State Park this Saturday.
Dave Lowe said protesters will be at Ironwood Pavilion inside the park from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Local police and sheriff's deputies are investigating several recent robberies and one attempted robbery.
The robbery attempt occurred Wednesday morning at the Freedom Oil station, 1406 N. Prospect Ave., C.
PHILO – Philo is coming to a TV near you.
Dan Ault, one of the organizers of the Philo Fall Festival, told fellow village board members Wednesday that a campaign is under way to promote the first festival the town has had in years. The committee has planned three live TV interviews and 22 television ads to promote the festival, which will be held Sept. 26-28.
A local company will change its name and logo after the State Universities Retirement System asked it to do so, to avoid "potential confusion" with the retirement agency.
The retirement agency, commonly known as SURS, asked SURS Assist to stop using its name and a SURS-like logo in its marketing of financial services.