Parks and Recreation

Conservation district plans photo contest

DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Soil and Water Conservation District is sponsoring a local photo contest.

Participants may submit pictures with a nature theme or something that portrays the essence of the environment. Categories and suggestions include:


Parks official adds arborist to list of titles

DANVILLE – As Danville's parks and public property superintendent, Steve Lane has been involved with the design of a range of projects, including flower beds and Temple Plaza.

Recently, he finished coursework that will give him one more title: certified arborist.


Larkin's Place is in the heart

Amy Armstrong remembers the very moment it came to her, why it turned out to be her daughter – the child she and her husband, Andy, longed so much to have – who was born with disabilities.

Call it a voice whispering inside her head.


Crews work to fill waters with trout for fishing season

MAHOMET – If your kids ever ask you, "Mommy, where do fish come from?" now you can tell them.

Fish come from a big white truck that has "Fish" painted on the side. The man takes a fish funnel that leads into a pipe, drains the truck, the fish jump into the lake and they live fishily ever after.


City, park district to discuss development of former landfill

CHAMPAIGN – The old Champaign municipal landfill would become a community park offering a mountain bike skills course and a BMX bicycle racing track, a sledding hill, a dog park, a model airplane field and an 18-hole disc golf course under a plan for reuse of the 90-acre site.

But development of the park, which would also include 3 miles of walking trails, probably won't even begin for seven to 10 years and then is expected to proceed in stages, according to Champaign Park District officials. The park will cost between $10 million and $15 million to develop.


Climate change could help bugs, hurt plants

Higher carbon dioxide levels associated with man-made emissions – generally thought to play into climate change and global warming – appear to make plants, soybeans anyway, more susceptible to insect damage by impairing their chemical defensive systems.


Danville gets call for high school Hall of Fame

DANVILLE – Gene Gourley will be home for years to come.

Same for John Spezia, Fred Menkhaus and Don Harden.

The four Illinois Basketball Hall of Famers – all of whom have extensive Danville roots – will be immortalized in the area either where they grew up (Harden, Spezia) or the community where they spent more than two decades coaching and teaching (Gourley, Menkhaus and Spezia).


Man dies in one-vehicle crash in LeRoy

LeROY – A man was killed in a single-car accident early Saturday morning in LeRoy.

The man was driving a sport utility vehicle west in the 400 block of East Bicentennial when he crossed into the eastbound lane, drove through a ditch and hit a tree, according to McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling. The man's vehicle then caught fire.


School districts' staff face annual job losses

For the last 20 years or so, Mary Brooks has faced an unwelcome break come spring: a letter telling her she has again (and again and again) lost her job.

She has worked in the Urbana school district for decades, mostly as the outreach coordinator at Leal Elementary School, and while the news that her position has been cut as part of a reduction in force (called "RIF" in school circles) isn't much of a shock anymore, it's no less upsetting.


Chanute museum director asks entire board to resign

RANTOUL – Facing a serious financial crunch, the Chanute Air Museum has decided to reorganize its board, cancel its summer air show and replace the event with smaller fundraisers.

Museum Director Jim Eldridge said he has asked the museum's entire board of directors to resign two weeks after the museum mailed letters to its 327 members appealing for $24,000 in emergency donations to help the facility pay its bills and keep its doors open through the end of March.


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