CHAMPAIGN – To help with the stress of deployment, families of National Guard soldiers and reservists will get free memberships at the Champaign County YMCA.
The center is part of the new Armed Services YMCA and Department of Defense Outreach Initiative, which pays all the costs.
DANVILLE – Despite the state Legislature's move to restore funding to Kickapoo State Park and other parks on Tuesday, a local running club is keeping plans to host its January race in nearby Kennekuk Cove County Park.
"We can't risk will the park be open or not. So the impact of the actions of the last two months, even though the closing hasn't taken place, has already had great effect on us," said Kevin Stroud, a board member of the Kennekuk Road Runners.
CHAMPAIGN – After becoming director of development for the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club in May, Michael Byrd was asked to come up with a new fundraising event to replace the popular Champaign-Urbana Great Duck Race.
He was told to find something that would appeal to a cross-section of the community and people of all ages, something in which everyone could participate.
BEMENT – An estimated 200 people turned out Friday afternoon to enjoy a picnic luncheon and attend the dedication of a new Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibit at the Bryant Cottage Historic Site.
PAXTON – The Paxton Park Board is seeking two park district residents who would be interested in filling vacated seats.
Board members Dave Parker and Liz Bowen resigned last month. Both were appointed to their seats after two other board members resigned last year.
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.