Parks and Recreation
MONTICELLO – Progress continued on the recently approved community swimming pool project during the Monticello City Council's May study session.
The council was given an update on the current plans, including a new layout design and updates on the expected changes.
URBANA – Mike Brunk never had a treehouse growing up, but he stayed in one for several nights in Hawaii.
"It was really cool, and I have thought of building one ever since," Brunk said. "The problem is, the damage to the tree can be irreversible."
Brunk, 51, city arborist for Urbana, loves trees. He doesn't have a favorite.
"I can find beauty in just about every tree I admire," Brunk said. "Same goes for people. Well, almost."
CHAMPAIGN – It takes a lot of mud to remake a park.
There's a lot of mud to see at Scott Park, which is undergoing a renovation expected to be done in August, months ahead of schedule.
University of Illinois administrators took their annual trip to the woodshed, aka the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee, last week. When it was over, UI President B. Joseph White claimed he enjoyed the 2 1/2-hour session before the committee of about a dozen state representatives.
His fingers weren't crossed, and he didn't wink.
Don't you dare buy those bag of chips for $4.
And full price for a tube of toothpaste?
No way. Not in Kyndal Medsker's world.
If you Google "festival Champaign Urbana," Ebertfest, which just finished up last week, pops up at the top of the list.
It's closely followed by a new festival that won't take place even for the first time until Sept. 25-26 in downtown Urbana.
Dan Welch insists that he enjoys taking phone calls from irate Champaign County citizens on the first business day after property-tax bills have been mailed out.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best days of the year," said Welch, who has been Champaign County treasurer for 11 years and has worked in the office for 36 years. "I get a chance to talk to a lot of people and explain why we do what we do. You get a chance to make an impression. So we want to do this right.
OAKWOOD – Volunteers are needed to help clean up Kickapoo State Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Tasks include picking up litter, clearing ponds and rivers and cutting back walking trails.
Volunteers will be served lunch.
URBANA – For 42 years, Bruce Larson spent at least one Tuesday night every month attending a meeting of the Urbana Park District board.
No more. The University of Illinois emeritus professor of biochemistry and nutritional sciences attended his final park board meeting Tuesday, after opting to not run for an eighth six-year term. Larson is the longest-serving commissioner in the history of the park district, eclipsing the 40 years served by J.C. Blair, who was on the original park board and was its first president in 1907.
OAKWOOD – For the second time this spring, recreational boating has been restricted on the Middle Fork River in Vermilion County.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Stacey Solano said conditions on the river are dangerous enough to restrict recreational boating from the north boundary of the Middle Fork Fish and Wildlife Area to the south boundary of Kickapoo State Park.