Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

Virginia Theatre could reap benefits from OTB

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Park District stands to reap about $50,000 a year if the local off-track betting parlor moves to Jupiter's at the Crossing in Champaign later this year as planned.

Park district Executive Director Bobbie Herakovich said local park districts are supposed to get a portion of revenues from OTBs, and she'll likely recommend the money go for ongoing renovation of the Virginia Theatre. But if the Urbana Park District's experience is any indication, the Champaign district shouldn't count its chickens too soon.

Group wants to move Sidney Summer Fun Daze to park

SIDNEY – The village's annual summer festival may get a new home.

Sidney Summer Fun Daze, which is organized by the Sidney Improvement Group, has been held downtown for the last five years. Sidney Improvement Group member Keith Kropp approached the village board Monday to ask about the possibility of moving the event to Witt Park, which is in the northwest corner of the village.

Top students may not be getting into state universities

Legislators have asked a state commission to look into its program for high-ranking high school juniors to find out if the students are getting into the state universities of their choice.

Every year the Illinois Student Assistance Commission honors the top 10 percent of all high school juniors from around the state by designating them state scholars. In recent years some legislators have heard anecdotes about scholars who, despite their high grade point averages and ACT or SAT scores, were denied admission in state schools, particularly the University of Illinois, said State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington. Brady, who sits on the appropriations and higher education committees, introduced the legislation. It unanimously passed the Illinois State House and Senate.

Rantoul harvest festival about far more than crops

Celebration focus is on diversity, practical topics

RANTOUL – The fourth annual Rantoul Harvest Festival featuring public education, workshops and multicultural presentations will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Wabash Park.

Georgetown Fair, celebrating 70 years, starts Saturday

GEORGETOWN – The home ec buildings have been hosed down by the fire department, volunteers are setting up the animal pens, tents are going up and the entertainment is scheduled. The 70th annual Georgetown Fair begins Saturday.

Eight full days of livestock shows, seven grandstand shows and loads of free entertainment await anyone willing to pay the $2 gate fee for adults and $1 for children, ages 6 through 12. It's even got free admission Saturday and Sunday.

No decision yet on Tuscola golf cart ordinance

TUSCOLA – A proposed ordinance to allow golf carts on Tuscola streets stalled Monday night, with city council members agreeing that state law allowed too much room for liability.

The Illinois vehicle code states that golf carts cannot be operated on any street or highway unless a city, township or county authorizes their use on certain roadways. This means that any ordinance allowing golf carts in Tuscola would have to designate specific streets on which they could be operated.

Orange and Blue Festival in Gibson City to expand

GIBSON CITY – Plans are under way for the fourth annual Orange and Blue Festival in downtown Gibson City on the evenings of Aug. 14-16.

Suit filed over controversial dirt bike track in Villa Grove

VILLA GROVE – The owners of a controversial dirt bike track in Villa Grove are taking their fight to have the property rezoned to court.

Nichelle and Brad Drew have filed a lawsuit in Douglas County court that claims Villa Grove city officials acted beyond their legal authority in refusing to allow a zoning amendment.

Fundraiser will support memorial park in Mahomet

MAHOMET – With the village focusing its efforts on completing Bridle Leash Park, the Brent Johnson Park Citizens Action Committee is working to get things under way in the 10 acres of green space located in the Thornewood Subdivision on the north side of Mahomet.

To raise funds to build a playground and additional recreation options for Mahomet residents, the committee is hosting Brent Fest 2008, a music festival to benefit Brent Johnson Memorial Park. Brent Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the park, 1202 E. Oak Valley.

Economy forcing campers to take fewer, shorter trips

DANVILLE – Jeff and Terry Evans of Tolono like to camp so much that in the summer, they usually go to Kickapoo State Park near Danville, park their travel trailer and drive to work.

But higher gas prices and campground fees have forced them to cut back.