People

Habitat director taking next step in Christian calling

CHAMPAIGN – Eileen Gebbie had a lot of healing to do when she took over at Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County – both for herself and the organization.

Former Executive Director Laura Huth was fired just weeks after Gebbie came on as volunteer coordinator in 2006, and the board asked her to assume the job. Gebbie worked hard to re-establish ties with churches that had drifted away from Habitat under Huth, who had pursued more secular support for the home-building organization.


Tamils raising awareness of rights violations in Sri Lanka

CHAMPAIGN – Three minority Tamils from the island of Sri Lanka were in Champaign this weekend, part of a walk from Chicago to Washington, D.C., to tell America about rights violations in Sri Lanka.

They started walking May 26 and will probably finish in October, covering 20 miles at a stretch and sometimes staying in cities for several days.


Studio Visit: Alexei 'Lyosha' Svinarski, 50, Urbana

Q: How long have you lived in Urbana?

A: Twenty years. We moved in 1989 from St. Petersburg, Russia, and I graduated from medical school a year and a half prior. My child was 3 years old, and we decided to just leave because of the politics, the conditions.


How to get lucky in Vegas: Spend time not gambling

My partner and I went to Las Vegas over the long Memorial Day weekend to give Lady Luck a chance. Airfare and hotel were part of a package deal that cost about $850 for five nights for two people (booked about two months prior).

We stayed at Bally's on the Strip and were able to get a room with a partial view of the Bellagio's fountains. If you go to Las Vegas, don't miss the beautiful spectacle of Bellagio's choreographed water shows.


Urbana native's New York salon takes 'snob factor' out

URBANA – Gabriella New York Bridal Salon is one of the more hip places to shop in the Big Apple.

Buy a dress from Gabriella, and you're buying from an Urbana High School and University of Illinois graduate who never dreamed she'd be in the fashion business.


Memorial Stadium makes couple's reception immaculate

When they married, Rachel Hubbs and Jonan Tiarks got a football.

Signed by University of Illinois football coach Ron Zook, the gift came as a little congratulations from staff at their wedding reception venue: Memorial Stadium.


Champaign to inspect Catholic Worker House

CHAMPAIGN – The city is planning to inspect the Catholic Worker House and its nearby annex Monday afternoon.

Inspectors from the city's fire, neighborhood services and planning and zoning departments will conduct the walkthrough of the house at 317 S. Randolph St., and the adjacent annex at 314 Cottage Court, city officials said.


Citizens' group presses issue of racial profiling in death

URBANA – A group of Champaign County citizens continue to question a fatal shooting near Oakwood by police in April.

Vermilion County State's Attorney Randy Brinegar said in May, after a review of Illinois State Police reports and other evidence, that the April 6 shooting of Oluwatofunmi Kaiyewu by University of Illinois, Champaign County and Vermilion County officers near Oakwood was justifiable. A Vermilion County coroner's jury Wednesday ruled the death was justifiable homicide.


DHS alumnus supports grants with gift

DANVILLE – The Danville Public School Foundation is getting a big boost thanks to a donation from a Danville High School alumnus.

Julius W. Hegeler II, through his foundation, has pledged a total of $250,000 to the public school foundation over the next five years, its director announced Thursday.


'Bridge budget' proposed to spare service agency cuts

Illinois Senate Republicans want to enact a month-to-month "bridge budget" that would spare human service agencies from drastic budget cuts but would fund all state operations at the same level as a year ago.

A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said he welcomes the suggestion and would support it but only if he knew that it would eventually lead to Republican support for an income tax increase.


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