Prussing: Ban on earmarks in House won't hurt Olympian Drive project

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing says a House Republican moratorium on earmarks won't affect the proposed Olympian Drive project north of Champaign-Urbana.

The House GOP caucus in Washington, including U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana, Thursday agreed to a unilateral, one-year prohibition on inserting special projects into federal spending bills.

But Prussing, who is leading the effort to complete the estimated $30 million project, said supporters weren't relying on the use of earmark money anyway.

A Storm in Peoria

CATLIN – Tickets have been selling quickly this week. And spirits have been high.

Can you tell it's March Madness in Vermilion County?

The Salt Fork Storm – a co-op boys' basketball team composed of players from Catlin and Jamaica high schools – faces the Eastland Cougars from Lanark at 12:15 p.m. Friday at the Peoria Civic Center, in the first semifinal Class 1A game of the Illinois High School Association championships.

Competition medals are icing on cake for C-U's own ace

Local pastry chef Ashlee Roderick has created several themed cakes for large competitions. The awards they've won prove her career also has a theme: excellence.

Roderick, 37, has competed in three competitions and is planning to enter another cake this fall in the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. She's a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has owned and operated The Cake Artist's Studio in Champaign since 2001.

Getting Personal: Danville radio stations manager Mike Hulvey

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. I read six newspapers online, five news and sports sites along with visiting our company sites and checking e-mail.

Studio Visit: Miriam Martincic, 35, of Champaign

Q: How long have you been at Parkland College?
I'm not at Parkland anymore. I finished teaching my last class in December. I had taught for nine years and been at Parkland for five. I now work part time at Wolfram Research doing graphic design. I do freelance graphic design as well.

Q: I love your drawings (on view through April 3 at Cinema Gallery, Urbana). What media do you use?
These are mostly pen drawings. I use fine-nibbed Rapidograph pens and I also use gouache. I love gouache. The color is just flat.

Uni High grad's lighting technology has many fans in Hollywood

When you see realistic digital human or alien characters like the blue Na'vi in "Avatar," Superman in "Superman Returns" and a reverse-aging Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," you have University High School alumnus Paul Debevec to thank, in large part.

Debevec developed the groundbreaking light-stage technology that helps make digital actors trick viewers into believing they're seeing the real thing. For his contributions, the 1988 Uni grad recently received the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award.

UI prof chose lesser-known expressionist paintings for stamps

CHAMPAIGN – Asked to select 10 abstract expressionist paintings to be depicted on U.S. postage stamps, University of Illinois art history Professor Jonathan Fineberg tried to pick ones that were famous, characteristic of the genre, and not in the collections of predictable museums like the Metropolitan in New York.

He chose works that belong to perhaps lesser-known institutions, among them the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., where he is a trustee, and Krannert Art Museum on the UI campus, where he is the Gutgsell Professor of Art History.

County board schedules hearing on reducing its own size

URBANA – Champaign County Board members will hold a public hearing Tuesday on whether to elect board members by single-member or multimember districts and whether to reduce the size of the 27-member county board.

Currently three board members are elected from each of the board's nine districts.

Beautification grant applications available in Vermilion County

DANVILLE – Keep Vermilion County Beautiful is accepting applications for community beautification grants.

"At this point, we don't know exactly how much money will be available, until we see the results of our raffle April 24th," said Lynn Wolgamot, volunteer director of Keep Vermilion County Beautiful, in a news release.

But now is the time to organize ideas and finalize plans to submit for consideration by the grant committee, she added.

'Community ambassador' LaFayette Shaw spoke his mind

DANVILLE – Lafayette Shaw Jr. was never one to back down from a fight.

Whether it was in the boxing ring or a city council meeting, Mr. Shaw wasn't afraid to say what he meant.

Mr. Shaw held down two jobs most of his working life, at General Motors in Tilton, retiring in 1987, and as a custodian with the city of Danville from 1958 to 1992.

"I've known him all my life," said Dwight Lucas, CEO of the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency. "He was friends with my parents first.

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