People

People

Toys-For-Troops donation event set for Dec. 7 in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Local charity Toys-For-Troops will sponsor a Christmas-gifts-for-soldiers event Dec. 7.

The event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at Village Inn Pizza Parlor, at Springfield and Mattis avenues in west Champaign.

Lincoln's Challenge helping one cadet get his confidence back

Rantoul and Philo are only 21 miles apart, but to Lincoln's Challenge Cadet Robby Blaney, it seems the two are worlds apart.

Dressed in a bright-blue academy uniform, the cheerful, red-haired teen says the discipline he has learned on the former Chanute Air Force Base has completely changed his life around.

World traveler's top pastime: Making people feel at home

CHAMPAIGN – Elizabeth Dickerson was in Paris last weekend and Moscow in September. She'll soon make one of her regular trips to India. And she'll likely be in Europe again, or Japan or Shanghai, in the next several months.

Dickerson loves the travel and adventure and seeing new sights that come with her career as an international flight attendant.

It's Your Business: A new twist for Vrinios' holiday tradition

It's nearly candy-cane-making time for Pete Vrinios and his family, and they plan to carry on their 110-year-old tradition in downtown Champaign for the holiday season.

You can see Vrinios candy canes made step by step in the front windows of Jim Gould Restaurant at Neil and Main streets, starting the first weekend in December. Kids can even hook their own candy canes, Vrinios said.

Olympic medalist, UI coach to be featured at Rantoul banquet

RANTOUL – Justin Spring of Champaign, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist on the U.S. men's gymnastics team and assistant gymnastics coach at the University of Illinois, will be the featured speaker at this year's Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Spring, a UI graduate, will discuss the obstacles he overcame to help the U.S. team to a third-place finish at Beijing.

Urban League closes in wake of financial woes, investigations

CHAMPAIGN – The 45-year-old Urban League of Champaign County closed its doors Friday.

The closure comes on the heels of mounting financial problems, state and federal investigations and a soon-to-be-released audit for fiscal 2006-2007, according to a press release from the organization late Friday night.

Area advocates for the disabled hail ruling on housing

URBANA – For years Lester and Barbara Pritchard have campaigned for more rights for people with disabilities.

They know something about the topic. Lester Pritchard has cerebral palsy, which affects his speech and keeps him in a wheelchair. Barbara is visually impaired.

Solo Cup Co. posts its first loss in five quarters

HIGHLAND PARK – Solo Cup Co. this week reported a net loss of $4.6 million in the third quarter after five straight quarters of profitability.

The Highland Park-based company, which has a manufacturing facility in Urbana, had operating income of $13.5 million in the third quarter, but that wasn't enough to offset a net interest expense of $14.7 million, plus losses on the foreign currency exchange.

Area employers discuss how not to get hired

CHAMPAIGN – When Sue Malenius was asked about the worst job interview she had conducted, it wasn't just bad, it was scary bad.

Malenius, the director of KinderCare Learning Center in Champaign, said a job applicant arrived 15 minutes late with holes in her jeans, a spaghetti strap and a chain that connected a nose piercing to an earring.

Urban League of Champaign County closes after 45 years

CHAMPAIGN – The 45-year-old Urban League of Champaign County closed its doors Friday.

The closure comes on the heels of mounting financial problems, state and federal investigations and a soon-to-be-released audit for fiscal 2006-2007, according to a press release from the organization late Friday night.

"From a financial standpoint, it was a very simple decision. There was no alternative. From an emotional perspective and a loss to the community, it was an incredibly difficult decision," said interim Executive Director Sandra Jones.