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A numerical look at local headlines.


Local landmarks listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The latest to join a club that includes Danville’s Fischer Theatre, Mahomet’s Hazen Bridge and Champaign’s Solon House: the Downtown Urbana Historic District, the area roughly bounded by Illinois, Walnut, Water, and Cedar streets and Goose Alley.

In addition to being something to brag about — Urbana is now tied with Champaign for listings, with 29 apiece — it could mean financial incentives, notes downtown business owner and DETech CEO DAN MALONEY, who led the district designation effort. A federal income-tax incentive for rehabilitating income-producing places is among the perks of being listed.

In addition to C-U’s 58 landmarks, 14 other area towns have places listed in the registry: Danville (12); Monticello and Paxton (four each); Bement, Clinton, Hoopeston and Watseka (two each); and Arcola, Gibson City, LeRoy, Loda, Mahomet, Newman and Rantoul (all with one).


Value of two grants awarded to Champaign schools by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Bottenfield Elementary ($1,750) and Edison Middle School ($2,000) both cashed in, landing two of the 24 grants given to schools statewide.

As part of its “Making the Jump from Picture Books to Chapter Books” program, Bottenfield plans to invest in 125 new titles for its library, with a focus on transitioning students into the next reading level.

Edison’s allotment will fund the “Just Right Reading” program, to the benefit of no fewer than 200 English-language learners, dual-language students and students with learning disabilities. They’ll receive instruction designed to improve their reading abilities as well as new books, librarian KAREN EASTON said.

“Students need books they can read in order to be engaged and improve reading skill,” she said. “Because of this grant, students who presently have only a few books available ... will now see 150 new books added to our school and classroom libraries.”


What City of Champaign Township spent to acquire Prosperity Gardens, where the homeless will be put to work growing food.

In a story first reported last month by N-G Media’s DEB PRESSEY, the township will be the owner of the former Champaign police evidence building at 303 N. First St., along with the two adjacent lots that have been planted as community gardens.

The township also takes over license agreements that Prosperity Gardens has had with the city for two other garden lots to the east and a 1-acre lot in Beardsley Park.

Tending the gardens will be the homeless participants in CU@Work, a program in which people are employed for $10 an hour and given a meal.

Champaign City Council member CLARISSA FOURMAN said teaching people “to grow food and cook and eat healthy” was a big reason for her support.

Cities are often challenged with how to bring nutritious food to poverty-stricken areas, “and Prosperity Gardens is making that happen,” she said. “There’s value in that.”


Aldo Toledo is a reporter covering local government at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@aldot29).