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Illini sports bring joy to ailing Danville High student

It’s no surprise to Danville High School teacher Lori Woods that the community is jumping in full force to help one of her students, Cole Montel.

“We always say ‘Danville people take care of their own,’ “ Woods said. “That’s what we’re grateful for. People stepping up and making a dream happen for somebody.”

The University of Illinois athletic department is pitching in, too. And maybe, if it goes like Woods hopes, Purdue will as well.

Woods, a longtime teacher in the Danville school district, is doing what she can to assist one of her cherished students.

Soft-spoken and smart, Cole ranks No. 3 in the sophomore class of about 270 at Danville High. He is a straight-A student with a goal to attend the UI, where he wants to study sports management. A perfect choice for one of the program’s biggest fans.

Unfortunately, Cole, 15, is facing serious medical challenges. In the fall of 2020, he experienced pain in his jaw that was severe enough to keep him awake at night.

He went to see a dentist who thought it was an issue with a wisdom tooth. During the surgery to remove the offending tooth, a tumor was detected in his left jaw. A sample of it was sent off to be tested.

Healthy most of his life, Cole was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.

“I was shocked when I first heard about it,” Cole said. “After the shock went away, I was thinking ‘How do we fix this?’ We’re not taught how to (beat) cancer when you’re in middle school.”

To repair Cole’s jaw, a bone had to taken out of his leg. He was in middle school at the time, during a growth spurt. Read more

News and Sports

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Education

Champaign Central chess team advances to state in its first year

Seth Chiles, who with Aaron Hong and Jackson Earl coaches the team, said Central has fielded a less-formal club team for the last three to four years, with members playing against one another. This year marked the first time competing against other schools.

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Guest Commentary

My Turn | American divide eerily reminiscent of Northern Ireland

"We need collectively to seek a better path forward before polarized citizens and polarized politicians refusing to engage or negotiate with each other results in a breakdown of the very possibility for democratic politics," UI law Professor Colleen Murphy writes.

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Education

Future of Wiley Elementary to take focus at Urbana school board meeting

The board will kick off a conversation about whether to shut down Wiley for the 2023-’24 school year to abate asbestos and decide how to use the centrally located facility.

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Daily Headlines

Top of the Morning, Feb. 7, 2023

Jim and Lucy Buck - who for decades ran Jacksonville's roller rink - got hooked on Illini basketball thanks to Andy Kaufmann

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Guest Commentary

My Turn | In today's politics, too many seek to dominate rather than collaborate

"We are striving to avoid our home becoming a weak and divided collection of people; and instead, desire to build a community where strong disagreements exist but are addressed with respect and civility, and as a result, it grows as a community, unified and strong!" Matt Hausman writes.

Economy

Next step beginning for Champaign as it seeks to be a Certified Welcoming city

Auditors from the nonprofit organization Welcoming America will be in town this week as the next step in Champaign’s application to be designated a Certified Welcoming city.

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Multimedia

PHOTO GALLERY: Girls Prep Basketball: STM vs. Pontiac

It was a night of celebration as St. Thomas More's girls' basketball team beat Pontiac and welcomed back all-time leading scorer Lexi Walle…

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Health-care

Open house set this week for Carle at the Riverfront in Danville

Nearby Christie at the Riverfront, meanwhile, has moved all of its Danville services and is fully open to the public.

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Crimestoppers

Crime Stoppers | Man sought in theft of package from Urbana porch

About 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10, a man approached a residence in the 1500 block of South Smith Road in Urbana, took a package that had been delivered to a porch and ran away.

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Sports

Ballot breakdown | Purdue still holds on to No. 1 spot

Illinois men's basketball beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey weighs in on his latest ballot

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Sports

Monday's prep highlights: Bulldogs topple Pioneers in double-overtime

Salt Fork, Tri-County girls' basketball approaching perfection in league play.

Sports

Five local high school basketball games to watch this week

The regular season soon will shift to the playoffs for IHSA hoops. Colin Likas offers five area contests to keep an eye on before that occurs.

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Sports

How will they fare? Glance at leading local girls' basketball teams

Seven area girls' basketball programs hold a top-two seed in the upcoming IHSA postseason. Colin Likas gives a brief thought on each team's chances of making some noise.

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Daily Headlines

Top of the Morning, Feb. 7, 2023

Jim and Lucy Buck - who for decades ran Jacksonville's roller rink - got hooked on Illini basketball thanks to Andy Kaufmann