Facing a shortage of substitute teachers, the Urbana School Board offers them a raise

URBANA – Urbana District 116 is the latest area school district to raise pay for its substitute teachers. The Urbana school board approved the increase Tuesday night. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Angi Franklin told the school board that the raise would be the first one for District 116 substitute teachers in more than four […]

As newspapers struggle, some areas are becoming ‘news deserts’

URBANA – The term “news desert” describes an area with a shortage of news coverage. According to research by Penelope Muse Abernathy, 28 Illinois counties have just one newspaper apiece, while two counties (Hamilton and Pulaski in southern Illinois) have none. As a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Abernathy […]

How Ford County gained a new newspaper and lost the old one

PAXTON – Ford County has lost a weekly newspaper. When the Ford County Record closed last month, it joined more than 21-hundred other American newspapers that have shut down since 2005. But the Ford County Chronicle, a new paper launched just last year, still serves Ford County, providing a test of whether residents of the […]

UPDATE: Champaign County Board approves a new district map — again.

UPDATE: The Champaign County Board approved a revised district map Thursday night. County board members voted along party lines to approve a map submitted by the board’s Democratic majority. It uses newly released Census data to revise a map approved last May. Republican Jim Goss criticized Democrats for calling their proposal an “equity” map — […]

The Flash Index shows the Illinois economy grew at a faster pace in September

URBANA – After two months of slight declines in the rate of growth, the Flash Index to the Illinois economy rose in September to 106.0. The latest reading shows a sixth straight month of economic growth in the state. Illinois and the U.S. as a whole went through a recession induced by the COVID-19 shutdown […]

Paxton-Based Ford County Record To Cease Publication

CHAMPAIGN – One of two local newspapers in central Illinois’ Ford County will close down this fall.  The publisher of the Ford County Record says the weekly paper will cease publication “within the next month or so.” The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette bought the century-and-a-half-old Paxton Record in 2007, eventually renaming it the Ford County Record. When […]

Hundreds Run Through Streets Of C-U In ‘Run To Remember’

CHAMPAIGN – Hundreds of runners and walkers turned out for the inaugural Run To Remember on Saturday morning in Champaign-Urbana. The 8K run and walk started off in front of the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium, 20-years after the September 11, 2001 attacks. And while it was not specifically created for that day, the race […]

“A Great Loss To Us All;” Funeral Held For U of I Police Lieutenant

URBANA – Family, friends and fellow police officers said farewell to University of Illinois Police lieutenant Aaron Landers Tuesday, at a funeral held at the Vineyard Church in Urbana. The 50-year-old Landers died August 23rd, from injuries suffered in a five-vehicle traffic crash the day before in Champaign. A driver involved in the accident has […]

De-Escalation Techniques Are Part Of New Urbana Police Use Of Force Policy

URBANA – A revised use of force policy for Urbana Police covers 14 pages, instead of the eight pages covered by the old one. And it puts a new emphasis on de-escalating potentially violent situations.   Urbana City Council members heard a presentation on the new policy at their Monday night meeting on August 23. […]

Gibson City Sets Up Fund For Flood Victims

GIBSON CITY – As Gibson City cleans up from last week’s flash flood, a special fund has been set up to help people pay for the damage.  Businesses, churches and private individuals have set up about two dozen GoFundMe pages seeking donations for people who suffered flood damage during the heavy rains that fell for […]

Urbana’s Emergency Housing Program Finds A New Home

URBANA – Urbana’s emergency housing program is about to move from rented hotel rooms to its own apartment buildings. The program gives shelter to homeless families and people with disabilities for just a few weeks, while helping them arrange for more permanent shelter. Cunningham Township, which covers the same territory as Urbana, launched the program […]

Thunderstorms Flood Roads In Gibson City

URBANA – A nearly stationary line of heavy thunderstorms brought flooding Thursday to the uppermost part of the Sangamon River Valley in Champaign, Ford and McLean Counties. Meteorologist Andrew Pritchard estimates that six to nine inches of rain fell in those counties, from early Thursday morning into the afternoon.   He blamed the flooding on […]