From AP - News Headlines -

Champaign Neighborhood Liaison Mable Thomas Dies

The head of the city of Champaign's Neighborhood Services department says a familiar face to neighborhood groups in the city will be missed.

Mable Thomas has been the neighborhood coordinator since the city formed its neighborhood services program in 1992. Thomas died early Tuesday morning in St. Louis after an illness of several months.

Kevin Jackson says Thomas was the main liaison between Champaign's many neighborhood groups and city government, and she was the right person for the job.

"She not only had to have the ability to remain calm and posed in potentially volatile situations, but dealing with a variety of stakeholder interests she had to be a strong-willed person and a very objective person to make sure that the right thing happened," Jackson said.

Champaign mayor Jerry Schweighart says Thomas's loss is a loss to city government and the community. Thomas created a small grant program for neighborhood projects and oversaw Champaign's role in the anti-crime program known as National Night Out.