Ben Zigterman

Ben Zigterman

I-74 crash: 13 pigs euthanized; driver of pickup in critical condition

URBANA — Thirteen pigs died from Friday's crash that left a Mahomet man critically injured.

The 163 pigs that survived didn't make it much farther, eventually arriving at their intended destination: the Rantoul Foods hog-processing plant to be slaughtered.

Shopping around: Firefighters turning vacant buildings into training sites

CHAMPAIGN — The former Bergner's at Market Place Mall was used last week as a training site for Champaign firefighters.

No, it's not being torn down, as was the case last month when they trained at Dr. Howard Elementary School.

Instead, firefighters used the vacant mall space to practice rope-assisted searches in an environment they don't often get to practice in.

Just Askin' | It's yard-waste collection season again

Q: When are leaves being collected this year?

A: In Champaign, leaf and yard-waste collection began Oct. 1 and will continue until Nov. 27.

UI experts on Mega Millions: Fat chance, but, 'hey, why not?'

CHAMPAIGN — Even with a $970 million jackpot for today's Mega Millions drawing, the head of the University of Illinois' statistics department isn't planning to buy a ticket.

"It's not worth the effort," Douglas Simpson said.

But he won't blame you if you buy one or two.

UI scholar’s family to judge: Keep accused kidnapper's trial in Urbana

URBANA — In court motions filed this week, prosecutors and the family of missing visiting scholar Yingying Zhang said they want the trial of her alleged kidnapper and killer, Brendt Christensen, to remain in Urbana.

Urbana to sell downtown block for $1 in development deal

URBANA — With the promise of about 42 new townhouse units near its downtown, the city of Urbana plans to sell a vacant block for $1.

The city reached a deal with Green Street Realty to convert the 200 block of South Vine Street into a townhouse-style development that could be completed by May 2020.

Just Askin' | Recycling large plastics

Q: Both Champaign and Urbana provide information about local recycling of a range of materials. However, I haven't found anything about recycling large plastic items (laundry baskets, storage tubs, plant pots, etc.), which I believe are not accepted for curbside pickup. These items have recycling symbols, and it would be nice to keep them out of the landfill.

Night harvesting can be productive but poses safety challenges

Harvesting is a marathon for farmers, but some days it doesn't feel like that.

"It's not a sprint," said Steve Hettinger, who farms south of Philo. "But there are times when it feels like a sprint-marathon."

On days like that, he might be out past dusk harvesting as many acres as he can.

'A member of UIUC forever'

URBANA — About 100 people gathered at the corner of Clark and Goodwin in Urbana on Thursday for the dedication of a memorial garden for visiting University of Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang.

Ms. Zhang was last seen there on June 9, 2017. She is presumed dead by the FBI.

Judge gives accused kidnapper's lawyers more time to determine defense

URBANA — U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid gave lawyers for accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen more time to find a third mental-health expert.

In a federal court hearing Thursday in Urbana, Shadid said Christensen's lawyers will now have until Dec. 3 to say whether they'll seek a mental-health defense.