Ben Zigterman

Ben Zigterman

Just Askin' | Privacy fences

Are adult stores required to put up fences?

The Lovers Playground locations in Champaign and Urbana both have fences surrounding their parking lots, but they're not required to.

"I don't know why they do that," said Fred Stavins, the Champaign city attorney. "We don't have adult regulations that would compel that."

New defense filings seem to shed light on why feds think UI scholar dead

URBANA — Among a flurry of motions filed Friday, lawyers for alleged kidnapper/killer Brendt Christensen said a police dog alerted to the presence of a body in the bathroom of Christensen's apartment during a 2017 search.

Refurbished bar will reopen without that Kam's smell

CHAMPAIGN — When the so-called home of the drinking Illini reopens, it will be missing one of its most famous features.

That Kam's smell.

"It doesn't stink" after a full regrouting, new owner Scott Cochrane said Thursday. "The stuff that was sitting in the grout lines was a big part of the stink."

Unemployment numbers down again in July throughout Illinois

CHAMPAIGN — The unemployment rate dropped in each of the state's 14 metro areas in July compared with a year ago.

In the Champaign-Urbana metro area, it dropped slightly — from 4.6 to 4.5 percent. In the Danville area, it dropped from 6.8 to 5.9 percent.

Suburban Express vacates Campustown office; destination unknown

CHAMPAIGN — As settlement discussions with the Illinois attorney general continue, Suburban Express is moving out of its Campustown location.

The bus company says on its website that it is moving from 714 S. Sixth St., C, but doesn't give a destination.

Its owner, Dennis Toeppen, declined to comment.

For Campus Florist owner, the bloom is finally off the rose

CHAMPAIGN — In the years since it opened, Campus Florist has survived two fires, student protesters smashing its windows and a burglary in 1997 that left owner Anne P. Johnston in a coma for a week.

A mainstay at 609 E. Green St., C, it has outlasted countless Campustown stores that have either moved or closed.

But after 77 years, Johnston said, "I think it's time."

UPDATE: First Busey adds to St. Louis-area stable

Biz questions? Email staff writer Ben Zigterman at

CHAMPAIGN — With the purchase of a bank in Edwardsville, First Busey Corp. will be one large step closer to $10 billion in assets, a threshold where various regulations kick in.

After 77-year run, Campus Florist to close

Questions? Ask 'em here

CHAMPAIGN — A Campustown mainstay plans to close at the end of October.

“We don’t have a set date yet,” said Anne P. Johnston, whose Campus Florist has been at 609 E. Green St. for 77 years.

Rauner signs pair of higher-education bills in stop at Papa Del's

CHAMPAIGN — Gov. Bruce Rauner returned to Champaign for the second week in a row, this time to sign two bills meant to keep Illinois students in Illinois colleges.

The first creates a $25 million fund that public universities can match to provide scholarships to Illinois students.

July home sales down over 2017, but year-to-date sales still ahead

CHAMPAIGN — Local home sales declined in July over the same month in 2017, but this year's sales to date are ahead of they were in 2017.

In July, 317 homes were sold, down 11.2 percent from the 357 sold in the previous July, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors.