Ben Zigterman

Ben Zigterman

Champaign County home sales down 14 percent in April over 2018

CHAMPAIGN — Home sales were down 14 percent in April in Champaign County compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

Statewide, home sales dropped by 6 percent compared with April 2018, and nationwide, sales are down 0.4 percent.

AG: Closure of Suburban Express doesn't mean end of consent decree

CHAMPAIGN — Suburban Express may have shut down, but the Illinois Attorney General says it still is required to live up to a court-ordered agreement reached last month.

The local bus company abruptly stopped operating earlier this month, and owner Dennis Toeppen said it would wind down "hopefully no later than July 31."

Upon further reflection, no lights needed for new highway signs

CHAMPAIGN — The company that makes Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes also makes a new reflective sheeting that's being installed on new highway signs around town.

Minnesota-based 3M makes the new sheeting, which a company out of Arkansas uses to make the new signs that contractors have been installing the past couple weeks along highways that run through Champaign-Urbana.

Area towns far friendlier to liquor sales than they used to be

When Mahomet annexed the land Fred Barbadillo's bar was on in 2017, the village faced a minor dilemma.

It had a Class A license for bars, but the limit was set at zero.

Mahomet ceased being a dry town in 2007, and "we went into it more cautiously. We didn't want a bunch of bars," Village Administrator Patrick Brown said.

Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarship winners honored

CHAMPAIGN — When Stanley Godia was a student at Urbana High School, he didn't necessarily know what he wanted to do in college.

So when he applied to get into the University of Illinois College of ACES, it was because "I just wanted to apply to a college that was kind of like a family."

That's what he's found at the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Coming to Campustown: 'Urban' Taco Bell

Submit your question for Tom's Mailbag by clicking here. His answers arrive at 2 p.m. Fridays

Another Taco Bell is coming to Champaign-Urbana, this one near campus.

Urbana's Landmark Hotel may finally have a buyer

URBANA — After at least three failed attempts in recent years, the Landmark Hotel may finally have a buyer.

Xiao Jin Yuan, who bought the hotel in 2010 for $600,000, told News-Gazette Media on Thursday he has signed an agreement with Marksons Affiliates LLC, a Maryland-based firm run by real-estate lawyer Samuel M. Spiritos.

Willard airline agent earns Tourism Impact award for work with travelers

CHAMPAIGN — If you've ever flown out of Willard Airport, there's a good chance you've met Paty Stipes.

"She is that helpful one at the American Airlines counter greeting almost everyone by name and providing help and making sure that all the connections down the line are going smoothly," said Jayne DeLuce, president of Visit Champaign County.

175 potential jurors for Christensen trial eliminated; pool now at 476

PEORIA — After both sides agreed that 175 potential jurors were ineligible to try the death-penalty case against accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen, another 476 remain in the jury pool.

Work will cut Prospect Avenue bridge over I-74 in half starting June 3

Submit questions to Tom's Mailbag by clicking here

CHAMPAIGN — Beginning next month, expect even more traffic on your next shopping trip to North Prospect Avenue.