Ben Zigterman

Ben Zigterman

February jobless rate up in C-U, down in Danville over 2018

CHAMPAIGN — The unemployment rate in the Champaign-Urbana metro area increased slightly in February compared with a year ago, from 4.4 to 4.8 percent.

The rate was also up in 10 of the state's metro areas, unchanged in two and dropped in two others, including the Danville metro area, where it declined from 6.6 percent a year ago to 6.3 percent.

Target confirms it will open second area store in Hub on Campus high-rise

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CHAMPAIGN — Target has confirmed it is adding a second location to the area, this one in Campustown.

Next on Neil? 'To be determined'

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CHAMPAIGN — Demolition of a building at 612 S. Neil St. is underway.

UPDATE: No one injured in I-74 truck fire, state police say

UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.:

MAHOMET — A semitrailer full of household goods caught fire after a failed tire erupted into flames Wednesday on eastbound Interstate 74 between Champaign and Mahomet. No one was hurt.

Illinois State Police investigated the accident that backed up and diverted eastbound traffic near Mahomet around noon.

Parkland’s ag program preparing future industry leaders thanks to million-dollar upgrade

CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College has invested $1 million to establish the Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture.

Parkland’s ag program director, Jenni Fridgen, hopes the center will help connect the industry to potential employees.

She said the center will develop curricula with the help of the precision ag industry that can be used by other schools.

Champaign County farmers' adopted legislator now the Illinois House Majority Leader

CHICAGO — Champaign County farmers now have the ear of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s right-hand man, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago.

Named the majority leader this year, Harris has been the Champaign County Farm Bureau’s adopted legislator since he first joined the Illinois House in 2007.

Farm Leader of the Year: Dan Schaefer

TOLONO — He’s not a farmer, but past News-Gazette Farm Leaders had no problem selecting Dan Schaefer as this year’s Farm Leader.

And while he’s not a farmer, he grew up on a farm, always wanted to be a farmer and has been in the business of helping farmers his entire career.

And after inheriting about 20 acres recently from his parents, well, now he is a farmer.

Carle at the Fields addition: gas station, car wash

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CHAMPAIGN — Another store has been announced for the rapidly growing Carle at the Fields development in southwest Champaign.

Q&A with new Illinois ag director: ‘I have the ability to talk the language’

When he was in the Illinois Senate, John Sullivan was the only farmer there and became the de facto spokesman for ag.

Now he's Gov. J.B. Pritzker's new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, overseeing everything from meat inspections to medical cannabis.

Just Askin' | Lake of the Woods golf course

How'd the Lake of the Woods Golf Course anniversary promotion do?

It was a success, according to David Sebestik, the Mahomet course's head golf professional.

"Quite a bit," Sebestik said of the promotion's sales, though he declined to share numbers. "Way more than a full membership that we've ever done."