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Timetable for assessing plant sites set

A rapid timetable has been set for completing environmental assessments of possible sites for the $1 billion FutureGen power plant.

Jack Lavin, head of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said in a phone interview Tuesday that FutureGen officials expect site assessment work for the Mattoon and Tuscola sites to be submitted by Nov. 17.

Kazakhstan professor makes visit to UI

When Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev selected him as one of 200 scientists from the East Asian country to be rewarded with foreign exchange trips, Murzabek Baikenov could have gone almost anywhere.

But the chemist, a professor at E.A. Buketov Karaganda State University in eastern Kazakhstan, didn't pick the Sorbonne in Paris or the University of Hawaii. He chose Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois.

C-U to get Boston's pizza restaurant

By The News-Gazette

If ordinary pizza just doesn't satisfy you, maybe Boston's The Gourmet Pizza will.

Illinois prepares perks to attract plant

SPRINGFIELD – The state of Illinois has made a direct transfer of $17 million to help cover expenses of the alliance that's planning to build a coal-burning power plant in Illinois – or Texas.

And the state has other incentives to offer if the FutureGen Industrial Alliance picks Illinois for its plant, said Jack Lavin, director of the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in a telephone interview Friday.

Tuscola last to make FutureGen's cut

CHAMPAIGN – Tuscola reached the final four in the competition for hosting the $1 billion FutureGen power plant because evaluators found shortcomings in the Effingham site.

Effingham actually had the fourth-highest score among eight sites deemed qualified for consideration. But evaluators said the Effingham site was relatively small, long and narrow, making it difficult to build a railroad spur for coal delivery.

Willard nets $1.15 million for projects

SAVOY – More construction projects are slated for Willard Airport in Savoy.

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded the University of Illinois airport $1.15 million to add a new passenger loading bridge and to rehab the area where airplanes park.

Tuscola, Mattoon officials say cities would be good fit

TUSCOLA – Selection as one of four possible sites for a high-tech coal generation plant puts Tuscola on the world map, said Mayor Dan Kleiss.

Both Tuscola and Mattoon are on a short list of proposed sites for a $1 billion not-for-profit FutureGen coal generation plant planned to serve as a demonstration site for clean technology.

Mattoon, Tuscola on short list

TUSCOLA – Tuscola and Mattoon have been chosen as two of the four finalists for the $1 billion FutureGen power plant, along with Odessa, Texas, and the "Heart of Brazos" site near Jewett, Texas.

Effingham and Marshall, the other two Illinois communities that submitted siting proposals, didn't make the short list, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson's office. FutureGen officials announced the finalists this morning at Washington's National Press Club.

Program for migrant workers' children keep kids on track

CHAMPAIGN – It was the first day of summer school for Angela Kleber's class of first- and second-grade students, but there was no easing into their return to the classroom.

Kleber had her students give her a writing sample, and she tested their reading level and gave them a math assessment, to determine where she needed to start with her teaching. At the Champaign school district's three-and-a-half-week summer school for migrant children, there's no time to waste.

City falls short on minority hiring goal

CHAMPAIGN – The city did not meet its goal for minority work force representation in 2005.

Champaign's goal was to have 14.7 percent of its work force be minorities, but the final percentage was 12.5 percent.

The figures are contained in the city's 2005 affirmative action report, which will be discussed by the Champaign City Council at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The council meets in study session in council chambers at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.