SPRINGFIELD – The state and federal dollars set aside for Illinois' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will go a little farther this year, thanks to concessions made by major utility companies.
At the state's request, Ameren, Nicor Gas, Peoples' Energy and Commonwealth Edison have agreed to waive reconnection costs and suspend deposit requirements for LIHEAP customers. Those costs can add $400 or more to a heating bill, according to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office.
URBANA – Health Alliance Medical Plans has been ranked one of the nation's top 10 health plans in a study just released by U.S News & World Report.
An Urbana managed care company owned by Carle Clinic, Health Alliance was ranked 10th best in the nation for its Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Point of Service plans on a list of 257 commercial health plans nationwide.
SAVOY – Champaign County's fastest-growing community is about to get even larger. And its big neighbor to the north is getting bigger, too.
A Minnesota-based developer, Select Development Co., plans to start a 240-acre subdivision called Liberty on the Lake on the northwest side of Savoy starting in the spring.
CHAMPAIGN – As the city expands northward to Olympian Drive, more projects are popping up along the far reaches of North Prospect Avenue.
This spring, people began moving into the Ashland Park subdivision on the east side of Prospect.
If Cookie Monster went looking for a local bank in which to stash his cash, which one would he choose?
Why, we imagine, one that bakes its own chocolate chip cookies and hands them out to the customers.
Like many of their neighbors, Charles and Celia Evans are concerned about deteriorating businesses and rising crime in the area.
Former Eastern Illinois University professors living in southeast Urbana, they bought their home in May 2001 and commuted to Charleston for three years, before retiring.
CHAMPAIGN – Chris Knight said he's been thinking about opening a microbrewery in downtown Champaign for five years.
"You couldn't have a city more suited to having a microbrewery than this one," said Knight, owner of the Blind Pig tavern in downtown Champaign. "It surprised me there isn't a brewery here, particularly given that you've got a sophisticated beer-drinking crowd in Champaign-Urbana."
If you're in the mood for a cookie – and not just any cookie, but one home-made by a champion baker – you might check out Cookies N' More.
That's the new homemade cookie business launched by Tiffany Talbott of Ogden, who for the last two years has been the baker of the Grand Champion cookie at the Champaign County Fair.
Shopping for a new or used car or truck? You might want to be extra careful over the next year.
Hundreds of thousands of vehicles in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were damaged by flooding during the recent hurricanes. Many of these vehicles will be totaled and sent to salvage yards and auction houses. Some will end up in the hands of unscrupulous sellers.
Consumers might want to monitor their checking accounts a bit more closely and be wary of cashing certain checks in light of several warnings issued about a Web site which allows people to create their own checks.
At the Web site, www.qchex.com, registered participants can create and issue checks for a fee. But the Web site, which is owned by Neovi Data Corporation, does not investigate or verify any of the transactions, warned the Federal Deposit Insurance.com.any and local police.