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It's Your Business: Cheese shop a new offering at Old Farm

A new cheese shop and deli has opened in the Old Farm Shops in Champaign.

Cheese and Crackers stocks a wide variety of cheeses for a variety of different tastes. Not only does the store carry 10 blue cheeses to choose from for your blue-cheese-topped filet, it also plans to stock up on those squeaky cheese curds.

"We want to share our love of good food with the community," said Mindy Basi. The store is the brainchild of Mindy and her husband, Bart Basi. Their son, Bart Basi IV, also helps out.


U.S. Senate bill seen as positive step for biodiesel industry

DANVILLE – Employees at Danville's biodiesel production facility are more encouraged after the U.S. Senate passed a bill last week that includes a biodiesel tax credit that had expired Jan. 1, dampening sales in the entire industry.

But the tax incentive still has legislative hurdles to clear before the credit is actually restored to those who purchase biodiesel, an alternative fuel that's made from soybean and other oils, such as vegetable oil.


It's Your Business: New Asian restaurant in Baker's Square site

The newest Asian restaurant to open in the Champaign-Urbana area is Ginger Asian Bistro, which serves Thai, Japanese and Chinese food.

The restaurant is near Market Place Mall in the building that used to be home to Baker's Square, 1902 Center Drive, C.

"It's totally different from what it was before. It definitely has an Asian feel to it as soon as you walk in the door. There's a lot of marble and glass, and it has a high-end look," said Jeremy Martin, a restaurant consultant who is helping open the restaurant.


More electronics recycling events scheduled in Champaign; next one in May

If you weren't able to drop off your old electronics at the recent Champaign County recycling event, there are several more scheduled for later this year.

The next countywide residential collections will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following Saturdays: May 8, Aug. 7 and Nov. 6. Drop-offs will be at The News-Gazette distribution center, 3202 Apollo Drive, C.


Uni High grad's lighting technology has many fans in Hollywood

When you see realistic digital human or alien characters like the blue Na'vi in "Avatar," Superman in "Superman Returns" and a reverse-aging Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," you have University High School alumnus Paul Debevec to thank, in large part.

Debevec developed the groundbreaking light-stage technology that helps make digital actors trick viewers into believing they're seeing the real thing. For his contributions, the 1988 Uni grad recently received the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award.


Getting Personal: Danville radio stations manager Mike Hulvey

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. I read six newspapers online, five news and sports sites along with visiting our company sites and checking e-mail.


Competition medals are icing on cake for C-U's own ace

Local pastry chef Ashlee Roderick has created several themed cakes for large competitions. The awards they've won prove her career also has a theme: excellence.

Roderick, 37, has competed in three competitions and is planning to enter another cake this fall in the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. She's a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has owned and operated The Cake Artist's Studio in Champaign since 2001.


PDQ Printing's owners see American dreams disrupted

URBANA – Leon Odendaal saw PDQ Printing Services as an opportunity to move to the United States from his native South Africa.

He bought the Urbana-based business in 2007 and moved his family to Champaign County.

But three years later, unable to get a green card for permanent U.S. residency, he is selling the firm's assets and planning to return to South Africa – with eventual hopes of coming back.


Firms combine talents for new venture converting gas engines to electric

DANVILLE – Vermilion Advantage officials on Tuesday announced a collaboration of Automation International Inc. of Danville and ClearFlex Automotive Technologies of Wabash, Ind.

The two companies have created a new business Ecofit Inc., that will convert an automobile’s combustion engine to an electric engine system.

ClearFlex will provide the design and technical details along with marketing and sales services, while Automation International will bring engineering expertise and the ability to make the physical conversion.


Comcast's digital expansion adds to need for converters

URBANA – Comcast will digitize its "expanded basic" channels later this fall, requiring some area customers to get digital set-top boxes and digital adapters.

The change won't take place for several months, but Comcast is encouraging customers to make the change early by providing additional stations to those who do.

Most Comcast customers – about 78 percent nationwide – already subscribe to digital cable, so they won't need to make changes unless they have secondary TVs that aren't properly equipped.