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HOMER LAKE – Right now, the wetlands at this forest preserve aren't all that wet, after one of the driest summers in recent years.
But there are signs that Homer Lake Wetland, in its first year at the preserve south of St. Joseph, is changing.
DANVILLE – After 10 years as director of the University of Illinois Vermilion County Extension office, Michelle Pride will retire at the end of this month.
"It's the people I will miss the most," said Pride, whose last day will be Oct. 1.
ST. JOSEPH – Salt Fork River Partners is working with several local agencies to clean up the Salt Fork River on Saturday. Volunteers can register for the cleanup day at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
Volunteers will work with the Salt Fork River Partners, Prairie Rivers Network and Save Our Trees of St. Joseph to remove invasive plants from the Homer Lake Forest Preserve, Collins Woods and the new wetland restoration area along U.S. 150 near St. Joseph.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans who buy solar panels, wind generators or other types of renewable energy equipment can now get a little more bang for their buck.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently signed legislation creating a statewide net-metering program, which means customers can use excess power they generate through such equipment as a credit against electricity they buy from their utility company. In a year when electricity rates jumped significantly, that could make a big difference in a customer's bill.
TOLONO – With the landmark Labor Day weekend behind them, many Illinois farmers jumped on their waiting combines and headed into fields to see what the harvest has in store.
The corn crop has matured about two weeks earlier than usual, thanks to good spring weather and a hot, dry summer, and it's expected to be a bin buster, thanks to hybrids that performed well and rare but timely rains.
PESOTUM – Eric Rund flew Argentina's flag at his rural Pesotum farm recently to welcome visitors to Illinois and a real South American asado.
After the traditional cookout, Rund's 140 Argentinian visitors inspected his fields, played soccer, napped under his tractors and talked about 2008 crops going into the ground back home.
BEMENT – When Topflight Grain was pursuing village approval for a new railroad siding on Bement's southwest side, it was already on Plan B.
The original plan was to build the rail siding straight east, parallel to existing Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, said Scott Docherty, the general manager of Topflight Grain. The siding is required by the railroad because it allows the Bement-based co-op to control grain cars it's filling. This prevents other trains on the track from having to stop and wait behind grain cars that are being filled.
It might be hard to keep antibiotic-resistance-promoting genes down on the farm, according to a University of Illinois study.
The study showed antibiotic-resistant genes leaking from waste lagoons on large swine farms into groundwater in the area of the farms.
DECATUR – Vendors use all kinds of gimmicks to lure farmers who love power to their exhibits at the Farm Progress Show.
Gimmicks like the 1981 DeLorean parked at the Liberty Renewable Fuels display. And the 1968 Aston-Martin that's soon going to be racing around the world. And at the same display, a souped-up Chevy truck with a Corvette engine that attracts the young crowd, said David Skjaerlund, a Liberty representative who came to talk to potential investors in the Michigan plant now under construction.
RANTOUL – For those who are concerned about all the water used to create ethanol from corn, a consultant said Monday, consider how much more water might be used to make even more corn for ethanol.
Jack Wittman is the president of Wittman Hydro Planning Associates of Bloomington, Ind., the consultant firm hired by the East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Committee to work up supply projections for the area. The planners and residents of Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties met at the Rantoul Public Library on Monday afternoon.