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Homer delays vote on contract with coal mine

HOMER — Village board members will not be voting on a water and sewer agreement with Sunrise Coal tonight, according to Mayor David Lucas.

The special meeting was canceled because work on the contract had not been completed in time to provide adequate opportunity for review by board members and the public, Lucas said in an email.

Environmental Almanac: Researcher conducts high-tech hunt for Chicago food gardens

Although press coverage of urban agriculture sometimes seems to suggest that growing food in the city is a new phenomenon, it's really a tradition with deep roots in Illinois and one that's especially strong in Chicago.

Updated: Meeting canceled on Homer water, sewer deal with mine

Updated 10:15 a.m. Monday:

Editor's note: This meeting has been canceled. See story here.

HOMER — The village has scheduled a special meeting on Monday night with the intent to vote on a water and sewer agreement with Sunrise Coal.

No final draft of water agreement yet in Homer

HOMER — Village board members hope to meet next week to vote on an agreement with Sunrise Coal for treated water and sewer services for a proposed coal mine, but a final draft of the agreement is not yet in the hands of board members, according to Mayor David Lucas.

Environmental Almanac: UI researchers study fate of snakes in warming climate

I'm more fond of snakes than most people. My family and I enjoy finding garter snakes in our yard, and I consider it an added bonus to see water snakes in a river when I'm fishing. My daughter even keeps a corn snake for a pet. But I retain in my heart a special place for rat snakes. They are the largest nonvenomous snakes in the eastern U.S., and they get tame fairly quickly with handling.

Recycling program, fall hazardous waste collection both report jump in participation

URBANA — Local officials have some good news to report on two garbage-related fronts after tallies from 2012 were finalized this week.

Mayor breaks tie in straw poll on Homer water for coal company

HOMER -- In a straw poll vote Monday night, six Homer village board members were split on a proposed water contract with Sunrise Coal company.

How coal mine would use water

The proposed Bulldog coal mine needs up to 20,000 gallons a day of treated water for drinking and other purposes, including shower houses where coal miners, per regulations, clean up at the end of their shift. Sunrise's Indiana mine uses on average 13,000 gallons a day of treated water.

Board to decide Monday night on selling water to coal company

HOMER — Susan Forsyth has had a "Stand Up to Coal" sign in her front yard since the "issue" first began several months ago.

The issue is Sunrise Coal's request that the village of Homer supply the company's proposed Bulldog coal mine in Vermilion County with treated water and sewer services and a second request for raw water to be used in the actual mining of coal.

Illinois' coal future: Arrows point up

Illinois has an abundance of coal that underlies more than 60 percent of the state, basically the lower two-thirds of Illinois, in what's known as the Illinois Coal Basin.