MAHOMET – Phil Nelson's not at all optimistic about a graceful and timely resolution to budget issues tying Springfield in knots.
Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, said he'll be surprised if there's a budget by the time the Illinois State Fair starts in August.
URBANA – The number of Japanese beetles emerging early in southern Illinois this month is off the scale.
But University of Illinois entomologist Kevin Steffey said that doesn't necessarily mean the hatch of the destructive beetles in East Central Illinois will be correspondingly enormous.
It was slim pickings when it came to pick-it-yourself berries this year in East Central Illinois.
"After that freeze in April, it was really slim," said Cary Howrey of Cary's Garden of Eatin' in rural Urbana.
ARCOLA – The only trade show in the world focusing on new equipment designed specifically for farming with horses is scheduled to get under way at the Vernon Yoder farm northwest of Arcola on Friday and Saturday.
This is the second time the Horse Progress Days has been held at Yoder's farm. The last time, in 2002, it drew 6,000 people. This year's show is expected to draw as many or more.
CHAMPAIGN – Forty years ago, Parkland College bought 137 acres of Jeff Bruninga's family's land, ending that centennial family farming operation.
It was the second eminent domain action taken against the 160-acre farm his ancestors started in 1859, when they broke down on their way west from Indiana.
BISMARCK – What a difference a day – and a rain – can make in grain markets.
Chicago traders, looking at widespread showers Monday and predictions of more of the same for the weekend, bid corn prices down the 20-cent limit Tuesday. July corn closed at $3.96 a bushel, and soybean prices dropped 26 cents, closing at a $7.99 cash price.
CHAMPAIGN – It takes a community to raise corn and soybeans at the Parkland College Land Lab.
Larry Thurow, his Parkland students and a long list of industry suppliers help Thurow plant crops on 30 acres on the college's southwest side and 12 acres on the northwest side.
TUSCOLA – Tuscola residents will have one final chance to give their views on bringing a $1 billion clean-coal power plant to town. The FutureGen Alliance and the U.S. Department of Energy will hold a public hearing on June 28 at the Tuscola Community Building, 122 W. North Central Ave.
The evening will begin with an open house from 4 to 7 p.m., when residents can meet one-on-one with FutureGen and Department of Energy representatives to share their views.
HEGELER – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are pursuing a cleanup of an old zinc smelter to reduce potential health risks to local residents and the environment.
But while testing in 2006 at and around the former Hegeler Zinc site yielded some zinc and other heavy metal contamination in soil and pesticide contamination in a small creek, officials said they do not pose an immediate health threat to people or wildlife.
A penny-sized green beetle may not sound like the stuff of horror movies, but the way Champaign-Urbana and other communities were once cleared of elm trees makes the emerald ash borer scary.
Dutch elm disease, which killed nearly 14,000 elm trees here from the mid-1940s to the early '70s, was caused by a fungus-spreading beetle that, like the ash borer, probably originated in Asia.