More farmers choosing economical, environment-friendly path

ROSSVILLE – Brian Andrews parked his moldboard plow in 1978, and he hasn't used it since.

Andrews, who farms near Rossville, was one of the first farmers in Vermilion County to try no-tilling corn and soybeans to help save the soil and money spent on fuel.

Silent, odorless killer can be stopped by procuring detector

Like a lot of homeowners, Mike and Jean Seibold weren't thinking about radon when they moved into their new house a decade ago.

It wasn't until recently – after reading a lot about radon in the news – that Jean Seibold got to wondering if some of that colorless, odorless poison gas could be seeping up through the ground into her family's home.

UI students spend semester working with poinsettias

URBANA – University of Illinois students who grew 60 different kinds of poinsettias in class this semester say the experience helped them pick favorites.

They invite area residents to visit the Plant Science Laboratory at 1201 S. Dorner Drive, U, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday to vote for favorites among the burgundy, pink, red, orange, white, speckled, curled and painted cultivars.

One year later, her Spirit is stronger, thriving

RANKIN – Sue DeBartoli grinned as she petted her chestnut-colored mustang named Spirit.

The rural Rankin woman brushed down the mare's mane as she led Spirit to the barn door. Spirit whinnied when it slid open. The horse pranced out into the sunshine of a cool November Vermilion County morning. Spirit turned her head toward her new owner.

Group continuing to raise money

MUNCIE – It's difficult to appreciate shade at this time of year, but Muncie Village Trustee Mark Seimer believes that's just one advantage of planting more trees in town.

"I think everyone likes a shade tree," said Seimer, who assisted in a project to plant several new trees along Muncie streets this past summer. "It's something tangible that you can see and everyone can enjoy."

Gibson City ethanol plant operation seeks area investors

GIBSON CITY – One Earth Energy LLC, a cooperative of five area grain companies that plan to build an ethanol plant near Gibson City, will begin offering individuals a chance to invest in the operation.

The first of several planned informational meetings for potential investors will be Monday at Kruse Center in Gibson City.

Computer donations overwhelm Danville program

DANVILLE – The warehouse at Bud's Express Cellular looked like a computer graveyard Wednesday, as many businesses and individuals took advantage of free computer recycling.

Vermilion County Recycling Coordinator Lynn Wolgamot said Wednesday's collection was supposed to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but they had to cut it off at 12:30 p.m., because the 20 recycling boxes – bigger than washing machines – were already full.

Warning: Mahomet Aquifer water supply has limits

CHAMPAIGN – A proposed ethanol plant in northwest Champaign will take up roughly 10 percent of the remaining local capacity of the Mahomet Aquifer, and Champaign County officials need to start thinking now about future water use, the chief of the Illinois State Water Survey is warning.

Derek Winstanley, chief of the Champaign-based water survey, wrote in an Oct. 27 letter to the city of Champaign that the aquifer can safely support about 16 million or 17 million gallons a day of additional local withdrawal. Current local water usage from the aquifer is 30 million gallons a day.

District works to improve emissions

URBANA – New MTD buses have better pollution control than older vehicles. But MTD keeps buses on the road for up to 16 years, so it needs to do something with its veterans.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Diesel Initiative Project is working with the University of Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, as well as a manufacturer, Cummins Mid-States Power, to retrofit old diesel buses.

Researcher on front lines of environmental checks

He was a forester working in a country – Iraq – without forests, and assigned to look over environmental conditions at U.S. military installations there – in the middle of a war – but Pat Guertin didn't feel out of place.

Oh, he knew he was in a war zone. The occasional bomb exploding in Baghdad, or the mortar fire he experienced in Balad, 50 miles north, made that clear, not to mention the equipage of his dining companions.