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This conference is for the birders

The West Nile virus has been bad for birds, but golf courses may actually be good for them.

Those are among the wide range of bird-related topics being discussed this week at the University of Illinois by nearly 500 scientists from around the world, at the 121st Stated Meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union.

SBC brings DSL to villages

DANVILLE – Marc Blakeman, SBC vice president for external affairs, says SBC will soon bring Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet service to rural Vermilion County.

Catlin, Georgetown, Westville and Oakwood should all have access to the high-speed Internet connections by the end of 2004.

Fuel cell company comes to C-U

CHAMPAIGN – Two Canadians in search of a new technology found one they liked at the University of Illinois, so they're starting a fuel-cell company in Champaign.

Neil Huff and David McCloud, both former Ballard Power Systems executives, leased space for the new business, Renew Power, this week at UI's EnterpriseWorks facility.

Danville Wings will stay put for next two seasons

DANVILLE – Although the contract has not yet been signed, the Danville Wings and David S. Palmer Arena have agreed to keep the hockey team in town for at least the next two years.

In a joint announcement Thursday afternoon, team and arena officials said the two sides have agreed in principal to a two-year contract, which will be signed in the near future when Wings General Manager Josh Mervis returns from a business trip.

Chevy's coming to downtown Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Downtown Champaign's growing entertainment district appears to be getting its first chain restaurant.

Developers of the One Main building, now rising up from the corner of Main and Neil streets, said Thursday they have a tentative agreement for Chevy's to take over some 15,000 square feet of the first floor upon completion of the building, set for April.

Stratton placed on watch list

CHAMPAIGN – Even as its test scores have improved more than at any time in its brief history, Champaign's Stratton Elementary is the only school in East Central Illinois to appear on the State Board of Education's watch list.

The school, which opened in 1998, is one of nearly 600 schools in the state to appear on that list, and state officials say that means districts where the named schools are located must give students a chance to switch to better performing schools in the district.

Urbana hospitals offer new radiation therapy

URBANA – A new kind of radiation therapy that gives cancer patients a better chance of survival and reduces side effects is now being offered at both Urbana hospitals.

Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Covenant Medical Center have both added "Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy," which improves cure rates by delivering more powerful, precisely-targeted doses of radiation to a tumor while sparing the healthy tissue around it.

Officials identify sky diver killed

RANTOUL – Rantoul Police Chief Paul Dollins and Champaign County Deputy Coroner Duane Northrup on Thursday afternoon identified the victim of Wednesday's sky-diving crash as Frank Ludvik, 59, of Ypsilanti, Mich.

Mr. Ludvik died after his primary parachute malfunctioned during a solo sky dive Wednesday evening at the World Free Fall Convention.

Urbana woman loses money in scam

URBANA – An elderly Urbana woman was apparently defrauded in another example of a lottery or sweepstakes scam, according to Urbana police.

The 84-year-old woman, who lives at the Clark Lindsey Village, received a phone call Monday from a man who convinced her that she had won second prize in a sweepstakes, according to Urbana police Lt. Michael Metzler.

$6 million released for UI facility

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently thawed a $6 million grant to the University of Illinois to help move the Illinois Natural History Survey into more spacious facilities at the UI Research Park.

The survey, which is part of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has been seeking relief from its cramped quarters on the UI campus for more than a decade now, said Chief David Thomas.