C-U unemployment rate falls below 4 percent in September

CHAMPAIGN — Unemployment rates continued to drop in September compared with a year ago, to below 4 percent in Champaign-Urbana.

Across the state, the jobless rate dropped in each of Illinois' metro areas and in all 102 counties, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Here are the highlights from the latest unemployment report:

Gies: 'I learned the guns and butter of economics' at UI business school

CHAMPAIGN — It took a little over an hour, but Larry Gies made his way through a sea of University of Illinois business students.

Faces glittered with appreciation as he gave advice, posed for selfies and listened to personal stories. He meant to meet more of the crowd that turned out near the end of Friday's festivities but was whisked away to a meeting.

Habitat for Humanity, ReStore named small business of year

CHAMPAIGN — For the first time in recent memory, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year award will go to a nonprofit.

"I've been here almost 18 years, and I do not recall that we have given this to a not-for-profit in the past," said Laura Weis, the chamber's president.

Champaign County home sales see healthy rise in September

CHAMPAIGN — Home sales picked up in September in Champaign County compared with a year ago, even as they dropped slightly across the state and nation.

"There's strong consumer confidence, and we've still got low interest rates," said Max McComb, the new president of the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

UPDATED: UI College of Business gets record $150 million gift

CHAMPAIGN —  A Chicago entrepreneur and his wife have donated $150 million to the UI College of Business, the largest gift in the university’s history and one of the largest ever to a business school.

In honor of donor Larry Gies and his wife, Beth, both UI alumni, the university will rename its business school as the Gies College of Business.

Clydesdale team welcomed at UI horse barn built for large steeds

Here come the Clydesdales.

Not the Budweiser brand, but a team from Express Employment Professionals that tours the country as goodwill ambassadors for the national staffing company.

First Busey's net income up 21.8 percent in third quarter

CHAMPAIGN — First Busey credited another increase in quarterly net income to recent acquisitions.

In the third quarter, First Busey Corp. reported a net income of $18.8 million, up 21.8 percent from $15.4 million during last year's third quarter.

Year-to-date, First Busey has had a net income of $50.4 million, up from $38.2 million through three quarters last year.

Railroad execs discussing sustainability, environmental issues in Urbana

URBANA — Representatives from top railroads are gathering on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana this week for the 19th annual Railroad Environmental Conference, where they discussed remediation, sustainability, how to reduce emissions and other topics.

Champaign manufacturing plant wins 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award

CHAMPAIGN — A manufacturing facility in Champaign that makes plastic caps was awarded the 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award.

The award has been handed out to Illinois organizations since 1987 by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.