CHAMPAIGN – A study released Monday by two University of Illinois farm economists shows that grain prices are likely to remain high as a result of ethanol, marking the first sustained increase in corn and soybean prices in Illinois in more than 30 years.
CHAMPAIGN – Those commercials with Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens touting compressed natural gas as a cheaper, cleaner alternative fuel for vehicles? Count city of Champaign officials among those who are interested.
The city council last week signed off enthusiastically on a "fleet sustainability pilot program" that will have the city buying a Honda Civic GX this fiscal year for the public works department. The car will operate on compressed natural gas. A public works pickup truck will also be retrofitted to run on compressed natural gas.
SAVOY – Twin City Honda BMW isn't selling the Honda Civic GX that runs on compressed natural gas yet, but the dealership will likely ask Honda for approval to sell it locally within the next few months, according to the dealership's sales manager.
The Civic GX is the only car powered by natural gas made by a major automaker in the country. The Champaign-Urbana area seems like a natural market for it, said Chris Rogers, Honda sales manager at Twin City Honda, 100 Burwash Ave., Savoy.
FAIRMOUNT – In addition to bottling wines produced from grapes grown outside its doors, Sleepy Creek Vineyards continues to expand the musical and artistic events being held in and around the tasting room.
Owners Joe and Dawn Taylor will hold their inaugural Salt Fork Art Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 27 and noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 28. They already have more than 25 artists committed to participating, but will accept more.
The Estate Sale, a home furnishings and antiques shop that opened in downtown Champaign last year, is nearly ready to open at its new location at the former Champaign-Urbana Public Health District headquarters.
The building at 710 N. Neil St. has been under extensive remodeling since store owner Bob Grossman bought it last spring, and the store is set to open there Sept. 27, according to manager Cib Johnson.
CHAMPAIGN – Vicky and John Buttitta used to worry about their regular customers when they wouldn't see them in a while.
Now, after their longtime family restaurant, Dom's Patio Villa, has been closed for nine months, the Buttittas are making plans to welcome all those customers back in a brand new place – the former Jillian's.
URBANA – Carle Foundation Hospital has become one of 15 hospitals in the state to receive accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, an international nonprofit organization devoted to reducing heart fatalities.
Accredited chest-pain centers show they can reduce the time it takes for a potential heart-attack patient to see a doctor, according to John Snyder, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Carle.
RANTOUL – The village is getting ready to use the Internet to market local industrial sites and available buildings.
Rantoul Economic Development Director Robert Bruce said developers, business leaders and the general public will soon learn about Rantoul development opportunities online, with the launch of a Web site within two months.
CHAMPAIGN – With unemployment at its highest level in five years, it might be a curious time to raise fundraising expectations.
But the slow economy means there are more people who need help, even as the state slashes funding for nonprofit agencies, fundraisers say.
URBANA – University of Illinois student Joanna Zahn thought she'd outsmarted a credit card solicitor when she supplied a fake address and Social Security number – all in the quest to get the free Subway sandwich promised in a coupon.
She never got the card, but to her surprise the information showed up on her credit report, and she had to make the effort to close the account and get it off her record.