Businesses to get info on proposed water rate hike

CHAMPAIGN – An informational forum will be held Wednesday morning to give the business community a chance to ask questions about a proposed 60 percent water rate increase by Illinois American Water.

The forum, sponsored by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, will be held at 7:30 a.m. in Suite 201 in the chamber offices at 1817 S. Neil St., C.

It's your business: Mahomet facility welcomes seniors

A new assisted-living community will open in Mahomet next month.

And the 55-and-older adults it's catering to can move in with their pets.

Garcia's leaner operation on rise again after financial problems

CHAMPAIGN – You can't help but wonder. After 37 years of running a pizza business together, have these guys ever thought about doing anything else for a living?

"Oh sure, every week," says Ralph Senn, flashing a smile at Joe Ream, his longtime partner in Garcia's Pizza-In-A-Pan. "But it's what we do well."

Discomfort in furniture industry

URBANA – The furniture business isn't an easy business to be in these days.

Consumers aren't willing to pay more for home furnishings, but retailers still face rising costs for utilities, health insurance and employee benefits.

Carter's chief named Retailer of the Year

URBANA – Allen Carter Jr. of Carter's Furniture has been named the Retailer of the Year by the Greater Midwest Home Furnishings Representatives Association.

The organization is made up of representatives of furniture manufacturers who deal with stores in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and part of Minnesota.

NIU reinforces UI campus push for messaging signups

University of Illinois staff members had been chalking messages on sidewalks recently, hanging door tags at residence hall rooms and sending mass e-mails asking people to sign up for the campus emergency messaging system the UI put in place last fall.

The shootings at Northern Illinois University, by a UI graduate student who had attended NIU, drive home that message further.

Aging of America to force changes in the workplace

URBANA – America's population is aging, and the nation's employers need to deal with it, a Naperville consultant says.

The baby-boomer generation is beginning to retire, and that ultimately will leave the United States with a deficit of younger workers, Bill Forssander said at a Champaign County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday at Urbana's Holiday Inn.

Casual paper now growing around world

SAVOY – Brooke Bennett readily admits the Coffee News wasn't her own idea.

But she's the one who oversees distribution of the two-page weekly paper to restaurants, hotels and waiting rooms throughout Champaign, Urbana, Savoy and St. Joseph.

Exec discusses Big Ten network, Insight switch

CHAMPAIGN – Comcast Cable is willing to continue talks about picking up the Big Ten Network, a regional vice president for the cable company said.

But Richard A. Ruggiero gave no indication Comcast is any closer to an accord with the Big Ten conference.

"We're working on it," he said on a visit to Champaign on Wednesday.

Hospitals fear costly proposal

URBANA – Illinois hospitals stand to lose $4.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements over the next five years under President Bush's proposed budget.

And the impact, according to the hospitals, would be devastating.

"They're already losing money on every Medicare patient they get," said Ken Robbins, president of the Illinois Hospital Association.