UI's flash economic index increases slightly in May

URBANA – The University of Illinois flash economic index was up for the first time in 10 months – but only slightly.

The index increased to 94.1 in May, up from 94 in April.

Provena's Danville, Urbana hospitals each get board

URBANA – The Provena hospitals in Urbana and Danville are now under the control of two new boards of directors.

The two hospitals, Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana and Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville, had previously functioned as one central hospital region for the Catholic health system, Provena Health, and had one board representing both communities.

Danville poised to assume Renaissance's asset debt

DANVILLE – Two months ago, the city cut more than 20 jobs and initiated other cost-saving measures to help its bottom line. Now, the city is prepared to take on a $123,000 debt amassed by the Renaissance program, a nonprofit, volunteer-led organization created by the city several years ago to rehabilitate downtown neighborhoods.

While assuming the Renaissance debt concerns some aldermen, the majority of the city council's public services committee recommended last week that the city assume the Renaissance debt, and its assets, which includes about seven properties in the downtown area. The full city council votes on the issue Tuesday night.

Get a leg up this summer with stylish sandals

Sometimes stress relief comes in the form of strappy sandals.

The power of cute footwear won't solve world problems, won't cure swine flu, won't undo a deficit. But pulling a Carrie Bradshaw and skimping a little elsewhere to make room for new shoes just might make you feel a little better – and, with some fashions as low as $14, skimping might not even be necessary.

Danville moves closer to getting its own casino

SPRINGFIELD – A bill that would permit casinos in Danville and three other Illinois communities was approved late Saturday night by the Illinois Senate, 30-28.

Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, voted for the bill. Area Republicans Bill Brady of Bloomington, Dale Righter of Charleston and Dan Rutherford of Chenoa all voted against it.

Report: Area saw increase in jobs

Champaign and Bloomington were the only metropolitan areas in Illinois to see an increase in jobs from April 2008 to April 2009, according to data released Friday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties, had 1,200 new jobs added between April 2008 and April 2009, according to the department.

Many area road projects projects beginning next week

Work on a number of road projects is scheduled to begin next week, weather permitting, and motorists are asked to exercise caution in all work zones.

In-ground or above, backyard pools are easy to create, enjoy

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the Law family point out that an in-ground pool costs no more than a nice automobile – $30,000 to $60,000.

An above-ground pool – a big seller this year – starts at $2,900.

"It's like putting Legos together, you can do it yourself," said Amy Law. She married into the Law family and pool business 10 years ago. "I think that's why they call it 'The Big Easy.'"

Groups getting more than $2.2 million from United Way

CHAMPAIGN – Fifty-five local programs will share $1.15 million in funding from the United Way of Champaign County starting July 1.

The United Way's board Thursday approved more than $2.2 million in allocations recommended by a group of 100 community volunteers.

Money from federal recovery act having impact locally

CHAMPAIGN – Money from the federal economic recovery act is making its way to East Central Illinois.

An event organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration on Wednesday highlighted how one local business has benefitted from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.