Danville Bumper Works plant closing by end of October

DANVILLE – Officials at Flex-N-Gate in Urbana are closing the Danville Bumper Works plant by the end of this month, according to a letter that company officials distributed to employees.

The letter stated that the plant at 647 Section St. will close by Oct. 22 and cited the downturn in the auto industry as the reason. The plant has been downsizing for some time, according to a longtime employee, Larry Thompson, and Vicki Haugen, president and chief executive officer of Vermilion Advantage, the local economic development office.

UI professor wants to help couples balance home, work lives

You've got to finish that work project on deadline.

Pay bills, wash the car, bring a snack to your kid's soccer game, find the dog's leash.

Stressed much?

If this sounds all too familiar, a University of Illinois researcher thinks you may be interested in a project focusing on dual-earner couples.

Angela Wiley, a UI professor of human and community development, focuses on an area of research called family resiliency. She explores ways to improve "the family's ability to remain strong and functional in the midst of stress," she said.

It's Your Business: A sweeter strategy for Fithian restaurant

When Tom and Sue Panepinto bought a restaurant in Fithian, they decided it would be out with the alcohol and in with the sweets.

The couple recently bought what used to be the Fithian Main Street Restaurant and Bar at 109 N. Main St., and changed the name to Fithian Main Street Restaurant.

Strategic Capital rated 'troubled'; two others downgraded

CHAMPAIGN – A bank rating service has sharply lowered its evaluation of Strategic Capital Bank and downgraded the ratings of two other area banks.

BauerFinancial Inc. dropped its rating of Champaign-based Strategic Capital Bank from "3 stars" to "1 star" in a report issued last month. The "3 star" rating is described as "adequate," while "1 star" is deemed as "troubled."

Champaign scuttles proposed increase in developers' fees

CHAMPAIGN – The city is backing away from a proposal to increase building permit and other development fees.

Following a contentious meeting Tuesday with about 20 local developers and builders, city officials sent an e-mail Thursday to those developers saying that "we are deferring action on this item until we have more internal consideration of the issues and options."

Chamber honors food cooperative for its massive growth

CHAMPAIGN – A food cooperative that moved to a new location this year has won the Small Business of the Year Award from the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

The award, presented at the chamber's annual meeting Friday, recognized how much Common Ground Food Cooperative has expanded in the past year.

Store plans fundraiser to support Kickapoo State Park

DANVILLE – Employees' interest in saving a local state park is behind a fundraiser set for Wednesday at a local department store.

Elder-Beerman will host Kickapoo Day from noon to 9 p.m. to benefit Kickapoo State Park, with "celebrities" on hand to help at the store in the Village Mall, 2917 N. Vermilion St.

72 Carle Foundation workers lose jobs in cost-cutting

URBANA – The Carle Foundation has eliminated the jobs of 72 of its 3,060 employees.

The job cuts were largely management and professional nonclinical positions, though a few of those managers headed clinical departments, according to Carle spokeswoman Gretchen Robbins.

UI forum panelist dissects causes of economic crisis

URBANA – A University of Illinois finance professor said several factors combined to produce the financial crisis that brought down several banks last month and prompted a proposed $700 billion fix from the federal government.

George Pennacchi said interest rates that were kept low too long, the practice of securitizing mortgages and federal policies subsidizing housing all contributed to the crisis.

UI flash index's September reading is lowest since 2004

URBANA – The University of Illinois flash economic index has fallen to its lowest point since 2004, reflecting further slowdown in the Illinois economy.

The monthly index fell to 101.1 in September, down more than a point from its August reading of 102.3.