Tech crews work to restore WCIA-TV analog signal

CHAMPAIGN – WCIA-TV is struggling to restore the analog signal for Channel 3 after equipment at its transmitter site in Seymour was damaged by lightning.

Some viewers who normally get the station over the air, rather than through cable or satellite, have been unable to get a clear signal for several days, said Russ Hamilton, WCIA's vice president and general manager.

Name to change to Wendl's amid other changes

URBANA – Now that the off-track betting parlor has moved out, The Brickhouse in Urbana plans to change its name to Wendl's – a variation on the TK Wendl's name it used until 2005.

General Manager Chris Corres said the north side of the establishment at 1901 S. High Cross Road will be renovated for a dance floor and banquet hall that will accommodate 100 to 200 people, while the south side will remain a restaurant and bar. Corres said the renovations will probably take until late June to complete.

Owner: Future of downtown Danville fire site is unclear

DANVILLE – Building owner Tenley Lippie would like to rebuild at 105-109 N. Vermilion St., where a March 26 fire tore through two businesses in downtown Danville. But the decision to rebuild hinges on funding.

Everyone's first choice, said Lippie of Fort Wayne, Ind., is to save the facade and reconstruct the building. But the question is whether that can be funded reasonably, she said.

Schnucks olives recalled

ST. LOUIS – Mario Camacho Foods has launched a voluntary recall of Schnucks brand Spanish olives in the 5.75-ounce jar size.

All Schnucks customers are urged to check for olives with this UPC code: 04131819003, and a date of "best by" 02/06/11, the grocery chain said.

Barfly under new ownership

CHAMPAIGN – There's a new owner at Barfly in downtown Champaign, and he's planning some changes.

Chris Knight, who also owns The Blind Pig pub downtown, closed on his purchase of Barfly at 120 N. Neil St. a week ago.

April home sales slump in Champaign County

CHAMPAIGN – The extent of the housing slump in Champaign County became more apparent in April, with home sales down more than 30 percent from April 2007.

Statistics released by the Champaign County Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service showed 177 homes were sold and closed on in April. That was down from 263 in April 2007, a drop of 32.7 percent.

Investment firm now Granite Hill Partners

CHAMPAIGN – Sports Venture Partners, a private-equity investment firm with an office in Champaign, has changed its name to Granite Hall Partners to reflect more accurately the firm's wider investor base.

The firm was founded in 2000 to provide professional athletes and sports executives the opportunity to invest in a diversified group of private equity firms. It now serves a broader range of individual and institutional investors.

Mattoon official encouraged after FutureGen hearing

David Wortman got his first taste of the nation's capital Thursday – but he wasn't exactly a disinterested tourist.

Wortman, Mattoon's public works director, headed to Washington on his own dime to advocate for building FutureGen in Mattoon. After a Senate subcommittee hearing on the topic, he still feels pretty good about the prospect.

Durbin questions Secretary of Energy about FutureGen

Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman faced some tough questions Thursday during a Senate subcommittee meeting about FutureGen.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois interrogated him about the reasons the Energy Department restructured the clean-coal project. Durbin was a guest of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Lincoln Hotel owners don't want historic tag

URBANA – The new owner of the Historic Lincoln Hotel agrees that the 78-year-old hotel is, well, historic and probably deserving of local landmark status.

But the Normal-based company that bought the hotel in March doesn't want the designation, contending that just the prospect of being declared a local landmark is driving away hotel brands that could turn around the hotel's fortunes.