Business

Business

Two Charleston residents convicted of tax fraud conspiracy

PEORIA – A federal jury found two Charleston residents guilty of tax fraud conspiracy earlier this week.

Kenton W. Tylman and Debra J. Hills, both of Charleston, and Brent A. Winters, of California, were accused of hiding nearly $7.3 million in income from the Internal Revenue Service through the sale of sham trusts and financial packages.

Champaign County's jobless rate at highest in 18 years

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County's unemployment rate has jumped to the highest point in at least 18 years – and is no longer one of the lowest in the state.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday that 6.5 percent of the county's labor force was out of work and looking for a job in June. That was up from 4.9 percent in May.

Champaign votes to pursue buying Urban League land

CHAMPAIGN – The city will pursue the purchase of property at the southeast corner of Neil Street and Bradley Avenue for future redevelopment.

During a city council study session Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to direct city staff to pursue purchase of the property from its current owner, the Urban League of Champaign County.

First Busey blames Florida market for 65% drop in earnings

URBANA – First Busey Corp. took a big hit as its second-quarter earnings dropped 65 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Urbana-based bank holding company attributed many of its problems to its southwest Florida market, where a once-hot housing market turned sour last year.

Economic seminar cites positives in Ford County

GIBSON CITY – With rising agricultural output and increased property values, employment and retail sales, Ed Scharlau said the glass is more than half full economically in Ford County.

"Very few counties the size of Ford County in the United States would have positive figures like these," said Scharlau, vice chairman of Urbana-based First Busey Corp. Scharlau spoke to about 70 community leaders last week at a Busey Bank economic seminar held at the Railside Golf Club in Gibson City.

Sears looking for dealer-store growth in small towns

CHAMPAIGN – In an age when many retail chains are downsizing, Sears is looking to expand its network of dealer-owned stores in small towns – including several in East Central Illinois.

Specifically, Sears is looking for people interested in opening Sears Dealer Stores in Clinton, Monticello, Paris, Rantoul and Watseka, said Jon Phillips, director of new store development for Sears Dealer Stores.

A peach of a cobbler: Champaign woman's 50 years in shoe business

CHAMPAIGN – Shoes always have been a part of Erma Ballard's life. Her first job was in a shoe factory in Flora.

She learned how to repair shoes about 50 years ago and never stopped.

Former Air Force musicians spreading wings in C-U

Most people have weird notions about military bands, say Shawn and Darden Purcell. They think of John Philip Sousa and marching music, and bass drums and bugles.

Shawn, a guitarist, and Darden, a jazz vocalist, will tell you their experiences with the U.S. Air Force bands were quite different.

East Central Illinois banks weathering stormy times

 

CHAMPAIGN – It's a shaky time for the financial sector, with IndyMac Bank being taken over by the federal government and regulators taking extra steps to help prop up mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Stock prices have plummeted for many banks across the country, including Cleveland-based National City, which has four branches in Champaign-Urbana. And a few banks – but only a few – in East Central Illinois have reported quarterly losses this year or annual losses for last year.

Patrons sorry that Danville's Starbucks closing after only a year

DANVILLE – Sitting outside soaking up Friday's warm summer sun and an iced green tea from Starbucks, Robin Legittino was disappointed to know she may not have a Starbucks to visit the next time she's in Danville,

"It's part of my daily routine," said Legittino, who works for one of the largest chiropractic practices in Chicago and was in Danville on Friday doing some work at Genesis Chiropractic, 2807 N. Vermilion St.