Danville fire officials urge area businesses to prepare for crises

DANVILLE – Firefighters don't want to waste precious minutes during a fire at a business, figuring out where to go, who to talk to or what dangerous chemicals could be inside.

But if businesses and companies don't already have emergency plans in place, that's exactly what could happen.

Transportation costs cancel service program for workers

DANVILLE – A not-for-profit group's attempt to provide a bus service for low-income workers to get to jobs in Champaign County has officially come to a halt, because transportation costs were too high.

On May 12, the Driven to Succeed program started with two refurbished school buses hauling entry-level workers directly to job sites in Champaign County.

Gill sees double-digit percentages in growth

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign-based Gill Athletics has been "growing at a 10 to 15 percent clip for many years now," company President David Hodge said.

Gill, which is based at 2808 Gemini Court in the Apollo Industrial Park, makes many types of track and field equipment, including hurdles, vaulting poles, javelins, discuses and steeplechase pits. The company calls itself the largest manufacturer of track and field equipment in the world.

Champaign firm's poles, javelins, discuses prominent at Beijing Olympics

CHAMPAIGN – When track and field athletes claim medals at the Beijing Olympics this week, there's a good chance some of the equipment they used to achieve their feats came from Champaign.

Champaign-based Gill Athletics supplies many of the vaulting poles, javelins and discuses used in competition. Company President David Hodge can't help but hope some of the exposure from the Olympics leads to increased sales.

Champaign County farmland sells near record price

URBANA – An auction to benefit the Charles W. Christie Foundation raised nearly a record price per acre for Champaign County farmland – but not quite.

Trio names new supercomputer after NCSA pioneer

CHAMPAIGN – If you're going to name something after Larry Smarr, why not a supercomputer?

Smarr – best known in Champaign-Urbana as the founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications – returned to town this week for a ceremony dedicating a supercomputer in his honor.

Great Impasta owner honored for commitment to downtown

CHAMPAIGN – Harold Allston expects to move The Great Impasta to a new location next year, but the Champaign Downtown Association wants him to know how much it has appreciated his being downtown.

The Champaign restaurateur is the association's 2008 recipient of the Seely Johnston Downtown Commitment Award.

Animal-welfare agencies plan event in Urbana farmers' market

URBANA – In recognition of International Homeless Animals' Day on Saturday, animal-welfare agencies from East Central Illinois will convene from 7 a.m. to noon that day at Market at the Square in Urbana.

The event at the farmers' market is intended to raise awareness of the plight of homeless animals and to spotlight the work that animal welfare agencies do to find those animals new homes.

Charleston firm begins cleaning up Farmer City Cemetery

FARMER CITY – One look at the vandalized cemetery here, and you can see that the people who did this are not only disrespectful but just plain lazy.

Somebody knocked over dozens of tombstones at the Farmer City Cemetery last week, and there's no pattern to it – except that the criminals went after old, historic stones in poor repair.

Parkland hosting conference on farming and energy production

CHAMPAIGN – Farmers and area landowners can learn about the role Midwestern growers may have in producing energy at a conference planned next week at Parkland College.

"Preparing for Tomorrow's Harvest" is the theme for the conference, sponsored by the Champaign County Farm Bureau.