DACC trustees OK $1 million loan for campus upgrades

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College trustees on Tuesday took another step toward issuing $1 million in bonds to make much-needed improvements to technology across campus.

Trustees authorized the college to enter into a $1 million debt certificate, or installment loan, with First Financial Bank in Ridge Farm, which is offering an annual interest rate of 2.6 percent. By law, the college must show debt before it can proceed with a bond sale.

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce selects its new director

RANTOUL – Lifelong Rantoul resident Chris Kaler has been named to succeed Joe Bolser as executive director of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kaler was selected from among five applicants, said Jeff Banister, president of the chamber of commerce board of directors. "It came down to two. We felt Chris was the right person for the job."

Police ramping up safe-driving campaign in run-up to Labor Day

Illinois officials warn drivers that extra patrols will be watching for drunken driving and other unsafe practices during the upcoming holiday period.

More than 200 agencies, including state and local police, will participate in a crackdown on impaired driving through a $1.8 million program funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Urbana's former Park Inn drops affiliation, puts up 'for sale' sign

URBANA – A new name is apparently on the horizon for the former Park Inn in Urbana, but a spokesman at the hotel was not saying Tuesday what it might be.

The "Park" on the Park Inn's sign has been painted over, and Kirit Patel, who said his brothers own the hotel, said more information about the change might be available at the end of the month.

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.