Ethanol exec says credit crunch doomed projects

ROYAL – The president of Heartland Ethanol said the credit crunch – not the economics of ethanol – was the main reason his company abandoned efforts to build seven ethanol plants in Illinois, including one in Royal.

"The main issue was the ability to finance the project with bank loans," Heartland Ethanol President Walker R. Filbert said. "That came crashing down when the housing industry had its meltdown last August. We've been digging out from that for 10 months for all businesses, let alone ethanol plants." Heartland Ethanol had planned to build a 100-million-gallon ethanol plant on 65 acres north of Royal. But the company announced Monday it was pulling the plug on that project as well as projects in Griggsville, Vandalia, Gridley, Waverly, Ransom and Mendota.

WEFT working to have new transmitter by July 4

CHAMPAIGN – WEFT Radio, 90.1FM, expects to receive a new solid state transmitter just before the Fourth of July.

Station manager Mick Woolf said the new unit will be more reliable, with state-of-the-art technology, and will provide a better sound for WEFT's listeners.

Casual restaurant setting up shop in Campustown

URBANA – Sandella's Flatbread Cafe will open in the east campus area this fall.

Two franchisees from Bloomington-Normal have signed a lease with JSM Development to open a Sandella's at the new Gregory Place East, 700 S. Gregory, U.

Firm pulls plug on Royal ethanol plant

ROYAL – A Tennessee-based ethanol company has given up on its efforts to build an ethanol production plant in Royal.

Mike Craig, a spokesman for Heartland Ethanol, based in Knoxville, Tenn., announced Tuesday that his company has abandoned its proposal to build a corn-based dry mill ethanol plant at Royal.

WEFT planning fundraiser for new transmitter

CHAMPAIGN – Community radio station WEFT-FM is reviewing options for paying for a new transmitter after its old one was damaged by storms in late May.

The volunteer-operated, listener-supported station at 90.1 FM still isn't yet back to full power, station manager Mick Woolf said. WEFT is sponsoring a fundraiser to buy a new transmitter from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Mike 'n' Molly's beer garden, 105 N. Market St., C – next door to the WEFT studio.

Consolidation, marketing yielding dividends for C-U company

CHAMPAIGN – Scott Moore said he couldn't have imagined the situation two years ago: three established printing companies in Champaign-Urbana coming under common ownership.

But that circumstance came to pass this year, with Printec Press, Crouse Printing & Mailing and Custom Color Graphics uniting under the Premier Print Group name.

Radio station WEFT regains some of its range

CHAMPAIGN – WEFT 90.1 FM, Champaign-Urbana's community-based radio station, is now broadcasting to about half its normal coverage area after officials successfully installed a temporary transmitter Saturday evening.

The station's 20-year-old, 10,000-watt transmitter was damaged by water and lightning on May 30, forcing it off the air for eight days. The temporary transmitter is effectively broadcasting at just under 2,000 watts, according to Station Manager Mick Woolf.

Wonder store now in Pioneer Plaza spot

Wonder where Wonder is? Wonder no more.

The Wonder/Hostess Bakery Outlet has moved from its longtime location at 301 W. Bloomington Road, C, to the east end of Pioneer Plaza at Prospect Avenue and Bloomington Road in Champaign.

Vendors report slow sales this market season

URBANA – The frequent rains, gas prices and condition of the economy may all be affecting this year's farmers' market at Urbana's Lincoln Square Village.

The 100-plus vendor market draws people in search of a wide variety of fresh, locally grown, raised and made food, crafts from local artisans, fresh flowers and the music of local musicians. Like other farmers' markets around the country, it's been growing in size and popularity, said Market at the Square Director Lisa Bralts.

Department of Energy formally ends FutureGen participation

The U.S. Energy Department finally fulfilled its word on FutureGen – by formally stating Friday that it won't help build the clean coal-burning power plant in Mattoon.

The word came to FutureGen Alliance CEO Michael Mudd in a letter from Energy Department contracting officer Keith R. Miles. It was obtained by The News-Gazette.