Amid hard times, area developers still pursuing projects

URBANA – Two more Fortune 500 companies are expected to open offices in the University of Illinois Research Park in June, Fox Development spokeswoman Laura Frerichs said.

One is a software company, and the other a pharmaceuticals company, but Frerichs said she couldn't divulge their identities at this point.

Pantries patrol their stockpiles for recalled food items

URBANA – The mounting list of recalled foods from a contaminated peanut plant in Georgia has complicated life for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

Almost every evening, program director Andrea Rundell stays an hour or two after work to check her list of e-mail alerts from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just to ensure the emergency food supply is safe.

Loss of job deals double blow to modest earners


CHAMPAIGN – Modest-earning workers losing their jobs are especially vulnerable to the double devastation of losing not only their income but their health insurance, a study released Friday found.

Nationally, more than half of unemployed workers living on less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $44,100 for a family of four, are now without health insurance, according to the study by Families USA, a national nonprofit health care consumers organization.

Developer proposing senior living project in Danville

DANVILLE – An Indiana development company is considering the former site of the Vermilion County chapter of the American Red Cross for a new 72-unit, independent-living senior apartment complex.

John VanMeeter, director of development for Sterling Group in Mishawaka, Ind., said the group is still in the preliminary stages but has met with city officials, the neighborhood association president and the director of CRIS Senior Services to present its plans and has an option to buy on the property, which is owned by the American Red Cross.

Iroquois County couple accused of defrauding investors

WATSEKA – Additional charges have been filed in Iroquois County against a Milford man who was indicted along with his wife by a federal grand jury last week for allegedly trying to defraud an Iroquois County grain company's stockholders of more than $5 million.

An Iroquois County grand jury returned a 25-count indictment Thursday against Mikel Freeman, the former president of now-defunct A-Way Grain Inc., charging Freeman with 15 counts of felony theft and 10 violations of the Illinois Grain Code, according to State's Attorney Jim Devine.

Course offered at several churches helps families with finances

CHAMPAIGN – The unemployed man taking the finance class says he was scared to look at his credit report for 10 years. When he did, it was 28 pages of bad news.

County Market to sell Garcia's pizzas

CHAMPAIGN – For the owners of Garcia's Pizza-in-a-Pan, it's a potential match made in heaven: the pizza they've been making for decades and a grocery chain eager to sell it hot and fresh out of the oven at their deli counters.

Attorney general seeks remedy for Pages gift card holders

SAVOY – The Illinois attorney general's office will seek a remedy for customers with unused gift cards to the recently closed Pages for All Ages bookstore in Savoy.

"The attorney general's office is in the process of contacting the owners to determine what is happening," Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for that office said today. "We'll work to determine what, if anything, can be done to help those left holding gift cards."

Champaign officials defend choice for City Building contractor

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County is locked in a million dollar-plus dispute with Otto Baum Company Inc. of Morton, but the firm nonetheless won a nearly $700,000 contract from the city of Champaign this week to rehabilitate the brick and stonework at the City Building.

The city council voted 8-0 on Tuesday to hire Otto Baum for $698,000 for the project, which is expected to last from March 1 to Nov. 15.

Asbestos found, removed from Neil Street demolition site

CHAMPAIGN – Wrapped asbestos was found around pipes in the walls of a downtown building being demolished, but by Thursday afternoon a contractor had removed it.