In Savannah, moss-dripping trees, butter-drenched food

If you want to experience genuine Southern hospitality, try Lowcountry cooking and visit a city of unique charm and 300 years of rich heritage, pack your bag and chart a course to Savannah, Ga., fondly referred to by Savannahians as the "Southern Lady."

You can explore the historic district, delight in blended styles of architecture, visit 21 miniparks graced with oak tree allees, view stately mansions enhanced with tall white columns, take a Savannah River paddleboat cruise, peek through elaborate wrought-iron fences guarding intimate formal gardens, and encounter the essence of Southern life of bygone days, artfully wedded with modern development.

2009 Showcase of Homes reflects trends, tones

SAVOY – Colors in today's brand new houses form stark contrasts.

A black cabinet hangs on a dark green wall atop baseboards painted white.

Fritz Flower Shop closing next Friday

URBANA – Fritz Flower Shop has been in bloom in Urbana since 1952, but next Friday, it's due to wilt.

Insurance firm files lawsuit over 2008 fire in Danville

DANVILLE – A lawsuit filed by the insurance company of a downtown building owner claims that a March 2008 fire that destroyed one downtown building and damaged others started because an employee of the former business, Danville Book World, was smoking.

Filed in Vermilion County Circuit Court, the lawsuit seeks to recoup damages from a potentially responsible party, according to Cozen O'Connor, the attorney for American Insurance Company, which is seeking the damages.

Local union upset about hiring of Florida company

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the union representing stage hands and riggers who work at the University of Illinois believe the UI has wrongly given their work to a nonunion company from Florida.

More than a dozen members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 482 based in Champaign staged an informational picket near the Assembly Hall on Thursday.

First Busey reports $20.5 million net loss in 2nd quarter

URBANA – First Busey Corp. reported a $20.5 million net loss for the second quarter of 2009 and indicated its woes in Florida are not over.

The loss, which amounted to 57 cents a share, was greater than what industry analysts had predicted for the Urbana-based bank holding company. Analysts had estimated a loss between 8 cents and 18 cents a share.

First Busey reports $20.5 million loss for quarter

URBANA — First Busey Corp. reported a $20.5 million net loss for the second quarter of 2009 and indicated its woes in Florida are not over.

Champaign survey reveals preference for older styles

CHAMPAIGN – Residents of Champaign strongly prefer the look and style of older neighborhoods. They enjoy shopping in neighborhood centers and think the city needs more family-entertainment opportunities.

Those are among the findings of a five-month online survey of residents by the Champaign planning department in preparation for a new comprehensive plan for the city.

Danville Housing Authority getting flooded with requests

DANVILLE - The Danville Housing Authority recently opened its Section 8 housing wait list, which attracted 700 new applicants in five days and reinvigorated a push from city officials to give preference to applicants from the Danville area.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer has asked the local housing authority, verbally and in writing, to consider reducing the number of public housing units and public housing vouchers in Danville and to consider a local preference when prioritizing applicants on the wait lists.

Tiny town of Hope all that's left of trinity of communities

Faith, Hope and Charity and the greatest of these – apparently – is Hope.

Not many people know that in the mid-1800s, the three communities of Faith, Hope and Charity were settled in western Vermilion County.