Seven area banks downgraded by rating service

CHAMPAIGN – Seven area banks have been downgraded by the BauerFinancial bank rating service, based on data filed with regulators for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

One of the banks, Champaign-based Strategic Capital Bank, was downgraded from a 1-star ("troubled") rating to zero stars, BauerFinancial's lowest rating. In August, state and federal regulators moved to bar the bank from increasing its assets, required it to increase its capital and prohibited it from accepting or renewing brokered deposits.

Former Park Inn now the Hanford Inn & Suites

URBANA – The former Park Inn in Urbana has a new name: the Hanford Inn & Suites.

Owner Charles Jia said he closed on the purchase of the hotel Nov. 14 and is planning renovations to both the interior and exterior. Those renovations include eventually converting a courtyard to an enclosed water park with water slides and games.

Loss of city funding spells trouble for Renaissance Danville

DANVILLE – Renaissance Danville board members are uncertain about the future of the downtown neighborhood revitalization organization, now that the city is cutting its primary source of revenue.

Some Renaissance board members, like Steve Rodman, are hopeful the nonprofit organization can survive in some form.

Danville withdraws funding for Renaissance program

DANVILLE - The future of the Renaissance Danville program is in doubt, now that the city will be cutting its funding for the remainder of this year and all of next year.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said in an e-mail Monday afternoon that the money the city is receiving through the telecommunications tax is not meeting revenue projections, so the city must reduce its expenditures within that fund.

Rantoul officials awaiting word on joining foreign trade zone

RANTOUL – Rantoul is one of two Illinois communities that could become foreign trade zones by March.

Rantoul Economic Development Director Robert Bruce said the federal commerce and treasury departments are scheduled to decide between now and March whether to approve the establishment of subzones in Rantoul and Galesburg as part of the Peoria-based Foreign Trade Zone 114.

Loan-guarantee deal would help Urbana preservation group

URBANA – The city council will consider Monday a proposal to have the city provide up to $85,000 in mortgage down-payment guarantees for a nonprofit group that wants to rehab and resell older homes in west Urbana.

If approved, the loan-guarantee agreement would allow the Urbana Development Group, a community development corporation, to obtain bank loans to buy homes without any down payment.

Tickets given for underage drinking

CHAMPAIGN – Police issued more than 20 tickets to people for under-age drinking in a Campus/Tap bar check over the weekend.

Champaign police officers and state troopers jointly conducted the bar check Dec. 6, resulting in 22 citations at licensed liquor businesses for possession or purchase of alcohol by a minor 18 to 20 years old.

Vote on Urbana Web-posting resolution to be close

URBANA – A resolution stating the city's intention to post a number of budget and finance documents on the Internet is coming up for a vote Monday night, and it's likely to be close.

The resolution is being put forward by Alderman Charlie Smyth, D-Ward 1, but it's drawing the opposition of Mayor Laurel Prussing, who said that the city already posts the documents listed in the resolution and that she doesn't see the point.

ACH: Future of plant was uncertain after deal with ADM

CHAMPAIGN – ACH Food Companies made it clear more than a month ago that the future of its Champaign plant was uncertain, according to a company official in Memphis.

The uncertainty ended Thursday, after two employee meetings were held to announce that the plant will close in six to nine months as a result of a new joint venture ACH Foods announced in October with Archer Daniels Midland.

The closure of the Champaign plant will put 250 out of work, with 200 of those employees represented by Teamsters Local 26.

Charges against man include attempted arson

URBANA – A Blue Mound man is due back in court next month after being charged with trying to burn down his ex-girlfriend's mother's business.

Matthew Schwass, 26, was arraigned Thursday in Champaign County Circuit Court on attempted arson, possession of a stolen vehicle, and burglary, all stemming from activity on Aug. 18 at Door Specialty, 1216 Parkland Court, C, owned by Linda Peters.