Pork plant in Rantoul temporarily lays off 600

RANTOUL – A pork-processing plant here temporarily laid off its 600 workers as it faces a cash-flow crunch.

A default on a contract left Meadowbrook Farms with $4 million to $5 million in losses, which crippled the cooperative's working cash flow, Meadowbrook board Chairman Roger Walk said.

UI flash index's January reading confirms recession

URBANA – The latest reading of the University of Illinois flash economic index clinches it.

"If there were ever any doubts, the January index shows that the state's economy is clearly in recession like the rest of the country," said UI economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the monthly index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau sets price outlook meeting Feb. 16

GILMAN – The Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will host a commodity price outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Farm Bureau building in Gilman.

Champaign County officials to discuss ways to fill budget gap

URBANA – Champaign County officials won't rule out layoffs to meet a million-dollar deficit as bad economic news piles on.

County department heads will meet Thursday in advance of a 7 p.m. county board finance committee meeting at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E. Washington St., U.

Georgetown to apply for $4 million loan for wastewater plant

GEORGETOWN – City officials voted Monday to pursue a loan of up to $4 million to help pay for major renovations at the wastewater treatment plant.

Georgetown City Council members will begin the pre-application process for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's low-interest-loan program. The council is seeking up to $4 million, but may not need all of that.

Cabot Corp. cuts 14 employees at Tuscola facility

TUSCOLA – The human resources manager at Cabot Corp.'s Tuscola plant said he is hopeful there will be no further job cuts after 14 of the plant's 166 employees lost their jobs last week.

Last week, the industrial chemical company announced it would eliminate 500 jobs worldwide in response to declines in demand for its products.

2 accidents reported on area highways

Illinois State Police reported two traffic accidents on area highways Saturday.

A semitrailer truck overturned on an exit ramp at the Interstate 74 and Interstate 57 interchange in Champaign, sending the driver to the hospital. In the second accident, two cars collided on U.S. 36 in Douglas County, causing heavy damage to both cars.

Proposed subdivision faces first vote

CHAMPAIGN – A new 416-unit apartment complex could be one step closer to construction.

The Champaign City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a preliminary plat of Laurel Heights subdivision, a proposed project by Indianapolis developer Herman and Kittle Properties.

Danville laying off at least 20 city employees

DANVILLE – City administrators will be notifying in person today at least 20 city workers whose positions will be eliminated later this month in an effort to trim expenses and balance the city's budget.

On Tuesday, the mayor and city council will release exactly how many jobs are being cut and in what departments. On Saturday, 13 of 14 aldermen met with Mayor Scott Eisenhauer for about two and a half hours in closed session to discuss the proposed cuts. No action was taken at the meeting.

WILL documentary re-creates life of Lincoln the lawyer

Before he became president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln traveled more than 500 miles each year in the spring and fall as an attorney in Illinois' Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The future president rode through prairie grass on trails that were just wide enough for him and his horse as he headed from one central Illinois courthouse to another.