CIB Marine Bancshares says merger negotiations are a bust

CHAMPAIGN – Central Illinois Bank's parent company says negotiations for a possible merger have fallen through, but it continues to look for a possible buyer.

CIB Marine Bancshares also said it will try to restructure its debt, some of which is coming due soon, in hopes of averting default.

Financing woes force closure of Champaign's Ginza & Co.

CHAMPAIGN – Ginza & Co., a longtime family-owned market and flower shop at 315 E. University Ave., C, has closed.

Current owner Bruce Ryckman said he closed the shop earlier this month and is trying to secure financing to reopen, but so far has had no luck.

Teacher's project aims to show students teamwork, empathy

CHAMPAIGN – The middle school students looked over the new refrigerators and stoves Wednesday – not your typical customers of large kitchen appliances, but they have jelly to make.

Tickets on sale for fundraising dinner to benefit immigrants

URBANA – Business is as brisk as ever at the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, where immigrants feel the pain of the recession just like other Americans.

"They lose their jobs like anybody else. They are faced with a crisis because they can't pay their rent or mortgage," said co-director Anh Ha Ho.

Longtime UI administrator to be honored with Athena Award

CHAMPAIGN – Kathleen Holden got her degrees in social work, but spent her career as a university administrator.

As it turned out, a lot of administration work ended up being social work.

Legal-assistance foundation sets personal finance classes

CHAMPAIGN – Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation will offer free personal finance classes on eight different topics, starting next Tuesday.

The classes will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at Land of Lincoln's new office at 302 N. First St., C.

Group considers pursuing Internet funding

CHAMPAIGN – A potential local consortium led by the University of Illinois might pursue economic stimulus grant funding to construct a "big broadband" network along the Bradley Avenue corridor in Champaign and Urbana.

Vacant building ordinance upsets Danville restaurant owner

DANVILLE – A city resident and business owner complained to the city council Tuesday night about the city's new vacant building ordinance.

David Quick, who owns Charlotte's restaurant on South Gilbert Street and a bed and breakfast in the same area, recently bought a building at 327 Robinson St. near his other businesses. The city would not issue a permit for a new roof until he told city officials his plans for the building and committed to renovating the dilapidated structure within a year.

Liquor law change stops sandwich shop's alcohol deliveries

CHAMPAIGN – The Fat Sandwich Company soon won't be able to deliver package liquor along with their sandwiches.

The city council voted 7-2 Tuesday night to close a loophole that had allowed the Campustown restaurant at 502 E. John St. to deliver cases of beer and liters of whiskey along with their sandwiches. The change will become effective Feb. 27,

Developers plan mixed-use future for Danville's Village Mall

DANVILLE – Village Mall developers are turning the former Steve and Barry's retail site into an office complex and marketing it as "The Commons."

While it's a first for the Village Mall, which opened in the mid-1970s, it's not new in other parts of the country, as other retail centers are creating mixed-use facilities to fill vacant spaces and increase pedestrian traffic.