Rantoul Save-A-Lot to close at end of lease in April

RANTOUL – Kirby Foods will close one of its two grocery stores in Rantoul, Save-A-Lot, in late April, says Jerry Reynolds, president of the Champaign-based chain that also operates Jerry's IGA stores in the area.

The closing is the result of economic conditions in Rantoul, along with more competition from the new Wal-Mart store, Reynolds said.

UI wrestling coach leaves for top job at county YMCA

CHAMPAIGN – From now on, Mark Johnson will be pinning down donors.

The University of Illinois wrestling coach is stepping down after 17 years at the school to become chief executive officer of the Champaign County YMCA.

AT&T expansion plans include Champaign, Danville

Champaign and Danville both figure into AT&T's wireless network expansion plans this year. The company said this week it plans to expand the footprint of its third-generation wireless broadband network to new cities, including Champaign, Kankakee, LaSalle, Ottawa and Peru, during 2009. It also plans to add more than 40 new cell sites in Illinois, including one in Danville, the company said.

AT&T's third-generation, or "3G," network delivers LaptopConnect users typical downlink speeds of 700 kilobits per second to 1.7 megabits per second and faster uplink speeds of 500 kilobits per second to 1.2 megabits per second. The company's 3G network is now available in nearly 350 metropolitan areas across the United States.

Stimulus funds to cover 500 or more summer jobs for youths

CHAMPAIGN – A local agency will get nearly $1.2 million in stimulus funding to create between 500 and 600 summer jobs for disadvantaged area youths.

Additionally, the Champaign Consortium will receive $1 million in federal stimulus money to assist dislocated workers and jobless adults with training and other job-related assistance.

Roger Ebert announces his film festival's lineup

CHAMPAIGN – Roger Ebert believes it's a good thing that his film festival in Champaign is no longer tagged with the term "Overlooked."

The more general title, Roger Ebert's Film Festival, allows the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic to screen, at the 11th annual festival from April 22 to 26 at the Virginia Theatre, the Academy Award-nominated "Frozen River" and "Woodstock." The 1969 film, with director Michael Wadleigh present, will open the five-day festival.

Grant to link produce, nutrition education

SPRINGFIELD – Urbana has received a $7,500 grant through the Illinois Department of Agriculture to help promote its farmers market, which will open at Lincoln Square Village on May 2, a week earlier than in the past.

The grant money, which originates with a federal specialty crops promotion program, will be used to promote "Sprouts at the Market" at the Urbana farmers market, according to Lisa Bralts, an economic development specialist in Urbana and director of Market at the Square.

Danville businessman pursues deal to open liquor store

DANVILLE – Danville businessman Sam Hazari hopes a pre-annexation agreement with the city will satisfy aldermen who have concerns with his plans to open a drive-through package liquor store on East Main Street just outside the city limits.

Hazari planned to run the store at 3164 E. Main St. under a county liquor license, but the property falls within the zoning buffer that extends one and a half miles beyond city limits. The site is currently zoned B-2 highway business, a designation that requires a package liquor store to seek a special-use permit to operate.

Raggedy Ann, Andy Museum closing this year

ARCOLA – A Douglas County museum dedicated to two famous dolls will close at the end of the year.

Arcola resident Joni Wannamaker said she and her husband, Tom, will close the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in December.

4th annual Homer Business Expo scheduled April 4

HOMER – The fourth annual Homer Business Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 4 at the Homer Village Hall, 500 E. Second St.

The event, sponsored by the Homer Community Improvement Association, will showcase products and services offered by local businesses.

Historic Lincoln Hotel closes; sheriff's sale scheduled


URBANA — The company managing the Historic Lincoln Hotel says the hotel’s owners plan to go ahead with a multimillion-dollar renovation — even though a sheriff’s sale of the property is scheduled April 24.