Investor shares tips for getting most for money

CHAMPAIGN – Angel investor Teresa Esser has a few rules about which companies she'll invest in.

One is, she won't invest in an entrepreneur who has a background in engineering but no experience in sales.

FutureGen alliance welcomes funding vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The actions of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee have the FutureGen Alliance lauding what it calls the second sign in a week that their clean coal-burning plant is on track.

The Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved funding legislation for the 2009 fiscal year Tuesday. The FutureGen Alliance said in a press release that the measure would protect $134 million slated to help pay for the FutureGen plant proposed for Mattoon.

Water leak a suspect in slope's slide

DANVILLE – Dr. Bhirom Buranakul and a local contractor are speculating that a recently discovered water leak in a building on North Logan Avenue may partly be the cause of a landslide on the bluffs overlooking Ellsworth Park.

But Steve Wegman, manager of utility engineering for Aqua Illinois, said it's extremely premature to connect the leak in the house with the slippage along the bluff.

Dutch firm to move operations to Streator company

STREATOR – A Streator company founded by Champaign native Douglas Grunnet has been sold to a Dutch firm that plans to move some of its manufacturing to the U.S.

Automotive Lifts and Machinery Corp., which has a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Streator, recently announced it sold its stock to Stertil BV, which makes lifts and dock levelers in Kootstertille, Netherlands.

Urbana building's foundation set to go in this week

URBANA – Footings and foundations for the Gateway Center retail/office complex at Lincoln and University avenues are scheduled to be laid this week, with completion of the project scheduled for March 2009.

When finished, the three-story, 31,000-square-foot building will house the University of Illinois Office of Continuing Education on its second floor and part of its first floor, said David Cocagne, president and chief executive officer of the building's developer, Vermilion Development.

Charleston drive-in bringing back the magic

CHARLESTON – As I drove into the entrance of the Stardust Drive-In for a showing of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," one of the first faces I saw was the theater's owner, Mark McSparin.

On most nights McSparin is selling tickets at the front gate.

Piano bar tuning up for opening

URBANA – Lincoln Square Village promises to be a livelier place at night with the opening of the 88 Broadway piano bar this week.

The bar, which has scheduled its formal opening for Friday, will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays. It's located on the east side of the mall's high court, where the entrance to Bergner's used to be.

Entrepreneurial speaker series starting

CHAMPAIGN – EnterpriseWorks is launching "Startup Cafe," a new monthly entrepreneurial speaker series, next week, with the first speaker being author and angel investor Teresa Esser.

Esser will speak at noon Tuesday in the atrium of EnterpriseWorks, 60 Hazelwood Drive, C.

New name for developer, marketer of sports tours

CHAMPAIGN – Look for a new sign – and a new name – to be going up outside the Dodds Athletic Tours office on South Neil Street.

Ken Bruce, the executive vice president, said the business will use the name "Premiere College Sports, together with Dodds Athletic Tours."

Fireworks shells fall into crowd at Monticello

MONTICELLO – Injuries were reported Thursday evening during a fireworks display here when errant shells went into the crowd, according to witnesses and emergency officials.

An ambulance crew member, who declined to be identified, said seven people were taken to Kirby Hospital in Monticello for treatment after the accident. Officials at Kirby Hospital declined to comment.