Loyal clients keep area Realtor's name among best

CHAMPAIGN – Kay Bird is not a Pop Tart.

She is a Realtor with 31 years experience.

"A Pop Tart real estate agent is one who gets a call from someone who saw a 'For Sale' sign, says, 'I can be there in half an hour;' and jumps in the car to go," Bird says.

When you become successful, you don't need to be on call on 30 minutes' notice.

UI raises record $221.4 million in fiscal year 2009

URBANA – When the stock market plunged a year ago, sending the economy into recession, fundraisers at the University of Illinois braced for lean times.

'Mr. Parkland' named as group's Citizen of the Year

"Mr. Parkland," a.k.a. Carl Meyer, was honored Friday by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce with its Citizen of the Year award.

Meyer, executive director of the Parkland College Foundation who has also been involved with the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club and the Rotary Club of Champaign, was presented with the award at the chamber's annual meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign.

Do Good Consulting selected as best small business

URBANA – Urbana-based Do Good Consulting was named Small Business of the Year on Friday by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

Open house will celebrate Fire Prevention Week

CHAMPAIGN – A fire engine rally and a fire department open house are planned this weekend to kick off National Fire Prevention Week.

On Saturday, the Champaign County Fire Chiefs are organizing a fire engine rally.

Savoy concerned about loss of revenue with Saturn demise

SAVOY – Savoy Village Manager Dick Helton says the possible loss of vehicle sales at Saturn of Champaign County, which is located in Savoy, would decrease sales tax revenue for the village.

"We really haven't had a chance to reflect on this development and get our arms around it," Helton said on Thursday.

Attendance low at ICC hearing on water rates

CHAMPAIGN – For the Illinois American Water Co. officials who had to defend the utility's 34.7 percent rate increase request at a public hearing, it could have been worse.

There was plenty of criticism Thursday night, but not many critics.

State economy index hits lowest level since 1980s

URBANA – A University of Illinois barometer of economic activity in the state has dropped to its lowest level in more than 25 years.

The Flash Index fell to 90 in September, down from 91.5, a level it had been at for the previous two months. A reading below 100 indicates economic contraction in the state; above 100 means the economy is growing. The index has been below 100 since November 2008.

For UI alumus working at Pixar, filmmaking 'hard fun'

CHAMPAIGN – Making a Pixar animated film might take five years of hard, collaborative work, but gee, the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif., sure seems like a nice place to work.

University of Illinois alumnus Michael "wave" B. Johnson, who leads the acclaimed studio's Moving Picture Group, showed photographs of the Pixar workplace during a talk he gave Tuesday on the UI campus on Pixar history and culture and its production pipeline.

Garden Hills celebrates completed geothermal system

CHAMPAIGN – Garden Hills Elementary School has brighter hallways and cooler classrooms this fall, and the distinction of being the Champaign school district's "first green school."

On Tuesday, the school celebrated the completion of a geothermal system that provides a more efficient way to heat and cool the building.