Tolono, Dewey grain companies to consolidate Aug. 1

TOLONO – Stockholders of two major grain companies in Champaign County have agreed to a merger.

Grand Prairie Co-Op, based in Tolono, and Fisher Farmers Grain and Coal Co., based in Dewey, are scheduled to consolidate Aug. 1 under the new name Premier Cooperative Inc.

Plans for new Chanute Air Museum facility in motion

RANTOUL – The Chanute Air Museum has begun making plans to build a new facility.

Museum Board President Bill Geibel said Tuesday that the board has hired a Champaign engineering firm to complete an architectural study for the first phase of a proposed new building.

Battle of Bands to pit local groups for cash at Illini Union

The Illini Union Board will present Battle of the Bands at 8 p.m. April 24 the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe in Urbana. Admission is free.

Each of the nine or 10 bands will perform two songs or for seven minutes in front of an audience and three judges. The cash prizes will be $500, $350 and $100 dollars for first, second and third places.

Champaign IRS office to hold Saturday hours March 21

CHAMPAIGN – The Internal Revenue Service office in Champaign will be open March 21 to help people with tax questions.

The office at 310 W. Church St., C, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day – a Saturday – as will the IRS offices in Decatur and Springfield.

N-G employees, publications big winners at state contest

RANTOUL – Sandy Pistole, advertising director for News-Gazette Community Newspapers, was recently named Outstanding Advertising Sales Manager of the Year for a weekly newspaper by the Illinois Press Association.

Pistole oversees sales at eight community newspapers with a staff of about 12 sales representatives. Her team surpassed its budget by nearly 50 percent and far exceeded the previous year's budget.

3 Danville men to be honored by community action agency

DANVILLE – The East Central Illinois Community Action Agency will honor three Danville men for their service to the community at its 43rd annual dinner meeting.

Jim Crose of Crose Insurance handles the agency's insurance plan, but he does a lot more than that, according to Odette Watson, educational Talent Search supervisor for the agency.

Cleanup to begin soon at former coal-gasification plant site

CHAMPAIGN – The cleanup of a former coal-gasification plant site at Fifth and Hill streets should begin early next month and is expected to take about a year to complete.

But a neighborhood group that represents residents who live near the north Champaign site said it doesn't think the cleanup plan goes far enough to deal with contaminated groundwater and vapors leaving the site.

Campustown business owners didn't notice any major problems

CHAMPAIGN – Anne Johnston, owner of a Campustown flower shop for years, said she spent Friday and Saturday watching young people on Green Street as she usually does for Unofficial St. Patrick's Day.

"They were pretty good, really," Johnston said. "I was really impressed."

Busey Bank's parent company sells stock to Treasury

URBANA – Busey Bank's parent company has sold $100 million of preferred stock to the U.S. Department of the Treasury through its Capital Purchase Program.

Urbana-based First Busey Corp. on Friday issued the Treasury 100,000 shares of preferred stock and a warrant to buy up to 1,147,666 shares of First Busey common stock at an exercise price of $13.07 a share.

Rantoul actively marketing ex-Meadowbrook Farms plant

RANTOUL – Rantoul's economic development director said the village will work aggressively to find another pork company to move into the Meadowbrook Farms pork processing plant.

The board of directors for Meadowbrook Farms voted last week to enter bankruptcy and to liquidate the cooperative, which has more than 100 members and hog suppliers.