Collins & Aikman to close all of its auto-part plants in Rantoul

RANTOUL – Collins & Aikman Corp. will close all three of its auto-parts plants in Rantoul, putting more than 500 people out of work, Village Administrator David Johnston said.

Johnston said the company notified the village Tuesday that permanent layoffs will begin as soon as Friday and continue through July 20. He said negotiations to sell the plant to Cadence Innovation broke down, resulting in the closure.

New type of business brewing in downtown Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Downtown Champaign could see its first microbrewery in coming months after the city council last week gave its tentative approval to creating a special liquor license category for such establishments.

Chris Knight, owner of the Blind Pig, 120 N. Walnut St., said he and his business partner, Joshi Fullop, will proceed with plans to convert a building Knight owns at 111 N. Market St. into a microbrewery to be called The Boneyard Brewery. The building is immediately north of the beer garden at Mike & Molly's.

Hospitals taking care to avoid infections

Wonder what your chances are of picking up that antibiotic-resistant superbug you've been hearing so much about lately?

Or – since it can be carried without symptoms – if you already have it?

Majority of characters in the, well, majority

In video games, it's a man's world, a white world and a world without a lot of senior citizens.

Don't expect to see many American Indians, either, or Hispanics. You'll find a fair number of blacks.

New research farm trying out techniques

DOWNS – Before rains came last weekend, Jason Webster was depressed by the sight of the crops he tends for Beck's Hybrids, especially the parched, rolling corn.

Ag real estate firm cultivating opportunities

CHAMPAIGN – You'd hardly expect one of the largest growers of almonds to be located in the Midwest.

But the Westchester Group, a Champaign-based agricultural real estate management firm, is one of the biggest players in almond production.

Customers line up locally for Apple device

SAVOY – In the Champaign-Urbana area, you can mark Chris Schroeder and Jeff Roberts down as the leaders of the pack where iPhone mania is concerned.

Schroeder and Roberts, both from Monticello, got to the Savoy Plaza AT&T Cingular store at 1 a.m. Friday for a chance to buy Apple's new high-tech, touchscreen cell phone, iPod and wireless Internet device all in one.

Newspaper's new facility ready to assemble, bundle ad inserts

CHAMPAIGN – The News-Gazette's new packaging and distribution facility in north Champaign has become operational, and customers should see the initial results Sunday.

The new facility, at 3202 N. Apollo Drive in the Apollo Industrial Park, assembles and packages advertising inserts distributed with the Sunday News-Gazette.

Tuscola goes all out for FutureGen officials

TUSCOLA – FutureGen Alliance Chief Executive Officer Mike Mudd decided to get a bite to eat before Thursday's FutureGen public hearing, so he stepped into Flesor's Candy Kitchen.

Inside he saw staff members wearing FutureGen T-shirts, and waitresses told him how thrilled they would be to have the clean coal plant come to Douglas County.

Wiccans moving to Rossville

DANVILLE – After four years, a Wiccan school is leaving Hoopeston, but it's not going far.

This week, the new owners will be moving the school into its new location at 117 S. Chicago St. in downtown Rossville.