Small-town dealers managing to weather economic storm

MONTICELLO – Bill Abbott has been selling cars for more than 40 years and says he's "never seen a time like this in our business."

But Abbott is quick to point out the auto industry isn't alone in its suffering.

Even with one arm, mother knows she can 'still work wonders'

Life takes unexpected turns, and for Amish mother and housewife Cynthia Schrock of Arthur, a tragic twist and turn in her first spring gardening day last April came when the tines of a brand new rototiller ripped and chewed into the flesh of her right arm, splintering it and slamming her to the ground.

Helplessly pinned on her back under the tiller, she prayed that she stay conscious because her 2-year-old daughter, Valerie, stood beside her. "Mommy, let's go inside," Valerie cried. "Let's go inside." "I can't," Cynthia told her. "Stay close. Stay with Mommy."

Fisher closing not seen as hurting other plants

Champaign, Charleston could adopt products

CHAMPAIGN – Vesuvius USA's operations in Champaign and Charleston won't be greatly affected by the closing of the company's facility in Fisher, a Vesuvius official said Friday.

Has this village got a deal for you

CHAMPAIGN – A lottery ticket costs $1, and now so does a piece of land in Rossville.

The village board voted earlier this week to sell empty lots in housing subdivisions on the south end and east end of town for $1. There are more than 20 lots available for sale. The village is betting the dollar deal will pay big dividends.

Auto parts supplier to lay off 100 for 2 months

RANTOUL – One hundred employees at Eagle Wings Industries in Rantoul will be laid off for two months, beginning Jan. 30, a company official said.

The layoff at the auto parts supplier is related to production at Mitsubishi Motors in Normal, which accounts for "a large percentage of our business," said Lynette Brokate, Eagle Wings' human resources supervisor.

Area grain companies plan merger

TOLONO – Two area grain companies plan to merge to form a new cooperative.

The board of directors of Fisher Farmers Grain and Coal Company and Grand Prairie Co-op Inc. this week unanimously approved a plan to consolidate.

Vesuvius plant in Fisher to close

CHAMPAIGN – The closure of Vesuvius USA's plant in Fisher will have a big impact on the town, said Village Trustee Debra Estes.

"They do business at the bank, restaurant and grocery," Estes said.

Stylist helps patients 'Look Good...Feel Better'

CHAMPAIGN – Janet Trosper can't save a cancer patient's life, but she can do a lot to help someone suffering the ravaging effects of cancer treatments look and feel better.

She knows what beauty products work best on irritated skin and how to pencil in eyebrows to replace the real ones that fell out.

Survey: Vermilion County's business outlook not all gloomy

DANVILLE – The economic recession hasn't completely dampened the optimism of local employers, as some expect steadily growing sales by the second quarter of the year, according to an employer survey by Vermilion Advantage.

The economy has definitely affected some Danville area companies and businesses, like Alcoa, Walgreens and local recyclers, which have reduced, or are in the process of reducing, their work forces.

But a recent survey of 30 Danville-area employers, representing about 10,097 jobs or 27 percent of the local work force, showed that 63 percent expect steady or steadily growing sales in the first quarter of this year. Another 11 percent expect steady or growing sales by the second quarter of the year.

Insurance investigators sorting through rubble of Metropolitan Building

CHAMPAIGN – Insurance investigators Thursday morning were at the scene of the Nov. 7 downtown fire as a demolition company began removing rubble from the fire scene.

Investigators will sort through the rubble to try to find what might have caused the fire, which destroyed the Metropolitan Building, 219-222 N. Neil St., and damaged the adjacent buiding at 215 N. Neil St.