State in period of steady growth

URBANA – The Illinois economy continues to hum along in a sustained period of steady, modest growth, according to the latest readings of the University of Illinois Flash Index.

The index dipped to 106.7 in July, down from 106.8 in June. The index has varied by only two-tenths of a point over the past three months, a UI release stated.

Bank officials questioning annexation agreement

SAVOY – Since purchasing property at the corner of Neil Street and Windsor Road last November, the First State Bank has wasted no time with plans for a new facility.

Within two months, the bank acquired 2402 and 2404 Windsor Place, 309 Windsor Road and 2401 and 2407 S. Neil St. from Shapland Management Co. and an annexation agreement was approved by the village board, bringing the five properties into Savoy.

Agency takes over pension plan run by Urban League

CHAMPAIGN – A government agency that insures pension plans has taken over a small plan formerly run by the Urban League of Champaign County.

The defined-benefit plan, created in the 1970s, has only 15 participants and had been frozen since December 1991, meaning no one could join or earn benefits after that date, officials said.

Official: Yahoo was quick with decision

CHAMPAIGN – It took only six days for Yahoo to commit to Champaign-Urbana.

When Neel Madhav, a Yahoo employee who formerly worked for Motorola, heard in June that Motorola was closing its software design center in Champaign, he brought it to the attention of Bassel Ojjeh, Yahoo's senior vice president of strategic data solutions.

Wi-Fi coming to downtown Champaign

By next week, downtown Champaign should be covered in an invisible wireless net making free Internet access available to almost anyone with a wireless laptop and other mobile devices using the common Wi-Fi standard.

Employees from Champaign-based Pavlov Media, which is installing the system as a community gift and publicity tool; Go Networks, the wireless equipment provider; and the city of Champaign began deploying the necessary hardware Thursday morning.

Five years later, settlement over fish kill possible

Five years after an ammonia discharge into the Salt Fork killed about 100,000 fish, a half-million dollar settlement is near.

The governmental agencies and entities involved in the settlement are reviewing a consent decree and are expected to sign the document, which will eventually be made public.

First Busey says its merger with Main Street Trust complete

URBANA – First Busey Corp. announced Wednesday that it has completed its merger with Main Street Trust.

"Now that the merger of the companies is completed, we look forward to consolidating our two primary subsidiary banks, Main Street Bank & Trust and Busey Bank, into a single, rebranded Busey Bank this fall," said First Busey President Van A. Dukeman.

Yahoo to open C-U office in September

CHAMPAIGN – Yahoo plans to hire "upwards of 100 people" from the Motorola software design center in Champaign and have an office up and running in a month or so, a Yahoo vice president said today.

"We've got offers in people's hands," said Kevin Timmons, vice president of operations for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company. "We're currently looking at several options in the community for places to set down roots. This has to happen soon because we hope to be up and running in September."

Canadian partnership buys Champaign forging company

CHAMPAIGN – A longtime family-owned forging company in Champaign has been sold to a Canadian partnership.

Clifford-Jacobs Forging Co., which has been in business 88 years and employs about 120, was sold to IMT Partnership of Ingersoll, Ontario, for an undisclosed price in a deal concluded Tuesday.

Business picks a casino site, just in case

DANVILLE – Though state officials have yet to decide on creating more state gaming licenses as a solution to the state's budget crisis, one corporation has already spotted a potential site here for a casino.

The 37-2 Capital Corp., based in Belleville, has optioned land along the Vermilion River between Perrysville Road and the landfill, state Rep. Bill Black said on Wednesday.