Owners of restaurant branch out to Mahomet

MAHOMET – With nearly 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, Alex and Donna Garduno decided to open their second restaurant, this one in Mahomet.

The Mahomet Square Family Restaurant opened Nov. 26 in the former location of Esmeralda's at 804 Eastwood Center.

Ameren says area poses no danger; '09 cleanup likely

CHAMPAIGN – Ameren and state environmental officials say they do not believe the site of an old coal gasification plant at Fifth and Hill streets poses any immediate health threat to neighbors.

They also say that Ameren is well into the planning stages for a multimillion-dollar excavation and cleanup of the site, which Ameren expects to take place in 2009.

Wolfram Research accepting toy donations

CHAMPAIGN – Friday is the drop-off day at Wolfram Research for the Marine Toys for Tots program.

Donors can come through a covered area near Neil Street and Kirby Avenue, between the Trade Center and Hawthorn Suites, to drop off a gift or check and get a doughnut, according to Marcus Wynne, public relations director at Wolfram.

West Newell landowner exploring development options

DANVILLE – A local developer says he still has plans for the property he owns on the northwest corner of West Newell Road and Bowman Avenue.

"Right now, we're exploring our options," said Paul Offutt of Security Ventures Inc. "We're still going to go forward with it."

Panel to weigh permit, discuss requests for conditional OK

DANVILLE – The Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a special use permit by Mennenga Construction to convert a single-family house at 1209 E. Fairchild St. to a two-family house.

The commission is also scheduled to have a general discussion on commission requests for conditional approval.

Courtesy Ford owner picks up local Dodge franchise

DANVILLE – The owner of Courtesy Ford Lincoln Mercury is taking over the local Dodge franchise and wants to expand his business.

J.R. Fregia, the sole owner of Courtesy, 231 W. Main St., Danville, said he had been negotiating with Chrysler officials for quite a while.

Area rallies in support of FutureGen

ARCOLA – In most parts of the world, children aren't happy to receive a lump of coal from Santa Claus.

That's not the case in Douglas and Coles counties, where children gleefully accepted lumps of coal from Santa Claus on Sunday as part of a FutureGen for Illinois rally at Arcola High School.

Restaurant in southwest Champaign put focus on family

CHAMPAIGN – It's been only 2 1/2 weeks since Jupiter's at the Crossing opened, but already the new family-oriented restaurant is pulling in crowds.

Carlos Nieto, an owner of the restaurant, said he purposely didn't advertise the opening. But through word of mouth, Jupiter's fans learned of the Nov. 14 opening date, which came 10 years to the day after the original Jupiter's opened in downtown Champaign.

Two more buildings going up at Village at Crossing

CHAMPAIGN – A few more buildings are going up at Village at the Crossing in southwest Champaign.

Ralph Sackett, one of the owners of the retail/office development, said a two-story office building at the south end should be ready for its first tenants in February.

Dropoff in Champaign-Urbana home sales only slight

CHAMPAIGN – The number of homes sold in Champaign County is down 5 percent from where it was a year ago.

But perhaps surprisingly, the average sales price of a home in October went up from the previous month.