ADM, ACH announce joint venture

CHAMPAIGN – The ACH Food Companies plant in Champaign will be affected by the Memphis, Tenn.-based company's decision to form a joint venture with Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland.

Three area initiatives earn 2008 Governor's Home Town Awards

A new village park, an academy dedicated to giving former high school dropouts a new start on life and a new memorial for the men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored by the state last week as the 2008 winners of the Governor's Home Town Awards.

The awards are annually presented by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Rantoul woman earns agency's Employee of the Year honor

Georgia Womble's boss says she is the type of person you would want by your side in troubled times.

"She's just very compassionate and a very gentle person," said Rosalie Adkins, area administrator for Community Care Systems, where Womble works as a caregiver for elderly clients.

Womble was recently recognized as an Employee of the Year by the Illinois Department on Aging. There were nine statewide recipients of the award honoring older workers who continue to play a very important role in the workforce.

Altrusa donating products to Developmental Services Center

CHAMPAIGN – The Developmental Services Center today was expecting two truckloads of cleaning products from Altrusa International of Champaign-Urbana.

Altrusa, a service organization of business and professional leaders, collected some $2,000 worth of things like detergent and anti-bacterial wipes for the center as part of Make A Difference Day.

UI study-abroad students learning to reduce carbon footprint

PHILO – The Vienna Woods it isn't, but Jim Evans' walnut grove gave participants in the Austria Illinois Exchange Program a lesson in conservation.

Seven students and two University of Illinois faculty members pedaled bikes from campus to the Evans' home near Philo on Sunday to get ideas of how to make Champaign-Urbana a greener place.

Voters to decide method for choosing Oakland fire board

OAKLAND – Voters in the Oakland Fire Protection District in northern Coles County will decide on Nov. 4 whether they want their fire department board members appointed or elected.

Brian Bower, an attorney for the district, said that the three fire department trustees have been appointed by the Coles County Board for many years.

Wolfram Research founder projects further growth

CHAMPAIGN – While some companies scale back, Wolfram Research continues to swell in what founder Stephen Wolfram calls a "rapid expansion phase."

"We've added 24 new people in the last two months," Wolfram said on a visit to Champaign last week. "We're hiring lots of technical research-and-development people and adding strengths in business and marketing."

Paxton resident hears, answers call for wild animals

PAXTON – Ken Walker lives in a two-story house on Paxton's east side and keeps two cats and a dog as pets.

But his online business offers a pair of white rhinos or tiger cubs, and about 30 kinds of other unusual animals.

Walker is an exotic animal broker, a middleman between the people who want to sell exotic animals and those who want to buy them. Almost none of the animals come through Paxton.

Area business wins new car in planetarium raffle benefit

CHAMPAIGN – Central Illinois Manufacturing in Bement won a 2009 Saturn Sky on Friday night as part of a raffle by the Parkland College Foundation.

The event raised $45,900 to help pay for a new digital video system at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

Friends, family hold birthday fete for LED inventor

CHAMPAIGN – A shadow box of achievements, a $300,000 graduate student award and a cake with LED candles capped a day-long symposium Friday that celebrated Nick Holonyak's birthday.

Dozens of friends, family and colleagues came to honor the life of Holonyak, inventor of the first practical light-emitting diode in the visible spectrum, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the recipient of numerous national and international awards and honors.