Ameren wants comment on high-voltage line

A roundup of business news:

Ameren seeks comment on proposed line

CHAMPAIGN — Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois has scheduled an open house Tuesday in Champaign for area residents to learn more about routing for a high-voltage transmission line.

In Champaign County, the line would run 28 miles — or more — between Ameren's Rising substation west of Champaign and a substation in the Sidney area.

That project is isolated from the rest of the 345,000-volt Illinois Rivers transmission line that would run from Palmyra, Mo., to just west of Terre Haute, Ind., by way of Quincy, Meredosia, Pawnee, Pana, Mount Zion and Kansas, Ill.

The line would also have a 41-mile offshoot that would extend north from Meredosia to Ipava.

The open house in Champaign will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., C. Experts will be on hand to discuss the project one-on-one with area residents.

Leigh Morris, a spokesman for Ameren Transmission, said no routes have been identified at this point.

Tuesday's open house is to get input from residents on "opportunities and sensitivities" Ameren Transmission should consider in devising routes, he said.

On July 31, the company plans to hold a second open house, at which time it will outline possible routes. A third open house is planned Oct. 2, when Ameren Transmission will spell out proposed routes, Morris said.

The company expects to file its case with the Illinois Commerce Commission in November, with a final order expected no later than July 2013, he added.

The high-voltage line will be supported by single-shaft steel poles ranging from 80 to 120 feet tall. Spans between poles are expected to be 700 to 1,000 feet. Farmers should be able to farm up to the concrete base of the poles, Morris said.

More information about the proposed line can be found at http://www.ilriverstransmission.com.

Bon-Ton 'disappointed' with first quarter

YORK, Pa. — Bon-Ton Stores — which operates 272 stores including Bergner's in Champaign and Carson Pirie Scott in Danville and Mattoon — said its fiscal first-quarter results were "disappointing."

In reporting results from the 13 weeks that ended April 28, the company said: "Weak sales, particularly in April, prompted aggressive markdowns, which resulted in the erosion of gross margin."

The company said it will refine its merchandise assortment, reallocate space to high-growth merchandise and renew its focus on smaller markets, among other things.

Bon-Ton reported a net loss of $40.8 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $36 million a year earlier.

That equated to a net loss per share of $2.23, compared with a net loss per share of $2.01 a year earlier.

Net sales for the quarter were $640.8 million, down from $649.9 million a year earlier. Best-performing merchandise during the quarter included footwear, cosmetics, small electronics and basic housewares, the company said.

'Twitter for Professionals' workshop planned

CHAMPAIGN — Science educator Joanne Manaster will lead a free, hands-on workshop, "Twitter for Professionals," from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St.

Registration is not required. Novices as well as current Twitter users are welcome. Beginners will be guided through the process of setting up a Twitter account.

Manaster is an online course developer and science lecturer at the University of Illinois School of Integrative Biology. She shares her passion for science through her website, http://www.joannelovesscience.com — and she has more than 13,500 Twitter followers.

For more information about the workshop, contact librarian@champaign.org or call 403-2070.

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GeneralLeePeeved wrote on June 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I can save Ameren the trip.  Here's what they're gonna hear:  Great idea as long as: (1) you're gonna use local labor; (2) it's gonna increase reliability; (3) it helps lower electricity rates; and most importantly (4) you DON'T build it anywhere near my house......NIMBY is alive and well.

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Also, the lines are going to have to pass over Rt. 45, and Rt. 130 somewhere.  Do lines ever get blown down in Midwest weather?  If they are going to end "somewhere in the Sidney area", it is pretty easy to see where they will join with other high voltage lines in that area.  Just follow the lines; and draw a straight line to the Rising station.  Will it, or will it not cross U. of I. farms?