More diversity in pension firms sought

SPRINGFIELD – All of the state's public pension funds need to use more minority-owned and female-owned money managers and brokers, but the State Universities' Retirement System is the worst, said state Sen. Tony Munoz, D-Chicago.

"It's pretty much unacceptable to me," said Munoz, chairman of a special Senate committee on public pension investments.

State farm bureau leader offers parting advice

CHICAGO – Outgoing Illinois Farm Bureau President Ron Warfield challenged hundreds of farmers Monday to pressure Congress to pass an energy bill next year, to continue growing products with the consumer in mind and to promote agritourism in the state.

Warfield spoke at the 88th annual Illinois Farm Bureau meeting, being held in Chicago through Wednesday.

Nobel Prize winners reflect on varied paths to findings

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – While there's lots of work leading up to the breakthroughs that win Nobel Prizes, prize-winning moments often come in a flash, or on a sleepless night.

That's the way University of Illinois Professor Anthony Leggett and his fellow 2003 Nobel winners described their experiences when they were asked Sunday how they felt about their greatest moments professionally.

"One sometimes gets a flash of what seems like intuition and is very happy about it," Leggett said.

UI students do assignments through Web

No rest for the weary in Professor Louis Wozniak's Introduction to Control Systems engineering class.

Students even had to pop into the University of Illinois College of Engineering's Control Systems Lab to work on an assignment over Thanksgiving break.

It's Your Business: Longhorn Smokehouse phasing in a new name

Longhorn Smokehouse at 1706 N. Cunningham Ave., U, is phasing in the use of a new name: Hickory River Smokehouse.

But customers will still see the Longhorn Smokehouse name for a year or two, according to Brad Bowman, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Krista.

Preparing for Nobel week

Tony Leggett was working on a lecture earlier this week and it had him worried.

Sure, the University of Illinois physics professor gives lectures all the time, but he allowed that this one was a little different.

State to track threat to farms

SPRINGFIELD – The state plans to launch a pilot program in Clinton County that will use satellite technology and the Internet to map out agricultural assets that are potentially at risk of terrorism.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich pledged Friday to "expeditiously" expand the program to the state's other 101 counties if it proves to be successful.

State alleges Do Not Call list breach

SPRINGFIELD – A Missouri company selling vacations is the first to be charged with violating Illinois' Do Not Call list.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Thursday against Surrey Vacation Resorts Inc. of Branson, Mo.

UI to recognize standout minority students in Illinois

CHICAGO – The University of Illinois is honoring more than 1,300 top black, Latino and American Indian students from Illinois high schools Thursday in Chicago.

Officials hope many of them choose to come to the UI, and if the pattern of recent years holds true, more than half of them will study at one of the UI's three campuses after high school.

Flying 'Air Illinois'

SPRINGFIELD – At a time when budget crises have led states such as Texas, Wisconsin and Missouri to pare down or eliminate state-owned aircraft, Illinois is hanging onto a fleet that includes four executive Beechcraft King Air 350 airplanes that on average are flying half-empty and two Sikorsky passenger helicopters that are rarely used.

And the rates that the state charges the passengers on these roomy flights are not sufficient to recover the costs of owning and operating the fleet, even if the plane is full.