Nature Center to offer class on basic drawing

Sugar Grove Nature Center near Bloomington is offering adults the opportunity to see art in nature.

Using pencil, adult artists will explore various methods of observing and drawing nature-related subject matter from photos, still life and live specimens. Emphasis will be on components of a successful drawing, such as shapes, shading and negative space. No drawing experience is necessary, just a desire to observe and learn. Space is limited and registration is required.

Six area firms make list of fastest-growing U.S. companies

When Inc. magazine compiled its most recent list of the 5,000 fastest- growing firms in the United States, six area companies showed up on it.

They included: a company that makes less-toxic cleaning solvents; a business that makes museum exhibits and a firm that builds and maintains towers for cell-phone companies.

Outside at the Research Park returns for second season

The 2008 Outside at the Research Park three-concert series will get under way on Friday with headline act Rosie Ledet and The Zydeco Playboys and continue on July 25 with global fusion artists Bandoleros and on Aug. 8 with bluegrass rockers the South Austin Jug Band.

This year, the second for the series, also will feature local musicians as opening acts, with John Hoeffler on Friday, Brandon T. Washington on July 25 and Kayla Brown, Aug. 8. The opening acts will start at 6:30 p.m., and the headline acts at 7:30 p.m.

It's your business: New owners of pie shop cooking up additions

There are more than 40 kinds of pie made at Pies by Inge in Monticello.

But the new owners, Jennifer Johns and her mother, Redda Lively, can think of a few more kinds they'd like to add to the menu, starting with buttermilk and raisin cream pie.

Kirby Avenue Lane to be closed

CHAMPAIGN – Eastbound Kirby Avenue between Greencroft Drive and Arrow Road will merge into one lane Monday and Tuesday for storm sewer maintenance.

Motorists are urged to find alternate routes or to obey all construction signs if they must drive that stretch of Kirby.

Area teen hurt by fireworks in Villa Grove

VILLA GROVE – A 16-year-old girl was burned Friday night by fireworks set off by the same company that had problems at Lodge Park near Monticello on Thursday night, injuring nine.

Because she's a minor, Villa Grove police officer Adam Deckard wouldn't release the girl's name but said she was from Rantoul and was taken to a Springfield hospital by helicopter around 9:45 p.m.

Fire destroys vacant house in Danville

DANVILLE – A vacant home that was slated to be torn down soon was destroyed by fire Saturday.

Danville fire Capt. David Brady said firefighters were called to the two-story house at 1109 Chandler just before 4 p.m.

Science fiction might soon evolve into science fact

URBANA – Harry Potter's invisibility cloak may soon be within the reach of any ordinary American with a little silicon photonic crystal and a Ph.D. in engineering.

Say you have a battleship and you want to park it in the Boneyard without plugging quarters into Champaign's exorbitant meters. The cloak thought up by two University of Illinois researchers would bend light around the battleship, saving you from getting a ticket.

Thieves hit business twice in one week

CHAMPAIGN – Twice last week, a Champaign business was broken into and had merchandise stolen.

Champaign police reports said on Sunday, June 29, someone broke the front door at Real Talk Communications in the 800 block of West Bradley Avenue and stole six speakers and amplifiers.

County board committee to meet with nursing home officials

URBANA – The Champaign County Board's finance committee will meet with the Champaign County Nursing Home Board of Directors in joint session next week.

Brendan McGinty, the finance committee chairman, said the main agenda item will be a report on nursing home finances by University of Illinois accountancy Professor Rachel Schwartz.