Ethanol project near Royal to break ground this spring

ROYAL – When Walker Filbert and other Pike County leaders started making plans to build an ethanol plant at Griggsville, the fuel enhancer made from corn was selling for less than $1 a gallon.

But four and a half years later, that price has nearly quadrupled, ethanol is the talk of the market, the Pike County project has expanded to a site at Royal in Champaign County and planners are ready to break ground this spring, after they wrap up a few details, at a 62-acre site just north of the JBS United elevator .

It's your business: Sea Boat lands 2nd location in Champaign

Sea Boat restaurant will be bringing its popular fish sandwich and an expanded menu to a second location in Champaign.

Qaiyim and Baseemah Abdullah, who own the original Sea Boat at 1114 N. Market St., C, have leased the former Denny's dry cleaning building at 403 W. Kirby Ave., along with a new partner in the second Sea Boat, Curley Lee of Champaign.

Pearson opens test-scoring center

CHAMPAIGN – Pearson Educational Measurement has opened a test-scoring facility in downtown Champaign that could employ as many as 430 workers, mostly part time.

The new facility occupies 12,000 square feet on the third floor of the Church Street Square building at Randolph and Church streets. Several other Pearson units employing about 33 people already occupy the second floor.

Mediacom customers get ABC programming back

Central Illinois residents with Mediacom cable TV service are once again able to see ABC programming.

Mediacom Communications Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group reached an agreement late Friday that ended a weeks-long standoff that left 700,000 cable subscribers in 12 states without local channels. The agreement will restore 22 stations to Mediacom's system. The two companies had been unable to reach a new agreement that would permit Mediacom to carry the station signals.

410 businesses sign up for energy cooperative

CHAMPAIGN – As the deadline for signing up for an energy buyers' cooperative drew near, Laura Weis found herself fielding lots of calls.

"We've been very busy, but it's been a good kind of busy," Weis said about an hour before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline. "This has been an exciting initiative."

Police looking for help in solving drive-by shootings

RANTOUL – Police are looking for help in solving two drive-by shootings in Rantoul early Thursday.

Detective Sgt. Jeff Wooten said there were no injuries as shots were fired at homes in the 400 block of Letchworth Drive and the 200 block of Arcadia Drive.

Urbana school board president to step down early

URBANA – Urbana school board members will choose a new president when they meet next week.

Joyce Hudson, the current president of the board, has decided to step down from that post as of Tuesday, said district spokeswoman Kathy Wallig.

Lieutenant retiring to teach aspiring officers

URBANA – Turning 50, having colon cancer and losing your best friend to cancer in the space of a few months can mess with a man's mind. Or at least influence how you think about your future.

Those factors, along with 27 years of police work, combined to make Mike Metzler think the time is right to retire from his job at the Urbana Police Department.

Home care, hospice programs growing

CHARLESTON – Carle Foundation Hospital will expand its business in Coles County this month with the purchase of a home care and hospice service.

The hospital announced Friday that its Carle Home Health Services business will purchase the home care and hospice units of Charleston-based Dynamic Homecare Inc. on Feb. 15, and expand Carle's annual client base by 3,000 additional people.

Controller honored for aiding troubled pilot

SAVOY – On Sept. 14, a 67-year-old St. Louis man was flying home alone in his Piper Seneca III when the plane went into a nose dive at 2,800 feet per minute.

It took all of Willard Nickisch's strength to pull out of that 15-second descent, which had brought him down to 5,000 feet above central Illinois, just after noon.

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