Danville Bumper Works plant closing by end of October

DANVILLE – Officials at Flex-N-Gate in Urbana are closing the Danville Bumper Works plant by the end of this month, according to a letter that company officials distributed to employees.

The letter stated that the plant at 647 Section St. will close by Oct. 22 and cited the downturn in the auto industry as the reason. The plant has been downsizing for some time, according to a longtime employee, Larry Thompson, and Vicki Haugen, president and chief executive officer of Vermilion Advantage, the local economic development office.

UI professor wants to help couples balance home, work lives

You've got to finish that work project on deadline.

Pay bills, wash the car, bring a snack to your kid's soccer game, find the dog's leash.

Stressed much?

If this sounds all too familiar, a University of Illinois researcher thinks you may be interested in a project focusing on dual-earner couples.

Angela Wiley, a UI professor of human and community development, focuses on an area of research called family resiliency. She explores ways to improve "the family's ability to remain strong and functional in the midst of stress," she said.

Champaign man arrested after running from traffic stop

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign man faces a battery charge after an incident Saturday at a traffic stop in Champaign.

Police arrested Allen Mathis, 32, after he fled the stop on foot in the 1200 block of North Mattis Avenue.

Hispanic UI students' families get a taste of life on campus

CHAMPAIGN – It's early Sunday morning, but Bertha Gonzalez has been up since the wee hours, getting ready to visit her sister, Yesenia, a University of Illinois freshman. Gonzalez began her trek from Chicago to Champaign around 6 a.m. and, not surprisingly, didn't find much traffic coming south.

What she found in Champaign, though, was a different kind of traffic jam.

About 350 Latino students from the University of Illinois and their extended families clustered into a gym at the UI Activities and Recreation Center on Sunday to take part in the sixth annual Latina/Latino Family Visit Day, a day of tours, talks and familial bonding for Hispanic students new to the UI.

Rantoul police looking for information on residential burglary

Champaign County Crimestoppers and the Rantoul Police Department this week are seeking information about a residential burglary in the 400 block of East Wabash Avenue, Rantoul.

At 4:15 a.m. Sept. 21, Rantoul officers were dispatched to a home in the 400 block of East Wabash Avenue, Rantoul. A female resident there told police that she had been awakened when someone entered her house. Investigation showed that the intruder entered the house through an unlocked front window. When the woman awoke, the man left through the front door. Several items were later discovered to be missing.

Feeling the Pinch: Volunteers trade time for free entertainment

So by now, it's clear how the economy's doing: not well.

If you're like most people, you've realized that high grocery prices and higher gas prices don't exactly leave your wallet much wiggle room.

But some area residents are learning that tighter cash flows don't have to stop entertainment and fun. A few have found out that volunteering their time with various area organizations has resulted in the perk of free entertainment.


It's Your Business: A sweeter strategy for Fithian restaurant

When Tom and Sue Panepinto bought a restaurant in Fithian, they decided it would be out with the alcohol and in with the sweets.

The couple recently bought what used to be the Fithian Main Street Restaurant and Bar at 109 N. Main St., and changed the name to Fithian Main Street Restaurant.

Strategic Capital rated 'troubled'; two others downgraded

CHAMPAIGN – A bank rating service has sharply lowered its evaluation of Strategic Capital Bank and downgraded the ratings of two other area banks.

BauerFinancial Inc. dropped its rating of Champaign-based Strategic Capital Bank from "3 stars" to "1 star" in a report issued last month. The "3 star" rating is described as "adequate," while "1 star" is deemed as "troubled."

Three published authors taking part in UI homecoming event

URBANA – Three University of Illinois alumni who are published authors will be part of the Writers Come Home presentation taking place on Friday in connection with UI homecoming festivities.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., U, they will talk about their books. Afterward, they will sign copies and mingle with guests at an hors d'oeuvres reception featuring piano music by Rick Murphy, music director at University High School in Urbana.

Local youngster hitting road as cast member for touring show

URBANA – When their daughter was asked to take a role in a recent production at Krannert Center, Brent and Tammi O'Neill had no clue as to what kind of opportunity she was receiving.

"We never thought it would end up so amazing for her," Tammi said.

Caroline, a third-grader at Next Generation School, not only played a key character in The Builders Association's "Continuous City"; she will also travel with the new show, which had its world premiere last month at Krannert – a financial and technical supporter of the project.