Engineering firm moving to Trade Centre South

CHAMPAIGN – An engineering firm plans to move its Champaign office to Trade Centre South next year, becoming the second-largest tenant there.

Applied Research Associates would occupy the entire second floor of the six-story building, said Bill Vavrik, the company's Midwest Division manager.

Vermilion County awaits state's share of attorney's salary

DANVILLE – Earlier this year, county officials balked at increasing by $62,000 the salary of the Vermilion County public defender, because they feared they wouldn't be fully reimbursed by the state.

It seems that fear could be realized.

Champaign school buildings to get buzzer systems

CHAMPAIGN – Visitors to Edison Middle School must now use a buzzer system to get in, and office staff are able to see who is at the school's main entrance before allowing them into the building.

All the district's school buildings are scheduled to have such a system in place in the next three weeks.

Many in area have voted already

DANVILLE – Voters head to the polls Tuesday morning, but a few thousand people in Vermilion and Champaign counties have already cast their ballots.

About 4,000 local voters took advantage of the early voting options available for the first time in Illinois this year. Beginning in October and ending Thursday, voters had an 18-day period in which to vote early without giving a specific reason. In the past, Illinois residents could vote early only by absentee ballot, which required a specific excuse, such as being out of the area on Election Day.

Bonds would pay for public works projects

RANTOUL – The village is considering a proposal to borrow $11 million to pay for assorted public works projects around the community.

The village board will consider a proposal to issue $11 million in general obligation bonds at its study session at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Rantoul Municipal Building, 333 S. Tanner St.

Mahomet mayor says landowners, village close to agreement

MAHOMET – The Village of Mahomet and four landowners that were standing in the way of sewer extension are getting closer to an agreement.

For several years, the village has been negotiating with four landowners to gain temporary and permanent easements to extend sewer service to the east of Mahomet. The landowners have refused to give the village land because they say the construction will destroy woods that are in their backyards.

Annexation for proposed ethanol plant up for approval

CHAMPAIGN – The city council will consider Tuesday whether to approve an annexation agreement for The Andersons' proposed ethanol plant site.

The agreement has the backing of the city administration and a 6-0 vote of endorsement from the city plan commission. But at least two council members, Giraldo Rosales and Marci Dodds, said Friday they will vote against it.

Fire at Piper City fertilizer plant forces evacuations

PIPER CITY – Piper City firefighters are hoping to do better on their next pancake and sausage breakfast fundraiser. Sunday's was interrupted by a major fire at a fertilizer plant east of town that destroyed a shed filled with equipment and chemicals.

"We got the call about 5 a.m.," said Assistant Piper City Fire Chief Don Hitchens, adding that several firefighters were already at the firehouse preparing for the 6 a.m. breakfast, so they were out the door quickly.

Unity Junior High students collecting items for soldiers

TOLONO – The social studies classes that April Puckett teaches at Unity Junior High start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance and discussions of the war in Iraq.

But the seventh- and eighth-graders will soon have a more personal connection to members of the military serving in the Middle East. The students are holding a drive to collect holiday items for soldiers.

Danville officials hosting public talks on downtown traffic flow

DANVILLE – Though Kathie Porter likes downtown shops, she would like more variety.

Parking and traffic flow don't stop her from visiting, but they are a nuisance, she said.