Along came the spiders

URBANA — This has been a great summer for spiders, which freaks some people out, while others marvel at the intricacies of their webs.

"I have seen increased numbers of orb-weaving, funnel or sheet web, nursery web or grass, and wolf spiders this spring and summer," said University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Phil Nixon.

He added that they're not poisonous to humans.

Caution urged on new landfill consent decree

URBANA — Members of a DeWitt County citizens group that opposed disposal of hazardous waste at the Clinton Landfill urged the Champaign County Board on Thursday night not to rush into approval of a new consent decree regulating waste at the landfill.

Group wants governments to reject Clinton Landfill agreement

CLINTON — Local governments could vote as early as next month on an agreement placing new restrictions on the Clinton Landfill, and adding more environmental protections to the Mahomet Aquifer that lies beneath the landfill and which provides drinking water to much of central Illinois.

One might not be the loneliest number

URBANA — A recent mussel survey of a section of the Saline Branch in Crystal Lake Park turned up a lone live species — a fatmucket.

"A female, which is a good sign," said Jeremy Tiemann, aquatic zoologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Feds allow Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska

DAN JOLING, Associated Press

Rich Warren: Electronics can be recycled — or, better yet, reused

Recycling poses challenges these days. Free recycling seems to be drawing to a close and it's more difficult finding recyclers who accept electronics. Nearly all electronics contain some hazardous materials that should not reside in landfills or be buried in the back 40. However, you can recycle most gear in your own home by continuing to use it rather than discarding it.

Residents voice fears about runoff from coal mine

SIDELL — Keith Rohl farms near the proposed site of the Bulldog coal mine in southwest Vermilion County. He has concerns with the company's plan to use existing field tiles in its underground coal mine operation.

"I want to make sure everything is done properly," he said. "My neighbors and I depend on that tile to drain our land."

Citizens have opportunity to speak on proposed mine tonight

SIDELL — Less than three weeks after 175 workers were laid off at Sunrise Coal mines in Indiana, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials will hear concerns tonight from local citizens about plans for a mine in Vermilion County that could bring 300 new jobs to the area.

Rob Kanter: Take time to identify other fluttering things

Everybody loves monarch butterflies, don't they? And for good reason. Monarchs are gorgeous to look at, they live a fascinating life and they're super easy to identify.

Park projects to launch with money from 2002 fish kill

URBANA — Urbana park board members Tuesday approved an agreement that calls for the construction of rain gardens in a parking lot at Crystal Lake Park as compensation for a 2002 ammonia release and fish kill in the Saline Branch of the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River.

An even larger project — installing in-stream riffles in the Saline within Crystal Lake Park — is on deck.