Grant awarded for Sangamon River Forest Preserve work

CHICAGO – The Champaign County Forest Preserve District has received a $126,000 state grant for the initial development of the Sangamon River Forest Preserve near Fisher.

The grant award was one of 49 park development and land acquisition projects announced Friday by the state Department of Natural Resources at the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of Park Districts in Chicago. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District's grant is the only one in East Central Illinois.

Input being sought on land use plan

URBANA – Public comments are being sought on a land use plan for Champaign County that has been under development for nearly three years.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm solar-panel plan approved

GEORGETOWN – School officials on Monday approved a project to install solar- energy panels on the south side of Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School this spring.

Superintendent Greg Irwin said that Illiana Power would help the Georgetown-Ridge Farm school district apply for a solar power grant through the state.

Soybean challenge encourages team effort in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – How do you increase soybean yield? What is considered high yield? Farmers, what are your techniques for bringing in the most bushels of soybeans?

Elements tough on birds of prey

URBANA – If you think this snow is hard on you, try being a raptor, looking for a mouse or some nice carrion under a blanket of white.

The University of Illinois Wildlife Veterinary Clinic is seeing a predictable surge in predatory birds, some of whom have been hit by cars while dining on dead mammals by the roadside.

Truck carrying hogs overturns on I-57, snarling traffic

CHAMPAIGN – Two veterinarians and some students from the University of Illinois veterinary teaching hospital were called to help with a truck loaded with hogs that overturned west of Champaign.

The crash caused both lanes of southbound Interstate 57 to be closed for more than three hours Monday while people rescued the hogs and cleaned up the scene.

Complaints push Champaign toward fixing flooding problems

CHAMPAIGN – When it rains, it stinks.

For some Champaign residents, the phrase is more literal than they might like it to be.

AmerenIP audit program helps reduce energy usage

CHAMPAIGN – David Tcheng was skeptical when he received a letter from AmerenIP offering an energy audit of his home in Champaign.

He thought it was a scam.

He discovered it wasn't.

Christmas tree collections set for January

Urbana and Champaign, the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and Lake Shelbyville will be collecting Christmas trees after the holidays.

In Urbana and Champaign, Christmas tree collections will be done Jan. 4-8 and Jan. 11-15.

Danville to begin its tree pickup Jan. 4

DANVILLE – Christmas may be over, but you may want to keep your live tree up until after New Year's Day, because the city's public works department will begin picking up trees and other holiday greenery on Jan. 4.

City workers will complete the special pickup Jan. 4 through 15, and any remaining yard waste can also be placed out for pickup during that period. No yard waste will be picked up after Jan. 15 until the yard waste program resumes again in the spring.