URBANA – You can't step in the same river twice, and for that matter, it might have a different name the next time you walk along its banks.
Same body of water, different maps: Upper Salt Fork, Upper Salt Fork Drainage District, Salt Fork, Salt Fork of the Vermilion River, Spoon River, Upper Salt Fork Ditch, Upper Salt Fork Drainage Ditch, Upper Salt Fork River.
Until we all have Star Trek-like holodecks at home, there's not much economy of scale in manufacturing equipment for room-sized virtual environments like the CAVE and CUBE at the University of Illinois' Beckman Institute.
Which is why the specialized wireless handheld controller people used to reach into and navigate the virtual worlds projected in the rooms – on three sides in the case of the CAVE and completely surrounding them in the CUBE – cost $60,000.
DANVILLE – From Monday through Saturday, Vermilion County residents will have a more environmentally safe way of getting rid of their old prescription drugs, rather than throwing them away or flushing them.
The Vermilion County Recycling program and Carle Rx Express are collecting unused drugs for safe disposal. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
CHAMPAIGN – Testing for soil and groundwater contamination is expected to begin later this month in the north Champaign neighborhood surrounding a former manufactured coal-gas plant owned by AmerenIP.
Testing could begin as soon as March 31, and will include 38 new soil borings, including 29 off-site, and drilling 10 new monitoring wells, nine of them off-site, according to Brian Martin, a consulting environmental scientist for Ameren.
DANVILLE – Visitors to many Vermilion County restaurants this week will be able to learn about agriculture while they eat.
The Vermilion County Farm Bureau is distributing more than 27,000 place mats to about 30 restaurants around the county as part of its celebration of National Agriculture Week, which is March 16-22.
CHAMPAIGN – Area agricultural leaders say that a weakening U.S. dollar and more mouths to feed around the world – not ethanol plants – are largely responsible for the increased prices consumers are paying for food products.
"When you find yourself paying more money for a box of corn flakes at the grocery store, only a few pennies of that increase came from the price of corn," said former Illinois Farm Bureau President Ron Warfield of Gibson City.
CHAMPAIGN – Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is expanding into a two-day event this year, and Mayor Jerry Schweighart is issuing an emergency order restricting alcohol sales in the Campustown area.
TUSCOLA – An expiring lease on city ground near a water treatment facility may put the city on the cutting edge of green energy.
The city is talking about leasing ground sprayed with waste water to a farmer who wants to plant miscanthus, a towering grass being studied for its energy use. If farmer Dan Meyer of Tuscola is able to plant miscanthus on the almost 160 acres northeast of town, it'll be the most in the area. The University of Illinois is currently testing the grass.
A University of Illinois student has died from an unidentified bacterial infection, and a second student is recovering from meningitis.
The two appear unrelated, and tests confirmed Friday afternoon that Robert H. Davis, 21, of Mokena, did not have a contagious form of meningitis.
URBANA – A river conservation group is pleased that more ideas will be considered in restoration of area rivers as a result of a final consent decree involving an ammonia spill six years ago that killed tens of thousands of fish.
U.S. Chief District Judge Michael McCuskey on Feb. 7 approved a consent decree that settles a federal lawsuit filed against the University of Illinois, the Champaign-Urbana Sanitary District and CEDA Inc., the university's cleaning contractor.