Fithian 18-year-old taking year to lead Illinois FFA

FITHIAN – This year, Amie Burke is getting a start on a career in agricultural education, but she's not heading off to college.

The 18-year-old Fithian resident is spending the year working with local FFA chapters and promoting ag education throughout the state as the 2009-10 Illinois FFA president.

Researchers step up efforts to exterminate ash borers

CHAMPAIGN – Don't give up on America's ash trees yet.

Even though an imported beetle poses grave danger to them, scientists are exploring solutions that, in time, may slow or stop the ravaging of the trees.

Cold snap threatens to set a record low

CHAMPAIGN – This weekend, you'll want to put away the swimsuit and find a sweatshirt.

Local weather records dating back a century or more could be in jeopardy because of an unusual mid-July cold snap.

Champaign may extend recycling to multifamily dwellings

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign apartment dweller Mary Flesher says she wants to recycle but seldom does.

She blames the fact that Champaign does not offer recycling to buildings with five or more apartments. She and her husband, David, live in a 12-unit apartment building at 607 W. Springfield Ave.

UI professor among 3 killed in car-train accident

SOMONAUK – A retired University of Illinois professor, his wife and a granddaughter were killed in a collision between their car and a passenger train in northern LaSalle County on Monday afternoon.

A release from LaSalle County Coroner Jodeen Bernard said Benjamin Rasmusen, 82, and his wife Marilyn Rasmusen, 81, both of Leland, were killed when the car they were in was hit by an Amtrak passenger train about 1½ miles west of Somonauk.

Urbana council explores small-business recycling

URBANA – Tom Bruno, a city councilman in Champaign, also has a law office and four apartments in Urbana.

He puts used paper and an "occasional soda can" from the office in recycle toters for the apartments.

Prairie school, others getting greener

URBANA – Prairie Elementary School is one of three public schools in the state chosen to participate in a pilot program to make its operations more environmentally friendly.

Recycling expansion in Urbana to be discussed

URBANA – Urbana City Council members will continue discussing adding small businesses to the city's recycling program.

The topic, first introduced by Alderman Charlie Smyth two weeks ago, is on the agenda for Monday's study session as the Urbana council meets as committee of the whole at 7 p.m. at the council chambers, 400 S. Vine St.

Thousands expected for Historic Farm Days in Penfield

PENFIELD – Up to 8,000 people are expected to attend this year's Historic Farm Days July 9-12 in Penfield.

The world's largest tractor and the Allis-Chalmers machinery line will be among the featured attractions.

Big Bud, world's largest tractor, makes way to Rantoul

RANTOUL – "Welcome, Big Bud."

Skip Kirkland of Mahomet, Nora Fourez of Rankin and Don Miller of Paxton held a sign bearing the greeting on the grounds of the National Aviation Center in Rantoul late last week, welcoming the world's largest tractor.