Cleanup scheduled Saturday at Kickapoo State Park

OAKWOOD – Volunteers are needed to help clean up Kickapoo State Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Tasks include picking up litter, clearing ponds and rivers and cutting back walking trails.

Volunteers will be served lunch.

Teams compete at UI to find new uses for old electronics

URBANA – An old computer returns to life as a hydroponic mini-farm, with a monitor filling in as a grow-light.

Perfect for a long space flight, with astronauts in deep sleep, the computer adjusts water, feed and lights, and tells you when the lettuce is ready to harvest.

Highway 10 bridge near East Lynn closing for repairs

EAST LYNN – In less than two weeks, the Illinois Department of Transportation plans to replace the beams supporting the bridge that carries Vermilion County Highway 10 over Fountain Creek northeast of East Lynn.

Weather permitting, the project will begin April 27 and should be finished by late May. County Highway 10 will be closed at the bridge during the replacement project, and traffic will be detoured to a marked route on Illinois 9, Illinois 49 and U.S. 24.

Cities receive federal grants to improve energy efficiency

CHAMPAIGN – The federal stimulus dollars just keep flowing in locally – this time for energy efficiency and conservation.

Champaign officials learned recently that the city has been awarded $762,000 in federal block grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, while Urbana will receive $185,000.

Volunteers sought for Boneyard cleanup effort

CHAMPAIGN – Volunteers are needed Saturday on Boneyard Creek Community Day to help restore the beauty of the Boneyard through Champaign, Urbana and Campustown.

Volunteers should register on the Bardeen Quad on the University of Illinois Engineering campus (between Green Street and Springfield Avenue and Wright Street and Goodwin Avenue) at 9 a.m. Saturday. The event is planned to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A free lunch will be provided.

42-year Urbana Park District Board member attends final meeting

URBANA – For 42 years, Bruce Larson spent at least one Tuesday night every month attending a meeting of the Urbana Park District board.

No more. The University of Illinois emeritus professor of biochemistry and nutritional sciences attended his final park board meeting Tuesday, after opting to not run for an eighth six-year term. Larson is the longest-serving commissioner in the history of the park district, eclipsing the 40 years served by J.C. Blair, who was on the original park board and was its first president in 1907.

Wind farm plan draws protest from Newcomb Township

MAHOMET – Newcomb Township commissioners voted Tuesday to protest a proposed ordinance that would bring wind farms to Champaign County.

In the 4-1 vote, commissioners noted concerns about wind turbines near the extensive Manlove Gas Storage Field in northern Champaign County.

Champaign council receptive to flood relief plans

CHAMPAIGN – Residents who live along John Street, Daniel Street and Willis Avenue experienced flooding events four times last year, with water as high as 3 feet in their backyards and many basements flooding with water and sewage.

City officials, relying on a draft study by Champaign engineering firm Clark Dietz Inc., think they can solve most of the flooding by implementing $3.8 million in improvements.

The project appears to be on a fast track, with the city applying to the Illinois EPA for stimulus funds and city officials considering issuing bonds if the grant application is rejected.

Boating again restricted on Middle Fork River

OAKWOOD – For the second time this spring, recreational boating has been restricted on the Middle Fork River in Vermilion County.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Stacey Solano said conditions on the river are dangerous enough to restrict recreational boating from the north boundary of the Middle Fork Fish and Wildlife Area to the south boundary of Kickapoo State Park.

Middle Fork River OK for boaters, state says

DANVILLE – People once again can launch their boats on the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources lifted its ban on recreational boating on the river after officials with the department and the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency determined that conditions were safe.