Declining dumping-fee revenue dooms recycling effort

DANVILLE – For 10 years, the Vermilion County Health Department has been providing an opportunity for county residents to "go green" through recycling, but for the county, "green" has meant spending money, not making it.

Lynn Wolgamot, Vermilion County recycling coordinator, said people often think the county makes money on recycling, but the opposite is true. In 2007, it cost the health department $207,952 to run the recycling program's seven sites in Danville, Westville, Georgetown, Catlin, Bismarck, Sidell and Kickapoo State Park. The county contracts with ABC Sanitary Hauling of Champaign to keep the bins emptied on a regular basis and process the material at its facility.

Rural residents upset by pending recycling shutdown

DANVILLE – In less than two months, Thelma Thormann and Paula Dees will have nowhere to take the glass, plastic, paperboard and cardboard they both have been recycling every other week for several years at a Vermilion County drop-off site a few miles from their homes.

"It's just a shame," said Dees, who was dropping off a couple bags of recycling last week at the Vermilion County Recycling bin in Kickapoo State Park.

Hooray for Dollywood -- and the Smoky Mountains

If you're looking for a vacation to please the whole family, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is the place to go. My family received a heapin', helpin' of southern hospitality on our recent visit to this charming and friendly area of the Great Smoky Mountains region in eastern Tennessee.

Pigeon Forge is home to Dolly Parton and her well-known theme park, Dollywood. The amusement park is nestled in the foothills and shade trees of the Smoky Mountains, but don't let the country charm fool you. They have their fair share of thrill rides to choose from.

Exchange of gunfire sends Shelbyville man to hospital

MATTOON – A Shelbyville man who exchanged gunfire with Mattoon police early Saturday was taken to a Coles County hospital.

A release from the Mattoon Police Department said officers were called to 1817 S. Ninth St., Mattoon, at 4:43 a.m. by a woman who needed help. While on the way, they were told that a man in the apartment, Matthew D. Thomas, 26, wanted to kill himself.

Washington Street residents want flooding fixed faster

CHAMPAIGN – Interim solutions to persistent flooding problems in Champaign may be possible, according to city officials, but residents particularly plagued by heavy rains this year are getting tired of waiting.

More than 60 people from the Washington Street watersheds attended a meeting Thursday night and sounded a common refrain.

Champaign council shows support for wind energy systems

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign City Council members were unanimous Tuesday in wanting to encourage development of wind turbines as an alternative, sustainable energy source.

By a vote of 9-0, the council directed city staff to develop an ordinance to allow wind energy conversion systems in the city. Council members expressed strong opposition, though, to any suggestion that large wind turbines would be outright prohibited within their 1.5-mile extra-terratorial jurisdiction.

Bioscience company plans to add workers in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Chromatin Inc. may expand its staff in Champaign by as much as 50 percent, its chief executive officer said.

"We may add another four to five employees in the next six months," Chromatin CEO Daphne Preuss said last week. The Chicago-based bioscience company already has 10 full- and part-time employees in the University of Illinois Research Park, she added.

Vermilion County recycling might eventually be revived

DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Board's health and education committee has decided to reduce the hours of the county recycling coordinator because of the recycling program's being eliminated on Oct. 1.

But Steve Laker, administrator of the health department, which oversees the recycling program, said the department is committed to reviving recycling in Vermilion County. It just currently does not have the dollars to do it.

Area-based auto warranty firm focus of probe

The Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois is investigating complaints that a Bloomington-based auto warranty company failed to honor the warranties it sold to customers.

More than 80 complaints have been filed against Dealers Services. Its office was located in Bloomington, but telemarketers solicited business from all across the country, said John Harmon, dispute resolution specialist with the Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois.

Talk of wind power regulations in air in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – City council members in Champaign will talk Tuesday about wind power – not the hot-air-politics type, but the wind turbine type.

At a study session set to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the city council chambers, 102 N. Neil St., C, the city planning staff will discuss wind energy conservation systems, particularly small wind turbines within city limits and how to regulate wind farms near city boundaries.