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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
CHAMPAIGN – You might soon be spotting a lot of monkeys when you look at the ads in your paper.
Parkland College has a new green education program called GreenMunckie, using the West African green monkey as a symbol. And part of the project is persuading advertisers to post the new symbol in a corner of each panel as an endorsement of environmentalism.
DANVILLE – State officials have temporarily banned recreational boating on a portion of the Middle Fork River in Vermilion County.
No boaters are allowed on the river from the north boundary of the Middle Fork Fish and Wildlife Area to the southern boundary of Kickapoo State Park until further notice, according to a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.
CHAMPAIGN – AmerenIP has bought a second home near the Fifth and Hill streets gas plant site, with the intention of demolishing the house and using chemical treatments to clean up contaminated soil there.
AmerenIP bought 507 E. Washington St. on Friday from owner James Harden III for $66,000, about 50 percent higher than the property's market value based on its assessment.
MAHOMET – Volunteers are sought for cleanup at any of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District areas.
To launch National Volunteer Week, the Champaign County Forest Preserve District is inviting groups to volunteer for a day of service.
CHAMPAIGN – AmerenIP bought a house across the street from the site of an old contaminated manufactured gas plant site in north Champaign for twice its assessed value.
AmerenIP spokesman Leigh Morris said the property at 412 E. Hill St. – an older house in poor condition – was bought for $100,000 and will be used as a parking and equipment staging area during the upcoming cleanup of the former coal-gasification plant site. That cleanup is expected to begin in mid-April and take up to a year to complete.