FutureGen shift brings rift between Johnson, Durbin

WASHINGTON – Last week's announcement that Coles County would have a reduced role in the FutureGen energy project has opened a major rift between U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.

Company asks for application fee refund from Gibson City

GIBSON CITY – Eco Manufacturing, which announced that Gibson City was its preferred site for a plasma gasification plant in February, has now asked for a refund of its application fee.

Council members voted unanimously at Monday night's meeting to refund $15,737 of the $20,000 that Eco paid in April under the town's pollution control facility siting ordinance.

Homer plant construction on schedule

HOMER – Mayor David Lucas said construction of the new sewage treatment facility and collection system is on schedule, with two lagoons dug and the sewer plant building almost complete.

Recycling event brought in 100 tons of electronics items

Must be some clean closets in this town.

Hundreds of people dropped off a total of 100 tons of electronics at the countywide recycling event in Champaign last weekend.

You read that right.

Coles County group must decide soon on FutureGen role, Durbin says

MATTOON – Coles County officials have until the end of this week to decide whether they still want to participate in the FutureGen high technology energy project, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Monday.

Professor's expertise might help with cleanup of future oil spills

Buried 2.2 kilometers deep under Illinois are some friendly bacteria that just might help researchers find a better way to clean up oil spills.

It's the focus of research led by UI Professor Bruce Fouke and funded, appropriately enough, by BP.

Change in Mattoon's FutureGen role has area politicians steamed

MATTOON – A significantly revised FutureGen plan was lauded Thursday by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., but sharply criticized by area Republican officials.

The new proposal, called FutureGen 2.0, no longer includes construction of a state-of-the-art coal-gasification plant on a rural site west of Mattoon.

Parents: State sales tax holiday can help with back-to-school purchases

A reminder to parents: the sales tax holiday starts Friday.

The state's first-ever sales tax holiday will run from Aug. 6 through Aug. 15. During that time, the 5 percent state portion of sales taxes collected at retail registers around Illinois will be waived. Local government sales taxes will continue to be collected.

Champaign County Board delays discussion on zoning and coal mine

URBANA – Champaign County Board members deferred for a month any discussion about the need for zoning changes in response to a possible coal mine in southeastern Champaign County.

"It's just too much too fast," said Urbana Democrat Steve Beckett. "I don't think there is going to be a worthwhile discussion tonight. It's just too early."

Champaign County Board members seek some say over coal mine

URBANA – Champaign County Board members will discuss for the first time plans for a coal mine that could reach into a small part of the southeastern part of the county.

The committee of the whole meeting will begin at 6 p.m. today at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E. Washington St., U.