How-to presentations, performances on tap at farmers market

DANVILLE – Look for some changes at this year's Downtown Danville Farmers' Market.

After several years of selling her locally famous cookies to benefit the Fischer Theater restoration project, Jean Beck has taken on the volunteer position of coordinator for the market. Beck comes with some changes in philosophy.

Schultz Nursery goes even greener


TILTON – Chances are that if you take a drive east on 14th Street in Tilton, you might be seeing green.

Todd Schultz follows his grandfather, Sully, and father, Larry, at the helm of Schultz Nursery, a landscaping, design, greenhouse and nursery business that opened in 1950. The lime-green shirts are a clue to the direction this third-generation owner is taking the business.

Community colleges to offer UI profs' ag classes

URBANA – Some community colleges will be offering online agriculture courses taught by University of Illinois professors starting this fall.

Introductory courses will be available in animal sciences, crop production, horticulture and soils. All Illinois community colleges are eligible to participate.

Federal loan will bring drinkable water to area west of Arthur

ARTHUR – Hauling drinking water in 5-gallon jugs down the road a few miles doesn't sound like fun, and the principal at the Arthur Christian School admits the task has been a huge headache and time commitment for three or four years.

The chore had fallen to the school board president and a generous grandpa of one of the students who attends the parochial school near Arthur. The men had to drive into Arthur once a week to fill the jugs, and then empty them into a 70-gallon tank at the school.

Sanitary district budget includes $40.5 million in upgrades

URBANA – A major sewer project will boost the costs for the local sanitary district for the coming year.

The 2010 Improvements Project, which is expected to cost about $40.5 million, is intended to upgrade major equipment at the district's Northeast Treatment Plant.

Middle Fork's conditions forcing boating restrictions

DANVILLE – On Tuesday, access to the then-rising Middle Fork River that flows through Kickapoo State Park was restricted for safety reasons by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. By Wednesday afternoon, the restriction had been lifted as the water level fell to just above 3 feet.

It's at least the third time in as many weeks that access to the Middle Fork, popular for canoers, kayakers and others, has been restricted.

But it's more than just the river's height that's considered when deciding whether to cut off access.

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.