Meeting to discuss Danville 'green' job opportunities

DANVILLE – Community members can learn more about "green" job opportunities at a town-hall meeting Wednesday at Danville Area Community College.

The meeting is hosted by the United Steelworkers and sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance in conjunction with former Vice President Al Gore's We Campaign.

More rain may cause a landslide in Danville

DANVILLE – An engineer believes that more heavy rain could cause a landslide on the bluffs overlooking Ellsworth Park on the west side of Logan Avenue, threatening houses and buildings there.

Some damage has already been done. The most obvious sign can be found in the parking lot of Dr. Bhirom Buranakul's offices at 102 N. Logan Ave. in Danville, where the edge of the asphalt parking lot cracked and dropped by about 4 feet.

On June 9, staff at the doctor's office first noticed about a 2-inch crack on the parking lot's west edge, nearest the steep, vegetation- and tree-covered bluff that overlooks Ellsworth Park.

Activities aim for education on importance of area's bees

URBANA – You might want to think twice before you swat that honey bee buzzing around your backyard.

Adult honey bees have been disappearing on a massive scale due to a mysterious phonomenon called colony collapse disorder, according to May Berenbaum, head of the University of Illinois entomology department.

Farm leaders: Don't blame ethanol for food, fuel costs

VILLA GROVE – Area farm leaders say that a weak U.S. dollar, growing demand for food and fuel in China and India and record energy costs – not the use of corn in ethanol – are largely responsible for the rising cost of food.

Several local farmers met Thursday with a film crew from the Japanese NHK public television network.

Conservation expert talking with alliance

URBANA – Local environmentalist Clark Bullard will address a meeting of the East Central Illinois Environmental Alliance at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Urbana Free Library Auditorium.

Members of the public are welcome.

Vendors report slow sales this market season

URBANA – The frequent rains, gas prices and condition of the economy may all be affecting this year's farmers' market at Urbana's Lincoln Square Village.

The 100-plus vendor market draws people in search of a wide variety of fresh, locally grown, raised and made food, crafts from local artisans, fresh flowers and the music of local musicians. Like other farmers' markets around the country, it's been growing in size and popularity, said Market at the Square Director Lisa Bralts.

Department of Energy formally ends FutureGen participation

The U.S. Energy Department finally fulfilled its word on FutureGen – by formally stating Friday that it won't help build the clean coal-burning power plant in Mattoon.

The word came to FutureGen Alliance CEO Michael Mudd in a letter from Energy Department contracting officer Keith R. Miles. It was obtained by The News-Gazette.

City reviewer finds no health threat at site

CHAMPAIGN – An independent report commissioned by the city of Champaign concludes there's no immediate health threat at the site of a former gas manufacturing plant.

Environmental consultant Nicholas Schneider based his findings on data collected so far from the 3.5-acre site at Fifth and Hill streets, AmerenIP's site investigation report and the utility's cleanup plan.

Leases secured on 2,400 acres for wind farm

PAXTON – One of the two wind-energy companies interested in bringing 180 turbines to Ford County has secured long-term leases with landowners for about 2,400 acres of farmland east of Paxton.

"We have signed over 2,400 acres and expect another 2,000 in the next two or three weeks," said Joe Borkowski, development manager for E.On Climate & Renewables, which is targeting the east side of Paxton for the development of 100 wind turbines.

Gathering for the green

CHAMPAIGN – "Green" is in, for everything from home remodeling to Earth-friendly cleaning products.

Hoping to capitalize on a surge of environmental consciousness, Greenpeace launched a local campaign Sunday to fight global warming and pressure Congress to take the lead.

Greenpeace supporters gathered in West Side Park to record 10-second video petitions for Rep. Timothy Johnson, R-Urbana, and paint panels for a tapestry they will present to Johnson at a meeting next month.