Urbana man has created his own nature preserve

URBANA – Nearly 200 years ago, a land surveyor and his crew walked along the south edge of Big Grove and recorded oaks, hickories, American hazel, spicebush and loads of wildflowers.

Today, visitors can see pretty much the same thing as they walk around the home of Robert and Judy Vaiden, which sits on a 1-acre lot in east Urbana.

Recycling offered for flower containers

DANVILLE – Vermilion County gardeners will have a new, Earth-friendly way to get rid of some plastic pots and pot trays that stack up in spring as flowers and vegetables are planted.

On designated Saturdays and Sundays in June, gardeners can turn in their plastic pots and trays for recycling. Only those with the No. 2, 5 or 6 stamped on the bottom will be accepted, according to Vermilion County Recycling Coordinator Lynn Wolgamot.

Students appreciate Parkland prof for sheer artistry of instruction

Like many former students of Don Lake, Judy Ikenberry believes he had a profound influence on her life and art.

She saw her skills and confidence improve considerably after she began studying with Lake at Parkland College – and that was after she had taken courses at a museum-affiliated school in a big city.

Parkland students offer their mentor a lasting gift

Besides having a scholarship established in his name, retiring Parkland College art Professor Don Lake received a special gift from some of his students.

It was a collection of 35 watercolor paintings, all done in the same size by them and organized in a box specially made for the "Don Box Project' by Lincoln Bookbindery in Urbana. The chief organizer of the project was Margaret De Cardy, a perennial student of Lake's and a retired K-12 art teacher.

Concerns aired at ethanol plant forum

CHAMPAIGN – Concern about the impact of a proposed ethanol plant in northwest Champaign on the waters of the Upper Kaskasia drew more than 90 people Monday night to a public hearing.

The hearing was sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to hear public comment about its tentative decision to issue a permit to The Andersons Ethanol Champaign LLC, to allow the firm to be able to discharge 720,000 gallons per day of wastewater into the Kaskaskia Ditch from its proposed ethanol plant.

Morning shake latest in wave of aftershocks

CHAMPAIGN – Aftershocks have continued from Friday's earthquake.

At 12:38 a.m. today, a temblor of magnitude 4.5 was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey near Mount Carmel. It was one of more than 20 aftershocks since Friday.

Residents wake up to shaking furniture

Roxanne Landman of Champaign was working as a nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital when the earthquake struck early this morning.

"I was working on the computer and the monitor was moving all over the place," Landman said. "The call lights from the patients' rooms were going on and off like Christmas."

Geophysicist at UI knew feeling

Tim Larson of Urbana knew what was happening.

"It woke me up this morning," said Larson, a geophysicist who monitors earthquakes at the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois. "I knew it was a significant earthquake at some distance away.

Scrap metal drop-off site to open

DANVILLE – From the driver's seat, you can buy a meal, pick up a prescription, get cash, pay a bill – and now, you can drop off aluminum and other scrap metal for recycling.

Next week, Mervis Industries will open Advantage Recycling, a new 60-by-80-foot center at the corner of Henning Road and U.S. 150 west of Danville that features a covered drive-through area where people can drop off metal recyclables, including aluminum, brass, copper, scrap iron, stainless steel and batteries.

Vermilion County cleanup linked to U.S. effort

DANVILLE – Vermilion County residents have multiple opportunities this weekend and next week to help the environment by volunteering for various cleanup activities or by recycling electronics.

The local events are being planned as part of the Great American Cleanup, a national community improvement program that takes place annually from March 1 to May 31. Coordinated by Keep America Beautiful, the three-month program encourages volunteers throughout the nation to clean up their communities.