Residents form group to help fight for cleanup

CHAMPAIGN – Like so many others in Champaign, M.D. Pelmore's basement sump pump goes into overdrive during the rainy season to keep groundwater at bay.

But every once in awhile there's something else: an unusual smell he can't quite place.

AmerenIP report says no imminent danger at site

CHAMPAIGN – A voluminous new report from Ameren says the public's health is not immediately threatened by underground contamination at a former coal gasification plant in north Champaign.

But test results in the report show contaminants in the soil, including benzene, have spread beyond the AmerenIP site to the north, west and east – and possibly to the south. And at least one groundwater well just west of the property, and others on the site itself, are contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, and other byproducts of the manufacturing process.

Analyst: Prices for corn, soybeans at peak

URBANA – A veteran commodity market analyst said he thinks both corn and soybean prices have peaked for the year – unless central Illinois gets a drought this summer.

Jim Gill, president of MarketVal Enterprises, a commodity marketing advisory service, told farmers at the 96th annual Champaign County Farm Bureau meeting Monday that certain market trends mean grain prices could tail off in 2008.

Ford County organization in midst of fish sale

PAXTON – The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District has begun its spring fish sale.

"A good selection of varieties and sizes is available this spring," said Krista Builta, resource conservationist for the district. "These include channel catfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, fathead minnows, bluegill ... and triploid grass carp."

Man forced to destroy wandering cattle

MAHOMET – A Mahomet man said he decided to have his beef cattle killed rather than take the risk that they might cause an accident that could hurt humans.

Robert Furtney, who lives on County Road 900 E about 3 miles east of Mahomet, said he discovered about 7 p.m. Wednesday that 10 of his beef cattle had gotten out of a 3- to 4-acre pasture at his farm.

Gas spill site's cleaning, victim's recovery ongoing processes

CHAMPAIGN – A Decatur truck driver injured last week when his tanker truck overturned trying to avoid another vehicle remains in critical condition at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Terry Hudson said her husband, David Hudson, 47, is still unconscious, a condition he has been in since shortly after his admission to Carle on Dec. 26.

Alliance officials on way to Mattoon

MATTOON – After years of hearing about Mattoon, some FutureGen officials will experience the city for themselves next week.

About 30 members of FutureGen's technical team will be on hand Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Mattoon Public Works Director David Wortman said.

Three horses found dead, one rescued

MANSFIELD – The Piatt County sheriff's office has asked for a warrant for the arrest of a rural Mansfield man in connection with three horses that starved to death and a fourth horse that was rescued.

Meanwhile, the surviving horse, a black Tennessee walker, has been taken into custody at a horse rescue farm in rural Dewey.

Gas-spill cleanup expected to take weeks

CHAMPAIGN – Cleanup of a major gasoline spill in west Champaign from a Wednesday night accident between a van and a tanker truck could take weeks to complete and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The driver of the tanker truck from which thousands of gallons of gasoline leaked was hospitalized in critical condition. The driver of the van and one of her two passengers were treated and released.

Energy expert: Times changing in agriculture

URBANA – These are signs of the times:

– Australia has banned incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2009.