Pheasants Forever lends support to education, conservation efforts

DANVILLE – Does hearing Pheasants Forever immediately bring thoughts of guys and guns?

"I think the general public has a preconceived notion of what we're all about," member Tim Busby said. "They may not realize that we raise money for education and conservation projects, that we reinvest 100 percent of our fundraising money in Vermilion County."

Public hearing set on cleanup of former base

RANTOUL – Public hearings will be held in Rantoul sometime in May so that citizens can review and comment on proposed cleanup projects at the old Chanute Air Force Base.

Raffle to put winner in the green, at wheel

DANVILLE – With the snow piling up outside, it's difficult to imagine planting flowers or landscaping a yard, but the members of Keep Vermilion County Beautiful are working now to raise money for their annual grants awarded each year to help individuals and groups beautify the county with flowers, plants and other landscaping projects.

This is the fourth year that the volunteer organization will be selling raffle tickets for a chance at various "green" prizes.

Group promotes talks on sustainability issues

CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois is joining with business and community leaders to explore how "green" practices – like energy efficiency, conservation and pollution reduction – can help build Champaign County's economic future.

Starting this month, an organization called CCNet will sponsor discussion groups and will spotlight speeches on sustainability and how it can bring jobs to the region.

Electronics recycling event set for Feb. 27

The first Champaign County-wide residential electronics collection event for the year will be held at the end of February.

The collection will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at The News Gazette Distribution Center, 3202 Apollo Drive, C.

Grant awarded for Sangamon River Forest Preserve work

CHICAGO – The Champaign County Forest Preserve District has received a $126,000 state grant for the initial development of the Sangamon River Forest Preserve near Fisher.

The grant award was one of 49 park development and land acquisition projects announced Friday by the state Department of Natural Resources at the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of Park Districts in Chicago. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District's grant is the only one in East Central Illinois.

Input being sought on land use plan

URBANA – Public comments are being sought on a land use plan for Champaign County that has been under development for nearly three years.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm solar-panel plan approved

GEORGETOWN – School officials on Monday approved a project to install solar- energy panels on the south side of Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School this spring.

Superintendent Greg Irwin said that Illiana Power would help the Georgetown-Ridge Farm school district apply for a solar power grant through the state.

Soybean challenge encourages team effort in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – How do you increase soybean yield? What is considered high yield? Farmers, what are your techniques for bringing in the most bushels of soybeans?

Elements tough on birds of prey

URBANA – If you think this snow is hard on you, try being a raptor, looking for a mouse or some nice carrion under a blanket of white.

The University of Illinois Wildlife Veterinary Clinic is seeing a predictable surge in predatory birds, some of whom have been hit by cars while dining on dead mammals by the roadside.