Environmental Almanac: Changing seasons and new outdoor pursuits

Less than two weeks ago, I found a good-sized garter snake basking on a low rock wall behind Engineering Hall at the University of Illinois. It was taking advantage of the sun and 71-degree temperature. I didn't know it at the time, but now am reasonably certain it was the last wild snake I'll see in 2013.

Collections planned for unused medicine

The public has an opportunity to get rid of any expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs in their possession as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's "Take Back" collection, which will be held at various locations later this week.

A collection in Danville will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Vermilion County Courthouse, 7 N. Vermilion St.

Advisory for potential frost issued

The National Weather Service has issued an advisory for potential frost or freezing conditions in East Central Illinois on Tuesday morning.

A cold front is expected to push across the area late Sunday night and will usher in a chilly air mass to central and southeast Illinois starting on Monday. The chilly air mass is expected to prevail through much of the upcoming week.

Environmental Almanac: Local clay worth more than gold?

Although my interests generally favor living things, a few geological treasures occupy my desk at work: half a geode, dull on the outside but sparkling within; a thumb-sized chip of granite from the "elephant rock," a giant boulder left by a glacier in southern Illinois; and a rounded, flat stone I've had so long I don't remember where it came from — the shore of Lake Superior, where my wife an

Long-banned pollutants found in Illinois river otters

CHAMPAIGN — River otters, those furry brown swimmers that have staged a comeback in Illinois watersheds in recent decades, are being exposed to pollutants banned more than a quarter century ago, a University of Illinois study has found.

As winter approaches, CUB offers tips to cut down on gas and electric costs

With winter temperatures on the way, the Citizens Utility Board is offering tips to cut down on your electric and gas bills.

The group held a news conference in Champaign Monday to give the advice in reaction to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration.

Solar farm at UI delayed

CHAMPAIGN — A solar farm considered a key part of the University of Illinois' transition to renewable energy has been delayed because of state questions about the project.

Solar farm one of several planned projects

CHAMPAIGN — The proposed solar farm would be the first major project completed under the University of Illinois Climate Action Plan, which pledged that 5 percent of campus energy needs would come from renewable sources by 2015, and 25 percent by 2025.

Electronics recycling event is Saturday

Champaign County residents get another chance to recycle residential electronics items free of charge on Saturday morning.

The collection event will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the The News-Gazette Distribution Center, 3202 Apollo Drive, C. Motorists can get to the building by way of North Market Street east to Olympian Drive.

Wind company says it will collect data, fix any noise problem

DANVILLE - An attorney representing Invenergy, the company that owns the California Ridge wind farm, told Vermilion County Board members Tuesday night that two experts are doing a sound study within the wind farm to determine if wind turbines are exceeding state noise pollution limits, and if they are, Invenergy will fix the problem.

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