East Central Illinois planting under way in earnest


Planters are being filled with seed, the tractors are rolling and area farmers are putting in long hours.

"We've had six days in a row without any precipitation," Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel said Friday. And that's "about as good as it's gotten for this growing season," he said.

Midwest hosta convention June 11-13 in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Enthusiasts of hosta plants will hold their Midwest Regional Hosta convention at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign from June 11 to 13.

The Illinois Prairie Hosta Society is the host. Speakers, seminars, displays and garden tours are part of the weekend.

Made in the shade: Hostas do well in competition for sunlight, nutrients

Bill Malone may be the Champaign division manager of Green View Nursery, but when it comes to at-home gardening, he is like everyone else.

He wants plants that do well with a minimum of effort.

'Wind spire' at Lake of the Woods considered

MAHOMET – There might soon be a small, electricity-generating "wind spire" outside the Early American Museum at Lake of the Woods Park in Mahomet.

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District board is considering spending $9,450 for the 40-foot-tall device that would produce 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and reduce the museum's electric bill by one-third, said Jerry Pagac, executive director of the forest preserve district.

UI Pollinatarium to host Eagle Scout induction ceremony

URBANA – The new University of Illinois Pollinatarium, a science center devoted to bees and other pollinators, will be closed for a special event Sunday.

The free museum is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., or by appointment. But this Sunday it will host an Eagle Scout induction ceremony for Alex Durack, who cleaned up the grounds for his scout project, said museum Director May Berenbaum, head of the UI Department of Entomology.

Opposition fails to derail county wind farm ordinance

URBANA – Despite protests and a "suggestion," when it came to a vote by the Champaign County Board on Thursday night, approval of a county wind farm ordinance was a breeze.

After about two hours of discussion, with comments for and against, the wind farm ordinance was approved by a vote of 24-2 with one abstention.

New UI Pollinatarium already abuzz with activity

URBANA – On this beautiful spring day the place is buzzing with excitement.

Thousands of bees crawling over a hive will do that to a roomful of fourth-graders.

"Ooooh, ooooh," they gasp as University of Illinois entomology Professor Gene Robinson pulls out a tray of bees busy making honey.

"You have to stay calm, because if you go crazy, they'll go crazy, and they'll sting you," warns junior bee expert Kayla Sharp.

Old IMPE basketball floor now ready for new shoes

CHAMPAIGN – During its three-and-a-half decades at the Intramural-Physical Education Building, the basketball floor withstood the pounding of thousands of feet as University of Illinois students made moves from one court to the other.

Now the floor will see new life of a much different kind.

As a result of a collaboration between architecture and dance students, the IMPE floor was "recycled" for a graduate-student dance studio in the university's East Art Annex 2, 1206 W. Peabody Drive, U.

Get creative when seeking outlet for green thumb

DANVILLE – Maria Sermersheim doesn't believe you need an acre to have your own garden, whether it's for flowers or vegetables.

"We are hearing that 35 percent more families ... will start a garden this year," said the coordinator of the nutrition program for the Univerity of Illinois Extension office in Danville.

Panel: Mahomet Aquifer management should be voluntary

CHAMPAIGN – The Mahomet Aquifer – the major underground water source for East Central Illinois – should be managed on a regional and voluntary basis, according to a government-appointed planning committee.

"In order to keep regional and local planning in place, voluntary is the preferred method," said Brad Uken, director of the Champaign County Farm Bureau and chairman of the East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Committee.