Traps set to check for infestation of emerald ash borers

CHAMPAIGN – Everyone knows a newspaper is "black and white and read all over." But what's purple, sticky and best when empty?

Nope, it's not a bottle of elderberry wine. The answer is an emerald ash borer trap, and 22 of them are hanging from ash trees in the Champaign-Urbana-Savoy area.

Conservation agency gets huge grant from USDA

CHAMPAIGN – The National Resources Conservation Service, which has its Illinois headquarters in Champaign, received a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Paige Buck, public affairs specialist for the Illinois office, said the her office has received $2.2 million.

Freedom says fuel tanks not to blame for station closing

TOLONO – Freedom Oil Company officials say its fuel tanks played no role in the closing of their Tolono location last week and that the decision to close it was the result of their trying to sell it without success.

According to Freedom president and owner Michael Owens, the company bought the store at 101 N. Watson St. in August 1993.

Tolono gas station leak not believed to have contaminated area

TOLONO – Tolono residents should not be concerned about their safety after a gas station with apparently leaking tanks closed, according to a government spokeswoman.

The Freedom Oil Co. at 101 N. Watson St. closed late Friday after reporting to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on June 3 that a 10,000-gallon tank and a 6,000-gallon tank had spilled.

Meeting to discuss Danville 'green' job opportunities

DANVILLE – Community members can learn more about "green" job opportunities at a town-hall meeting Wednesday at Danville Area Community College.

The meeting is hosted by the United Steelworkers and sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance in conjunction with former Vice President Al Gore's We Campaign.

More rain may cause a landslide in Danville

DANVILLE – An engineer believes that more heavy rain could cause a landslide on the bluffs overlooking Ellsworth Park on the west side of Logan Avenue, threatening houses and buildings there.

Some damage has already been done. The most obvious sign can be found in the parking lot of Dr. Bhirom Buranakul's offices at 102 N. Logan Ave. in Danville, where the edge of the asphalt parking lot cracked and dropped by about 4 feet.

On June 9, staff at the doctor's office first noticed about a 2-inch crack on the parking lot's west edge, nearest the steep, vegetation- and tree-covered bluff that overlooks Ellsworth Park.

Activities aim for education on importance of area's bees

URBANA – You might want to think twice before you swat that honey bee buzzing around your backyard.

Adult honey bees have been disappearing on a massive scale due to a mysterious phonomenon called colony collapse disorder, according to May Berenbaum, head of the University of Illinois entomology department.

Farm leaders: Don't blame ethanol for food, fuel costs

VILLA GROVE – Area farm leaders say that a weak U.S. dollar, growing demand for food and fuel in China and India and record energy costs – not the use of corn in ethanol – are largely responsible for the rising cost of food.

Several local farmers met Thursday with a film crew from the Japanese NHK public television network.

Conservation expert talking with alliance

URBANA – Local environmentalist Clark Bullard will address a meeting of the East Central Illinois Environmental Alliance at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Urbana Free Library Auditorium.

Members of the public are welcome.

Vendors report slow sales this market season

URBANA – The frequent rains, gas prices and condition of the economy may all be affecting this year's farmers' market at Urbana's Lincoln Square Village.

The 100-plus vendor market draws people in search of a wide variety of fresh, locally grown, raised and made food, crafts from local artisans, fresh flowers and the music of local musicians. Like other farmers' markets around the country, it's been growing in size and popularity, said Market at the Square Director Lisa Bralts.