Ethanol plant in Gibson City ahead of schedule

GIBSON CITY – Work is moving along ahead of schedule on the ethanol plant being built here, according to its chief executive officer.

Grain companies plan merger

LUDLOW – The Ludlow Cooperative Elevator Co. and Danforth-Gilman Grain Co., Danforth, will officially combine operations on Friday, and operate as Ludlow Cooperative Elevator Co., according to a press release issued Monday.

"Both companies have served their area farmers/owners' grain handling needs for more than 100 years, and we look forward to building on our historical success as we work together to build an even more successful future," said Bruce Bastert, general manager, in the release.

Westville officials looking to fix erosion in crucial drainage ditch

WESTVILLE – Village officials voted Tuesday to pursue a plan to repair erosion along the banks of a storm water drainage ditch that runs on the north side of Moses Avenue, north of Zamberletti Park.

In March, inspectors from the Army Corps of Engineers investigated a complaint about the erosion in the ditch. According to Mayor Jeff Slavik, village officials apparently authorized a cleaning and deepening of the ditch in 2002 without receiving a permit to do so from the Corps of Engineers.

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.