When Allerton Park Foreman Larry Corum was growing up in Urbana in the 1950s, he remembers a long archway of elm trees that were planted through the University of Illinois campus.
When Dutch elm disease invaded East Central Illinois during that decade, Corum said, the disease killed most of the trees and destroyed the archway.
MAHOMET – Jim Gallivan looked across the larger of two lakes at the River Bend Forest Preserve on Saturday and could see the piles of sand and gravel that were his livelihood for decades.
"It's really a good day," said the 81-year-old Champaign man, who along with the family of his late business partner, Harold O'Neil of Danville, donated the land for the first forest preserve to be opened in Champaign County in more than 20 years.
CHAMPAIGN – Seed companies have become a hot commodity as biotechnology giants seek more ways to get their crop-genetics technology to market.
During the last decade, Monsanto Co. acquired Asgrow and DeKalb Genetics. DuPont absorbed Pioneer Hi-Bred. And Syngenta acquired NK, Garst and Golden Harvest seeds.
The Treasury. The Capitol. The White House.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., is a far cry from Pennsylvania Avenue, Urbana.
MAHOMET – Rick Kumler splits his days between fishing in a clear blue lake and getting physical therapy for injuries from a motorcycle accident.
He prefers the fishing at River Bend Forest Preserve, which gets its formal opening Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. River Bend is due south of Mahomet, just off Illinois 47.
URBANA – Canned peas or fresh peas?
Rebecca Russell will take fresh vegetables any day. And if they were grown locally, well, that's even better.
Russell is the force behind a new University of Illinois student organization called Just.Food. She and other students want to raise awareness about the benefits of eating locally grown, organic produce.
Gary Parker looks at images from Saturn's moon Titan and sees the Sangamon, the Illinois, the Wabash and other earthbound rivers.
Oh, there are differences to be sure. That stuff running in Titan's rivers is probably liquid methane, not water, for one thing. And if you plucked a stone from the shore to skip across the surface, you likely would be skipping ice, not rock.
BROADLANDS – Kevin Donoho looked at Joe Rothermel's field, full of tiny corn plants, and he liked what he saw.
SPRINGFIELD – A site just west of Tuscola is one of four Illinois finalists for a $1 billion project touted as the "coal plant of the future," according to Brian Moody, executive director of Tuscola Economic Development Inc.
The FutureGen project is expected to create 1,300 construction jobs at its peak and about 150 permanent jobs at the plant, plus as many as 750 permanent indirect jobs, Moody said.
RURAL MONTICELLO – Fred and Ginger are living the good life.
They have a brand-new dog house, a doting human and 3 acres to romp and bark at wildlife to their hearts' content. The barking-at-wildlife part is actually their job.