Effort to collect electronics for recycling sees good turnout

DANVILLE – Deb Martin expected that a recycling collection held over the weekend, would draw a fair number of people eager to dispose of their old computers, televisions and other electronics in an environmentally friendly way.

But she didn't expect to see cars and trucks filling the parking lot of the Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. building and spilling into Voorhees Street when the event began at 9 a.m. Friday.

Ag leader speaks out on budget, biofuels on area visit

MAHOMET – Phil Nelson's not at all optimistic about a graceful and timely resolution to budget issues tying Springfield in knots.

Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, said he'll be surprised if there's a budget by the time the Illinois State Fair starts in August.

Number of Japanese beetles emerging early 'nuts'

URBANA – The number of Japanese beetles emerging early in southern Illinois this month is off the scale.

But University of Illinois entomologist Kevin Steffey said that doesn't necessarily mean the hatch of the destructive beetles in East Central Illinois will be correspondingly enormous.

First defendent pleads guilty to drug charges

CLINTON – The first defendant in a series of drug arrests by Illinois State Police Task Force 6 has been convicted in DeWitt County Court this week.

Amanda C. Nelson, 22, who gave her most recent address as 1011 N. Melvin St. in Gibson City, has pleaded guilty to one count of criminal drug conspiracy and two counts of juvenile pimping. The plea agreement was negotiated by Illinois Assistant Attorney General Matthew Hoppock.

Horse farming show returns to Yoder farm

ARCOLA – The only trade show in the world focusing on new equipment designed specifically for farming with horses is scheduled to get under way at the Vernon Yoder farm northwest of Arcola on Friday and Saturday.

This is the second time the Horse Progress Days has been held at Yoder's farm. The last time, in 2002, it drew 6,000 people. This year's show is expected to draw as many or more.

UI making concerted effort to conserve energy

It's midafternoon on a brilliant, sunny day. Natural light shines through the glass stairwell of a campus garage. Wall lights also brighten the path for people.

It's 2 a.m., and the lights in offices and hallways of a campus research building send a glow onto the street below. The air conditioning hums.

Lodge residents at odds over proposed corn processing plant

Until last month, Lodge was just a small, unincorporated Piatt County village on Illinois 10.

But since a Chicago company proposed building a white corn processing plant at the edge of town, the topic has embroiled the neighborhood in a passionate controversy that's pitted neighbors against each other.

Landowner working with biologist for return to the prairie

CHAMPAIGN – Forty years ago, Parkland College bought 137 acres of Jeff Bruninga's family's land, ending that centennial family farming operation.

It was the second eminent domain action taken against the 160-acre farm his ancestors started in 1859, when they broke down on their way west from Indiana.

Brief showers stunt corn prices' growth

BISMARCK – What a difference a day – and a rain – can make in grain markets.

Chicago traders, looking at widespread showers Monday and predictions of more of the same for the weekend, bid corn prices down the 20-cent limit Tuesday. July corn closed at $3.96 a bushel, and soybean prices dropped 26 cents, closing at a $7.99 cash price.

Parkland College's Land Lab: A plot to learn

CHAMPAIGN – It takes a community to raise corn and soybeans at the Parkland College Land Lab.

Larry Thurow, his Parkland students and a long list of industry suppliers help Thurow plant crops on 30 acres on the college's southwest side and 12 acres on the northwest side.