Gibson City ethanol plant operation seeks area investors

GIBSON CITY – One Earth Energy LLC, a cooperative of five area grain companies that plan to build an ethanol plant near Gibson City, will begin offering individuals a chance to invest in the operation.

The first of several planned informational meetings for potential investors will be Monday at Kruse Center in Gibson City.

Computer donations overwhelm Danville program

DANVILLE – The warehouse at Bud's Express Cellular looked like a computer graveyard Wednesday, as many businesses and individuals took advantage of free computer recycling.

Vermilion County Recycling Coordinator Lynn Wolgamot said Wednesday's collection was supposed to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but they had to cut it off at 12:30 p.m., because the 20 recycling boxes – bigger than washing machines – were already full.

Warning: Mahomet Aquifer water supply has limits

CHAMPAIGN – A proposed ethanol plant in northwest Champaign will take up roughly 10 percent of the remaining local capacity of the Mahomet Aquifer, and Champaign County officials need to start thinking now about future water use, the chief of the Illinois State Water Survey is warning.

Derek Winstanley, chief of the Champaign-based water survey, wrote in an Oct. 27 letter to the city of Champaign that the aquifer can safely support about 16 million or 17 million gallons a day of additional local withdrawal. Current local water usage from the aquifer is 30 million gallons a day.

District works to improve emissions

URBANA – New MTD buses have better pollution control than older vehicles. But MTD keeps buses on the road for up to 16 years, so it needs to do something with its veterans.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Diesel Initiative Project is working with the University of Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, as well as a manufacturer, Cummins Mid-States Power, to retrofit old diesel buses.

Hunters earn right to use Allerton; park gets much-needed help

MONTICELLO – Allerton Park has a new crew of volunteers.

They've yanked out weeds and invasive plants from the gardens, filled bins with cucumbers and tomatoes and removed trees that fell down during storms and blocked hiking trails.

Continuous system appears to help trials move along promptly

"Might as well take your belts off. Make sure you have everything out of your pockets. Put it in the bowls. Put the bowl on the conveyor." – Champaign County court security officer Ashlee Vercler

Middlefork bridge work will alter Kickapoo activities

DANVILLE – Hikers and trail runners should be warned that the Out and Back Trail at Kickapoo State Park won't be quite as far "out" or "back" anymore.

Next week, an Illinois Department of Natural Resources crew plans to remove the Johnson Hill Bridge spanning the Middlefork River. The footbridge, which once was a road bridge over the Middlefork River, is part of the 7.6-mile Out and Back Trail at the state park. The trail begins at the main road through the park, winds through the woods and eventually heads west over the Middlefork River before circling around and leading back out the same way.

Officers will be out in force over Labor Day weekend

State police and other agencies will be out in force to crack down on drunken driving over the Labor Day weekend.

"Labor Day has become one of the deadliest holidays nationwide for alcohol-related fatalities," said John Pastuovic, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Great Lakes regional office in Chicago.

Forest tribute keeps growing at River Bend

MAHOMET – New life from seed will be Champaign County's tribute to the 2,996 dead of Sept. 11, 2001.

The fifth anniversary will be marked here at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at the "9-11 Memorial Woodland" at River Bend, the new forest preserve just south of Mahomet.

District plans to boost biodiesel use in bus fleet

URBANA – Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses now run on a gasoline blend that includes 5 percent soy-based biodiesel.

But officials there hope to increase the blend soon to 20 percent.