Work begun to eliminate non-native trees at Weldon Springs

MONTICELLO – The Weldon Springs Recreational Area, which sits next to Allerton Park in Monticello, is in the midst of some cosmetic work.

Hunters and hikers may notice rings carved around hundreds, possibly thousands, of non-native trees. The process, known as girdling, prevents the spread of nutrients from the roots. Girdled trees gradually rot out, sometimes taking more than a decade to fall.

Alternative fuels protect air quality, scientist says

URBANA – Air quality, not potential fossil fuel shortages, will be the driving force behind the push to bring new alternative fuels to the world market, a scientist said Thursday.

Dan Kammen of the University of California-Berkeley, who spoke at an international symposium on renewable energy at the University of Illinois, said he disagrees with the idea that high energy prices will pave the way for clean energy.

Ethanol plant work not likely this year

CHAMPAIGN – A proposed ethanol plant in northwest Champaign likely won't be built this year, according to city officials.

Champaign Planning Director Bruce Knight said company officials have indicated they do not intend to proceed with construction this year.

Scientists look for best feed from ethanol byproduct

URBANA – Ethanol is the star on the agriculture stage now, but behind the scenes, University of Illinois animal scientists are casting the spotlight on its not-so-sexy byproduct.

It's your business: Shop keeping tabs on prom dresses

Deb Grilo doesn't want any girl on her way to prom to wind up in a dress that might have been worn by another girl, at another dance, at her school.

"That could be so embarrassing," she said. "Think back to your high school years."

Resolution drafted to authorize studies for removal of dam

DANVILLE – Feasibility studies may be the on horizon for removal of a low-head dam on Vermilion River.

The city's public works committee will consider a resolution authorizing the mayor to pursue engineering studies and evaluation of the dam's deconstruction. The resolution will also permit officials to seek funds for the study.

Thanksgiving in Urbana: Turkeys captured

URBANA – Chet Utterback was at the poultry club's omelet breakfast Tuesday when his cell phone rang.

The turkeys were back, his wife told him.

Spring brings out aggression in tom turkeys

URBANA – Never mess with a wild tom turkey during mating season.

Stacy Lischka of the Illinois Natural History says male turkeys are feeling a bit of urgency about now.

Official: Enjoy geese from afar

URBANA – Halt! Put down that marshmallow! Don't feed that fowl!

Signs have gone up at Crystal Lake Park warning animal lovers that they're not doing the geese any favors by teaching them human flavors.

Farmers prepare to meet biofuel demand

DANVILLE – This year, farmer Greg Learnard intends to plant more corn than he usually does, because he's anticipating an increased demand from local ethanol plants.

Learnard of Catlin normally plants 1,000 acres of soybeans and 1,000 acres of corn, but this year, he'll plant an extra 100 acres of corn and only 900 acres of soybeans.