Ag economist backs paying to aid environment

URBANA – The time is right for the government and private industry to think about paying farmers to help reduce greenhouse gases, says University of Illinois agricultural economist Gerald Nelson.

Nelson said he expects proposals like that to emerge from sessions with United Nations officials meeting this month in Bali, Indonesia, to talk about international climate agreements after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Minor accidents from freezing rain dot area

Police reported several minor accidents on East Central Illinois highways on Saturday as freezing rain caused roadways to turn slick.

"We've had a lot of weather-related incidents," said Illinois State Police Sgt. Mike Sturgeon of District 10 in Pesotum. "There were some injuries, but they appear to be minor," he said.

One-year tax increase will fund Salt Fork study

URBANA – Environmentalists praised a Champaign County judge's decision to allow a one-year tax increase to fund a study of the Upper Salt Fork that would enable farmers, residents and ecology experts to work together to perform maintenance on the stream's path.

The Upper Salt Fork Drainage District is getting a one-year tax increase to fund a study by Midwest Streams Inc., the district's consultants, of the river's flow.

Area teens head to Washington as Peer Ambassadors

Washington, D.C., prepare to get schooled.

A group of teens is heading to the nation's capital today to change minds and alter the way people think about youths.

Organic farming guru sows hope, insight at meeting

URBANA – Eliot Coleman's midwinter sugar carrots are a huge hit with local schoolchildren.

Chefs sign up early to purchase his "butter" chard, more commonly known as Swiss chard, and his golden frisee, AKA endive, and customers pay $3 a pound for the potatoes he sprouts in winter, plants in March and sells in May.

Widespread cleanup efforts on horizon for Rantoul

RANTOUL – U.S. Air Force site officials have nearly completed the investigation phase of the former Chanute Air Force base, and they're ready to start a widespread cleanup of the most contaminated sites there.

"This is a milestone," said Paul Carroll, an environmental coordinator for the Air Force, at the quarterly Restoration Advisory Board meeting. "But there's a lot of work remaining."

Bridging the gap in recycling

CHAMPAIGN – Coming from Berkeley, Calif., a city that offers not only curbside recycling for residents but also free recycling for businesses, Aaron Pollack was a bit mystified at the recycling, or lack of it, in Champaign.

He remembers walking and driving through town and thinking, "Where are all the recycling bins?"

Time to get ready for winter blasts

Today marks the start of Winter Storm Preparedness Week in Illinois, and state officials say now is the time to assemble emergency kits for homes and vehicles.

"As we saw last year, severe winter weather can trap people in their homes without heat or power for several days," said a statement from Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Andrew Velasquez III.

Danville organization hosting electonics collection day

DANVILLE – A new nonprofit organization is offering people a way to celebrate America Recycles Day by inviting residents in a six-county area to drop off computers, electronics and other items for recycling.

Angela Haas, president of Web Innovations & Technology Services Inc. at 1507 N. Bowman Ave., Danville, said the collection will serve as the inaugural event for her organization.

It's your business: The Little Gym goes for big impact

The Little Gym, an Arizona-based chain that offers motor skills development programs for children, is coming to Savoy.

It will open at the Savoy Plaza off U.S. 45 in mid-February, according to the local franchisee, Giles Austin.