New UI building taking energy efficiency to whole new level

URBANA — The miles of cable strung through this building would rival any on campus.

As its name implies, the $95 million Electrical and Computer Engineering Building going up on Wright Street, just south of the Beckman Institute, will require some serious power.

Local Christmas tree supply dwindling

If you're still looking to get a live Christmas tree, officials say you better hurry.

Several local tree growers said they are either out of full-sized live trees or are down to just a handful.

University of Illinois horticulture educator Sandy Mason said the shortage could be due to a rush on trees early on in the holiday season.

Otters make major comeback in Illinois

DANVILLE — As a sixth grader in 1997, Josh Gabehart opened one of the pens that held 15 river otters being released at Kennekuk County Park in an effort to reintroduce the animal to Illinois waterways.

River otters: 5 facts

5 things to know about river otters

** They're voracious eaters. The nocturnal members of the weasel family have been known to wipe out a pond's worth of catfish in one night, and aren't particularly fussy about food. Frogs, mussels, birds, small rodents — otters will eat them all.

Early results show turbines not exceeding noise limits, firm's lawyer says

DANVILLE — The preliminary indication from a sound study at the California Ridge Wind Project is that turbines are not exceeding Illinois noise limits, according to an attorney with Invenergy, the wind farm owner.

Turbine-sound study finished; results not yet public

DANVILLE — Two acoustical experts have finished a sound study in the California Ridge Wind Project, but whether the results show that wind turbines are exceeding Illinois noise pollution standards is not yet being disclosed, according to an attorney representing the wind farm owner, Invenergy.

Gifford water tower may have to be replaced

GIFFORD — Seventeen days after their water treatment plant was heavily damaged by a tornado, Gifford residents learned that they no longer have to boil their water.

The village's public works director, Jess Childress, drove a sample of the village's water to the Illinois EPA laboratory in Springfield on Tuesday.

Sandra Mason: This gardener is thankful for many things

Too much wind, too little rain. Why does it take extreme events for us to realize what truly matters? My heart goes out to all who have the wearisome task of pulling their lives back together after our recent tornadoes.

UMS program lets parents share expertise with top students

URBANA — On a recent Thursday at Urbana Middle School, several seventh-graders gathered around a table, diagramming how greenhouse gases work in the atmosphere and using iPads to evaluate their own use of energy.

Environmental Almanac: Sandhill cranes put on a show

The calls of sandhill cranes carry on the wind by some magic. Whether they are flying, and your view of them is obscured by a tree line, or they're feeding in a harvested cornfield, where their rust-stained gray feathers make them difficult to pick out, you typically hear cranes before you see them.