Rob Kanter: Take time to identify other fluttering things

Everybody loves monarch butterflies, don't they? And for good reason. Monarchs are gorgeous to look at, they live a fascinating life and they're super easy to identify.

Park projects to launch with money from 2002 fish kill

URBANA — Urbana park board members Tuesday approved an agreement that calls for the construction of rain gardens in a parking lot at Crystal Lake Park as compensation for a 2002 ammonia release and fish kill in the Saline Branch of the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River.

An even larger project — installing in-stream riffles in the Saline within Crystal Lake Park — is on deck.

West Nile surfaces in Champaign County

CHAMPAIGN — The hot, drier weather has created a buzz, but not the kind anyone wants.

For the first time this summer, a mosquito batch in Champaign County has tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Rob Kanter: A tale of two ponds, and the Salt Fork

I had occasion to be around two ponds last Saturday.

The first is on a friend's property in Vermilion County, south of Oakwood. It's deep and cool and clear, surrounded by woods except the edge formed by the dam that forms it. Wooden docks provide access to the water for people who have cabins there and it's a pond people do access, especially for fishing but also to swim.

Solar farm construction begins on UI campus

CHAMPAIGN — After several years of design and delay, construction has finally begun on a new "solar farm" at the University of Illinois.

The 20.8-acre installation, a field of solar panels that will connect to the UI's power grid, is considered a key step in the campus's transition to renewable energy.

Weekend planner: Butterflies at the Virginia

We've all heard of the sad decline in the monarch-butterfly population. It's one reason the Champaign Park District wanted to focus on butterflies this summer. So the district, with Mitch Marlow, front-of-house coordinator at the Virginia Theater, came up with the family-friendly "Flight of the Butterflies" event starting at 2 p.m. today at the Virginia.

Rob Kanter: Amphibian survey can indicate environmental health

If you were to base a movie character on Dave Stone, you'd probably have to tone down his enthusiasm for science and teaching — and that's saying something, given that he'll begin his 32nd year in the classroom at Uni High this fall.

Hauler to stop using stickers in Monticello

MONTICELLO — Area Disposal Co. has announced it will discontinue its sticker-based garbage hauling program in Monticello. Stickers will be sold through the end of the July via the company's Clinton office, and pickup of garbage bags with stickers will cease Oct. 1.

Virus kills 250 fish at Dawson Lake

By SERAH WELBORN/.LeRoy/Farmer City Press

LeROY — Roughly 250 dead fish were counted along the edges of Dawson Lake earlier this month.

Got ants? Bait may help

Got a health-related question for Deb? Ask it here

CHAMPAIGN — If you're trying to get rid of pesky, persistent ants in your house, some ways work better than others.