Rob Kanter/Environmental Almanac: A day full of bird calls

The hour before sunrise on the first Saturday in May finds me in the same place most years. That's standing on a bridge over the Sangamon River north of Mahomet with my friend Greg Lambeth, playing a recording of a whippoorwill's call in hopes we'll get one to call back.

Groups urge Ameren to join energy proposal

SPRINGFIELD — Ameren Illinois, environmental and consumer groups say, should embrace energy efficiency and rate structure proposals included in Exelon Corporation's proposed Next Generation energy plan.

Champaign considers expanding items to be recycled

CHAMPAIGN — Curbside recycling companies in Champaign could soon be required to accept more items, including more types of plastic, cardboard and empty aerosol cans, as the Champaign City Council is set to weigh in on proposed changes at a study session on Tuesday.

Electronics recycling event Saturday

CHAMPAIGN — For Champaign County residents wanting to get rid of that old TV set, Saturday's the day to do it.

The free electronic recycling event — hosted by Champaign County and the cities of Champaign, Urbana and Savoy — runs from 8 a.m. to noon at Parkland College. A fall event will also be held, on Oct. 15.

Exelon decision elusive as talks continue

SPRINGFIELD — With about week until Exelon Corp. says it needs a decision from the Legislature on a controversial financial aid package to help two of its Illinois nuclear plants, the company said that negotiations continue.

But it's unclear if there will be a decision by June 1, the date that Exelon says it needs a commitment from the General Assembly.

2 local restaurants install hives for garden pollination, honey production

URBANA — Two new hives of bees are now buzzing atop the Courier Cafe roof, and doing local gardeners the service of pollinating flowers and trees.

Parkland instructor Maggie Wachter of Urbana said the honey bees should appreciate the urban gardens, and some of their favorite trees.

Testing starts at Kickapoo pond over fly ash

DANVILLE — Testing has begun at Kickapoo State Park to determine whether a fly ash dump near the park has contaminated a pond there.

Clinton plant refueling 'could be the last one'

CLINTON — While the Illinois Legislature debates a financial aid package to keep it open, the Clinton nuclear plant west of Champaign this week is undergoing a refueling outage that could be the last one in the plant's 29-year history.

Legislators plead Clinton nuke case with Rauner

SPRINGFIELD — Not only would the closing of the Clinton nuclear plant west of Champaign damage the central Illinois economy, legislators said Thursday, but it also would result in higher electric bills.

Outlook for eagle after surgery: 'Really good'

URBANA — Roommates: Two geese and a pied-billed grebe.

Hospital food: Thawed pre-frozen rats and fish.

Prognosis for the 1-year-old female bald eagle recovering from surgery to reconstruct damage to her wing from a gunshot wound: "It looks really good," said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, an intern at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.