Technology

PDQ Printing's owners see American dreams disrupted

URBANA – Leon Odendaal saw PDQ Printing Services as an opportunity to move to the United States from his native South Africa.

He bought the Urbana-based business in 2007 and moved his family to Champaign County.

But three years later, unable to get a green card for permanent U.S. residency, he is selling the firm's assets and planning to return to South Africa – with eventual hopes of coming back.


Uni High grad's lighting technology has many fans in Hollywood

When you see realistic digital human or alien characters like the blue Na'vi in "Avatar," Superman in "Superman Returns" and a reverse-aging Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," you have University High School alumnus Paul Debevec to thank, in large part.

Debevec developed the groundbreaking light-stage technology that helps make digital actors trick viewers into believing they're seeing the real thing. For his contributions, the 1988 Uni grad recently received the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award.


Competition medals are icing on cake for C-U's own ace

Local pastry chef Ashlee Roderick has created several themed cakes for large competitions. The awards they've won prove her career also has a theme: excellence.

Roderick, 37, has competed in three competitions and is planning to enter another cake this fall in the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. She's a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has owned and operated The Cake Artist's Studio in Champaign since 2001.


Celebrities get creative for Danville library's Doodle for Literacy

DANVILLE – The fundraising committee of the Danville Library Foundation wanted to create an event that would be a first for the Danville community without reinventing the wheel.

In the process, the committee came up with the Doodle for Literacy Auction Gala event, which will be held April 10 at the Danville Country Club.


Getting Personal: Danville radio stations manager Mike Hulvey

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. I read six newspapers online, five news and sports sites along with visiting our company sites and checking e-mail.


UI junior wins Lemelson-MIT prize for prosthetic arm

URBANA – University of Illinois junior Jonathan Naber has won the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Illinois Student Prize for innovation, for developing an affordable prosthetic arm for people in developing countries.

Naber, who majors in materials science and engineering, has been working with the Illini Prosthetics Team on campus to create an arm that is functional, durable and easily made.

He plans to travel to Guatemala this summer to field-test the prototype at a prosthetics clinic.


Cities have 30 days to decide whether to accept Big Broadband grant

CHAMPAIGN – The clock begins ticking Tuesday for local governments to decide whether they are willing to accept a $22.5 million grant to fund the Big Broadband proposal after officials received word this afternoon that the project will be funded by the federal government.

The announcement ends months of anticipation and gives public bodies 30 days to decide if they are willing to accept the grant.


Firms combine talents for new venture converting gas engines to electric

DANVILLE – Vermilion Advantage officials on Tuesday announced a collaboration of Automation International Inc. of Danville and ClearFlex Automotive Technologies of Wabash, Ind.

The two companies have created a new business Ecofit Inc., that will convert an automobile’s combustion engine to an electric engine system.

ClearFlex will provide the design and technical details along with marketing and sales services, while Automation International will bring engineering expertise and the ability to make the physical conversion.


Big Broadband proposal gets $22.5 million grant

CHAMPAIGN — The clock begins ticking Tuesday for local governments to decide whether they are willing to accept a $22.5 million grant to fund the Big Broadband proposal after officials received word this afternoon that the project will be funded by the federal government.

The announcement ends months of anticipation and gives public bodies 30 days to decide if they are willing to accept the grant.


Ebert to appear on 'Oprah' on Tuesday with new 'voice'

Urbana native Roger Ebert will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Tuesday, using a new text-to-speech computer-software generated voice based on his own.

Ebert told The News-Gazette on Friday via e-mail that he calls his new voice "Roger Jr."

"I'm writing a blog that will tell all," he added.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic posted last week at Twitter that he had taped an "Oprah" segment and it was to air on Tuesday. Locally, the program airs at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday on WCIA Channel 3.


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