Technology

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.

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.

March 6 fundraiser benefits victims of earthquake in Haiti

A "Hearts for Haiti" event next weekend will raise money for victims of the January earthquake with music, improvisational performances and a raffle.

The fundraiser – organized by local community members and backed by the American Red Cross Central Illinois chapter – is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. March 6 at Class Act, 114 S. Neil St., C, a theater company with interactive performances and education.

The lineup includes performances by CU Theatresports Comedy Improv, Mordechai in the Mirror, Ryan Groff from Elsinore, and Duke of Uke.

CU Tweetup at Jupiters at The Crossing

The News-Gazette hosted another Tweetup at Jupiters at the Crossing on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010.

Emergency rules announced for "Unofficial" in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Jerry Schweighart on Friday announced several emergency orders that will be in place for the “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” event UI students will hold on March 5.

Bars in the campus area must raise their minimum entry age from 19 to 21 during Unofficial, and they must also have a doorman aged 21 or older checking identification at the entrance.

C-U hopes for Big Broadband grant still alive despite 1st award elsewhere

CHAMPAIGN – Officials are still "cautiously optimistic" about the fate of their $31 million Big Broadband proposal after a federal agency announced its first Illinois award on Friday.

Gov. Pat Quinn was in Sycamore on Friday afternoon to announce that the federal government would release nearly $12 million to develop a high-speed Internet network there. Meanwhile, Champaign-Urbana officials were still wondering whether the governor would have an opportunity to make a similar trip to Champaign.