New ways to reach, hear from IRS

Want to check the status of your tax refund?

This year, you can check it a new way, on your smart phone.

In January, the IRS unveiled a smart phone application, IRS2Go, that lets people check on their refund and get daily tax tips.

Apple users can download the free app at the Apple App Store, while Android users can get it at the Android Market.

UI professor named director of program

URBANA – An electrical engineering professor has been tapped to head the University of Illinois' program in trustworthy and available computing.

Lego teams, robots to be at library

Local First Lego League teams will be showing off their robots at a Lego Robotic Fun Day at the Champaign Public Library, at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

The teams will help children program and build a working Lego robot. The afternoon will also include engineering demonstrations and, for younger children, robot-themed stories.

Stratton has history of success in tournament

CHAMPAIGN – Stratton Elementary School has sent four teams to the First Lego League state tournament since it began competing in the event in 2006. But this year is the first time the school has brought back a state trophy.

Make that two state trophies.

Local firm among finalists in business plan contest

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign firm is one of six finalists in a business plan competition that will pay $10,000 to the winner.

Aptimmune Biologics will vie with companies from Evanston, Libertyville, Moline, Brookfield and Madison, Wis., in the 2011 Propel Business Plan Competition.

Pavlov Media will merge with North Carolina firm

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign-based Pavlov Media has agreed to merge with North Carolina-based Wavelength Corp., with Wavelength becoming a Pavlov subsidiary, the companies announced this week.

New research park deal up for vote

CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois is closer to signing an agreement with the local developer who will build the next phase of the university's research park.

UI suggests turbine could be moved

URBANA – As the costs of a University of Illinois wind turbine increase, south Urbana residents worried how the turbine would affect their property values brought more questions to a second public meeting on Monday night.

State fines AT&T for outage that hit Urbana

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Commerce Commission has found AT&T at fault for a days-long interruption in its own service in November that affected an undetermined number of customers in Urbana.

Jim Deignan, director of AT&T regulatory, said the communications company will not appeal a $2,700 fine doled out by the ICC, which it learned of last week.

School could bring fast Internet to community

ST. JOSEPH – St. Joseph-Ogden High School wants faster Internet.

The high school is planning on hooking into the Illinois Century Network, a telecommunications pipeline already used by thousands of schools and other public entities statewide.