Residents can compete for expanded broadband service

CHAMPAIGN — City officials in Champaign and Urbana want residents and businesses to vote with their checkbooks to bring expanded broadband service to the area.

New technique minimizes scar from gallbladder surgery

URBANA — If that pain and indigestion mean your gallbladder has got to go, you may be able to have the surgery and skip the scar.

Provena Covenant Medical Center and Christie Clinic have teamed up to offer what they call virtually scarless gallbladder removal with a single incision in the belly button, using Covenant's da Vinci robotic-controlled surgical system.

On a power trip: C-U residents switch electricity suppliers

The cities of Champaign and Urbana will be flipping the switch on most of their residents this month as they move them over to two new electricity suppliers: Integrys Energy in Champaign and Homefield Energy in Urbana.

Catholic priest agrees to take Paxton Record suit to Ford County

DANVILLE — The headmaster of a Catholic boarding school in Georgetown who filed a civil action against the Paxton newspaper will make his case in the weekly newspaper's home county now.

Consolidated Communications completes acquisition of SureWest

MATTOON — Mattoon-based Consolidated Communications has completed its acquisition of SureWest Communications, the company announced Monday.

As a result, Consolidated, which provides voice, data and video services to customers in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas, stands to gain SureWest customers in the Sacramento, Calif., area and the Kansas City areas of both Missouri and Kansas.

Four area startups in line to receive money from state program

CHAMPAIGN — Four startup companies with ties to the Champaign-Urbana area have been approved to receive equity investments from the state's new Invest Illinois Venture Fund.

The fund was set up last year as the venture capital arm of the state's Advantage Illinois program.

Schools: Getting hands dirty can pay off in future

CHAMPAIGN — At a time when students may think they need a bachelor's degree to be eligible for good jobs, local educators are encouraging them to look into an education that would qualify them for well-paying local manufacturing jobs.

911 calls working well on new UI system

Emergency 911 calls from campus are being routed through the new University of Illinois computer-based phone system, and officials say it's worked well so far.

The system had to be adapted to ensure emergency dispatchers received adequate location information from 911 callers, since the campus had not recorded the location of every computer port.

UI phone switch 'very successful' despite issues

URBANA — Amid grumbling about dropped calls and dysfunctional phone transfers, the University of Illinois made the formal switch to a new computer-based phone service last week.

The campus converted about 10,600 numbers from the old land-line system to the new voice-over-Internet phone service that's part of the $4.8 million Unified Communications system.

Urbana teacher to network in Ireland

URBANA — She was trained to be a band teacher, but Erin Lodes has expanded into teaching students about how to use and learn with technology.

Lodes, who became an Apple Distinguished Educator last year, will travel to Cork, Ireland, this summer to attend an institute with other teachers who have earned that distinction.