Ameren restores power in Champaign

UPDATED 2:52 p.m. Thursday.

CHAMPAIGN -- Ameren crews restored power to nearly 2,500 customers Thursday in Champaign in ZIP codes 61820 and 61821.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said a conductor burned about 1:30 p.m. at the Kirby Avenue substation. Morris said a
a crew was making repairs on a damaged conductor when another conductor came loose and fell into another line,

DHS considers expanding New Tech program to freshmen

DANVILLE — Since launching in fall 2009, Danville High School's New Tech High has been open to only sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Millions to be invested in energy efficiency at UI

SPRINGFIELD — The University of Illinois will invest millions into boosting the energy efficiency of its facilities and is hiring a firm to develop a plan for how it can meet climate-related goals, such as using more renewable fuels to power the Urbana campus.

Detective uses triathlon to raise awareness of autism

Nate Rath is the baby of eight Champaign police officers who have completed grueling Ironman triathlons.

The 36-year-old detective finished his first Ironman in Panama City, Fla., on Nov. 5 in 16 hours and 15 minutes.

Vermilion power station officially retired

NEWTOWN — The Vermilion power station in the Newtown area has been officially retired from service, according to Dynegy officials.

The 176-megawatt coal-fired power station was "mothballed" this past spring and most of its workers let go, and even then, had not regularly been generating power for some time, according to Dynegy officials.

THQ hopes Volition's 'Saints Row' boosts holiday sales

CHAMPAIGN — "Saints Row: The Third" — the latest game developed by Volition Inc. — launched this month, and Volition's parent company, THQ Inc., hopes it will boost sales in the all-important holiday period.

The video game is the third installment in the "Saints Row" franchise, which focuses on the Third Street Saints street gang and its fight against other criminal elements.

Don't throw away those old lights

The Thanksgiving leftovers are in the refrigerator, the last of the good dishes are back in the cabinet, now on to the Christmas tree.

You get out the decorations and root around for the delicate treasures — Aunt Min's handmade eggshell ornaments and mom's needle-pointed angels — before reaching for the lights.

Software creator Ozzie to get honorary UI doctorate

URBANA — The University of Illinois is expected to award an honorary degree to software creator Raymond "Ray" Ozzie, a 1979 UI graduate and former Microsoft executive.

The faculty-student senate recommended awarding Ozzie with an honorary doctor of engineering degree from the UI.

County board approves wind farm near Royal

URBANA — Champaign County Board members unanimously approved a 30-turbine wind farm for a rural area in the northeastern part of the county north of Royal.

The 30 turbines are part of a larger development, known as the California Ridge Farm, that also extends into Vermilion County where more than 100 turbines will be built.

MTD gets grant for hybrid buses

Officials at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District got a nice surprise Tuesday: word that they were one of five bus systems in Illinois to win a Federal Transit Administration Clean Fuels grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation.