Food bank has shot at $1 million through social media

URBANA — The Eastern Illinois Foodbank has a shot at winning $1 million — about half its annual budget — through a new social media campaign being run by Walmart and its Walmart Foundation.

And if you'd like to help, it's "super easy," says food bank marketing director Cheryl Precious.

Villa Grove schools approve electricity agreement

In an effort to save on energy costs, the Villa Grove school board has approved an agreement with First Energy to provide the district with electricity for the next two years.

The school district now gets electricity from the Illinois Energy Consortium and pays nearly as much as it would through the traditional utility company.

Urbana approves bidding pool for better electric rates

URBANA — City council members on Monday night gave administrators the green light to add Urbana to a bidding pool that they believe will get residents better rates on their electric bills.

Update on FutureGen 2.0

The FutureGen Alliance and the Department of Energy continue to pursue building FutureGen 2.0 by upgrading a power plant in Meredosia and transporting carbon emissions to an underground site east of Jacksonville in Morgan County. Here's more:

FutureGen through the years

A timeline of events related to FutureGen:

Jan. 28, 2003

President George W. Bush proposes the concept of a near zero-emissions coal-fueled power plant during his State of the Union address.

March 7, 2006

Tuscola officials confident they have what it takes the next time a company comes calling

TUSCOLA — Tuscola might have been unsuccessful 4 1/2 years ago attracting the $1 billion-plus FutureGen power plant.

But the pursuit may have a happy ending after all as various investors have shown interest in building an industrial plant there instead.

Champaign firm's peeling equipment in demand

CHAMPAIGN — Rick Martin and Steve Bray can peel a cantaloupe in 10 seconds flat.

So can you, if you can afford one of their $30,000 peelers.

Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita and other processors of fresh-cut fruit have looked to Martin and Bray — and their company, Pre-Pack Machinery of Champaign — for automatic peelers and custom processing equipment.

More about deep underground storage of carbon dioxide

One method for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide — a major contributor to global warming, according to scientists — is to inject the gas deep underground for long-term storage.

Three types of subsurface formations can be used — all of which exist in the Illinois Basin (encompassing most of Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky):

Local pros' scientific 'show and tell' wows Yankee Ridge students

URBANA — Students at Yankee Ridge Elementary in Urbana learned a lot about science Thursday, and they seemed pretty thrilled about it.

Down the halls, you could hear students exclaiming as local scientists taught them all sorts of interesting things.

Ameren Illinois to install new meters over next decade

Ameren Illinois plans to install about 780,000 advanced electric meters over the next 10 years, the company disclosed in a filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

The meters will be similar in size to current meters, but they'll be digital rather than analog, company spokesman Leigh Morris said. Instead of having dials that turn, the meters will have digital readouts.