Firm buys Watchfire Signs

DANVILLE — A New York-based private equity firm has bought Watchfire Signs, a long-time Danville electronic sign company that has grown into a leading manufacturer of LED signs and digital billboards.

Rich Warren: Comparing and contrasting Nook and Kindle

I support the underdog. Thus, when the time arrived two years ago to switch from paper books to e-books, I headed over to Barnes & Noble to buy a Nook e-reader. Amazon rates as the 900-pound gorilla of Internet retailing. I studied the online reviews, which ultimately reported that the most basic Nook and Amazon Kindle were about the same.

Champaign company buys Fisher firm, changes name

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign-based HL Precision Machining has acquired Design & Manufacturing Inc. in Fisher.

Going forward, the company will be known as HL Precision Manufacturing and will operate manufacturing facilities in both communities, said company President Steve Hillard.

HL has hired 17 employees at the 36,000-square-foot facility at 302 W. Division St., Fisher.

Environmental Almanac: Local man doing his part to fight global warming

Last November, Champaign resident Scott Willenbrock read in this column the story of another local man and University of Illinois faculty colleague, Phil Krein, who was installing solar panels on the roof of his garage. For Willenbrock, a professor of physics, the timing of that column was perfect.

Library events, Sept. 29-Oct. 6

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a selection of events provided by area libraries:

Champaign Public Library

Main library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

Call center glitches show up before Affordable Care Act launch

CHAMPAIGN — Two glitches have emerged in the final days leading up to the launch of Obamacare in Illinois.

The online state call center intended to provide help directing people to the right area of Illinois online health marketplace isn't operating yet, and Illinois consumers will likely need to seek help through the federal call center for a short time.

Rich Warren: Remembering a sound innovator

Ray Dolby, who immeasurably enhanced our enjoyment of music and movies, died Sept. 12 at age 80. He held 50 patents and won numerous Academy Awards and Emmy Awards for his contributions to audio, video and cinema.

Illinois Ancestors: Boundary changes can affect research

Genealogical researchers need to be aware of boundary changes in order to conduct successful research. An ancestor may have lived on the same piece of property for his entire life, and yet the name of that geographical location may have changed several times.

Students trace their own history through DNA

DANVILLE — Jasmin Grajales has wondered, upon occasion, whether she descended from an Aztec princess. Her mom told her that her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Mexico and her great-grandfather came from an Aztec tribe.

Joshua White's mom told him that he has a German, Japanese and Hawaiian heritage.

Warrant issued over online comments

URBANA — For years, Lori Stewart received comments on her blog from an anonymous poster that were mostly vulgar.

The 50-year-old Urbana woman started her blog in 2005 "on a kick" before she even really knew what a web log was.