Don Dodson

Heavy rains affecting area farms

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign County farmers continue to contend with ponding in fields, but in many cases, their situation isn’t as bad as that of other areas.


Groups exploring innovation museum

CHAMPAIGN — Several groups are exploring the possibility of creating a local museum that would feature innovations developed in Champaign County.

Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County, mentioned the concept at the visitors bureau’s annual Toast of Tourism Wednesday at Parkland College.


Rantoul company, native cited for their innovation

URBANA — People with Rantoul connections were among the winners at the annual Innovation Celebration last week at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.


Ag chief urges rural areas to go after high-speed Internet

CHAMPAIGN — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged rural communities in East Central Illinois to take advantage of federal programs to help make high-speed Internet access available in their areas.

In an interview Thursday with The News-Gazette, Vilsack expanded on President Barack Obama’s call Wednesday to make fast, affordable broadband available to more parts of the country.


Record corn crop expected locally too

CHAMPAIGN — Corn yield estimates across Champaign County are uniformly good, with this year’s average estimate topping the all-time record by 14 percent, scouts for Premier Cooperative said.


Plant to hire 30 more people in Rantoul

CHAMPAIGN — BRG Sports plans to hire an additional 30 people in Rantoul as the assembly and distribution center there takes on more functions, the center’s general manager said Wednesday.


Two Rantoul convenience stores to be sold

CHAMPAIGN — Two Rantoul convenience stores will  come under new ownership.

Champaign-based Tri Star Marketing has agreed to sell its chain of Super Pantry convenience stores to Alimentation Couche-Tard, one of the world’s largest operators of convenience stores, the Quebec-based company announced Tuesday.


County agriculture becoming worldwide draw; Hardy's ranch among the stops

URBANA — It’s not the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas or the Big Apple, but Illinois agriculture is drawing tourists.

Last year, about 40 international tour groups came to Champaign County to witness aspects of American agriculture.

Visit Champaign County, the local tourism bureau, figures those trips involved nearly 1,600 travelers and had an economic impact of about $390,000.


Smith named to replace Sandahl on EDC board

CHAMPAIGN — Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith has been approved as a member of the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. developmental board.

He was approved at a meeting of the group last Wednesday.


Farmers, businesses working together to combat hunger

CHAMPAIGN — Area farmers and agri-businesses are banding together to fight hunger by growing corn and donating the revenue from it to the United Way of Champaign County.

Using the slogan “Farmers Feeding Families,” the group has arranged to lease a 42-acre plot in north Champaign and Urbana, with hopes of raising more than $30,000 for local hunger relief programs.


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