News briefs: Danville to host Main St. conference promoting economic development

Apparently, Main Street in Danville is just a little nicer. The town was recently given the chance to host this year’s Main Street Conference by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, Nov. 14-15.

Danville is one of Illinois’ 68 Main Street communities, part of a nationwide program that seeks to invest in community renewal and economic development. Last year, the New Holland Apartments in Danville received Lt. Gov. Quinn’s Premier Project of the Year Award for exemplifying Illinois’ best downtown revitalization initiative. The structure is now home to Crosspoint Human Services, a nonprofit organization that serves people with emotional, psychiatric and developmental issues, and has also won awards for its energy efficiency.

“I hope everyone in Illinois who is interested in making our downtowns lively and beautiful will come to Danville to attend this meeting and see what a difference the Illinois Main Street Program can make,” said Quinn.

Anyone interested in attending the meeting, making a presentation, or displaying a product should contact Wendy Bell, the Illinois Main Street Program coordinator at [email protected]

University researchers make breakthrough on protein functions

Professor John A. Gerlt had a novel idea for how to figure out the function for proteins in your body: use a computer.

His research team is the first to use a computational approach to use a protein’s amino acid sequence to determine the protein’s function, according to a report in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

The new process should speed the task of determining the biological functions of proteins, of which about half of the 4.5 million protein sequences are currently known.

College student pleads guilty to hoax alleging Sears Tower bomb threat

BOSTON – A man who misled federal authorities into thinking that a Muslim student he met on a social networking Web site planned a terrorist attack on the Sears Tower in Chicago pleaded guilty to the hoax.

Adam Hart, 22, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston on Wednesday to one count of maliciously conveying false information. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 16, and could be ordered to serve up to 10 years in prison.

Hart was a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in April 2006 when he sent an e-mail to the National Security Agency claiming that a University of Chicago student he met on Facebook Inc.’s popular online site was planning to detonate a bomb at the landmark skyscraper.

The hoax prompted increased security at the building and an investigation of the person Hart identified.

Authorities investigate salmonella food poisoning at Taste of Chicago

CHICAGO – Authorities are investigating 17 cases of illness possibly linked to a booth at last week’s Taste of Chicago food festival, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Five of the cases had been confirmed as of Wednesday as being caused by salmonella bacteria, and at least three people had been admitted to hospitals.

According to the public health department, the cases were believed to have been associated with the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth at the Taste.

It was the first confirmed outbreak of a food-borne illness associated with the Taste of Chicago in at least 20 years.

National briefs from The Associated Press. Local briefs compiled by Jenette Sturges.