Last summer, when gasoline prices rose to their highest (so far) levels, a few fair-minded officials in Illinois wondered whether the state should continue to benefit from those extraordinarily high fuel costs. After all, they reasoned, it's bad enough that gasoline costs about twice as much as it cost five years ago. Worse was that the state was benefiting from the high costs, and taking even more money from consumers.
In August 2005 – when the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Illinois was $2.72 – a legislative commission projected that if that price were maintained, the state sales tax would yield an extra $175 million from fuel-related sales taxes. Gasoline prices later dropped, but they're up again, and the statewide average is dangerously close to the record of $3.12 a gallon last September.
URBANA – It was about four years ago that Urbana-based Carle Clinic started feeling the effects of the Medicaid pinch.
That is, more Medicaid patients and shrinking payments for their care.
Bryan Lierman jokes that he's going to have a T-shirt printed that says, "I can't be killed."
He has survived not one but two near-death crashes on motorcycles.
URBANA – Disturbed by what it calls a "miscarriage of justice" in local courts, a new watchdog group is launching a criminal justice reform movement in Champaign County.
Community Court Watch formed two months ago, in part to focus public attention on the upcoming retrial of activist Patrick Thompson on home invasion and sexual abuse charges. He is accused of an attack on a neighbor in August 2004; his first trial ended in a hung jury.
CHAMPAIGN – The Rev. Eugene Barnes is on a mission.
Though he's a man of God, he's worried about the activities of men right now.
Ever wish you had more hours in your day to get stuff done?
Two Champaign women say their new errand-running services can help.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Abe Jones' decision to run against better competition paid off at the Drake Relays.
The Illinois senior, competing in the invitational 400-meter hurdles instead of the university/college division, won Saturday's race in 50.37 seconds. He denied Joey Woody's quest for his fourth 400 hurdles title in five years.
CHAMPAIGN – Ron Guenther's first concern in matters outside of fundraising is providing the most positive competitive atmosphere for his 17 coaches.
That's why all those sports are fully funded. That's why all those facilities have been and are being constructed. That's why the UI didn't make a stronger bid for the IHSA boys' basketball tournament (Guenther wanted to keep the Assembly Hall available in case, as hasn't happened, Theresa Grentz's cagers got the opportunity to host).
Thirty-one bowl games? Thirty-one bowl games?!?! To borrow the old line about the NHL playoffs, not making the postseason in college football is like not making the phone book. And get this, there might be 32.
The image is as strong in Dave Johnson's mind today as it was on his television screen 10 years ago.
The former Illinois sports information director's smile stretched wall to wall as he watched former Illini Kevin Hardy on an ESPN predraft special sporting an Illinois shirt for all the sporting world to see.