J. Philip Bloomer

J. Philip Bloomer

MTD moving ahead with annexation plans

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District will be proceeding with annexation of several new subdivisions around the southern, eastern and western parts of the city.

The MTD board on Wednesday instructed the administration to continue gathering specific legal descriptions of annexable land in the urbanized area contiguous to the cities.

Champaign general election races set

CHAMPAIGN – Matt Varble knows he has his work cut out for him in District 3 after losing a write-in contest with incumbent Vic McIntosh 277-81.

"I'm just happy 80-some people voted for me. Now I need to work harder getting my message out," Varble said.

Sparks flying over primary in Urbana

URBANA – The ongoing promotion of crossover voting in the Urbana mayoral race has led to some muddy legal waters.

Those in candidate Laurel Prussing's camp say anybody who signed petitions for Republican candidates in Urbana are forbidden by law from taking a Democratic ballot in the primary election next week.

UI, family at odds over building

CHAMPAIGN – The Georgian, a 27-unit apartment building built in 1925, has sat in the middle of campus for 55 years, not really on anybody's radar. Until now.

Last Tuesday, the Champaign City Council designated the Georgian as a historic landmark, so honored for its distinctive and well-preserved Georgian Revival architectural style.

Old rail's a step closer to a trail

Plans for a 24.5-mile recreation trail on the old rail line between Urbana and Kickapoo State Park keep chugging right along.

The Champaign County Conservation and Design Foundation announced last week that it had secured a lease for the right of way, a critical and long-sought step toward acquisition and development of what could be a signature, destination attraction for East Central Illinois.

Resolution nears for ammonia spill

URBANA – Parties negotiating settlements over the ammonia spill that killed some 135,000 fish in the Saline Branch and Salt Fork River say they're approaching a resolution, more than 2 years since the accident.

Jim Morgan, a lawyer for the Illinois Attorney General's office, said the various jurisdictions involved are engaged in discussions about various natural resource restoration projects that could be undertaken in the Salt Fork watershed. Those options will be subject to public review before a final resolution is agreed on, Morgan said.

Group promotes green building

CHAMPAIGN – Build green, they say.

Sounds a bit new world-ish, perhaps a bit Buckminster Fuller for central Illinois, or for a construction industry that tends toward the conservative side.

King's legacy: 'It belongs to all of us'

Parkland Community College President Zelema Harris talked of it in her Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech Friday at Urbana's Holiday Inn.

University High School counselor Sam Smith saw it in the planning for University of Illinois' weeklong celebration of the civil rights leader.

Speaker: There's more to King Jr.'s legacy

URBANA – Zelema Harris confessed Friday that after more than 40 years since she first heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, she remains spellbound by his oratory, yet torn about the influence his words and actions have had.

The ambivalence arises from the selectivity and sanitization with which society has treated his message, and the pain and disappointment his words force her to relive.

Factions look for common ground

URBANA – Is there common ground between environmentalists and farmers or is the gulf too wide to bridge?

Hal Barnhart, a Champaign County Farm Bureau member, believes the two camps can find the common ground, if only in "baby steps." But then Barnhart has a bit of an unusual perspective.