Daily dose: High UI costs (in 1910), Bill Brady's future, Easy prison money, Wind turbines as bird-killers?, Gaming expansion a no-go?

Local history

In 1910, the high cost of living has struck the 4,000 or 5,000 undergraduates at the University of Illinois with a vengeance, according to an investigation by Dr. C.H. Forsyth, an assistant in the department of mathematics. Expanses of the average man among 568 undergraduates whose accounts were examined found that it costs about 50 percent more to attend the university than just six years ago. To belong to the average Greek fraternity costs about $150 more annually than to remain out of it. Recent catalogues by the university say the average student wouldn’t need more than $350 to $400 a year for expenses, but the survey says fraternity men spent $587 a year while non-fraternity men spent an average of $407. Two fraternity men reported spending more than $1,500 a year on expenses.


In 1960, residents on Chicago’s west side continue to campaign to locate the permanent undergraduate division of the University of Illinois in Garfield Park. A total of 45,000 property owners in the community have signed a petition urging the UI to fight hard to locate the campus there. A decision from the Illinois Supreme Court about whether the park can be sold to the university is expected in January.

Sen. Bill Brady's future

In an e-mail to supporters posted today, unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady of Bloomington said he would run for reelection to his Senate seat in 2012 and added that he may run for governor again in 2014.

"As you might expect, I'm often asked whether I'll be running for Governor again in 2014," he wrote. "At this point, all I can say is that I really don't know. I intend to seek re-election to the Illinois State Senate in 2012, but beyond that it’s too early to make any final decisions about any future political endeavors.  However, I can promise you that I remain convinced that if we're going to fix our state's economy and bring jobs to Illinois, we need major reform of our state's spending and fiscal policies. I can also promise you that I'll be championing those reforms in 2011 and beyond, whether I'm a candidate or not."
 

Easy money

From the Associated Press ...

"The head of Illinois’ workers’ compensation commission is calling for an investigation of nearly $10 million paid out in claims to more than half the staff of a southwestern Illinois prison over the past three years.

"The Belleville News-Democrat reported the figures Thursday. They involve claims paid by state taxpayers to 389 guards and other workers at the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in Chester, 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.

"The more than 500 claims filed since January 2008 include one involving a $75,678 payment in June to the prison’s warden, Dave Rednour, according to the newspaper.

"A message seeking comment was left with Rednour at the 3,500-prisoner lockup. He does not have a listed home telephone number. Sharyn Elman, a state Department of Corrections spokeswoman, has said Rednour’s case is a “personnel issue” she could not publicly discuss.

"Roughly 290 cases are pending."

http://www.sj-r.com/state/x1733658027/Officials-call-for-probe-of-Menard...

Birds at risk from wind farms

From the Omaha World-Herald ...

"One of the nation's largest bird conservation groups says rapid construction of wind energy projects will endanger several avian species.
"That includes the whooping crane, a famous migratory bird and annual visitor to central Nebraska.
"Officials with American Bird Conservancy on Wednesday cited data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that estimates 400,000 birds of various species are killed by turbine blades annually.
"The conservation group's concerns come as state and national officials push to expand wind energy development in the coming years.
“'Golden eagles, whooping cranes and greater sage-grouse are likely to be among the birds most affected by poorly planned and sited wind projects,' said Kelly Fuller, a spokeswoman for the conservancy.
“'Unless the government acts now to require that the wind industry respect basic wildlife safeguards, these three species will be at ever greater risk.'”

http://www.omaha.com/article/20101230/NEWS01/712309874

Gaming expansion bill still a no-go?

From the TribLocal ...

Murphy said the fate of the gambling expansion bill is uncertain in the House of Representatives.

“These bills get built up and collapse under their own weight,” he said.

Outgoing Rep. Mark Walker (D-66) agreed.

“My own view, in its current form, it probably won’t last very long,” he said.

Walker said house leaders discussed education reform, Medicaid reform, worker’s compensation reform, the budget process, taxes and borrowing, but the gambling bill never came up.

Both legislators agreed the state is facing much bigger problems and that the size of the proposed gambling expansion may be more than many legislators can stomach.

http://triblocal.com/arlington-heights/2010/12/30/fate-of-slots-at-track...
 

 

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Avalon wrote on December 31, 2010 at 10:12 am

RE: Wind turbine/bird deaths;

Less than 1 bird fatality out of 10,000 is due to a wind turbine. Research article here:
http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr191/Asilomar/pdfs...
Key points in coments from American Bird Conservancy are "poorly planned and sited wind projects". A properly planned and sited project will have minimal impact.

Before condemning wind energy, bird and wildlife deaths from coal slurry, coal fly ash and oil spill contamination are greater. Not to mention negative health effects to humans from mercury, arsenic and other chemical emissions from traditional energy production. It's a worse problem than so called "greenhouse gases".