Daily dose: Local history, Unique town hall, Local politics, GA scholarships, Cultra money, Child porn

Daily dose: Local history, Unique town hall, Local politics, GA scholarships, Cultra money, Child porn

Local history

Missed this yesterday ...

In 1911, as a result of the skipping of school by 16 boys and 10 girls at the Champaign High School, three boys were expelled and the others were put under a written promise not to commit the offense again. The boys expelled were not made the scapegoats for the whole crowd who, because it was Columbus Day, decided to take a half-holiday yesterday. They were dropped because they had already been placed on a discipline order. Parents who were talked to are strong in their condemnation of the whole affair and support the method taken by the school authorities.

In 1961, the United Fund drive kicked off with the local goal set at $300,369. The general public will be asked to contribute an amount equal to one day’s pay. This year’s goal is a 33 percent increase, or nearly $75,000, over the total raised last year.


and today ...

In 1911, about 80 students of the Thornburn High School in Urbana went to Danville yesterday on a private interurban car to inspect the electric coal mines. The trip was an enjoyable one, made more so by the fact that Mr. Webb of the university mine rescue station accompanied them.

In 1961, Urbana romped past Lincoln 28-6 on the Railsplitters’ Homecoming, giving the Tigers a 5-0 record and 2-0 in the Big 12. Champaign, meanwhile, defeated Bloomington at home, 20-14. The victory cleared what may be the biggest obstacle to their first Big 12 title since 1942.


Unique town hall meeting here Sunday

From today's News-Gazette ...

CHAMPAIGN — One is a Democrat, the other a Republican. One is from Illinois, the other from Connecticut. One voted for President Barack Obama’s health care proposal, the other opposed it vehemently. And they are nearly polar opposites on congressional liberal-conservative ratings.
But U.S. Reps. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, and Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., will have a bipartisan, joint town hall meeting Sunday in Champaign. It may be a first-of-its-kind event, said Johnson’s spokesman, Phil Bloomer.
“I don’t know if anyone has done one of these before, and I don’t know a way to find out,” he said. “But I know that it is at least extremely unusual.”
Both are members of the House Center Aisle Caucus, a group formed to promote civil discourse and dialogue. Johnson helped found the group in 2005; Murphy is a co-chair this year.
And both are facing significant political challenges next year. Murphy is running to be the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut held by the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent. Johnson is running in a new, more Democratic congressional district that stretches across the state to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.
That’s about where the similarities end.

13th Congressional District Dem race still shaking out

From today's News-Gazette ...

One of these days, the race for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District will settle down.
But that might not occur until Dec. 5, the last date for candidates in Illinois to file nominating petitions for congressional races.
At one time, there were as many as five Democrats looking at running in the new district that runs from Champaign-Urbana over to the Mississippi River and down to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis. But Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten took himself out of the race last week, and others may follow.
The Republican candidate likely will be six-term incumbent Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.
And it’s possible there could be just one or two Democratic contenders.

Legislative scholarship debate drones on

From the Chicago Tribune ....

Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that he will ask House Speaker Michael Madigan to run legislation later this month to eliminate the scandal-plagued legislative scholarship program.

The governor's comments came a day after Madigan indicated he would not let members vote on Quinn's rewrite of a bill that would get rid of the program, citing concerns that Quinn overstepped his veto powers.

But Quinn said he isn't giving up and will ask the powerful Chicago Democratic leader to sponsor legislation abolishing the program when lawmakers return to Springfield for the fall session.

"It's time for the Legislature to wake up," Quinn said following an appearance at a Chicago Ideas Week event. "This particular privilege of legislators is a relic that needs to be abolished. It's been abused over and over again by too many legislators. I don't think the taxpayers are at all happy with that."

A Madigan spokesman said the speaker could not immediately be reached. Madigan previously has supported efforts to repeal the program, but the real challenge is in the Senate, where lawmakers have rejected attempts to do away with the perk.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, supports reforms to prevent abuses but questions whether the program needs to be eliminated, an aide said.

"If the program can be reformed to address the specific abuses of the past, why does it need to be abolished?" said spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon. Cullerton wants a review of all tuition waivers handed out by the state, not just those granted by lawmakers, she said.



Cultra fundraising

Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, yesterday reported raising $19,245 in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. But he also spent $34,853, leaving him with $79,597 available for his March primary election fight against state Rep. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign. Cultra had started the quarter with $95,206 in the bank.

Among Cultra's contributions was $200 from a church -- the Restoration Church in Champaign.

Among his expenditures was $16,600 that he paid down on an $85,000 personal loan he gave his campaign on June 30.


EIU employee with child porn remains on the job

From Illinois Times ...

What would your employer do if he found pornography, including hundreds of depictions of children having sex, on your work computer?

If you have a job at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, the answer is not much.

Eric Knuth, an employee in the university’s information technology services department, remains on the job despite a recommendation that he be terminated after investigators with the state Executive Inspector General’s Office found pornography on a university-issued laptop, according to documents released last month by the state Executive Ethics Commission.

Investigators found 1,665 sexually explicit files on a laptop issued to Knuth, including more than 300 animated images of children having sex, according to documents released by the commission. Felony charges have been pending in Coles County Circuit Court since November of last year.

The inspector general in Illinois recommended that Eastern Illinois University fire Knuth and one other employee who had pornography on a state computer. But both employees remain on the public payroll after serving two-day suspensions, according to documents released by the ethics commission, which has named Knuth but redacted the identity of the other employee from reports and correspondence.

The university initiated termination proceedings in December, according to documents released by the ethics commission, but backed off after co-workers and a former supervisor said that they believed that personal use of computers by employees was allowed. The university faced “significant risks” if discharge proceedings continued against Knuth and his unnamed co-worker, university general counsel Robert Miller told the inspector general’s office in a Feb. 3 letter.





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