Daily dose: Local history, campaign finance and weather statistics

Daily dose: Local history, campaign finance and weather statistics

Local history

In 1912, Congressman William B. McKinley has again done the handsome thing by presenting $5,000 to the Urbana school board for the purchase of 2.5 acres adjacent to the site of the proposed new high school. By fall, it is expected that a new school building on Race Street will be in the process of construction. The newly acquired land is for the expressed purpose of establishing an athletic park for the high school boys and girls. Some time ago, a similar gift was made by McKinley to the Champaign school board for the same purpose.

In 1962, not long ago the Humko plant on North Mattis Avenue was considered mammoth, but today it is dwarfed by its big sister to the north, the future home of Kraft Foods. Although the 400,000-square-foot Kraft plant isn’t scheduled for completion until next year, the building’s outer shell appears finished. Kraft officials have declined to disclose the use for the building. An announcement will be made near the end of the summer, said a Kraft spokesman.

Weather stats

As hot as July 2011 was July 2012 seems destined to smash those records.

Champaign-Urbana had 18 days of 90-degree-plus temperatures last July, three days of 100-plus temperatures and overall temperatures 6.5 degrees above normal. The coolest reading last July was 60 degrees, and we had 1.58 inches of rain in C-U.

So far this July we've had 16 days of 90-degree-plus temperatures, five days (including Wednesday) of 100-plus temperatures and overall temperatures 10.8 degrees above normal. The coolest reading so far this month is 65 degrees, and we've had .61 of an inch of rain.

Campaign finance

From Wednesday's N-G column ...


It turns out that the primary election race last March between Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Tom Pliura of rural Ellsworth cost a lot more than was reported in the candidates’ March 31 campaign disclosure report.
The newest quarterly reports from the two Republican contenders in the 51st Senate District show that they were still paying off bills and loans well into June and that the race left both of them with substantial personal debt.
Rose, who won the election by about 60 percent to 40 percent, appears to have spent at least $300,000 in the campaign, and had to take out a $26,000 loan on June 30 to pay off his bills.
Rose reported having $15.13 in his campaign fund on June 30. Fortunately for him, he is unopposed in the November general election.
Pliura spent close to $200,000 in the election and still owes $28,500, including $18,500 to his wife and $10,000 to himself.
Using the approximate spending figures, Rose appears to have spent about $15.50 for each vote he received in the primary election; Pliura spent about $15.30 for each vote he got.
All of that spending for a job that pays about $70,000 a year.


Incumbent state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, now has about 89 times more money in his campaign fund than his Republican challenger, John Bambenek of Champaign.
As of June 30, Frerichs had $432,102 on hand, to $4,846 for Bambenek, also of Champaign.
Neither candidate received much money from within the 52nd Senate District (most of Vermilion and Champaign counties) in the last three months.
Bambenek’s approximately $10,000 in contributions included $3,300 in itemized donations from inside the district. That included a $500 in-kind contribution from himself. His biggest donors were the Champaign County Young Republicans group, which gave him $1,500; and U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski, and Batavia businessman Jim Purcell, all who gave $1,000.
Frerichs raised more than $80,000 during the quarter, including about $23,000 in individual contributions and nearly $57,000 from political action committees.
Of the PAC money, $3,000 was from within the district. Of the itemized individual contributions, $5,800 came from residents of the 52nd District.
Frerichs’ biggest donors in the last three months were: the Illinois Education Association, $10,000; the Illinois Laborers’ Legislative Committee, $6,000; and the Associated Firefighters of Illinois, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 149 of Savoy, and Foresight Energy Services of St. Louis, each $3,000.


Besides all the candidates running unopposed this fall, is there a greater lock for re-election than U.S. Rep. John Shimkus?
The Collinsville Republican, whose new district includes all of Vermilion County and much of Champaign County (although not Champaign-Urbana), reports having nearly $1.4 million in his campaign fund.
His Democratic opponent, Angela Michael, last reported having $467 in her campaign treasury.
Shimkus received $250,870 in April, May and June, including $19,870 from individuals and $231,000 from political action committees. The congressman, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is on subcommittees that oversee the energy, power, health care, and communications industries, took $5,000 from PACs with AT&T and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
He also took smaller contributions from the Bayer Corp., the National Association of Broadcasters, Comcast, CBS, Fox, TECO Energy, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Nextera Energy, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Alliant Energy, the American Gas Association, the Walt Disney Co., Humana, Pacific Gas and Electric, Duke Energy and a number of other companies and political action groups that appear before his subcommittees.


Champaign Mayor Don Gerard’s recent appeal for campaign funds yielded $8,729, according to his campaign finance report. Gerard, who still has two years remaining on his term, received $2,729 in unitemized contributions and 13 itemized contributions totaling $6,000.
Gerard got two $1,000 contributions, one from Andrew Libman of Arcola and the other from CMT Enterprises, owners of Jupiters and a number of other Champaign bars/restaurants. Among other contributors were Champaign City Council member Tom Bruno and his wife, Beth, $250; Champaign attorney David Sholem, $250; and local apartment owner Jeff Hartman, $500. Gerard also got $500 from the Southern Central Illinois Laborers union in Marion.
Gerard’s campaign fund now has $8,146.





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