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All News Content

MTD bus takes tumble

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus, buffeted by high winds this morning, toppled over a bridge railing and fell at least 15 feet into the Copper Slough.

The driver and one of the passengers were taken to local hospitals by ambulance, while the four other passengers were able to get out of the bus under their own power and appeared to suffer only minor injuries.

UI students protest governor's proposed cuts

SPRINGFIELD – Bringing 1,500 letters from their fellow University of Illinois students, senior Felipe Hillard and Hassen Al-Shawaf, a junior, asked state lawmakers to restore cuts the governor has slated for the UI in his proposed budget for the year beginning July 1.

Cuts in state support to the UI in the past three years has already resulted in the loss of faculty and class offerings, increased class sizes, limited access to facilities and advisers, a reduction in critical maintenance services, and an increase in tuition, Hillard said.

Monitors see slow progress in Unit 4

CHAMPAIGN – Monitors tracking changes at Champaign schools to put students of all races on an equal educational footing identified some progress – and some significant failures – in their second annual report.

Monitors commended Unit 4 for putting the foundations in place to make improvements to education for black students and for several actions taken recently to improve communication with members of the black community and attorneys who represent them.

Immigrant licenses measure advances

SPRINGFIELD – The cause of immigrants who lack Social Security numbers but wish to obtain driver's licenses and buy insurance edged forward in the House on Wednesday.

The House Executive Committee voted 10-2 to allow the licenses for an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants who could be eligible in Illinois.

Obscure state agency carries heavy burden

Gary Meyer is the first to admit most Illinois consumers probably have no idea what he does, or even that the bureau he works for exists.

As a products and standards inspector with the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Weights and Measures, Meyer travels the state measuring and weighing products, whether it's a bushel of potatoes or a container of potato salad.

Praise for shelter aired

CHAMPAIGN – On a cold Saturday morning in December, Charles Doty got up from his cot at the TIMES Center and was shocked by the face that stared back at him in the bathroom mirror.

His eyes were nearly swollen shut. His face, neck and feet were full of fluid. He sat down to have a cup of coffee, thinking he might feel better. A staff member for the homeless shelter hurried over, saying "We've got to get you out of here."

Education plan gets mixed reviews

SPRINGFIELD – A rare Senate committee of the whole hearing lasting more than seven hours Wednesday did little to change the minds of lawmakers wary about Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plan to strip the State Board of Education of its duties and set up a new Department of Education under his control.

"As I learn more and more of the details in the governor's plan, I cannot support his particular takeover effort," said state Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa.

Tools let network operators see their way to security

Had it not taken place in East Central Illinois, it might have seemed like an odd conversation for two computer networking guys to be having.

More than a year ago, Jim Barlow, chief security engineer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Kiran Lakkaraju, a doctoral student on NCSA's Security Incident Fusion Tool team, were talking cornfields.

Health center can't keep up with demand

CHAMPAIGN – For more than two years, the growing medical needs of low-income and uninsured people have been steadily gaining on what Frances Nelson Health Center in Champaign has to offer.

About a month ago, the clinic could no longer keep up. It started a waiting list for new patients, and those on it now number about 200, said Frances Nelson's site director, Andrea Goldberg.

Insurance legislation advances

SPRINGFIELD – A House committee on Tuesday advanced legislation designed to help companies find the best deals on health insurance, but the insurance industry still has some problems with the bill.

HB 4059, sponsored by state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, would require insurance companies upon request to provide employers with figures showing the amount of money paid out for health coverage annually and the types of claims paid. Firms would then be able to use that information to get more accurate quotes from other insurers and shop around for the lowest premiums, but may not use the information for any other purposes, Jakobsson said.