All News Content

All News Content

Blagojevich creates farm advisory council

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich is assembling a team to advise him on farms and farm families and to help the state's agriculture industry remain competitive.

"The well-being of our farmers and rural communities is vitally important to Illinois' economy," Blagojevich said. "Despite urban development, about 80 percent of Illinois' land – or 28 million acres – still is devoted to production agriculture. And our 78,000 farms provide the foundation for a multibillion-dollar industry that employs nearly one of every four Illinois workers."

Residents voice cat complaints

CHAMPAIGN – Jerry Laughlin thinks cats are popular pets for two-income families in his southwest Champaign neighborhood.

He can identify homes where cats live by looking for garage doors that are left just slightly open, a few inches off the ground, allowing cats to leave and enter at will while their owners are away at work.

State ag director visits county fair

URBANA – Chuck Hartke looked right at home in Champaign County Fair livestock barns Tuesday, handing out prizes, evaluating animals and sharing news and views with farmers in the crowd.

In fact, the state's new director of agriculture knows livestock and farming firsthand. Back home at Teutopolis, his family grows corn, soybeans and wheat, and his son, Christopher, raises hogs. The family also keeps a few sheep around, mostly for convenience.

Blagojevich signs 2 bills in visit to UI

URBANA – Gov. Rod Blagojevich was at the University of Illinois Tuesday to sign two bills he said would help parents put their children through college and keep universities accountable to taxpayers.

Blagojevich signed the so-called truth-in-tuition bill and another measure requiring line-item budgeting for state universities at the Illini Union, in a room filled with politicians, university administrators and high school students. Blagojevich's wife Patti, a UI alumnus, their 6-year-old daughter Amy and their infant daughter Annie were also with him.

Study finds county fees can't pay costs

URBANA – Champaign County could take in an extra $363,000 in fees by charging the actual cost of services at the sheriff's and county clerk's offices, a study says.

But while Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh is amenable to raising many of his office's fees to come close to covering actual costs, County Clerk Mark Shelden said he will oppose raising all but one of the fees his office charges.

State leader discusses more cuts in Tuscola stop

TUSCOLA – Gov. Rod Blagojevich vowed once more to make cuts in a "bloated" budget in the Douglas County Republican stronghold here Tuesday.

The governor spoke briefly about finding further cuts in state jobs in order to balance the budget.

Development in Urbana district halted

URBANA – Changes are coming to Urbana's West Green Street and Elm Street corridor between campus and downtown.

But not for the next 120 days.

The Urbana City Council, responding to a petition request from neighborhood residents, voted unanimously Monday night to declare a 120-day moratorium on new development within the city's mixed-office-residential district, which takes in most of West Green and Elm streets. The moratorium will expire Nov. 21.

DACC instructor gets national honor

DANVILLE – It's rare that two recipients of the Association of Community College Trustees "Instructor of the Year" award would teach at the same college, and even more rare for two to be in the same academic department.

But at Danville Area Community College, Lori Garrett and John Hoagland not only share the prestigious national award, they also share the same office.

King addition still on hold

URBANA – School officials had hoped construction on a four-classroom addition north of King School's elementary wing would be done by the time classes start in August.

Instead, with school fast approaching, the project hasn't even started. It's on hold, waiting for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to release approved funds so the district can build the addition and move some teachers now meeting with children in converted storage closets into real classrooms.

Court rules Champaign man should get new trial

CHICAGO – A federal appeals court has concluded that a Champaign man convicted in 1994 of murdering his wife deserves a new trial in state court.

In a decision issued earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit agreed with U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey that James Ward had not knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to testify at his August 1996 trial in Champaign County Circuit Court. That was the sole issue on appeal in the federal court.