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It's difficult to find economic development projects in Champaign County that benefit both rural and urban constituencies, but a proposed $120 million ethanol production plant west of Champaign would do just that.
If it can be built within the boundaries of the city of Champaign – negotiations are continuing to find a way to annex the proposed Andersons plant site to the city – the project will be a boon to most taxing districts, especially the Champaign schools and Parkland College, but it also would drive up local grain prices an estimated 10 to 15 cents per bushel of corn.
Earlier this year, Champaign City Council members had a big fight about whether to require landlords to accept tenants in the federal government's voluntary Section 8 housing subsidy program.
In the end and after much debate, council members voted 5-4 to approve the Section 8 requirement. The council majority was motivated by a desire to slay what they consider to be discrimination against Section 8 tenants.
In Illinois, it's not illegal to eat a sandwich, apply makeup, read a book, change a CD, search for a radio station, discipline a child, surf the Internet or talk on the telephone while driving an automobile.
The city of Chicago has an ordinance that requires hands-free devices for cell phone users, and a few suburbs are considering similar laws. In Highland Park, a law goes into effect today that says that motorists can be cited for "inattentive driving" if they are pulled over for another violation, such as speeding or failure to yield. Inattentive driving is defined, among other things, as driving while operating a telephone, eating, drinking, reading or grooming.
Time was, and it was just a few months ago, that Illinois' two gubernatorial candidates were clamoring for opportunities to debate the issues.
But that was then, and this is now.
Champaign City Council members acted Tuesday night as if they were doing citizens a huge favor by cutting the increase in the city's property tax levy.
Let's be clear, the council is still enacting a tax increase.
Unless a federal appeals court intervenes, and it probably won't, two reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle could go to jail for as long as 18 months for refusing to disclose who provided them with secret grand jury testimony in Major League Baseball's steroids scandal.
U.S. Judge Jeffrey White last week ordered the incarceration of reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada. Most people probably don't recognize their names, but it's likely that a great many, particularly sports fans, are familiar with their reporting.
What do Cecil Turner, Jacqueline Price, Ken Buzbee, Delores Martin, Michael Mayer, Allen Mitzenmacher and Carl Forn have in common?
They've all donated thousands of dollars over the last several years to Secretary of State Jesse White's campaign committee.
Just last week, the Illinois Supreme Court took steps to implement a long-ignored state law requiring the notification of parents whose underage daughters are seeking an abortion.
But in doing so, in following a legislative mandate, the justices inadvertently reminded voters just why it is that they so despise high-handed judges who think their prestigious positions permit them to do as they please.
At Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln said that government was of the people, by the people and for the people. But that message seems to have been lost on the governors, that is, the people running government, in his home state.
The Illinois Press Association last week showcased some downright outrageous examples of suppression and secrecy in local and state government in Illinois over the last year. Nicknamed the "Worsty Awards," the examples cited outrageous abuses of the state Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
City and park district officials in Champaign have a big decision to make about the design of the Boneyard Creek improvement project, and they're soliciting public opinion to help them make it.
That's an invitation citizens ought to enthusiastically accept because the ultimate decision will have a big impact on the appearance of central Champaign.