All Politics and Government Content

All Politics and Government Content

Measures introduced to ease FutureGen liability concerns

TUSCOLA – When FutureGen leaders began evaluating the finalist cities for the world's first near-zero emission coal-fueled power plant, they said liability issues slightly favored two cities in Texas – Odessa and Jewett – over two Illinois communities – Tuscola and Mattoon).

The $1 billion facility is expected to produce more than 1,000 construction jobs and 150 permanent plant jobs by 2012.

Urbana firefighters plan to conduct hydrant checks

URBANA – At the urging of Mayor Laurel Prussing, the city's fire department plans to start twice-a-year inspections of fire hydrants.

The inspections of up to 300 hydrants per year are being ordered due to concern that Illinois American Water Co., which is supposed to maintain the hydrants annually, might be skimping on maintenance, said Urbana Fire Chief Rex Mundt.

Two companies accused of bilking small firms

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing two California companies alleged to have bilked small businesses in Champaign County and elsewhere across the state, her office announced on Tuesday.

The companies, MSMB2B Inc. and Zip Wide Web Inc., allegedly worked together to tack at least 7,500 separate charges onto victims' phone bills for Internet services they did not request. According to Madigan, the scam cost Illinois small businesses more than $264,114 over the last two years.

Smoking ban idea unpopular at Danville hearing

DANVILLE – Bar owners, residents and a few Westville folks spoke out about a potential citywide smoking ban during Tuesday night's public hearing at the city's ordinance subcommittee meeting.

Most said they opposed a smoking ban in bars and taverns.

Feinen joins Champaign City Council

CHAMPAIGN – After 14 years on the Champaign County Board, Deborah Frank Feinen has a new political home.

Champaign City Council members voted 5-3 Tuesday night to appoint Feinen to fill the at-large council vacancy that occurred when Kathy Ennen resigned this summer. Feinen will serve the remaining eight-plus months of Ennen's term, and she indicated she will run in the April 17 election for an at-large council seat.

Champaign police's minority pullover rate above state average

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police continue to stop minorities in traffic at a rate higher than the statewide average, but the percentage of black motorists stopped declined slightly during 2005.

Those are among the facts in the city police department's 2005 traffic stop report, which is mandated under state law and submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation. This is the second year the report has been conducted.

Cities taking tougher stance on utility issues

CHAMPAIGN – Firefighter Todd Anderson recalls trying to open a fire hydrant on North Market Street on Oct. 28, 2005, as flames soared from the nearby Stark Excavating Inc. maintenance building.

Efforts to operate a hydrant closer to the building, in the 2000 block of North Market, had failed. Anderson frantically worked on a second hydrant about 400 feet away, trying to get the cap off.

Shelden's Freedom of Information Act suit settled

URBANA – The Champaign County Board has settled a lawsuit with Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden, paying court costs after giving him the documents he requested.

Shelden had filed Freedom of Information Act requests for information about construction problems at the new $24 million Champaign County Nursing Home.

Rantoul Village Board set to vote on salary raise for members

RANTOUL – Rantoul Village Board members are considering giving themselvese a raise.

The board is expected to vote on a proposal to raise village board salaries from $3,800 to $4,800 a year at its meeting at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Rantoul Municipal Building, 333 S. Tanner St.

Durbin, Johnson push for FutureGen plant

TUSCOLA – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson told a crowd of 100 residents Thursday that they intend to enlist the help of legislators from other coal-producing states in the Midwest and East to help Tuscola and Mattoon in their efforts to land the world's first clean coal plant.

FutureGen will be designed to convert coal into gas to produce electricity without air pollution.