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URBANA – Champaign County board candidate Lisa Bell said Wednesday that a desire for party unity will stop her from challenging Democratic primary results in court.
"We felt like we had some contestable issues concerning the election; however, I just feel like stepping aside at this point," she said. "I won 792 Democratic votes and I'm proud of that."
RANTOUL – Village board members Tuesday night defended their decision to pass a $3.3 million deficit budget as a necessary evil in Rantoul's recovery from the closure of Chanute Air Force Base.
The board voted 4-1 to approve a budget that anticipates spending $44 million while receiving $40.7 million.
URBANA – A hand recount came up with the same tie Tuesday in the District 9 Democratic primary for Champaign County Board, meaning Barb Wysocki is the winner, barring a court challenge.
Lisa Bell, who tied with Wysocki then lost the county board seat by a toss of a coin last week, left before the results were announced. But she suggested she might not ask a court to order a recount of all the ballots from the March 21 primary.
Advisory referendums asking whether Champaign-Urbana residents support rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Dozens of residents, many of them members of the anti-war group AWARE, packed the annual town meetings Tuesday night in Cunningham and City of Champaign townships. They had the votes to put both measures on the ballot in the townships, which are coterminous with Urbana and Champaign.
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, has come under fire for a survey she sent out recently using her state-funded district office allowance.
Her opponent, Urbana Republican Rex Bradfield, called the mailer "a thinly-disguised campaign piece" and "a waste of taxpayer dollars."
SPRINGFIELD – Anonymous, automated phone calls some Champaign-Urbana residents received this week were part of an orchestrated effort by House Republicans that targeted state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, and at least a dozen of her Democrat colleagues.
The calls criticized the lawmakers by name for their support of a two-year reduction in state pension contributions, which was part of a law enacted last summer, and for other budget practices, like sweeping cash from dedicated state funds to pay for general operations.
SPRINGFIELD – With no debate, the Senate voted on Thursday to allow cities to take over their local water system without going through the Illinois Commerce Commission.
SB 3046, which was requested by Champaign, Urbana and a handful of other Illinois towns, is now headed to the governor's desk for his signature.
URBANA – Urbana National Guard troops have been pulling some of the most dangerous duty in Iraq, a general said Thursday, but they'll be coming home soon.
The clue: They're being kicked out of the air-conditioned trailers to make way for another unit, the state's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Randal Thomas, said.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois' public university presidents may have backed a plan to fund a new, merit-based tuition tax credit by privatizing state student loan operations, but other parts of the higher education community remain critical.
A pair of University of Illinois students and the financial aid directors from Parkland College and Danville Area Community College were among those who expressed concerns at a Statehouse hearing on Wednesday.
URBANA – Two Democratic county board candidates filed Wednesday to have precincts recounted.
Steve Beckett finished first March 21 in the District 9 Democratic primary. After outstanding ballots, including absentees, were counted Tuesday, Champaign County Board Chairman Barb Wysocki and first-time candidate Lisa Bell ended up in a dead heat, with former board member Bob Kirchner coming in fourth.