Tom's #Mailbag, July 21, 2017

Tom's #Mailbag, July 21, 2017

Drop a question into Tom's Mailbag by clicking here

It's almost easier to list what isn't in this week's mailbag (Trump, Rauner, Cubs, Golden Corral) than to list what is in it.

OK, that's kinda fake news.

But here's some of what is included: the open carry of guns, new rules at the Sholem Aquatic Center, paying for public safety officers with fees and fines, Rep. John Shimkus' Facebook page, how many people have voted for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, what's killing evergreens, whether something is killing hawks, the old Christian Science Church building on campus, the old Steak 'n Shake on Green Street, the really old Mumford House, the site of the old Bradleys, a recording studio in Urbana, solar panels on new construction and more.

We even received two Mailbag questions ... in the mail (left). What a week!

Evergreen problems

"I've read here and there about the ash borer killing ash trees. But I've noticed that something is killing pine trees too. Is there anything to spray on the trees to help them. What's killing the pine trees?"

Unfortunately there are many issues with evergreens, said Sandra Mason, the state master gardener coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension.

"Illinois is tough on evergreens anyway with our hot dry summers," she said.

The particular problem can depend on the evergreen species, even among different pine species.

Here's a link to a column she wrote about problems with evergreens.

Highway hawks

"Where have all the highway hawks gone? Years ago when I traveled the highways I would see hawks perched in the tops of trees looking for their dinner. Now when I travel the highways I seldom see any."

Ninety-nine percent of the time you see a hawk along the highway it's a Red-tailed Hawk, said Jane Seitz, executive director of the Illinois Raptor Center in Macon County.

"Red-taileds hunt open areas. Other hawks like the Red-shouldered Hawk and Broad-wing Hawk hunt in wooded areas and for different prey species. Cooper's Hawks were once on the Illinois state endangered species list as their habitat disappeared in Illinois," she said. "But over the years Cooper's have adapted their lifestyle to hunting at backyard birdfeeders. Their populations have rebounded and it is no longer on the list."

How many Red-taileds you see along the highway depends on the time of the year, she said.

"During the spring and summer months you have to remember that most females would be sitting on eggs or featherless chicks. The males are busy feeding her as well as themselves. When the chicks no longer need brooding, both parents are busy feeding their hungry and developing young — which means no time for sitting around! Also, the leaves on the trees during this time of year would prevent many hawks from being seen while driving 70 mph down the highway," Seitz noted. "It also depends on the time of day and the weather. On a beautiful sunny day, hawks would rather be soaring than sitting. On a cloudy day, especially near dusk, Red-taileds would be finding a place to roost as this hawk does not see well in the dark."

Don't worry about the Red-tailed hawk population, she said.

"The Illinois Raptor Center sees many orphaned and injured Red-tailed Hawks admitted to its wildlife hospital. Our admission records match wild bird counts such as that of the Audubon counts and are a pretty good indicator of how healthy bird populations are," said Seitz. "The Red-tailed Hawk is doing fine."

School district numbers (revisited)

The 'bag had a question a couple weeks ago about how school district numbers (Champaign Unit 4, Danville District 118, Urbana District 116) were determined.

We weren't able to get an answer until ...

Retired school administrator Dale Miller offered this answer:

"To my knowledge there is no set rule or guidelines for numbering school districts. The involved school districts and regional superintendent determine the number. In some cases they followed a sequential order. In others they combined the numbers of the old districts to arrive at an agreeable number. In the case of the Oakwood school district in Vermilion County, a vote to form a unit district from the high school and the five feeder grade school districts occurred in 1976. Being the Bicentennial year they selected 76 as their district number.

"Therefore in my opinion the assignment of a number is a local decision based on the local boards and regional superintendent. In some case the selection of a number can have an important role in whether the consolidation is successful."

Former Bradleys site

"Whatever happened to the restaurant that was supposed to be coming to the former Bradleys location ... is that still happening?"


"Can you tell me if a restaurant is still going in the Bradleys location? Any details?"

The city of Champaign has issued a $312,000 building permit for alterations to the old Bradleys property at 1906 W. Bradley.

Chris Saunders at Green Street Realty says he will open a restaurant/bar called Rafters at the site later this fall.

"I am still finalizing some things conceptually, but we have a pretty significant remodel underway," he said by email.

New pool policy

"Sholem Pool recently implemented a policy requiring teens ages 13-17 to have a state ID or Park District ID to enter the pool without a parent present. This is a new policy and was not disclosed prior to their opening this summer. In fact, the Summer Program Guide clearly states that "kids must be 13 or older to come to the pool by themselves" in the season pool pass section on page 6.

"It is outrageous to imagine that all or most 13-17 year old youth have state IDs or know how to get a park district ID. My question is, why did they create the policy and is it fair/just and/or legal? It's a public pool. Everyone pays to enter and should not be turned away based on whether you have an ID or not. If it's to prove residency, then a school ID would do it and if you don't have a school ID, you pay the higher non-residency fee.

"If it's because of behavior problems with teens, then you follow the discipline policy which might result in asking them to leave. Maybe there's some other reason, but it appears on the surface to be a policy that does not align with the pool being a public facility and has created some very unhappy customers. Thanks in advance for any info you can get to help us paying patrons with teens understand the situation."

Champaign Park District Executive Director Joe DeLuce explains the issue:

"Unfortunately, the rule wasn't finalized until after the March publication of the summer program guide. We did place signs on the front windows and on a large sandwich board sign at the entrance letting patrons know of the new rule and waited until a few weeks after the pool was officially open to enforce, hopefully allowing time for parents to adjust. Staff provided free entry into the facility for two days for guests that this applies to cover the cost of an ID.

"In cases where they can't get a state ID we set up a household for them in RecTrac and give them a key fob so that we can still have their information available quickly in case of emergency."

DeLuce said that park district IDs "are very easy to receive if the 13-17 year old patron does not have a state ID."

The rule, he said, "will help with pool safety and discipline, as your reader mentioned, and has already had a positive impact on the pool."

More information can be found here.

Urbana recording studio

"Is it true that a music recording studio exists in west Urbana near the intersection of Busey and Western? Someone told me that and I wasn't sure to believe them."

Yes, Private Studios is a recording studio at 705 Western Ave., Urbana, said owner Jonathan Pines.

He called the building "fairly anonymous," although it has been there since the 1970s.

American Football recording

"Where in the Champaign-Urbana area did the band American Football record their debut album? I know for sure it wasn't the west Urbana house that is featured on the album artwork."

It was recorded at the aforementioned Private Studios, said Pines, in the late 1990s.

Openly carrying a gun

"I see more people openly carrying guns in Champaign recently. That isn't permitted except for law enforcement, right? How are we supposed to know if someone carrying a gun is law enforcement? I see quite a few people around town wearing a gun who subjectively look like they might be law enforcement.

"However, I also see people wearing a gun with no indication that they're law enforcement but also where they aren't overtly threatening. For example, I passed a guy walking his dogs on Church Street with a gun in a holster, and another time I saw a guy checking out at Target with a gun holstered in his back waistband. (Both times the gun was holstered for a lefty; perhaps it was the same person.) Are police officers wearing a gun supposed to be identifiable?

"What are the guidelines for when we should call the police? If I called the police every time I saw someone on the street with a gun, especially downtown Champaign, that would be quite a bit. Similarly, I'm a little afraid of the response that would have happened if I'd called 911 to report 'a guy is walking around Target wearing a gun.'"

This can be a bit tricky, as you will see from the responses from local authorities. But as rule you should call the local METCAD dispatch center if you see someone openly carrying a weapon and they do not have police identification.

"Note METCAD will ask the caller several questions about their locations, a description of the subject and specifically what the suspect is doing. This information will be helpful to the responding officers," said Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb.

"In the state of Illinois only law enforcement can openly carry (in plain view) a firearm while not in uniform. Those citizens who have received a concealed carry permit may carry a loaded firearm concealed on their person in compliance with the terms of their permit," said Cobb.

The policy of the Champaign Police Department, he said, "requires our on duty officer to display their badge directly adjacent to the gun or on a chain around their neck if they openly carry their weapon in plain clothes. When an officer is off duty and he/she chooses to carry a gun they must do so concealed."

Sylvia Morgan, Urbana's police chief, said department policy there is if an officer is off-duty and carrying a firearm it should be concealed. If they are on-duty and in plain clothes, they should have their badge with them and visible.

At the Champaign County Sheriff's Office, said Sheriff Dan Walsh, deputies who are on-duty in plain clothes should keep their weapon mostly concealed or with "our badge prominently displayed, often on our belt in front of and next to the weapon."

Off-duty it is normally concealed, but inadvertent exposure can happen.

That's where it can become problematic.

"Pull off a sweatshirt and you other shirt covering the weapon pulls up without you noticing. Or the wind blows your concealing shirt or jacket back again exposing the weapon," said Walsh.

Morgan added; "It may be a case of the person they observed walking the dog had their badge also on their waistline, but perhaps the angle was such that they could not easily see it.

"Or in the case with the gun in the back of their waistband, I am assuming it was on the inside of the pants/waistband area. Perhaps they had it covered with a shirt but when they bent over to get something out of their cart, the person could see it in the back of their waistband."

Madigan voters

"So Tom, how many people in this state actually foist Michael Madigan onto the rest of us? In his last election, how many people in his district elected him, and then how many people in the state House voted for him to be the speaker? I'm guessing less than 20,000 total. And then the 12 million or so residents of Illinois have to put up with his rubbish. All because of how many votes?"

Speaker Madigan was unopposed in the 2016 general election in which he got 27,715 votes in the 22nd State House District. (By way of comparison, State Rep. Carol Ammons, also unopposed last year, got 34,071 votes in her similarly sized district that includes most of Champaign-Urbana).

Madigan did have three opponents in the 2016 Democratic primary election. In that race he got 17,155 of the 26,320 votes cast in his southwest Chicago district.

And earlier this year in the election for Speaker, Madigan got the votes of 66 of the 67 Democratic representatives (Scott Drury, now a Democratic candidate for governor, voted "present.")

Another fine idea

"Has anyone every presented the idea of raising the fines for traffic/criminal offenses and using part of that money to help offset the costs of hiring more police/fire/safety personnel? Maybe harsher fines and stricter reinforcement would also help with all the idiotic driving these days? People who drive smart and follow traffic laws should have no problem with this.

"People have often suggested raising fines and fees to cover the hiring of police officers, said Champaign County Circuit Court Clerk Katie Blakeman.

"However, the challenge is that in order to raise the fine or fee amounts, the Legislature would need to pass a significant change to the distribution, which has so far been unsuccessful," said Blakeman. "In a way, it is very similar to school funding reform, in that so much of the money goes to the state, and what remains does not adequately fund local first responders or local courts."

She added: "However, the findings of last year's Statutory Court Fee Taskforce Report indicate that many of those court ordered fees are unrelated to the cases, or to public safety.

"As a member of the Illinois Association of Court Clerks legislative committee, I assisted sponsors of the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act (HB2591), which would completely overhaul the way fines and fees are assessed in Illinois. While the bill had significant bipartisan support, it will likely take more than one session to pass, as it greatly reduces revenue to some state agency departments, in favor of more equitable support of counties and local agencies."

Blakeman included a list of the funds collected by her office on behalf of other agencies:

Traffic signal needed?

"Why is there no stoplight at the corner of Kirby and Crescent Centennial, only a four-way stop sign? It's the only four-way stop sign on the entire length of Kirby in Champaign. Not only does traffic get backed up, but people don't signal to turn or go out of turn. I can't imagine children trying to cross the intersection to go to the pool, or the park, or to Jefferson Middle and Centennial High schools on the north side. We have called and complained to the city for the past 30 years, they always said a stoplight was "on the five-year plan." I challenge the mayor, city engineer and chief of police to walk hand in hand with me as we cross the intersection on foot at 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. I think the magnitude of the problem will become clear to all if we manage to survive the trip intact."

We asked the city's public works department for a response and got this from City Engineer Dave Clark and Chris Sokolowski, Champaign's assistant city engineer for transportation:

"In the late 1980s there was an intersection design study performed at this location. Upon completion of the study, a signal was determined to be warranted at that intersection. Signal warrants do not require the installation of a signal, but they indicate a signal would be appropriate for the location.

"This intersection, as well as the intersection of Bradley and McKinley, were discussed by the city council at the time. Council decided not to move forward with either project at that time. Though both of these intersections remain on the list of intersections for which traffic signals are either warranted or anticipated to be warranted (along with several other intersections in the city), none of those potential projects have been funded in the 10-year Capital Improvements Plan at this time. According to the city's crash record data, the intersection of Crescent and Kirby does not have any crash data of note.

Liquor laws

"My wife and I have had a few recent experiences when purchasing alcohol at local supermarkets that have raised some questions, and we're hoping you can help us clarify whether these are actually local/state liquor ordinances or just something that the stores are coming up with themselves.

"At Schnucks (in Savoy), it seems that more often than not, the cashiers ask to see both of our IDs, no matter who is actually paying the bill. This doesn't make sense to me. I haven't encountered the scenario yet, but if I was purchasing alcohol for myself and had a minor friend or relative with me at the time, would they be carded and the sale refused just because we were shopping together?

"At Harvest Market, we've had the baggers insist that a 6-pack of beer must be in a bag for us to carry it out of the store. We would prefer not to waste a bag on something that already has a handle, but they say that 'it's the law.' We haven't had this happen in any other store in town. Can you help us figure out what's going on here?"

Savoy Village Manager Dick Helton said there is no village ordinance requiring both people to be carded.

"It isn't unusual for both people being carded when there is a question about age. Most establishments card all people regardless of age," he said. "Most places will implement additional precautions to protect themselves in case of sting operations. That is their right and we support it."

The Harvest Market policy about bagging a six-pack "is not a requirement under the city's liquor code or, to the best of our knowledge, a matter of state law," said Matthew Roeschley, Champaign's deputy liquor commissioner.

Solar leader

"With all of the new development happening in downtown Champaign, I was surprised that there are no solar panels on these buildings. Has the city of Champaign proposed requiring solar panels and other green construction on new construction? Why or why not? I would love for us to be a leader in helping save the planet."

Champaign Planning Director Bruce Knight said he's not aware of any city that requires solar panels on new construction.

Libby Tyler

"Is Libby Tyler, Urbana's community development director, retiring? If so, that is sad to hear. She has done so much for our community."

Yes, she did. After 17 1 / 2 years on the city staff, she retired on June 30. She said she plans to move with her husband to the San Francisco area next year and do part-time planning consulting or contract work. We wish her good luck as she has been helpful numerous times to the mailbag.

Christian Science Building

"I read online that a Christian Science church existed on the current site of the Gregory Towers apartment building (northwest corner of Gregory and Fourth). The structure was supposedly very modern in design. I wanted to know if photos of the church existed anywhere."

It's not like it was ancient history. The church and accompanying foundation existed from 1965 to 1986. It was designed by Paul Rudolph, an internationally recognized architect who had an unusually long career from about 1940 to 1997.

It may have been historically significant but it was practically inefficient: closed during winter months because it was too expensive to heat. Its flat roof leaked and it was damp inside.

Besides, said the church's board, it wasn't getting much use.

The church was purchased by real estate developer Gloria Dauten in 1986 and it was demolished that spring. The apartments followed.

Mumford House

"What's the story behind the Mumford House? Was the building as well as the land surrounding it really part of a farm prior to the development of the university?"

The oldest building on the University of Illinois campus — it was built in 1870, two years after the Illinois Industrial University opened — originally was used as a model farmhouse and the home of early deans of the UI College of Agriculture.

At one time, according to the UI Histories web site, three greenhouses, two stock farm barns, and four houses also were part of the southern agricultural region of campus.

The house remains where it has been for almost 150 years, just off Lorado Taft Drive near the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower on the UI's South Quad.

Eight years ago the university considered moving the house to UI land at Race Street and Windsor Road in Urbana where the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences envisioned a welcome center. Preservationists protested that move saying it would damage the building's historic integrity and possibly the building itself.

The latest on Mumford House from UI's Facilities & Services Department:

"There are no plans to move or demolish Mumford House, campus' oldest building. The updated Campus Masterplan has the house remaining in its current location. Any plans for the building will need to be carefully considered in light of Mumford House's rich history and its role in the development of agricultural research and education at the University."Shimkus' Facebook page

"Why are our elected officials censoring our comments on their official government social media pages?

"I live in (John Shimkus') Congressional District 15. If you have ever visited his Facebook page, you will find that more constituents oppose his decisions than support him. There are now District 15 pages separate from his page due to the amount of persons that have been blocked. I was blocked merely for sharing the web page of the 2018 Democratic opponent. His congressional social media page is not his campaign page. That is censorship. I could totally understand being blocked had I posted the information via his personal page, or his campaign page. Voters in the 15th, all voters, deserve to be informed voters, regardless of your party, regardless of the issues that matter to the individual(s)."You are correct that the congressman's Facebook page is considered an official resource and therefore, said spokesman Jordan Haverly, it is "subject to all applicable rules of the House of Representatives.

"These rules make the congressman responsible for any and all content on the page, including comments posted by others. For this reason, comments that violate the House rules must be removed. This is explicitly stated in the page's comment policy, which has been in the 'About Me' section of the page for many years.

"COMMENT POLICY: Comments that attack or are intended to harass an individual, group, or organization are unacceptable and will be promptly removed. Frequent off topic replies to posts as well as substantially similar comments will be considered spam and removed as well. Individuals who continue to engage in such behaviors will be reported to Facebook for Terms of Service violations and may be banned from posting to this page. Finally, this page is an official resource and campaign references must be removed to comply with House rules."

Haverly added: "I do want to be very clear that comments are never removed, and individuals are never blocked, solely based upon policy or political differences. All the comments are read by staff, and the congressman is regularly briefed on the quantity and content of messages received from constituents on social media, by mail and email, by phone and fax, and at traveling help desks."

He said that apart from "the minimal staff time spent posting content and reviewing comments, no taxpayer funds are used to promote or maintain any of the congressman's social media accounts. As these are free resources, available to any user who abides by the comment policy and the platform's terms of service, there has been no serious consideration of ending the use of social media to communicate with constituents."

Weekend mail pickup

"With the last mail distribution going out from the Mattis Avenue facility on Saturday at 7 p.m., does it do any good to bring my stamped letter there on a Sunday? Or should I save a trip and drop it on Monday?"

You are correct. There is no mail distribution out of the Mattis Avenue facility on Sunday, said Champaign Post Office staff. You're better off bringing your stamped mail there early Monday morning.

Green Street Steak 'n Shake

"Is it true a Steak 'n Shake used to be on Green Street? Are there any photos to confirm this? I really wish there was one in Campustown when I attended U of I."

There was a Steak 'n Shake at 302 E. Green St. until 1996. The late Roger Ebert loved the place.

Vacant office space

"What is going on with the old Dr. Evelyn Moore office in the Round Barn Center? It has been vacant for a couple of years and looks like a window is boarded up."

Right now nothing is going on. The property at 501 S. Mattis Ave., Champaign, is listed with Devonshire Realty.

The interior of the space is about to be demolished and it will be "vanilla boxed" (basic walls, ceiling, bathroom and electrical) in mid-August. The 3,118 square foot space is available for lease at $16.00/SF gross, said Josh Markiewicz at Devonshire.

New-style ambulances?

"Are there ambulances that are more like SUVs than traditional trucks or am I seeing things? I think they say Carle on the sideboard."

Yes, said Carle spokeswoman Laura Mabry, "Carle Arrow Ambulance operations managers and shift supervisors respond to serious accidents and emergencies using Advanced Life Support vehicles, which allow paramedics and EMTs to provide the same lifesaving services as ambulances but do not transport patients. Likewise, emergency medicine doctors respond as necessary to high-severity calls using Carle's physician-response vehicle."

She said there are five Arrow Ambulance Advanced Life Support vehicles serving the Champaign-Urbana and Danville areas.

Lena losing

"What is the current population of Lena, IL?"

The 2010 census reported its population was 2,912. The latest Census Bureau estimate is 2,800.

Finally, another community need

"I think we need a diner like the old Aunt Sonya's Restaurant at The Crossing. Nothing fancy, affordable for families and a big menu. That place was always packed! There isn't anything like that on that side of town."

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kaw wrote on July 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Just a tiny correction to a very informative mail bag:  You have a question about a four-way stop at "Kirby and Centennial."  I believe you really mean Kiby and Crescent.  

Tom Kacich wrote on July 21, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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Got it. Thanks!

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 21, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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We would prefer not to waste a bag on something that already has a handle, but they say that 'it's the law.' 


I encounter this problem from time to time. It's definitely NOT the law.  One time I waited for the supervisor to go upstairs to that mysterious CentCom where they keep all the surveillance monitors. It took a while, but I wasn't going to be forced to take a plastic bag.

I can't figure out why stores are so embarrassed by their own merchandise.

Also, I think it's weird that the Urbana Walmart and Urbana Aldi employ county blue laws. Are they "in the city" or not?


Aldi won't sell a bottle of wine after 7 p.m. on Sunday. Walmart thinks 7 a.m. to midnight — rather than 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. — are the lawful sales hours.

But seriously wrote on July 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm

A couple thoughts on today's 'bag....

My spouse and I have been denied liquor purchases at the Champaign Meijer and Urbana Wal-Mart due to one of us not carrying our photo ID, despite the fact that we are both well north of 21 and only one of us was actually purchasing the alcohol.

Dr Evelyn Moore can be found practicing at America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses at 2032 N Prospect in Champaign (between Target and Honeybaked Ham).

If memory serves, an Aunt Sonya's-type restaurant was attempted at The Crossing and it too failed in short order.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm
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As for the American Football record, I believe it was recorded in the B room by Brendan Gamble.

The B room is the free standing building just west (and slightly north) of the main building. It's not as fancy, but more likely within an indie budget.

rsp wrote on July 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm

On the subject of traffic/criminal offense cases.

I looked up a random speeding ticket to see the costs. Circuit clerk fee was $10. I seem to recall we pay for that with our taxes. A fee for automation, $5. Another $5 to store the documents, and another $5 for county ordinance. Add on $4 for CR Sur (crime surcharge), and a dollar foe LEADS. Another $1.25 for telecheck services, $4 for driver's ed, and finally $5 for the trauma fund. That's $40.25 in fees but the actual fine is only $36. How about a criminal case? $392 for "court costs". That's document storage, automation, circuit clerk fee, etc.

It's a different form of taxes.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm
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Taxing misbehavior is a great idea. 

Traffic is only going to get worse, especially the plague of not signalling turns. You can't hold your phone and signal a turn at the same time.

I was very nearly sideswiped by a woman last week. She got so close I could see the phone in her hand. She could see the phone in her hand, too. That's what she was looking at.

rsp wrote on July 22, 2017 at 12:07 am

There are laws against improper lane usage and using the phone while driving as you well know.

All the fees are to pay for the court costs we should already be supporting with our tax dollars and pet projects that never should have been on there.

But we don't want to think about paying taxes do we? So we have fees everywhere for everything based on what they think they can get away with, or what some other city charges. Fees are not about deterring crime, or punishing behavior. They are solely to raise money.

Katie Blakeman wrote on July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

Hello rsp,

To clarify, the Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office does not receive any funding whatsoever from property or sales taxes. All salaries, benefits, materials, computers, servers, storage costs, etc, are all funded soley through court fines and fees. There is no other source of revenue, with the exception of a very small grant from the state department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), to reimburse us for work we do on child support enforcement cases. I would encourage you to visit the Champaign County government website, which publishes all County budgets. If court fines and fees were not directed to support the government entities that write citations, process, report, and store them, local taxpayers would absolutely feel that impact. With many counties facing budget deficits, Circuit Clerks throughout the State of Illinois are absorbing more and more of their county's general expenditures. 

It can definitely be argued that court fines and fees are simply another form of taxation. I simply want to clarify that at least in the case of our department, we do not receive any other form of revenue from taxpayers. 

Katie M. Blakeman

Champaign County Circuit Clerk


rsp wrote on July 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for posting. I'm aware of the budget issues. I'm more frustrated with what I see as the dishonesty of wanting services and not wanting to pay for them so we try to hide the cost. Or we don't provide adequate funding in the first place. Then we end up with a piecemeal fee system that makes it so easy to add on additional fees however remotely related to the charge.

ohnoes wrote on July 21, 2017 at 11:07 pm

I love that some people are so concerned about someone walking their dog with a visible firearm in a state with legal concealed carry that they want to call the police.  Do you call the police when you see someone with their taillight out too?  That's pretty dangerous.  Like people go on mass shootings or robberies with their dogs on a leash.  Just so you know, our legislators and lobbyists were smart enough to have the language of the CCL law state that a firearm must be mostly concealed, for just the case where someone's shirt gets pulled up inadvertently, ensuring that Mrs. Pantiesbunch can't get them thrown in jail for a mistake.  Your hoplophobia has reached the point of irrationality, I suggest professional help.

rsp wrote on July 22, 2017 at 12:07 am

"I see more people openly carrying guns in Champaign recently."

Huh. I don't read that as "mostly concealed". I could be wrong. Maybe they took their jacket off during lunch and walked the dog without thinking, or ran into the store real quick. People make mistakes. It's okay to ask a question. Not very nice to call people names for asking a question, though. wrote on July 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

Once again the City has its head in the sand approach to traffic issues.


They last looked at Crescent and Kirby 25+ years ago and still do not have a plan.  if the Mayor had to fight the traffic in the morning down there as the line stretches back to Kenwood, maybe then she would find a solution.


Nothing says progress like using a 20 yr old traffic study as the basis for your answer.

CallSaul wrote on July 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Uh, paranoiacs who can't walk their dog or even leave their house without strapping on a gun are a clear and present danger. They're an obvious threat to the safety and lives of others and very much need to have the police called on them.

Then they need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

This is not some delusional and dangerous gun nut's fantasy of the Wild West... wrote on July 23, 2017 at 8:07 am



Other than the goof who cranked off a magazine the other night in down town Champaign, can you please provide me with any clear, concrete and concise examples of CCW carriers committing violations?  I can think of one other, it was a drug dealer who had a ccw permit.   Other than that, nothing.


As for gun crime arrests?  The SA couldnt get a conviction in her life unless the suspect pleads guilty to it..... and most gun crimes are not committed by ccw permit holders./... but you knew that....


personally I am stunned that some how Trump is not in the posting.


In the mean time,.,,,,


when seconds count


the police are only minutes away.


You fend off the bad guys with your latte.


Ill go with something with a bigger punch.

CallSaul wrote on July 24, 2017 at 10:07 am

Sad and delusional gun nuts who pathetically dream up Walter Mitty fantasies about saving the day by pulling out their gun in public, aiming their gun at whoever they decide is the 'bad guy,' and shooting to kill that person they've decided in s split second is the 'bad guy' --- or anyone else who happens to be in the way of their pray & spray approach to vigilante law enforcement --- are by definition the last people in the world who should be allowed to carry in public.

It's sadly not all that surprising that this particular type of delusional thinking makes up such a clearly large part of your fantasy life.

But if you do ever follow through on your sad little fantasies and deputize yourself to use deadly force in public, you're going to be spending a lot of time as a guest of the federal or state government. 

And due to the regressive and outright oppressive policies of the prison industrial complex that I suspect you strongly support, you very much will not be enjoying your incarceration.

If I'm ever on a jury in a case like this tryng a wackjob yahoo who enacts their fantasies about being the 'good guy with a gun' hellbent on shooting down whoever they decide in a split second is the 'bad guy,' I'll be voting and arguing that the gun nut be found guilty and put away for as long as possible...

CommonSenseless wrote on July 24, 2017 at 11:07 am decry your intent to find someone who uses self defence guilty, which would therefore preclude you from serving on said jury.  And from the rest of your rant, it's clear you know nothing about concealed carry, vigilantism, or justice for that matter.

CallSaul wrote on July 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

So, how long until you put aside your reasoned and nuanced defence of armed Wild West vigilante justice and tell me --- yet again --- to kill myself because you don't like what I write?

Or will you just jump right to the next step and threaten to shoot me down at high noon on Main Street for daring to disagree with you...?

CommonSenseless wrote on July 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

I don't long will you continue to avoid actual discussion of the actual points in a conversation without reverting to your typical declaration of racism and bigotry?  Obviously this conversation currently contains neither, but I'm sure you'll find a way to inject it.  

Objective Reporter wrote on July 24, 2017 at 8:07 am

I'm with Saul on this one.

CallSaul wrote on July 24, 2017 at 10:07 am

Kumbaya, brother... wrote on July 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

I can only assume by your comment Sollie boy that you are against women having the right to defend themselves..


the largest purchaser of ccw permits and handguns over the past few years have been women.  Why are you so against women feeling empowered by carrying a ccw legal permit  handgun?  Do you have something against women, or of you the belief that only a man can save a defenseless woman.


Sad that you do not think that women should be able to protect themselves from violent preditors......... any other 1950's thinking that you would like to share?


your family is being attacked.  you hve no means of escape.


yes or no


no other answer.................


would you use deadly force to protect them


no big words


no anti trump rants


no anti 2nd amendment rants


yes or no

CallSaul wrote on July 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

We all understand that your really --- really! --- like to while away your time indulging in Walter Mittyesque sad and delusional fantasies fueled by kooky NRA videos and who knows what else.

But the rest of us aren't obligated to join you in your pathetic fantasy life... wrote on July 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm

You could not even issue as stand as to if you would protect your own family from attack.




What a pathetic self centered life you must lead. wrote on July 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm



Ask this Trooper if he is happy or sad that " a walter mitty" type showed up at the right time.....


Now.............. in this day of discourse with you I asked two questions.  Neither of which you could answer for me or anyone else........................


and they were not that hard either...........



CallSaul wrote on July 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm

There's no need to bother refuting these vignettes from your Walter Mitty fantasy life.

You're doing a fine job of proving my points all by your delusional self...

Bystander wrote on July 25, 2017 at 7:07 am
Profile Picture

Even the News-Gazette has grown tired of CallSaul,  calling him out in this editorial:

It won't be long before this whole commenting enterprise gets shut down because of CallSaul's antics.

Bystander wrote on July 25, 2017 at 7:07 am
Profile Picture

From the editorial:

Frankly, I've concluded that online comments have little value. Do they really add to the discussion? Who cares what "CallSaul" and "Illiniwek222" — two frequent Trump commenters — have to say?

CallSaul wrote on July 25, 2017 at 8:07 am

Well you for one 'bystander' --- whatever your actual name is irl --- seem utterly obsessed with my every comment, following me around as obsessively as you do seemingly every day of the week.

Frothing with rage at my latest pearl of wisdom seems to be the highlight of your day...

And I'll also note that you give a disinterested pass to your fellow rightwinger who repeatedly, gleefully --- and completely unapologetically --- tells me that I should kill myself because I dare to disagree with him. This is after he started out by telling me I should blame myself if anyone I ever knew had committed suicde.

You never once objected to those statements and you even said you saw nothing wrong with them.

Your outrage is hard to take seriously when it is so obviously colored by your perception of whether the commenter's political beliefs are in line with or at odds with your own ideology...

Roanrider wrote on July 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Mr. Saul, I think you would feel differently if you were a woman. A woman who suffered an attempted assault in a crowded establishment by someone known to her only from Facebook. While the employees of said establishment stood by and did NOTHING, not even offer to call the police. Someday, when something bad eventually happens to you, you'll realize what it's like to live in the world that the rest of us inhabit.

CallSaul wrote on July 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I'm not sure if you're saying this happened to you or someone you know about or if it's a hypothetical you read about on the web.

But the fact is that most abusers who kill their (ex) wives and girlfriends use guns to do so. 

Are you positing that the victim in this case would have been able to retrieve and use a gun on the attacker without the attacker overpowering her and using the gun on her and possibly others?

Roanrider wrote on July 28, 2017 at 10:07 am

This is not a hypothetical, it did happen to me. What do abusers who kill their wives and girlfriends have to do with me being attacked in an establishment by a virtual stranger?? And no, this is not someone who I "led on" on Facebook. The only contact I ever had with them was them "liking" photos that I posted. And if you don't think that I could have retrieved my firearm and used it on this person, you are SADLY underestimating my skills and training. However, I did not have said firearm with me because I had STUPIDLY agreed to accompany friends to a "gun-free" establishment in downtown. I will not be making that mistake again.

CallSaul wrote on July 28, 2017 at 11:07 am

I'm sorry that happened to you. I don't have enough facts about the situation to get into a detailed forensic analysis of it, but it seems to me that pulling out a piece and squeezing off a few round in a crowded public place is not a way to increase anyone's safety.

This seems obvious no matter how skilled with a gun you assure us you are. This is not a Hollywood fantasy version of the Wild West.

People who want to carry --- and, by their own admission, be on a hair trigger ready to use --- guns in public are saying that they do so because they have so little trust in everyone else that they feel the need to be armed in public while at the same time they demand that the rest of us trust them enough to not only be armed in public, but to be ready to shoot to kill whenever they deem it appropriate.

That is not a reasonable expectation... wrote on July 25, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Sadly Saul only cares about himself.  Any one who disagrees with him is a right wing nut.  He has no answers but sarcasm if you point out the majority of new ccw holders are female.  If you carry a gun in his mind, contrary to Illinois law, Federal court rulings you are wrong.   If you believe in the 2nd amenment, like Bernie Sanders does, you are a loon.


SAD! wrote on July 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Saul......Your saying that women are weak and there for  should not carry   ccw for the gun may be taken away?    You are aware  women are now in  patrol jobs in law enforcement.   Are you saying that they are weak and there for cannot be?   SAD!