Go Figure, Nov. 9, 2018

Go Figure, Nov. 9, 2018

A numerical look at local headlines:

300+

Honorary degrees awarded through the years at University of Illinois commencements, with recipients including a few familiar faces from TV — DIANE SAWYER, JOHN CHANCELLOR, BILL GEIST.

And if Monday's vote goes his way, the list will soon add another small-screen legend — and its first beloved cast member from the TV classic 'M*A*S*H.'

No, it's not Maj. CHARLES EMERSON WINCHESTER III — played by the late, great DAVID OGDEN STIERS, a former Urbana classmate of ROGER EBERT's — but ALAN ALDA, whose candidacy will be considered by the campus senate.

Alda is known to most for his Emmy-winning acting (including the role of HAWKEYE PIERCE), but he's renowned in academic circles for his contributions to science.

Two UI heavyweights in the field — GENE ROBINSON and JEFFREY MOORE — nominated him, citing his founding of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University and his hosting of PBS's "Scientific American Frontiers."

"His work helped to bring engaging, accurate scientific content to a generation of viewers," they say.

The senate is also expected to take action on the nomination of CARLA HAYDEN, who earned two degrees from the University of Chicago and is the first black woman to serve as Librarian of Congress.

One need not have attended the university, or even lived in Illinois, to receive an honorary degree from the UI.

— JEFF D'ALESSIO

500

Dump trucks that Unit 4 estimates it will take to haul away dirt from the Dr. Howard Elementary construction site as work moves forward on building a new school entirely.

The price tag for this unplanned venture: $305,000. The expense wasn't really negotiable, district officials said, given that the soil surrounding the footprint of the larger Dr. Howard building was found to be unsuitable for supporting a foundation.

It was discovered after the building was demolished and drills were driven 8 feet into the ground.

"A few of them found organic material as far down as 7 feet — that's problematic, because we can't put a foundation on organic matter," said RATIO architect JESSICA GILBERT. "We'll bring in appropriate structural fill, and we'll put that back in its place and build it up from there."

The district scaled back some aspects of the project — without losing any programming elements — to counter the cost increase.

— LYNDSAY JONES

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