Township ballot questions look at national issues

Voters in the townships that include most of Champaign and all of Urbana will get an opportunity to weigh on some national issues in the Feb. 5 primary.

Additionally, Champaign voters also will be able to vote on whether they agree with the decision last year to cut funding to general assistance recipients in City of Champaign Township, and whether they think the town board should actively pursue "any and all means available to them" to help those residents living in extreme poverty.

Funds sought for Urbana Park District

URBANA – Normally, Roberta Gumport, who lives in south Urbana on Anderson Street, could be counted on to support the Urbana Park District when it asked for a property tax increase.

But this time, in an uncertain economy, she's undecided about whether to support the district's request for a 25-cent increase in the district's property tax rate – a 35 percent increase in the district's overall tax rate – that park district officials say is necessary to maintain and update the city's parks and recreation facilities.

Villa Grove board moves to build up working cash fund

VILLA GROVE –The Villa Grove school board agreed to move money from one fund to another Monday, but this time it was a positive move to build up the working cash fund to $455,000.

"In a sense we are paying ourselves back for the loans we had to make in the beginning of the year," said Superintendent Steve Poznic, referring to the delay in state aid payments in the fall.

Circuit clerk candidates have government experience

PAXTON – Incumbent Ford County Circuit Clerk Kamalen Johnson announced in August she would not seek re-election after serving 15 years so she can join her late husband's insurance business.

The two candidates who are looking to succeed Johnson may be newcomers to the title, but are not newcomers to Ford County government.

MTD board rejects tax rebates for Savoy

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign-Urbana's mass transit board on Wednesday unanimously rejected an annexation agreement with Savoy that would have required rebating tax money to the village.

The issue has been left hanging since November, when Savoy's board voted 5-1 to forward an agreement with MTD that changes its annexation map and stipulates that the MTD must reimburse the village for 10 percent of the Savoy property tax payments for 25 years.

Parental rights terminated for Arnette chldren

URBANA – Two men's parental rights for the seven children of slain Sadorus mother Naomi Wilson Arnette were terminated Wednesday.

Judge Holly Clemons terminated parental rights for Joseph Wilson, who had five children with Mrs. Arnette, and Robert Arnette, who had two children with her.

Five arrested on drug charges in Rantoul

URBANA – Champaign County sheriff's deputies arrested five people Tuesday at a home in Rantoul that police had been watching for drug trafficking.

Lt. Ed Ogle said members of his department's street crimes unit received information about cocaine sales going on at the home of Howard Baker, 27, of the 400 block of East Campbell Ave. Having investigated him for several months, on Tuesday they obtained a search warrant, which they served about 6 p.m.

Towns reflect on their investments in FutureGen

Millions of dollars and countless hours have been spent locally in efforts to land the $1.8 billion FutureGen coal plant in Illinois, a project that has now been abandoned by the Department of Energy.

"I wouldn't want to speculate about a specific figure, but millions of dollars have been invested in our site," said Angela Griffin, president of Coles Together.

Feds push multiple-site plan

Now that plans for FutureGen at Mattoon have been abandoned, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman says multiple clean-coal power plants in various cities might be the answer.

Bodman said Wednesday in a conference call with the media that the department will investigate building several coal plants that have the same Futuregen technology of carbon capture and storage, and that could be built by 2015.

Champaign, Springfield ad clubs merge

CHAMPAIGN – Advertising clubs in Champaign and Springfield have merged to form the American Advertising Federation of Central Illinois.

"We think the larger membership base will only give advertising in our region greater exposure," said Jeremy Viscomi, president of the new organization and director of client services at G.M. Anderson in Springfield.