SPRINGFIELD – New restrictions on payday lending take effect today, designed to protect consumers from what can become an unending cycle of debt.
"The state will start aggressively enforcing the law from day one, and will make sure lenders who want to come up with ways to circumvent the law can't do it," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in a written release on Monday. "Payday loans are supposed to help working people cover unexpected costs and emergencies. They're not supposed to break their bank accounts."
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, planned to make her re-election announcement today at the Illini Union in Urbana.
"I'm running for re-election because I really believe I've had a good couple of terms and want to continue the work that I've been able to do for this district," Jakobsson said in a telephone interview on Monday.
RANTOUL – Richard Quick has been reinstated as Rantoul's fire chief.
Circuit Judge Michael Q. Jones ruled Monday that, while Quick's actions to have a firetruck repaired in Urbana rather than by the village's central maintenance department violated village policy, those actions did not warrant removing Quick as fire chief.
Champaign police Officer Ganesh Reddy took a cruise through Campustown at the start of his shift to see how things were developing.
On that recent Tuesday night, Reddy saw one campus bar was beginning to show a line outside the building as early as 10 p.m. More college students were gathered on the porch of a house occupied by members of a fraternity. That crowd was starting to overflow into the yard.
URBANA – Don Carlson has taught theoretical and applied mechanics at the University of Illinois for 41 years. His department teaches fundamentals to engineering students from several disciplines, and he says it does so well and efficiently, setting the UI apart from other engineering schools and contributing to its top ranking.
But it has about half the faculty it had two years ago, and next year the department may be gone altogether. Plans call for merging it with mechanical engineering.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council will consider Tuesday whether to increase severance pay for 12 city department heads, from three months to six months.
City department heads currently get three months severance pay in most instances when they are fired. The proposed plan would allow department heads to accrue up to a maximum of six months severance pay after 13 years of service.
More than 100 years ago, vineyards and wineries dotted the Illinois landscape, from the driftless northwest to the sunny hills of southern Illinois. Back then, the state ranked among the country's top producers of wine.
But Prohibition changed all that. The number of wineries and vineyards dwindled, and production eventually shifted to states like California.
CHAMPAIGN – When it comes to merchandise, Rod Bates has lots to offer: digital cameras, lenses, tripods, flashes, film, memory cards, even lighting and darkroom equipment.
But when it comes to employees, Bates has only one – himself.
County Market in southeast Urbana has a whole new look and some new products to go along with it.
The store at 1819 S. Philo Road has undergone a $2.5 million remodeling both inside and outside, and customers will find some new products in the deli – ready-made, home-cooking style entrees that can be taken home and heated up for dinner, said Jerry Kettler, spokesman for the store's owner, Quincy-based Niemann Foods.
SAVOY – If you show up at the Savoy Municipal Building for Wednesday's Savoy Village Board meeting, don't be surprised if nobody is there.
Mayor Bob McCleary and the entire Savoy Village Board are moving their Dec. 7 meeting from the municipal building to the Mellon Administration Building, 702 S. New St., C. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.