Quotes of the week
"In a three-hour period, I had $1,200. And in a day and a half, I had $2,000. Four different guys gave the entire $200 requested. They said to go out and help some more Gifford families, so we added four more Gifford families."
— Champaign police Officer Ed Wachala, describing what happened after he asked his fellow officers to contribute an extra $200 to spend on the annual Christmas Shop with a Cop effort. The extra money was used for Gifford children whose lives were disrupted by the recent tornado. Altogether, 59 boys and girls, escorted by a police officer, were given $120 each to buy whatever they wanted.
"Neal, I wonder how many thousands of people would sign up for 37 months of jail for $900,000? I'll bet it would be a long line."
— federal Judge Michael McCuskey, asking a rhetorical question of local resident Neal Freeman, who stole $860,000 from his employers at Champaign Builders Supply. McCuskey, who was lamenting the inadequate statutory penalties for white-collar crime, sentenced Freeman to 37 months in prison. The company, damaged by the thefts and the recession, recently went out of business. The 59-year-old Freeman was the business's accountant.
"The first thing I do is keep everything going. Make sure that we continue what we're doing, programs and events and preparing our facilities. Then I've got to set up my team."
— Joe DeLuce, discussing his plans as he takes over Jan. 1 as the next executive director of the Champaign Park District. DeLuce, the district's longtime recreation director and deputy director, will succeed retiring director Bobbie Herakovich.
"We'll have 36 hours to get out of the building."
— Tom Michael, the university's associate athletic director, discussing the early March deadline for clearing out of the State Farm Center so that the first phase of construction work can begin. The Illini's last home basketball game is March 4, clearing the way for work to begin on the building's $165 million renovation. Workers this week began to cordon off the center's parking lots for use as a staging area. The project is expected to be completed by the start of the 2016-2017 basketball season.
"I am very hopeful — I have no inside information on this — but I am very hopeful that the presidential library will be in Chicago. I think it's very important and I know that the leadership in Chicago, both political and lay leadership in Chicago, would very much like to have it."
— U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, expressing the hope that Barack Obama's presidential library will be in Chicago. A Chicago multimillionaire, Pritzker was a fundraiser for Obama before he appointed her to serve in his Cabinet.
"At least people now see why some folks in my party were so adamant about fighting Obamacare."
— U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville, explaining that the problem-laden rollout of President Obama's Affordable Care Act is allowing Americans to see why the GOP opposed the legislation and sought to delay its implementation.