Jim Dey: Ammons a naysayer in first council vote

It ended with a whimper, not a bang.

"All those in favor of sending this ordinance to council with a recommendation for approval, please say 'aye,'" said Urbana Alderwoman Diane Marlin.

"Aye," said six members of the council, meeting as a committee of the whole Monday night.

"All those opposed?" asked Marlin.

"Nay," said new Alderman Aaron Ammons.

Milwaukee's finest leaves behind a revived game

WASHINGTON — The business of baseball and the nation's business used to be conducted in Washington with similar skill. The Washington Senators were run by Clark Griffith, who said: "Fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans." Today, however, Washington's team is a model of best practices. The government? Less so.

Jim Dey: College chief gets golden parachute after Andrzejewski findings

If you're ever looking for a skunk to crash a garden party, Adam Andrzejewski is your man.

When the pope talks, world starts interpreting

WASHINGTON — Forget E.F. Hutton. It's P.F. (Pope Francis) these days who, when he talks, people listen.

Executive Mansion: Home or political tool?

Gov. Bruce Rauner promises to renovate the leaky Illinois Executive Mansion with his seemingly limitless wealth — and to live there as well.

Better to utilize the mansion extensively for social events for the political class, especially when the lawmakers are in town, but continue to live in Chicago, where the action is.

Jim Dey: Party favors

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On Jan. 2, Urbana's Aaron Ammons submitted a request for a gubernatorial pardon to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The 88-page application made it clear that he needed a pardon, and he needed it fast.

Dan Corkery: Pioneering spirit behind corn ethanol

Next time you go the gas station and see "contains 10 percent ethanol" on the pump, think of Fred Werts.

The former Sidney farmer and businessman who died last Tuesday at 92 was a determined advocate for "gasohol" — blending gasoline with grain alcohol derived from corn — more than 25 years before Congress passed the first Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005.

2-year, 4-year colleges both play vital roles

By Gene Budig and Alan Heaps

Vermont's Sanders has mountains to climb

WASHINGTON — The young man who answered the phone in the Senate office of Vermont's Bernie Sanders told the caller, a would-be campaign contributor, that it is illegal for funds to be accepted on federal property. He advised the person to contact Sanders' political operation, which might become a presidential campaign.

Jim Dey: Andrzejewski touts power of openness

Adam Andrzejewski is in training for a half-marathon, and he figures to be ready by April or May.

Going halvesies is a far piece from the 26.2-mile jaunts he used to take.

"I've run four Chicago marathons. But I have not run a full marathon since 2001," the 45-year-old Andrzejewski said.