Back to the future for transit district

It looks like more of the same at the Champaign-Urbana MTD.

School sales tax worth a look but state must still do its part

The first of what likely will be a series of countywide sales tax increases for school construction was approved last week in southern Illinois. But the fact that voters were willing to act in that case shouldn't let state officials off the hook. They need to resurrect a statewide school construction program.

The governor and the Legislature have refused to act on a much-neeeded statewide school construction program. So Illinois school districts have had to undertake the efforts themselves.

Illinois lawmakers appeal to Bush

MATTOON – The Illinois Congressional delegation has sent a letter to President Bush asking him to reconsider the decision to pull the plug on FutureGen.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, said the entire delegation, including presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, signed the letter, which was sent to the White House on Wednesday.

Raising property tax is tough for township

City of Champaign Township Supervisor Linda Abernathy is all fired up about the results of an advisory referendum in last week's election she interprets as an "absolute victory for the poor in our town."

So it will be no surprise at all if and when Abernathy urges her township board, which is made up of members of the Champaign City Council, to put a proposal on the fall ballot to raise property taxes. If that is how she feels, Abernathy should move forward full speed ahead. Council Member Tom Bruno said he would be "delighted to put the referendum on the ballot" and let voters decide, and he said other council members probably feel the same as he does.

Casino business downturn may not be entirely smoking-related

You may recall that a statewide, virtually total smoking ban went into effect in Illinois on Jan. 1.

The Illinois Gaming Board now reports that statewide casino admissions were down 6 percent in January and that revenue was down 17 percent.

That's why they're called 'fans'

Yes, there are more than enough of examples of poor sportsmanship at the collegiate level nearly every day. You can see (and hear) examples of poor fan behavior at nearly any school: Michigan State, Rutgers, North Carolina, Duke, Northwestern, USC, Maryland, Notre Dame, Indiana and, yes, even Illinois.

And Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther and Bruce Weber were right to note that the conduct of some fans at last Thursday night's Illinois-Indiana basketball game was "disappointing and intolerable." The two apologized for it.

Illinois prepares to honor its favorite favorite son

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, a time to remember Illinois' all-time favorite son.

This year, and next, will be marked with major celebrations of his life.

Park district tax campaign has room for improvement

That was a pretty clear message Urbana voters delivered to their park board last week: they will not support a 25-cent-per-$100-of assessed-valuation increase in their property taxes.

Park district officials may look at the election returns and say that the proposition lost by just 64 votes, or by 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, and that if they try again in November, the tax increase might be successful.

Obama riding wave of political euphoria

Having stunned the political establishment and knocked rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton off her game, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is clearly feeling good about his chances to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination as well as the presidency.

He's feeling so good that he's even taking a patronizing stance toward Clinton, expressing faux sympathy for her failure to match his prodigious fundraising.

Durbin's proposed deal was way out of line

Late last year, to considerable bipartisan praise, President Bush nominated retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey to fill the vacant post of U.S. attorney general and restore energy and morale to a beleaguered Justice Department.

After Mukasey was confirmed, he started to fill important department vacancies, and, again to considerable bipartisan praise, Mukasey selected Chicago federal Judge Mark Filip for nomination to fill the post of deputy attorney general.