Adjusting mortgage payments might free up your budget

In the last year you have:

a. been laid off or had your hours at work reduced.

b. had to care for a new set of triplets at home.

c. developed a medical condition that is expensive to treat.

In other words, your finances have become somewhat strained. You've fallen behind in your mortgage payments, or you anticipate having a tough time making those payments.

What do you do? Consider a renegotiated or modified mortgage.


Poor judgment by public health district

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District officials showed remarkably poor judgment in attempting to close a court hearing dealing with a tuberculosis-infected man who had not been complying with orders to stay in his apartment. They had neither the authority nor the reason to restrict reporters and the public from the hearing.

It shouldn't take a lawyer to remind officials at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District that they had no authority to close a court hearing that was being held on their premises. But that, incredibly, is what it took to prevent another instance of "Bureaucrats Gone Wild."

Welcome move on opening records

On his first day in office, President Obama set a new standard for transparency in government. He issued an executive order – a strong statement – that government records should be open to the public. "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." Not only should that statement echo throughout the federal government; we hope it rings within state and local governments as well.

The federal Freedom of Information Act, like the similar statute in Illinois, has sometimes been called the Freedom from Information Act. Citizens who sought records often were delayed, denied or just ignored. While the law said one thing, the officials charged with carrying it out did another.

Tenured radical stopped at border

Radical chic ran into a stone wall when it tried to cross the U.S. border into Canada.

Controversy surrounding the 2008 presidential campaign may have boosted the speaking schedule of one-time revolutionary William Ayers, but it apparently didn't enhance his reputation with Canadian authorities.

Governor ignores his date with fate

Gov. Blagojevich isn't mounting much of a defense for his Senate impeachment trial that is scheduled to begin Monday.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich says, predictably, that the Illinois Senate impeachment trial scheduled to begin Monday is "a sham" and that he isn't being given a fair chance to defend himself.

Champaign minding the purse

It's good to see that city officials are staying on top of the recent reduction in sales tax revenue. We only wish we could say the same for the state of Illinois.

In view of downcast tax revenue reports, city officials in Champaign have taken a number of steps to cut spending, including a ban on out-of-state travel, extending a hiring freeze to include police and firefighter positions and a requirement that City Manager Steve Carter review all expenditures over $5,000.

Tax lapses dog Obama's treasury nominee

President-elect Obama's choice to head the U.S. Treasury Department has shot himself in the foot.

The incoming administration of President Barack Obama embarrassed itself when its background-checkers failed to uncover a widely publicized criminal investigation of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whose nomination as commerce secretary quickly was withdrawn when the news went national.

Obama begins presidency with grand goals

The nation's first African-American president, a man who just five years ago was sitting in the Illinois Senate chambers in Springfield, has soared to unprecedented success in that time. And his inaugural address Tuesday set out a similar breakneck course of goals for the nation. We wish him success.

You have to say this about the nation's 44th president: He is not one for small plans. As he took the reins of power Tuesday, Barack Obama set out a series of ambitious goals for himself and the nation that included everything from creating new jobs, transforming our energy systems and reinvigorating higher education to improving life in the poorest countries of the world. It is a remarkably aggressive and visionary to-do list for a man who is no stranger to outsized ambition. We say that as a compliment because it was only five years ago that Obama was one of 59 Illinois state senators, and only nine years ago was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. Now he not only is president of the United States, but a president with great popularity and support, one who was able to attract more than a million people to his inauguration festivities.

Parkland taxpayers deserve vote

Tonight's the night for citizens to urge the Parkland College board of trustees to be open and allow for a vote by taxpayers on a property tax increase to pay for nearly $35 million worth of capital improvements.

Given the economic turmoil in the nation, in Illinois and in its 12-county district, does the Parkland College board really want to force a property tax increase, no matter how small, on taxpayers?

Campaign reform needn't be big and expensive

If you've been paying attention to the state news for the last month, this shouldn't surprise you: A poll finds most Illinoisans believe corrupt behavior is common among public officials in Illinois – and that people favor reforms, all of them.

With one governor in prison, another about to be booted out of office and the feds sniffing around for more, there's never been a better time to take on corruption in Illinois government.