Carle expansion moves ahead

Investing in the future of a hospital takes a lot of money.

Carle Foundation Hospital took a significant step toward preparing for its long-term future when a state planning board approved the Urbana hospital's plan to build a $236 million addition.

Let more sun shine on government

An authentic grass-roots citizens group is pushing Champaign County government and other local bodies to become more transparent both in actions and in providing access to public records.

Here's a group and a movement that all citizens, regardless of political party or political philosophy, should get behind. The group, which doesn't even have a name but has members of every local political persuasion and is led by the local chair of the Libertarian Party, has a simple goal: more open, transparent local government.

Downzoning dilemma

Proposed zoning changes in east Urbana present an interesting debate about the rights of property owners. Does the majority, concerned about the value of its property, have the right to restrict the potential value of the minority's property in the same neighborhood?

A trend toward building more small apartment buildings in an area of east Urbana has been so slow-moving as to be almost undetectable – except to the neighborhood residents rightly concerned about how such developments would affect their property values. So they went to the city government, asking that parts of the neighborhood now zoned to permit four- and six-plexes be downzoned to allow only houses and duplexes. The proposal is now before the Urbana Plan Commission. It could be acted on as early as Sept. 4.

Edwards now the invisible man

Onetime Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards talked about two Americas during his recent campaign. Now he's hiding from both of them.

When Democrats meet next week in Denver for what will almost certainly be a celebratory national convention, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards won't be there.

The drinking age dodge

Why exactly do university and college presidents want to debate undoing a law that saves lives and discourages dangerous behavior by young people?

So we are absolutely clear on this, the 100 or so university and college presidents who released a joint statement this week are not necessarily advocating an 18-year-old drinking age. They are merely calling for "an informed and dispassionate public debate" on the issue.

Noise is noise, no matter source

Rantoul is going after motorists who turn their music up to a deafening volume.

Most of us have experienced at one time or another the pounding music beat that emanates from a passing car.

Welcome to Champaign-Urbana

To some this community may look small and sedate. But don't be fooled.

There are a lot of new residents in Champaign-Urbana these days: faculty and staff at the University of Illinois, employees at the various new businesses and institutions around town and, especially, students at the University of Illinois. Many of these newcomers are from the Chicago area, or from larger cities all over the country and the world (Korea, China, India and Taiwan are the main countries of origin for international students here).

Maybe a bargain at $18,250

One thing Senate President Emil Jones will be remembered for his is unfailing (others call it silly and politically motivated) support for Chicago State University. Just two weeks before Jones announced his retirement, the Chicago Tribune disclosed that former CSU President Elnora Daniel spent $18,250 on a coffee table book about herself. Such profligate spending was the norm at Chicago State under Daniel.

The good thing about Elnora Daniel's recently published tribute to herself is that, thankfully, she stopped at only 400 books. That kept the price of the 52-page vanity book to a bargain basement price of $18,250.

Potentially good news from Springfield

Emil Jones has been a loyal supporter of education, and more education funding, during his 35 years in the Illinois General Assembly. But his overall record is distressing, including an aversion to power-sharing in the Senate, a penchant for putting relatives on the state payroll, a blind allegiance to even the most foolish ideas of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and a seeming obsession with pushing legislative pay even higher.

The impending departure of Emil Jones Jr. from the Illinois Senate doesn't guarantee sweeping changes in Springfield but it does offer some hope for cultivating a new culture in Springfield.

Russian attack tests U.S. resolve

Not since the end of the Cold War has the U.S. been involved with such a serious dispute with Russia as the one prompted by Moscow's invasion of neighboring Georgia.

The decision by Russian leader Vladimir Putin to send troops into the neighboring Republic of Georgia, a pro-Western democracy, should put an end to the naive belief that Russian/American tension stopped at the close of the Cold War.