Schools foundation should avoid use of school funds

Since its inception in 1988, the Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation has served as a means for the private sector to support the public sector: for individuals and businesses to contribute financially, as well as with their time, to innovation and excellence in the local public schools.

For most of the last 19 years the foundation has held to that lofty goal and has done well, helping to raise nearly half a million dollars. Almost all of its work, including awarding annual grants to local teachers, has been done by volunteers.

'Air Rod' still winging it

Illinois lawmakers, frustrated over the lack of progress in resolving the state's budget stalemate, have been relieving their frustration by criticizing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's use of state aircraft to get back and forth to Springfield.

They call it a waste of state money, adding up to "roughly $76,000 and climbing."

Fatal boating accident brings unusually light sentence

Friends and family members of the victims of a 2005 boating accident on Clinton Lake are upset about the sentence handed down to the only man charged in the case. It appears they have every right to be.

In the accident, an 82-year-old Farmer City man was killed and four other men were seriously injured. And yet 28-year-old Byron Thompson will serve absolutely no jail time. DeWitt County Circuit Judge Stephen Peters sentenced him to 30 months' probation, a $5,000 fine and 150 hours of community service.

Review of soldier's case comes out right

Sgt. Garrett Anderson was severely wounded while serving in Iraq, sustaining a variety of injuries, including the loss of an arm, in an explosion.

Amazingly, the U.S. Veterans' Administration decided that Anderson was 90 percent, not 100 percent, disabled. Indicating that something was amiss in its decision-making process, the VA also found that Anderson's shrapnel wounds "were not combat-related." What else, one wonders, could they be but combat-related?

Subdivision dispute finally comes to end

There's no question that the existence of a single entrance to the Sawgrass and Boulder Ridge subdivisions in northwest Champaign posed a major inconvenience as well as a potential safety threat to the people living there.

The golden rule at graduation

In Danville, school officials say they're going to try to fix one of life's perplexing problems: overly exuberant celebrations at high school graduation ceremonies. We wish them luck.

Prosecutor on receiving end

The tables have turned on Michael Nifong, the former district attorney in North Carolina who blindly pursued false allegations of gang rape against three members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team.

Several months after North Carolina's attorney general announced that the three Duke students were innocent of allegations of wrongdoing, Nifong first resigned his public office and then was disbarred from practicing law by a regulatory body that conducted an inquiry into his mishandling of the Duke case.

Public employee's contract is a public document

Glenn Poshard, while he was a congressman and candidate for governor, had a reputation as a straight arrow – a man who wouldn't take campaign contributions from political action committees, honored his pledge to limit his number of terms in Congress and stepped out of his Capitol Hill office to make political telephone calls, using a pay phone down the hallway instead of the taxpayer-funded phone in his office.

That's why we're disappointed that now, as president of Southern Illinois University, he is fighting to block the release of his employment contract to the Anna Gazette-Democrat. What happened to the Glenn Poshard we used to know?

Good times for state budgets <--> but not in Illinois

These are flush days for most state governments. Twenty-three governors have proposed tax cuts, according to The New York Times, and many other states are undertaking infrastructure improvement programs or adding to their so-called "rainy day funds," those accounts designed to build up a reserve to carry a state government through tougher economic times.

Not in Illinois.

Rights for college journalists

The Illinois Legislature has approved a bill that would restore First Amendment rights for college journalists, allowing them to write and edit news stories and opinion pieces in school-subsidized student newspapers without interference or censorship by administrators.

By votes of 57-0 in the Senate and 112-2 in the House, lawmakers approved a bill that would give student journalists essentially the same protections that professional reporters and editors have. The bill is in direct response to a June 2000 incident at Governors State University when a university dean blocked publication of The Innovator after the student newspaper had printed news stories and editorials critical of the administration.