Big Broadband vote likely to be delayed by consultant's illness

CHAMPAIGN — The Maryland consultant who audited the Big Broadband proposal will not attend this week’s Champaign city council meeting to field questions from council members, a city official said Monday.

Doug Dawson was ill on Monday and will not travel to Champaign for Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Information Technologies Director Fred Halenar said. His absence likely will delay a council vote on whether to accept federal grant money if those funds were awarded.

Saturday's ESPN GameDay

Fans performed for the staff of ESPN GameDay on Saturday morning, Feb. 6, 2010, in the University of Illinois Assembly Hall.

Updated: Vote now unlikely on Big Broadband; consultant is ill

Updated 5:15 p.m. CHAMPAIGN – As council members continue to weigh the benefits of the proposed Big Broadband network and the doubts about its feasibility, a Maryland consultant who audited the proposal was to return to Champaign this week to field questions from the city council. But on Monday, the consultant told city officials he won't be here because he's ill.

Champaign council looks at new forms of communication

CHAMPAIGN – As technology evolves, so does the way city officials keep their constituents informed.

Ideas of how to get information to city residents better were presented to the city council this week, and officials are discussing how to balance old media – like newspapers and written correspondence – with new media like Twitter and Facebook.

Idea pays off for UI, prof with deal with Samsung

URBANA – Joseph Lyding says he's "pleased and a little surprised" that the semiconductor technology he helped develop 14 years ago has finally been licensed.

The University of Illinois announced Tuesday that Samsung Electronics has been licensed to use the patented technology that can extend the life – or improve the performance – of silicon chips.

Skepticism increases over Big Broadband

CHAMPAIGN – Amid growing questions surrounding the $31 million "Big Broadband" proposal, Mayor Jerry Schweighart on Wednesday said there may have been enough votes to kill the project – or at least its current form – before this week's city council meeting.

"It may be something that we need, but not now," Schweighart said. "Just the economy is not right to take on this kind of project."

Champaign's 'Big Broadband' discussion delayed

CHAMPAIGN – City officials Tuesday night deferred a discussion of the $31 million "Big Broadband" proposal until a Maryland consultant who critiqued the system would be able to speak in person with the city council.

A report that Doug Dawson, the broadband consultant, released to local agencies last week – a generally positive critique of the proposal – exposed some weaknesses with the high-speed telecommunications network, for which local officials are still awaiting federal grant approval.

Champaign council to vote on 'Big Broadband' grant

CHAMPAIGN – City council members will decide on Tuesday night if they would be willing to accept grant money for the multigovernment, multimillion-dollar "Big Broadband" project awaiting federal approval.

The discussion, which follows an independent consultant's assertion that there are still problems with the proposed high-speed telecommunications system, will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

UI researchers use gamers' brains to analyze learning

URBANA – Maybe practice makes perfect when it comes to baking a loaf of bread. But it's your brain size that counts a lot when it comes to scoring high on a video game, researchers have found.

A study conducted at the University of Illinois looked at MRI brain scans of men and women trained on "Space Fortress," an approximately 30-year-old video game developed at the UI, and discovered that how well gamers performed could be predicted by the size of certain regions of their brains.

Trailblazing nominees sought Innovation Celebration

CHAMPAIGN – Sponsors of the annual Innovation Celebration – which heralds local entrepreneurs – are seeking nominees for eight awards to be given Feb. 25.

The fifth annual awards ceremony is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that day at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., C.