The Mailbag staff hit the road this week — Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, Danville, Rantoul, Champaign County — with questions about everything from the origin of the name Shake Rag Road to a former movie theater building in Champaign to beer sales this fall at Memorial Stadium.
News about school district property in north Champaign, a Culver’s under construction in Urbana, an antique gate at Champaign’s McKinley Field, possible changes to Florida Avenue in Urbana, a new bank building in Champaign and the restoration of Lorado Taft’s Black Hawk statue in Oregon, Ill.
Items about rerouting U.S. routes 45 and 150 through Champaign-Urbana, the new football performance center, closed rest areas, the washboard surface of North Lincoln Avenue in Somer Township, blocked intersections, mowing the grass along rural roads, and how soon C-U will see flashing yellow arrows.
This week's lineup: weeds, wrecked bikes, the new Farren's, Costco, Chick-fil-A, prohibitions at the DMV, the Urbana Civic Center, hazardous waste collections, a large natural area under construction in Urbana and an ancient tree that has seen better days.
Humane society, hockey, history, Hardee's, holes in parking lots and the harvest of trees are among the items in this week's Mailbag.
Among the topics covered this week: dogs at public swimming pools, a former Wendy's gets a makeover, Homer Soda, Savoy's population, a west Champaign railroad crossing, Urbana food truck rallies, a bike trail along South First Street, what's up at the site of a Champaign apartment complex fire, late property tax bills and the latest on Golden Corral.
Lots of questions during a short workweek, made even shorter by a tornado that passed right over the Mailbag's home office in southeast Urbana. The St. Louis Blues flag that was flying that morning was slightly damaged but survived.
This week's Mailbag features questions about the Kickapoo Rail Trail, Cowboy Monkey, brick streets, flower beds, a loud Nelly concert last weekend, a "ghost sign" on an old Champaign building, missing trees along Mattis, Champaign's police review committee and who-ya-gonna-call about property maintenance questions.
The Mailbag is stuffed like a robin after a summer thunderstorm. Infrastructure questions about a lawsuit over the Windsor Road rebuild in Urbana, the front stairs to Foellinger Auditorium, a leaky roof at a mausoleum in Champaign, a soon-to-be-demolished house in central Champaign, the old Taffie's restaurant at Country Fair and a debris-clogged bike lane. Also, pulled pork sandwiches, the plastic bag tax and (again) offensive license plates.
Business at Mailbag Headquarters is almost as busy as a C-U restaurant on this year's University of Illinois Commencement/Mother's Day weekend.
What to do with a ditched bong, building artwork, the big fertilizer plant proposed in Douglas County, the big bulk terminal plant in Champaign County, University of Illinois hiring and much, much more.
Inside: No-Hazardous Cargo routes in Champaign, whether Mark Twain visited Urbana, school administration costs, sanitary sewers in the Rolling Acres subdivision and tree trimming at the Champaign Country Club.
In this week's 'Bag we look to the future of: the Tuscola outlet mall, Ebertfest, the 400 block of West Church Street in Champaign, fast food in Champaign, the humane society garage sale and a vacant car wash in Savoy.
''We have not heard anything to that effect, and I seriously doubt that it would even be feasible to repurpose the existing structures in that manner.'
Big ol' Bag today, bulging like an oil and chip road on a hot, sunny day.
In the Mailbag: Costco in Champaign, Chick-fil-A in Champaign, the spooky mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, bike lane laws, handicapped parking enforcement and the non-existent University of Illinois mascot.
Addressed in this week's entry: An absentee candidate, potholes at the post office, big-time hockey at the University of Illinois, unwanted phone books, how to get your home water tested and stormwater drainage.
Trash building up along Interstate 74, more alcohol at University of Illinois sports events, enhanced bridge work in Champaign, big box stores in far west Champaign, a big pile of shingles, the old Bergner's store at Market Place, Canada geese and an MTD bidding process that went awry.
This week's Mailbag is more crowded than southbound I-75 with Illinoisans and other Midwesterners headed to Florida for spring break.
This week's Mailbag is more crowded than the long line of miscreants volunteering to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of Virginia.
This week's Mailbag is jammed more than a Campustown liquor store on Unofficial St. Patrick's Day.
This week's Mailbag is more crowded than the egress at a meeting of Jussie Smollett supporters.
This week's Mailbag is more packed than a fat man at the Golden Corral. On the menu: legalized pot, the Solon House, the Ice Arena, the Illini pay to play on WLS. Also: potholes, borrow pits, mounds at Champaign Centennial and along the Canadian National tracks, hazardous chemical recycling, a popcorn shop and a donut shop and an update on i3 Broadband.
This week in the Mailbag: checking a David Foster Wallace story, checking up on a parole hearing for a man who killed five children more than 50 years ago, and checking out a long-rumored retail development at Mattis and Springfield in Champaign.
In this week's Mailbag: Lots of infrastructure questions (especially for poor Kris Koester in Champaign), chicken restaurants, a profusion of bald eagles (and maybe foxes), Carle at the Fields' property-tax status, recycling, and coin-sorting machines.
Questions about political-party registration, abandoned rail lines, possible radio interference and free air at gas stations this week. Plus, a former Central basketball player, faded pavement and more. And best all, no Golden Corral questions.
Restaurants, rest stops, Rafter's and a roofer in this week's Mailbag. Plus an update on the big interstate interchange project, healthy school lunches, replacement library books, parking around Champaign Central, a playground in Mahomet, monitoring liquor sales, the Dr. Howard School demo cost, Carle at the Fields and, of course, Golden Corral.
Questions about congressional pay during the government shutdown, where Champaign's minor league ballpark was more than 100 years ago, how much it would cost Amtrak to build its own tracks from Chicago to Champaign, and more.
Happy 5th birthday to the Mailbag, which debuted Dec. 21, 2013, with this question: "With the Peoria schools once again in the Big 12, how about some history on the Big 12 Conference?"
It feels like the Christmas rush at Mailbag headquarters with questions about people who vote in more than one jurisdiction, the hiring of an interim school superintendent in Urbana, gasoline prices, handicapped parking spaces, courthouse security, and bright lights at Carle at the Fields.
Several of this week's questions are more than a month old and we're glad we finally got an opportunity to find the answers. Among them: the largest property tax bills in Champaign County, the cost of President Trump's travel, work needed on South First Street, a safer crosswalk on Kirby Avenue, odd devices scattered on the edges of farm fields, the Tang Dynasty turned out to be less than a dynasty and Avanti's in C-U.
Huzzah! Monday is the 200th anniversary of Illinois becoming a state, when on Dec. 3, 1818, President James Monroe signed the resolution for our admission to the Union. In honor of that occasion, all answers this week will deal with people, places or things in Illinois.
So much for a slow holiday week at Mailbag International headquarters.
Quite a variety of topics in this week's Mailbag including how soon Illinois will enact recreational marijuana, how a truck driver was able to fire ball bearings at passing motorists on I-74, how often interstate rest areas are closed to the public, why there are shipping containers along State Street in Champaign and whether those really are weather stations in Mahomet at a place where the buffalo roamed.
Questions to the 'Bag this week about University of Illinois student housing, the poor recycling materials market, lines at the polls, nonpartisan elections, inducements to vote, the future of a long-vacant house in Champaign, a new restaurant in Campustown and changes coming to the intersection of Wright and Green streets.
The bad news: baseball season is over; days are getting shorter, darker and grayer; Illinois football is a Superfund site and there are four days left in this election campaign. The good news: there are four days left in this election campaign.
Plenty of questions about streets and highways this week — construction on the Neil Street bridge over I-74, bumps on Prospect Avenue, Champaign's snow removal policy, and directional signs in the county — but also queries about whether Neil Street should be Neal Street, whether there are fewer robins this year, the youngest Illini athletes and News-Gazette comic strips.
We have a record-breaking 22 items in the 'Bag this week, everything from more information on Big Elmer the fish to a longtime vacant lot in Champaign that may be vacant no more and a sculpture in Urbana that has gone into storage.
Terrific variety of questions this week: on the size of political campaign signs, a big residential development coming to Urbana, whether a News-Gazette photo of an arraignment could be considered an invasion of privacy, a big fish known as Big Elmer, fluorescent bulb recycling, low speed vehicles, a new Dunkin Donuts, the oldest family-owned business in C-U and Bruce Rauner's TV ads.
The business of the Mailbag is business, at least this week. Plenty of questions about new businesses, old businesses, rumored businesses and even a park district lake that once was a business. And much more.
Some fun questions this week — about the origin of the business called Kam's and the bell on display at Willard Airport — and some not-so-fun ones, such as the insinuation that The News-Gazette is paid to publish stories about military veterans.
We're about to run out of infrastructure questions, aren't we? This week's list includes a request for a more elegant fountain at the Second Street Basin in Champaign and questions about farming around Willard Airport, school playgrounds, a tornado shelter in the Champaign City Building and much more.
Safety is on the minds of some Mailbag readers this week, particularly when it comes to riders of bicycles and horses. Also questions about Kindness Rocks, the UI Arcade, wastewater treatment, dockless bikes, Sam's Cafe and more.
A little bit of everything this week: a downtown development update, a Streetfest update, a McDonald's update, how a new apartment building can mean a lot to Champaign's assessed valuation, a horse-themed subdivision, a change in intersection signal timing after a Mailbag question and the background of an official city seal.
Neither rain, sleet, snow or high temperatures keep Mailbag readers from asking questions and your Mailbag staff from answering them.
Dead trees, an apartment complex damaged by fire, work around Champaign Central High School, whether top layers of pavements scraped off roads are reused, and what became of statues that used to be in Hessel Park. Plus much, much more
We've had a run on farm-related questions at Mailbag World Headquarters, particularly unusual crops in area fields. We have questions this week on wheat fields and farmland south of Urbana where nut trees and fruits are being grown together. And much more.