Two years after voters in the Champaign School District rejected a tax referendum, the district is releasing the final draft of a new long-range strategic plan. A committee of community members has spent the past year working on the plan, which is meant to reflect the public's concerns about education in the Unit 4 district. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Illinois Public Media News
In small towns across the country, many people have decided that a cheaper way to get around is to leave the car in the garage and pile into the golf cart. Golf carts and other small slow-speed vehicles are becoming more appealing to people living in areas where traffic is low, but gas prices are high. In Illinois, several small towns are allowing golf carts on their streets --- while others are holding back. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
It's been 20 years since the federal government announced that Chanute Air Force Base would be closing its doors. That cost over a thousand jobs and decimated Rantoul's population, but the effort to redevelop the land has produced a number of success stories. Katy Podagrosi served as Rantoul's mayor through much of that time. This week, the village's leader for more than 12 years -- and resident for nearly 50 -- is leaving the community. She spoke with AM 580's Jeff Bossert (click below for the full interview)
One of Illinois' smallest hospitals wants to expand and offer new services over the next few years. But the chief executive officer of John and Mary Kirby Hospital in Monticello says to do that, they'll need a brand new hospital at a brand new location. AM 580's Tom Rogers talked to him.
In 2004, AM 580 won a national award for its Smile Healthy Project, a collaboration of community partners focused on improving access to dentists for low income residents in Champaign County. What's happened since then? Reporter Lynn Crandall created several stories for the Smile Healthy project - she takes a look at dental access in the county today.
With the proposed FutureGen power plant on hiatus, it's unclear which path so-called clean coal research will take next. FutureGen was to turn coal into hydrogen before burning it to generate electricity, and to inject the resulting carbon dioxide deep into the ground - all at one single plant near Mattoon. But as AM 580's Tom Rogers reports, other projects using portions of that technology are already taking root.
A six foot long cake loaded with historical pictures and live music highlighted Urbana's 175th birthday celebration at Lincoln Square Village. History was the theme -- and not just in edible form. Historians tell us that Urbana's founding fathers had a name before they even found a perfect location for the city. The Zoo Theatre Improv Group (R to L: Sean Whitsitt, Aubrey Wachtel and Brian Hagy) has put its spin on the unusual founding of Urbana, and how it might have been when Abraham Lincoln came to Urbana for the very first time.
After nearly two years of work, the Coles County city of Mattoon snagged the $1.8 billion FutureGen experimental power plant project. FutureGen promises to revitalize the state's coal industry by using a combination of technologies to nearly eliminate pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. It also promises hundred of jobs for the area, beginning with construction work in 2010. But funding for the project is still uncertain. AM 580 has been covering the announcement.
Not long ago, one of Ford County's landmarks was falling apart. But since then, two preservation groups have helped convert it into a museum that explains how the area was established. Those responsible for rehabbing the old Paxton water tower and pump house are getting a statewide honor. AM 580s Jeff Bossert reports.
Next to the county fair, one of the highlights of many a small towns summer used to be the Chautauqua. Traveling shows would come to Illinois towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and give people a chance to learn about the world they live in, all served up with a good dose of entertainment. The Urbana Park District wants to revive the Chautauqua as it celebrates one hundred years of managing the city's parks. AM 580s Tom Rogers talked with the people who have put together nearly a week's worth of events for the new Urbana Chautauqua. (far-left: the main Chautauqua tent in Urbana. right: a much earlier Chautauqua in Lithia Springs, IL.)