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.
Illinois Public Media News
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.)
A recent newspaper report said the University of Illinois had made tentative plans to transfer ownership of the Chief Illiniwek symbol to a group of alumni who had portrayed the Chief. All sides deny that any agreement is in place but confirm that "informal" talks have occurred. The former student quoted in the report, Steve Raquel, remains hopeful that Chief supporters and opponents alike can find a way to see beyond their differences. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with him.
A young journalist's learning experience often involves covering a nearby school board or house fire. But for a group of Illinois students, their beat was a foreign country with an unfamiliar language. The ten students are back from three weeks in Peru, where they talked with government leaders, poor villagers, alleged terrorists and ordinary Peruvians. The result is a two-hour documentary, "Assignment: Peru", which aired July 2 on AM 580. Tom Rogers talked to two of the student reporters and the professor who oversaw their South American trip.
With the lack of a vote, many people are beginning to wonder if the status of Chief Illiniwek will ever be completely settled. And now that the TV news crews from Chicago and St. Louis have left the U of I campus in Urbana...students, faculty and staff are now left to deal with an underlying rancor. AM 580's Tom Rogers reports.
UI trustees tabled a resolution to retire the controversial symbol, which some consider a racist mascot. The resolution's author decided to delay a vote until a meeting in July. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports on the decision and the contentious atmosphere at the meeting.