Frustration with state government over education funding reform has led to the call for a higher sales tax in Champaign County. The county's 14 school boards promise local property tax relief if voters approve a one-percent hike in the county's sales tax. As AM 580's Tom Rogers reports, it's generated some uneasiness - even among some people who say schools need more money.
Illinois Public Media News
Some grade schools in Champaign-Urbana could soon see a lot more of their students forgo at least part of the morning bus ride.
Around 2-thousand kids from 12 schools participated in International Walk to School Day Wednesday. It's aimed at promoting fitness and pedestrian safety. The students were accompanied by parents, teachers, police, and area officials as part of the annual event. But some of those parents could be recruited on a more regular basis. Rose Hudson is the local event co-chair:
The schools are really starting to take some ownership of it by really taking the day and incorporating more of their students by having the bussed students dropped off a block or two from school and feel like they're more a part of it. We get more parents that will actually walk or bike with their kids in the morning.
A $25,000 federal 'Safe Routes to School' grant pays for not only today's events... but a bike rodeo, which encourages the wearing of helmets and another safety tips... and billboard campaign to remind motorists of proper rules to follow when driving through school zones.
Nearly 4-million people in 40 countries participated in International Walk to School Day.
Everyone is spending much more on energy these days, and the University of Illinois is no exception. Curbing the cost is just one goal of a new Office of Sustainability on the Urbana campus. It's meant to draft and supervise new conservation efforts, but also to reduce the amount of pollution the University creates - whether it's exhaust from Abbott Power Plant or old computers and other electronic waste. The office's first director is Richard Warner, a wildlife ecology professor and formerly an administrator in the College of ACES. He tells AM 580's Tom Rogers that his first priority is simply to take stock of all the programs already in place.
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.
Terrell Starr's summer in the republic of Georgia has ended earlier than he had expected. Fighting between Georgia and Russia has prompted the University of Illinois graduate student - and former AM 580 news intern - to leave Georgia for neighboring Armenia, along with hundreds of other Americans who evacuated on Monday. Starr talked with AM 580's Tom Rogers about his experiences over the past week.
Thousands of women flock to the UI campus for the largest women's conference in the nation, the Biennial Conference for Women. Among this year's guests is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen. She also writes a biweekly column for Newsweek, alternating with conservative commentator George Will. One of Quindlen's present prime topics is the Democratic Presidential campaign. She shared her thoughts on the race with AM 580's Michael Koliska.
The next director of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois says the debate over Chief Illiniwek severely hampered the program in the past. Robert Warrior (left), currently an English professor at the University of Oklahoma, says the symbol's retirement brings a unique opportunity when he takes over the program this fall. He told AM 580's Jeff Bossert that the change at the UI led him to accept the job.
Going to school can be a daily nightmare for some students. That's because one of every six elementary and middle school students will become a victim of bullying. Some researchers say bullying is on the rise, especially with new emerging forms of online harassment. Now a new movie made with the help of 8th graders at a Champaign middle school may soon enter classrooms around the country to tackle the problem of bullying. AM 580's Michael Koliska reports.
An accident in her teens left Arley McNeney with only partial use of her legs, but it led her to success in wheelchair basketball. That experience provides the background for the University of Illinois graduate student's first novel entitled "Post." McNeney played with Canada's national wheelchair basketball team, which won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. Now, her novel is shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize in the "best first book" category. AM 580's Michael Koliska spoke with McNeney off the court during the National Women's Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Champaign.
The upcoming rose Bowl between Illinois and USC will carry on a tradition that's more than six decades old. In 1947, Illinois played in the first Rose Bowl to pit the champion of what was then called the Big Nine against the Pacific Coast Conference champion (now called the Pac 10). Radio was still the nation's dominant broadcast medium, and it covered not only the game itself but the buildup and the aftermath. Recordings of those broadcasts have been stored in the University of Illinois Archives ever since. Matt Ehrlich takes us back 61 years to when the Fighting Illini headed west looking for respect.