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.
Illinois Public Media News
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has made it official -- he's pulling federal funding from the FutureGen clean-coal plant slated for Mattoon. He favors several smaller projects using the same technology. Meanwhile, members of Illinois' Congressional delegation hope they can convince congress or the President to return to the original plan. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Shane Cultra (left) is seeking his fourth term as state representative for east-central Illinois' 105th District. But for the first time, the Onarga Republican has some competition. Champaign School Board President David Tomlinson hopes to defeat Cultra in the primary. In this House district, the Republican nominee is considered the likely winner in November. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
In less than six weeks, Illinois voters will make their earliest trek ever to the polls in an election cycle. Last year state lawmakers pushed the primary election up to the first Tuesday in February. It was meant to give Illinois more of a say in the selection process for Presidential candidates. But is the move working? We get an early evaluation from Brian Gaines, a University of Illinois political science professor. He talked with AM 580's Tom Rogers.
August 31 was the last day of production at the three Collins and Aikman auto parts plants in Rantoul. If anyone returns to work at the buildings, it will be for a different company that might move in. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke to a few of the 500 employees about their final week of work and their prospects for the future.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he will veto a portion of the state budget approved by lawmakers, and redirect those funds to universal health care. Former Republican state lawmaker Rick Winkel (left) says he sides with those who question the legality of that move. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with Winkel about what could occur before lawmakers conclude the longest overtime session in state history. Winkel is now a senior fellow with the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs and an adjunct professor in the College of Law.
Candidates for the Champaign Unit 4 School Board answered questions about the federal consent decree, No Child Left Behind and the police presence in middle and high schools during a PTA forum before the March 17 election. But one question that wasn't asked was how the candidates felt about the administration of Superintendent Arthur Culver. AM 580's Jim Meadows posed that question after the forum was over, and seven candidates gave their answers.
The recent decision to ban smoking in Champaign bars and restaurants could play the most publicized role in who wins in next week's city council election. But there are other issues that could influence Tuesday's vote for three at-large council members. AM 580's Jeff Bossert looks at the issue of growth in southwest Champaign (left: Curtis Road interchange, with Barkstall School in the background) and the approach each candidate wants to take.
Illinois' largest teachers' union has lined up behind Governor Rod Blagojevich's proposal to launch a new business tax to boost funding for education and health care. But the Illinois Education Association's president says that does not mean the union is opposed to an alternative plan that the governor opposes - a plan that would raise the state's income tax while lowering local property taxes. As AM 580's Tom Rogers reports, all IEA president Ken Swanson (left) wants to see is the end of what he calls chronic state underfunding.
For the last year and a half, a planning process called "big.small.all" has been bringing Champaign County residents together to talk about their dreams and goals for the county's future. Those dreams and goals have been presented back to the county in the form of a report called "our future.here." Now, organizers say the next step is to turn some of those dreams into reality. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.