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.
Illinois Public Media News
It only took a year, but what could have been an empty and decaying complex in Urbana is now a training ground for homeland security teams. A couple of days in advance of the official opening, AM 580's Tom Rogers got an advance tour of the building that was once the Champaign County Nursing Home with the head of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, Jim Page (left).
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)
The head of a St. Louis-based consulting firm hired to manage the Champaign County Nursing Home says there will be no quick turnaround for the facility. But Management Performance Associates President Michael Scavotto also says the home is also getting a bit of a bad rap due to a massive debt... empty beds... and an uneven number of Medicaid and Medicare residents. Scavatto just completed his first visit to the Nursing Home, getting a first-hand look at the facility and meeting with staff. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with him.
The Champaign County Board is discussing recommendations from a consultant for improving finances at the Champaign County Nursing Home. County officials say they understand that they have to act quickly and decisively to fix the nursing home's precarious finances. But even with those changes, many are saying that more tax money will be needed to balance the books. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
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.
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 Veterans Administration hospital that serves central Illinois and western Indiana has a new leader. AM 580's Tom Rogers spoke with Michael Hamilton about two issues VA facilities all over the nation face - maintaining quality and preparing for an influx of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Experts predict that in the next 20 to 30 years, a growing United States will need 30 to 60 percent more water. Growth will be even more explosive in other parts of the world, and the need for clean, usable water may someday be a staggering political issue. AM 580's Tom Rogers spoke with University of Illinois professor Mark Shannon, who's watching that potential crisis unfold.
In most Illinois counties, it's possible for a town to impose its own rules on zoning and new construction on land that's miles outside of the city limits. It happened last year in Champaign County. Such practices worry many rural residents and county officials. But efforts to limit such agreements through legislation are underway in Springfield. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.