Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

Three Candidates Vying for Champaign City Council Seat

The race for a Champaign city council seat next spring will include at least three write-in campaigns.

Jim McGuire, Paul Faraci, and Catherine Emanuel have all filed to run for the District 5 seat being vacated by Gordy Hulten, who has been appointed as the next Champaign County Clerk. By time he was chosen by local Republicans for the office, it was too late for the three candidates' names to appear on the ballot.

McGuire, the president of the U of I's AFSCME local 698, said he is running since he has had a long family history in the community, and has been part of many Republican campaigns. Now, he said he wants to serve in a 'bigger capacity' in rough economic times.

"We have problems with our budget," McGuire said. "I think I can help have an impact. I've been dealing with the budget at the university, and I received the layoff notices myself. I'm trying to work through those issues."

McGuire manages stores and receiving at the U of I. He has twice lost bids for the Champaign school board, in 2001 and 2003. If elected, McGuire said he would resign his position with AFSCME to avoid any conflict of interest.

This is Catherine Emanuel's first bid for public office. She said newcomers and outsiders can have a unique appeal to voters. The health care consultant said she will bring a moderate business perspective to the city council.

"I haven't been involved in politics heavily," Emanuel said. "I see this as an opportunity for people like me who are moderate and not on one side of the extreme or other."

Paul Faraci with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said his job experience would bode well on the city council. Faraci was a Democratic Champaign County Board member from 2000 to 2002. His family has a long involvement in downtown business in Champaign.

"Between the three of us, I've had almost 50 years of experience," Faraci said. "That experience will place nicely in this."

Mayor Jerry Schweighart is expected to appoint an interim city council member to the district 5 seat by late next month.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

Ivory Coast: One Village Votes

The West African nation of Ivory Coast recently took a step towards democracy with a historic election, but with the sitting president disqualifying the results, Ivory Coast is now on the brink of Civil War. University of Illinois instructor Carol Spindel visited the Ivory Coast as the momentous vote took place.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

FBI Releases Files on NPR’s Daniel Schorr

The Nixon White House was so worried about Daniel Schorr's reporting that it ordered an investigation into the veteran network correspondent whose tough stories landed him on the president's infamous enemies list, according to newly released FBI files.

The administration had the bureau conduct a background investigation in 1971, according to one section from among hundreds of pages released Thursday from Schorr's FBI file.

The White House said it was considering Schorr for a public affairs job in the environmental area. A day later, the investigation was canceled but the White House still wanted to see anything the FBI had managed to discover about Schorr.

Schorr asked the FBI to discontinue the investigation.The long-time newsman later said he had never applied for such a position.

The 93-year-old Schorr died in July after a six-decade career with CBS, NPR and other news media outlets. He believed the White House had tried to intimidate him for his hard-hitting coverage of the administration.

The first reference to Schorr in FBI files dates from July 31, 1942, when FBI Director J Edgar Hoover asked the chief of the Special War Policies Unit for more information on Schorr's status as a "representative of a foreign principal'' in his employment with the Netherland Indies News Agency.

Eight years later, at the height of the post-war "Red Scare,'' Hoover told the CIA director that the bureau had looked over Schorr's background and had kept information on his travels to "Iron Curtain countries.''

The files mainly deal with the fallout from the FBI's investigation into Schorr and include dozens of newspaper articles and interviews with people who knew the famous reporter.

Some of the files document Schorr's attempts to pry information from the FBI about the investigation by filing a Freedom of Information Act request for information.

Categories: Biography, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

Unemployment Down in November in Illinois Metro Areas

Once again, unemployment is down from a year ago, in all 12 of Illinois' major metropolitan areas.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported that November was the third month in a row that unemployment has declined in all 12 metro areas from a year ago. It's the fourth month of such declines for the Champaign-Urbana and Danville areas, and the fifth consecutive month of declines for the Decatur area.

In Champaign-Urbana, the November unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.9 percent. In Danville the rate was 11 percent, down from 11.7 percent, and in Decatur, the rate was also 11 percent, down from 12.1 percent.

November unemployment ranged from 7.1 percent in the Bloomington-Normal area to a high of 13.7 percent percent in Rockford.

Figures for 18 east-central Illinois counties showed jobless numbers improved from a year ago in every county but Douglas. November unemployment for Douglas County was 9.2 percent, up from 9 percent percent a year ago.

While the unemployment rates are better than a year ago, the total numbers of non-farm jobs have gone down in Danville and Decatur, and are unchanged in Champaign-Urbana.

Statewide, only Rockford and the Illinois side of the Quad Cities showed an increase in non-farm jobs from November of last year. IDES spokesman Tom Austin says the unemployment rate and the survey of non-farm jobs are compiled separately and do not always correlate. He says that among the contributing factors are workers who find jobs outside of their county or metro area.

Illinois' statewide unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. That's just below the 9.3 percent national average.

(Additional reporting from the Associated Press)

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

Double Transplant Improves Quality of Life for Some Diabetics

Type 2 diabetes - the kind related to obesity and an unhealthy diet - gets a lot of attention these days. But there's another, less common, form of the disease - type 1 - that can also lead to life-threatening complications. Reporter Véronique LaCapra went behind the scenes at a St. Louis hospital, for the transplant operation that got one woman off dialysis, and made her diabetes-free.

(Photo by Véronique LaCapra)

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Categories: Health, Science

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 23, 2010

Election Board: Emanuel Can Run for Chicago Mayor

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor although he spent much of the last two years living in Washington while working for President Barack Obama, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled Thursday.

With the board's decision, Emanuel clears a major hurdle in his bid to replace retiring Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Officials have tried to expedite mayoral ballot challenges before the Feb. 22 vote, and the board's decision is almost sure to be challenged in the courts.

Earlier this month, an election board hearing officer presided over days of testimony from people who said Emanuel did not meet the city's residency requirement because he moved to Washington. Early Thursday, that officer recommended Emanuel's name be allowed on the ballot, saying evidence suggests that he had no intention of terminating his residency in Chicago, left the city only to work for Obama and often told friends he intended to live in D.C. for no more than two years.

"Illinois law expressly protects the residential status and electoral rights of Illinois residents who are called to serve the national government," hearing officer Joseph Morris , a Republican attorney in private practice in Chicago, wrote in his 35-page ruling.

Earlier Thursday, Emanuel said she he was encouraged by the officer's recommendation.

"Chicago voters should ultimately have the right to decide the election __ and to vote for me or against me," Emanuel said in a statement before the board made its ruling.

More than two dozen people challenged Emanuel's candidacy, contending he didn't meet a one-year residency requirement. Emanuel quit his job as Obama's top aide and moved back to Chicago in October after Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he wouldn't seek a seventh term.

Emanuel is part of a crowded field of more than a dozen candidates, including former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, former school board president Gery Chico, City Clerk Miguel del Valle and state Sen. James Meeks, the pastor of a South Side mega church.

Since returning to Chicago in October to run for mayor, Emanuel has enjoyed strong name recognition in the race and already has run several TV ads. A recent Chicago Tribune/WGN poll showed Emanuel as the only candidate in double digits with more than 30 percent support, although 30 percent remained undecided.

(Photo courtesy of United States House of Representatives)

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 22, 2010

Chad Hays Sworn Into Il. Legislature

Chad Hays was sworn in Wednesday afternoon as Illinois' newest state representative from the 104th House District.

Hays replaced Bill Black who held the seat for about a quarter of a century. Hays said he hopes his experience managing a city budget as a former mayor of Catlin will help the state overcome one of its biggest obstacles - paying its bills to businesses and organizations that are on the verge of bankruptcy.

"It's a very proud and humbling moment for me, and I look forward to serving," Hays said. "I really do consider it a privilege and an honor to hold, at least for a while, the people's seat."

Hays currently serves as vice-president of development for Provena United Samaritans Medical Center, and said he will step down from that post on Thursday, Dec. 30 to focus on his duties in the General Assembly.

Black's days in the state legislature may be over, but he is still hoping for another chance to serve in public office as a member of the Danville City Council.

"I like the fact that I'll be active," Black said. "Certainly being on the city council is much more of a part time job than a state legislator is, and I kind of look forward to that change."

Black's opponent in the April election is Ward 7 Alderman Ron Candido, who has served on the council for more than seven years. Black said he put his hat into the race after hearing rumors that Candido would not seek re-election. Candido said he is puzzled that Black's name will be on the ballot

"I think I'm more in touch with the local issues," Candido said. "He was going to run for mayor, and now he's not going to run for mayor. He was going to run for the House of Representatives, and then he's not going to run. I mean it's just back and forth. So, I really don't know where he's coming from.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 22, 2010

Whooping Cough Cases Up in Macon County, Statewide

There has been a sharp increase in the number of whooping cough cases in Illinois this year.

The majority of them are in and around Chicago, but Macon County's Health Department currently has five confirmed cases and four probable ones. Director of Nursing Debby Durbin said the greatest concern is that babies will contract pertussis from adults, who may not show as violent a cough as young people.

"Our concern is with Christmas coming and people having these coughs -with an adult, they may not be all that bad," Durbin said. "But then if they go around a new baby and transmit it, that's very, very dangerous."

Infants cannot receive a shot for the disease until they are two months old, and Brandon Meline with Champaign-Urbana's Public Health Department says lots of viruses will cause a cough, so pertussis is hard to detect in adults. He said some shots have been updated since 2005, so lots of adults likely have not received it.

"New pertussis vaccines that have been out on the market for several years now that are included in the tenanus that we typically get every ten years - there's a tetanus vaccine with the pertussis in it for adults to help prevent that transmission to the little ones," Meline said. "The majority of cases that you see in infants and kids are ususally passed on from a parent or a day care provider."

Meline said contracting whooping cough likely has more to do with many people staying indoors than the conditions outside, but he said the disease is passed on more easily in the winter. An Illinois public health spokeswoman said statewide, there have been 925 cases of pertussis in 2010, compared to about 650 last year. In California last year, 10 children died from the illness.

Outside Macon County, there are no reported cases currently in east central Illinois. Champaign County has had 11 cases this year, McLean County has had 11 cases, while Vermilion County has reported six of them.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 22, 2010

Noah Adams on NPR’s First Years…and Future Years

Noah Adams is among the anchors who have given "All Things Considered" its personality over its 40 year span on the air. Adams, who's now an NPR contributing correspondent, collaborated with several other NPR reporters to compile a book about the network's progression in time, a book called "This is NPR: The First 40 Years." He told Illinois Public Media's Tom Rogers that even though public radio is strong now, it began as an afterthought.

(Photo courtesy of Random House)

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WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 22, 2010

Hulten Unanimously Appointed Next Champaign County Clerk

Gordy Hulten is officially in place to succeed Mark Shelden to the office of Champaign County Clerk.

The County Board Tuesday unanimously approved the Republican's appointment in a brief 30-minute meeting. It comes eight days after County GOP Precinct Committee-men chose him for the job. Shelden is leaving the clerk's office to work for Congressman Tim Johnson (R-Urbana). Hulten will start the new job January 5th, and will step down from the Champaign City Council the night before.

The Champaign County Board heard briefly Tuesday from State's Attorney Julia Reitz, who said state statues did not require the appointment of a temporary County Clerk before naming a permanent one. Hulten said he is glad to be taking the job free of those concerns.

"Everybody wanted to make sure that everything that we did tonight was both the most efficient way to do things, so that services provided to county taxpayers wouldn't be jeopardized in any way, and also make sure that everything was done in a legally appropriate way, so there was never any question that that was done." said Hulten, who noted that he is quickly getting acquainted with the clerk's office. "I've spent probably 8 or 10 hours total in the office since the Republican Party voted last week, so Mark (Shelden) is helping me get up to speed as soon as possible."

Hulten also plans to leave his sales and marketing job with MSA Professional Services on January 4. He will oversee his first primary in February, when recent Urbana City Council appointee Eric Jakobsson faces a challenge from Brian Dolinar in Ward 2. Hulten said working with three precincts will help him get his feet wet in the new job.

A longtime blogger, Hulten oversaw the websites Illini Pundit and Champaign Pundit. Shelden has maintained a blog as well from the County Clerk's office, but Hulten said he has a lot to learn before he can generate a blog in his new job.

Categories: Government, Politics

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