Many people in the Champaign-Urbana area had a soft spot for Pages for All Ages, a bookstore that welcomed local readers for more than 20 years to its single store, first in Champaign, then in Savoy. Pages abruptly closed its doors for good this week, citing the economy. It's not been an easy go for independent book retailers over the last few years, especially as Amazon and other Internet outlets joined Borders and Barnes and Noble as major competitors. The director of the American Booksellers Association, Avin Mark Donmitz, says Pages fell by the wayside as the group's other members are preparing for a difficult immediate future. He spoke to AM 580's Tom Rogers.
Illinois Public Media News
Chancellor Richard Herman presided at a town hall meeting Thursday (Jan. 22) about the campus and university budget. The event was open to the campus community, and was broadcast live on WILL-AM. Among the topics Herman, Provost Linda Katehi and others discussed the state of the current budget and plans for meeting budget challenges. A lively discussion followed the formal presentation, with many in the audience asking questions and commenting on the information presented.
The president of the University of Illinois sent out an email to faculty, staff and students Wednesday, discussing the financial problems facing the university during the current recession. The economic downtown has already caused the U of I to postpone plans to either renovate of replace the 46-year old Assembly Hall on the Urbana campus. In a conversation with Jim Meadows, B. Joseph White said he hopes to avoid layoffs and unpaid furloughs --- but won't rule them out.
Most polling places in Champaign County already had voters lined up at 6 am, eager to be among the first voters in what would become a watershed election. That zeal continued through the day, and when all the votes were counted, the county and region posted near record turnout. AM 580's Tom Rogers recaps a hectic day that ended in history being made.
If you're a Champaign County resident who fears rising tax bills during a shaky economy, the resuults from the general elections are good -- all four tax hike questions on the ballot were defeated. Townships, school districts and the county forest preserve district sought the tax increases. But in every case, the answer from voters was no. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Republicans have been hurt by the Bush administration's low approval ratings. Some members of Congress from traditionally conservative districts are having more trouble fending off Democratic challengers. But local incumbent Tim Johnson of the 15th district could be one of the safest Republicans up for re-election. AM-580 intern Whitney Wyckoff has more.
Here's another indicator of an unusual election year: the tightest legislative election in eastern Illinois involves not an open seat nor a vulnerable rookie lawmaker -- but one of the state's most senior legislators. 22 years in the statehouse have brought Bill Black of Danville a high profile and a devoted following. But as AM 580's Tom Rogers reports, an unusual chain of events has led to a battle with first-term Vermilion County board member Lori DeYoung.
Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz says a change in philosophy has allowed some of those who go through the justice system to take responsibility for what they've done, recover and get on with their lives. But challenger Janie Miller-Jones disagrees with that assessment and says the office needs to do more to prevent crime to begin with. AM 580's Jeff Bossert previews the race for State's Attorney.
The two candidates for Champaign County Auditor say county finances are on shaky ground, and the global economic crisis may make matters worse. Each candidate says they're the best choice to keep an eye on those finances for the next four years. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
State Representative Naomi Jakobsson has held her seat in the Illinois legislature since a redrawing of district lines made for more Democrat-friendly boundaries in 2003. Her challengers since then have included a former county coard member and two engineers. This year, she's opposed by a University of Illinois student who believes a youthful perspective will help bring about an end to political infighting in Springfield. AM 580's Jeff Bossert previews this year's race for the 103rd House district.