Illinois Public Media News
The cities of Champaign and Urbana both declared that their sidewalk snow and ice removal requirements are in effect, as of Friday afternoon.
Both cities have ordinances in place allowing city officials to require that property owners in designated areas clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within a certain amount of time, following a snowfall of two inches or more.
In Champaign, owners of property in the Downtown and Campustown areas have 48 hours to clear their walks. That means walks must be cleared by Sunday, January 15th at noon. However, the city says they will not start enforcing the requirement until Tuesday, January 17th.
Urbana is exercising its sidewalk snow and ice removal requirement for the first time. Property owners in Downtown Urbana, the University district and the South Philo Road area have 24 hours --- or until 2 PM, Saturday, January 14th, to clear their sidewalks.
In both cities, sidewalks that are not cleared in time may be cleared by the city at the owner's expense.
Here is a statement released by the University of Illinois about the investigation into a series of anonymous e-mails sent to the University's Senates Conference
An investigation was completed by outside experts for the University of Illinois into a pair of anonymous emails sent to members of the University's academic senates conference, in connection with an enrollment management initiative. Conducted by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps, the investigation concluded there was no evidence of "hacking" or vulnerabilities in the network and concluded that the emails were drafted on and sent from the laptop of the former chief of staff to the president, and that the laptop was in her possession at the time the emails were created and sent.
The two anonymous emails were sent on December 12 and an inquiry was launched later that day to ascertain the source and whether the University's information technology security was compromised. That inquiry was led by the University IT department. The incident was later reported to the University Ethics Office, which consulted with the IT department and assumed control of the investigation, assisted by the University's chief legal counsel. On December 22, the president approved the use of outside experts to assist in the investigation. External legal counsel Jones Day was retained, who engaged forensic data analyst Duff & Phelps to conduct an independent forensic analysis.
In a final report released today, which was based on a comprehensive forensic examination of emails and computers, and interviews with relevant personnel, the investigative team drew the following conclusions:
- The emails were composed and sent from the University laptop computer of Lisa Troyer. Examination of browser activity, firewall logs, email headers and email fragments found on the Troyer laptop all support this conclusion. Troyer resigned her administrative post as chief of staff to President Michael J. Hogan effective immediately on Jan. 4.
- The investigative record does not support a conclusion that any other person, including Hogan, knew that Troyer intended to send or had sent the anonymous emails.
- Troyer's laptop computer was not improperly accessed and was in her possession at the time the anonymous emails were sent. There is no evidence of hacking or vulnerabilities in the University network. Hogan thanked the investigative team for its comprehensive and expeditious work in a four-week period that included the year-end holiday season, and expressed his disappointment in the events.
"The investigative team has made a thorough examination of the facts on which to base its conclusions. This was a disappointing event, and we have taken the necessary steps to address it," Hogan said.
On December 12, 2011, two anonymous emails were sent to 20 members of the University of Illinois Senates Conference (USC). Both emails were identified in the text as having been written by an unnamed senator, and the address from which the emails were sent, firstname.lastname@example.org, did not identify a specific individual as the sender. One of the recipients noticed embedded data in the email indicated that it was created on a computer with the user account of "troyer." This was quickly brought to the attention of the University IT department, the University ethics department, and the subsequent investigation ensued.
Investigators reviewed more than 3,500 emails from Troyer's University email account from the month of December, and additional emails from the fall, which contained key search words. Troyer voluntarily supplied access to her personal gmail account and records of calls to and from her cell phone. Troyer, President Hogan and others were interviewed, and Duff & Phelps performed a rigorous forensic analysis of the hard drive of Troyer's laptop, examining Internet activity, browser history records and deleted material. They were able to verify that "the system's firewall was functioning normally" ... and the "activity found on the network security systems was consistent with activity found on the Troyer laptop."
U of I Board of Trustees Chair Christopher G. Kennedy said that the "misguided attempt by one individual to sway opinion" must not distract the University community from important work around the enrollment management initiative.
"This is an unfortunate incident and a personal, ethical lapse which the President moved swiftly to investigate," said Kennedy. "There is no relationship between this incident and good work being done on key initiatives, like the enrollment management plan, which is the result of months of research, hard work and consultation with faculty groups and others. The Board and the administration have made great progress toward improving this essential function, addressing concerns as they have been expressed. This important work will continue, unhindered."
Troyer served as the President's chief of staff since July 2010. Troyer also holds an appointment as a tenured professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Urbana campus and plans to transition to back to teaching and research.
An investigation by the University of Illinois finds that Lisa Troyer was responsible for sending a series of anoymous e-mails to the Senates Conference. Troyer had resigned as the chief of staff to University President Michael Hogan. Here is her e-mail statement in which she says she "did not write or send the e-mails under question."
Dear Members of the Press,
In recent days, you've written or called to request a statement from me regarding my resignation. I did not respond, as it is against University policy to make public statements while an investigation is underway. Now that the investigation is complete, I offer a statement, which follows my sign off, below.
Lisa Troyer ======================
I recognize that some may have wondered about my silence since my resignation was announced. I think it's important to recognize that the University's policy is not to comment while an investigation is underway, a policy that I believe is important to honor, which is why I declined to respond to earlier requests for comment.
First, let me thank my many colleagues, friends, and family members for their outpouring of support and kindness in the last few weeks, as well as their recognition that I would not engage in the kinds of acts that have been attributed to me.
I did not write or send the e-mails under question.
I asked the University Executive CIO to investigate this matter within minutes of learning that an anonymous e-mail to the University Senates Conference listserv was being attributed to me and, in fact, I was the one who first instigated the investigation. I followed all directions given to me by the University information technology staff and others involved in the investigation at all times.
While University information technology staff worked on this, I also alerted the University Ethics Officer and initiated an inquiry.
As the investigation continued, I recognized that without and until there is an explanation of the source of this situation, I cannot effectively fulfill my duties as Chief-of-Staff in the Office of the President and, for this reason, offered my resignation on 1/3/2011.
In addition to initiating the investigation myself, I have cooperated fully, answering all questions honestly, providing all information requested, and respecting the integrity and confidentiality of the investigation by withholding comment while it was underway.
I'm grateful for the efforts that many undertook during the investigation, including those of the external consultants that the President had the foresight to engage. While the investigation didn't reveal the source of the e-mails or how they were sent, it also wasn't able to exonerate me. That's disappointing because I recognize that I cannot resume my position as an effective chief-of-staff in the absence of such an outcome.
Again, I had nothing to do with these e-mails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday afternoon on a Champaign man whose body was found on a west side street.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Nortrup says 50-year old Allen Verchota was discovered in the 2300 block of Briar Hill Drive about 1:30 a.m.
Verchota was attorney with an office in Champaign, but hadn't practiced law recently. Nortrup says he showed no signs of trauma, and Verchota was wearing a couple of jackets and workout pants.
County Sheriff's Lieutenant Ed Ogle says it's possible the man had been drinking, since beer purchased at the nearby Walgreen's was found nearby.
The Indiana House speaker says he'll allow a vote on whether to send a contentious right-to-work bill to a statewide referendum.
Republican Speaker Brian Bosma said Friday he believes legislators should decide the issue but won't use parliamentary tactics to block consideration of Democrats' proposal for a statewide vote in November.
Such referendums have rarely, if ever, been held in Indiana on proposed laws, but House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer says Indiana voters should decide the issue.
The House is expected to debate amendments to the bill on Tuesday, and Bauer had said Democrats might resume their boycott if their bid for a vote on holding referendum was blocked.
The Republican-backed bill would make Indiana the 23rd state to ban union contracts that include mandatory representation fees.
The former Republican nominee for Illinois governor is giving up the legislative perk of handing out college scholarships.
Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington joins dozens of lawmakers who have ended the decades-old practice. Brady says the state's fiscal situation and the General Assembly's failure to reform the program triggered his decision.
The (Decatur) Herald-Review reported Friday that the decision came just a week after Brady's office sent out notices seeking applicants.
State officials say at least 78 of the Legislature's 177 members have quit the program, which has been criticized for more than a decade because some have used it to reward campaign contributors.
Brady lost the 2010 race for governor to Democrat Pat Quinn.
(With additional reporting from the Associated Press)
The state's top Republican legislative leaders say Illinois' income tax hike hasn't been a solution to the state's fiscal problems, and they're pushing for an immediate repeal.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last year that raised the personal tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent for four years, which is a 67 percent increase. Corporate taxes also went up.
The goal was to help bring Illinois out of its deepest budget hole in history.
A report by the Illinois Policy Institute claims the increase made Illinois less competitive for business and had other negative impacts.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Tom Cross want an immediate repeal and support legislation filed last year.
Cross said the state needs to look at steeper budgetary cuts, pension reform, and salary freezes for union workers.
"If you're an Illinois taxpayer, you ought to resent this, and you ought to be angry about this," he said. "You ought to say, 'Why didn't you do the things you know needed to be done, and we could have avoided going down this road?'"
Democratic State Representative Naomi Jakobsson of Urbana said the tax hike was the right thing for the state.
"We knew that it wasn't going to magically solve all of the problems overnight," she said. "But at the same time it set the tone for working on the budget the way we did last year, and I anticipate the way we will again this year."
Quinn's office disputes the GOP leaders and think tank's claims. A spokeswoman said the increase brought in $7 billion last year.
Airlines have canceled more than 425 flights at Chicago airports as a snow storm sweeps across the region.
The Chicago Department of Aviation says more than 325 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and delays to and from the East Coast averaged 20 minutes. Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of Midway International Airport, totaling more than 100 flights or 25 percent of the airport's flights.
The National Weather Service in northern Illinois predicts 6 to 8 inches of snow in Chicago and Joliet and 4 to 6 inches in Rockford, Dixon, LaSalle and Pontiac. Between 2 and 5 inches of snow are forecast in central Illinois.
Ice and snow covered roads were reported around Freeport, the Quad Cities, Bloomington and Jacksonville.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) wants to know why so many suspects charged with murder and other serious crimes are simply being allowed to live their lives after they flee the country.
The Illinois Democrat is scheduled to meet Thursday with federal, state and local law enforcement officials in hopes of coming up with a plan to capture international fugitives who've committed crimes in the state.
Durbin has urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to do something after a newspaper reported that scores of fugitives remain free even though, in many cases, authorities know exactly where they are.
The Chicago Tribune found a lack of coordination between local, federal and international agencies to capture suspects, some of whom the paper's reporters found living openly in their hometowns in Mexico.
An Indiana legislator is broadening her proposal for a state law on how the national anthem should be performed.
The proposal from Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville would require any performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner'' in any public place be in its entirety and without embellishment. She had earlier proposed a bill for the state education department to set standards for singing and playing of the national anthem at public schools.
Becker told a state Senate committee Wednesday that she believes such a law might not be very enforceable but would send an important signal about the respect the national anthem deserves.
She says the bill isn't aimed at off-key singers. It sets a possible $25 fine. The committee won't vote on the bill until at least next week.
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