Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

UI Deputy Chief Christensen to Serve as Interim Chief

When University of Illinois Police Chief Barbara O'Connor leaves her job in Urbana next month, someone familiar with the interim title will take over.

Deputy Police Chief and Assistant Director of Public Safety Jeff Christensen was interim chief from 2007 to 2009. He's not expected to serve more than a few months at the top job this time, but Christensen says that doesn't mean the department will rest on its laurels.

"We'll continue to aggessively follow the programs we've been looking at as well as the initiatives," he said. "We're going to be afraid to implement any new initiatives, too. Being in this role before, you need to keep moving forward. Maybe there is some treading water being the interim, but we've got group of people and great support from the campus and community. We'll continue to march forward."

For example, Christensen says there are plans in place to expand the number of outdoor security cameras. He's been with the department since 1985. O'Connor announced last month that she was returning near her roots. She leaves next month to become the next police chief at the University of Connecticut.

Christensen will serve as acting director until March 3rd, when he will become interim director with O'Connor's official departure.

U of I Associate Chancellor Mike DeLorenzo says the search for a new permanent chief and public safety director will be led by a consulting group, and should be completed by this spring.

Categories: Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Illinois Upsets No. 5 Ohio State; 43 Points for Paul

Brandon Paul scored a career-high 43 points including, a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play, to help Illinois upset No. 5 Ohio State 79-74 on Tuesday night.

The Illini (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) led 71-70 when Paul sank his 3-pointer with 43 seconds to play. He followed that up with four free throws that put the game out of reach.

Ohio State (15-3, 3-2) led 39-34 at halftime and was up 64-61 with just over five minutes to play.

Paul's 43 points was the third-highest scoring performance in Illini history. Meyers Leonard added 14 for Illinois.

Deshaun Thomas scored 23 points and Jared Sullinger added 21 for Ohio State.

Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Drugmaker Plans 234 Terre Haute Jobs by 2016

A California-based pharmaceutical company says it expects to hire 234 people by 2016 at a new operation on the site of a former Pfizer Inc. drug plant near Terre Haute.

The Terre Haute Tribune-Star and WTHI-TV report officials with California-based NantWorks LLC told the Vigo County Department of Redevelopment on Tuesday that they plan to invest $120 million at the site in a southern Vigo County industrial park.

Pfizer employed more than 800 workers there before shuttering its operations in 2008.

NantWorks officials say they expect the new plant to begin production of various drugs by 2015. It says the scientists, chemists and engineers employed by the plant will earn an average annual salary of about $51,000.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

President Obama Touches Down in Chicago to Raise Cash

President Barack Obama flies into Chicago Wednesday for a quick fundraising trip. He's relied often on his hometown for financial support as the 2012 election ramps up.

The president last raised money in Chicago in August, and before then in April. One of Obama's former chiefs of staff is Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who on Tuesday said re-election fundraising will be a 'national' responsibility.

"I know this - the president can rely on his friends and deep supporters in the city of Chicago to play its role in that effort," Emanuel said.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama will attend a large low-dollar fundraiser at the UIC Forum on Chicago's Near West Side. He will then hit two high-price fundraisers, with ticket prices topping out at $35,800 per couple.

A statement from the head of Illinois' Republican Party, Pat Brady, accused the president of using Chicago as a "piggybank for his reelect" at a time when out-of-work "Americans struggle.

Categories: Biography, Government, Politics


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Investigation Continues into Anonymous U of I Messages

University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy says it could be a matter of days before the U of I finishes investigating a series of anonymous emails sent to a faculty advisory group about an enrollment management plan.

Those messages have been traced back to the computer of Lisa Troyer, who stepped down last week as university President Michael Hogan's chief of staff. Hardy said the investigation has looked at whether hacking was involved.

"I don't know that there's been evidence that would confirm that there had been some kind of hacking or breech of IT security," Hardy said.

Hardy said findings from the investigation will be shared with the U of I's Board of Trustees.

Board Member Karen Hasara urges everyone to remain patient as they wait on the results of the review, which she hopes will released by time the Trustees meet in Chicago next week.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Former Urbana Mayor Hiram Paley Dies

Friends of Hiram Paley are remembering the former Urbana mayor and U of I mathematics professor as a champion of progressive causes. Paley died Monday in Urbana at the age of 78.

Paley, served as Urbana mayor for one term, from 1973 to '77, after serving two terms as alderman. Among the supporters working on his campaign was Urbana's current mayor, Laurel Prussing. Paley would later endorse Prussing in her bid for mayor in 2005. Prussing says one of Paley's accomplishments as mayor was passage of a pioneering ordinance restricting smoking in restaurants.

"Urbana had an ordinance where there had to be a non-smoking section in a restaurant," Prussing said. "Now, the whole state is non-smoking in restaurants. So it's interesting to see how Urbana so often took the lead on a number of issues."

Former Urbana alderwoman Esther Patt credits Paley for helping to pass a wide-ranging anti-discrimination ordinance in Urbana at a time when it was rare for cities to have such things.

Cliff Singer, an Urbana alderman in the 1990s, said he was a teen-age math major when he first met Paley, who supervised him in an individual study program. He said Paley's participation in the program was an example of his willingness to take on extra work to help his students. Singer, who served on the Urbana City Council in the 1990s, said Paley converted the city's financial system over to modern financial practices. When he joined the council, Singer said he helped pass a fiscal policy resolution which further formalized such practices.

"But (Paley) was the one who laid the foundation for Urbana surviving various economic ups and downs much better than many other cities of its size," Singer said.

Paley remained active in local Democratic politics after leaving city government, and was also active in various progressive causes, including the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-choice issues. Patt said one of her fondest memories was Paley was his willingness to criticize the pro-life views of Olney Democrat Terry Bruce, an area congressman from 1985 to '93.

"That was a very important issue to Hiram, and he was not going to give anyone a pass just because they were a Democrat," Patt said.

Paley, a native of Rochester, New York, is survived by his wife Jean, a sister, three children and four grandchildren. Paley's daughter, Nina Paley, is a cartoonist and animator known for her feature film "Sita Sings the Blues."

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home in Champaign, which is handling arrangements for Hiram Paley said a funeral service are expected to be scheduled later this year.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Illinois Gets $7.7 Million in Federal Storm Repair Aid

Illinois is getting more than $7.7 million to help cover the costs of repairing roads and bridges damaged by last year's flooding and windstorms.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin announced Monday that the money will be coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation's emergency-relief funds.

The Illinois Department of Transportation will dole out more than $4.7 million to help northwest Illinois communities affected last July by strong wind and rains that totaled more than 12 inches. That's meant to defray costs of repairing drainage and roadway washouts, in addition to slope failures.

Southern Illinois communities affected by widespread heavy rain and flooding last spring largely along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers will get roughly $3 million.

(AP Photo/Jim Suhr)


AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Indiana House Panel Advances Right-to-Work Bill

A panel of Indiana lawmakers used a window of opportunity Tuesday after Democrats ended a three-day boycott to send divisive right-to-work legislation to the full House of Representatives.

The committee voted 8-5 along party lines to advance a ban on contracts that require workers to pay union fees for representation. Republican Chairman Douglas Gutwein and Democratic Rep. David Niezgodski periodically shouted each other down as Democrats attempted to introduce a handful changes to the bill. Other Republicans on the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee remained largely quiet through the testy voting session.

Indiana could become the first state in more than a decade to approve right-to-work legislation. National advocates have tried without success to push the measure in New Hampshire and other states following a wave of Statehouse victories by Republicans in 2010.

The right-to-work measure is the first bill to be voted on by a House panel this session and could advance to the Senate as early as Friday if Democrats stick around long enough. The boycott by House Democrats last week stalled work on the measure. And Democratic House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer said when his caucus returned to the House chamber Monday that they may boycott again to block the bill.

Union protesters who packed the House chamber for the vote booed at Republicans and cheered for Democrats.

Gutwein said Tuesday that a batch of Democratic amendments to the bill were drafted too late to be considered during the voting session.

"What are you afraid of?" asked Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka. "You have plenty of votes to pass this bill."

Gutwein countered Democrats, saying that opponents had plenty of time to speak out last week during a five-hour hearing on the measure.

"They're ruled out of order and that's it," he said of the amendments.

Categories: Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 10, 2012

Planned Immigrant Detention Center Roils Chicago Suburb

Opposition to an immigrant detention center planned for the Chicago south suburb of Crete appears to be growing. About 150 area residents overflowed a Crete Township Hall meeting room Monday night to hear from critics of the project.

In recent days, meanwhile, both candidates in a tough Democratic primary battle for the area's U.S. House seat have come out against the plan.

Immigrant advocates who led the meeting said federal officials are planning a medium-security facility holding foreign nationals awaiting deportation. The speakers voiced concern about the detainees' human rights.

Crete residents raised their own issues. "We don't have a fire department or police department here that can service that," retiree Robert Hughes said after the meeting. "And If I ever go to sell my house again, who's going to want to buy my house? I'll be living three blocks away from the prison."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last summer that the agency had "tentatively selected" Crete for the facility, which would be run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. ICE on Monday sent a statement that says the village, the federal government and CCA are still working on details. "If and when a formal selection occurs, the appropriate notifications will be made," the statement says.

Hughes and other Crete residents accused the village of trying to keep the plan a secret.

Village Administrator Tom Durkin said Crete officials learned about the 750-bed project from CCA in November 2010. He said the village board would hold a hearing before approving the plan: "It's premature to bring anything to the public yet because, at this point, it's an idea. It's not a real project at this point."

Durkin said the center would be built on farmland just southeast of Burville Road and Main Street, an intersection less than a mile from Crete Village Hall. He said the facility would generate "tens of millions of dollars in property taxes" each year and create more than 150 jobs.

The Democratic primary candidates include Debbie Halvorson, a Crete resident and former U.S. representative who announced her position on the detention center after Monday night's meeting.

"The fact that it's being privately built and managed is one of the problems," Halvorson said. "We've got 12 million people here illegally, they're not going away, and we can't keep building more detention centers."

Halvorson's stand followed a Friday statement from the incumbent, Jesse Jackson, Jr. "I don't want the south suburbs to become famous for prisons and for breaking up families," the statement says.

Categories: Government, Politics
Tags: government

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