Illinois Public Media News
For the sellout crowd at the Assembly Hall in Champaign February 21, the big highlight wasn't Illinois' victory over Michigan, but the last appearance of Chief Illiniwek. The Chief has plenty of critics -- but at the game, supporters showed how much they loved him. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
A Decision on Chief Illiniwek
The chair of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has retired the tradition of Chief Illiniwek. The last halftime dance for the Chief will be Wednesday, February 21st, during the final men's basketball home game of the season. Larry Eppley says he is a fan of the Chief, but his decision was in the university's best interest. AM 580's Jim Meadows talked to him, along with Ted Land from the student-run television channel UI-7.
There were plenty of questions but not many answers for parents in a meeting at Urbana's Thomas Paine Elementary School. District 116 officials held the meeting to hear parents' concerns following the arrest last week of a teacher on charges he sexually assaulted children at the school. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
The Super Bowl not only marked the first time the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears met up in football's championship game, but the closest-ever proximity between two rival cities. That resulted in somewhat of a dilemma for fans right in the middle. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports from Indiana, along I-65 -- halfway between two spheres of influence.
A forum on racial and ethnic tensions on the University of Illinois campus brought together top university officials and a student group. The event was entitled "Racism, Power and Privilege on the UIUC Campus." The student group confronted the administration in the wake of a fraternity/sorority party last fall, in which students dressed as offensive Mexican stereotypes. But the "tacos and tequila" party was just part of the discussion. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
Champaign now joins Urbana in banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Bar owners and customers have been the most vocal opponents of the ban. AM 580's Jim Meadows talked to people at a Champaign bar as they enjoyed their last legal evening of smoking while drinking.
Thousands of books from around the world never make it into American living rooms or even libraries just because they are not in English. But the non-profit Dalkey Archive Press wants Americans to read these books. For more than two decades the Press has found overlooked literary treasures from all over the planet and translated them. Recently the Press moved from Normal, Illinois, to Champaign to establish a unique literary translation program with the U of I. AM 580's Michael Koliska talked to Dalkey Press founder John O'Brien (left). He says less and less foreign literature gets published in the US, but these books are important to learn about the world.
A University of Illinois economics professor says the winner of presidential elections in Ecuador fits the trend toward the left in Latin America. Werner Baer was Rafael Correa's advisor when the 43-year old former finance minister (at left) gained his doctorate from the U of I in 2001. Baer spoke with AM 580's Tom Rogers - he stresses that Correa is not necessarily in the mold of the most well-known of those new leaders, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Society is still trying to figure out what place the Internet has in our political life. In eastern Illinois, candidates and political watchers are taking to weblogs, either to get their messages out or to hear what like-minded or opposite-minded people have to say. But is the buzz from blogs percolating out into the general public? And do they add to the political discourse or lower it? AM 580's Tom Rogers takes a look.
A recent newspaper report said the University of Illinois had made tentative plans to transfer ownership of the Chief Illiniwek symbol to a group of alumni who had portrayed the Chief. All sides deny that any agreement is in place but confirm that "informal" talks have occurred. The former student quoted in the report, Steve Raquel, remains hopeful that Chief supporters and opponents alike can find a way to see beyond their differences. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with him.
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