Terrell Starr's summer in the republic of Georgia has ended earlier than he had expected. Fighting between Georgia and Russia has prompted the University of Illinois graduate student - and former AM 580 news intern - to leave Georgia for neighboring Armenia, along with hundreds of other Americans who evacuated on Monday. Starr talked with AM 580's Tom Rogers about his experiences over the past week.
Illinois Public Media News
In small towns across the country, many people have decided that a cheaper way to get around is to leave the car in the garage and pile into the golf cart. Golf carts and other small slow-speed vehicles are becoming more appealing to people living in areas where traffic is low, but gas prices are high. In Illinois, several small towns are allowing golf carts on their streets --- while others are holding back. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
It only took a year, but what could have been an empty and decaying complex in Urbana is now a training ground for homeland security teams. A couple of days in advance of the official opening, AM 580's Tom Rogers got an advance tour of the building that was once the Champaign County Nursing Home with the head of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, Jim Page (left).
It's been 20 years since the federal government announced that Chanute Air Force Base would be closing its doors. That cost over a thousand jobs and decimated Rantoul's population, but the effort to redevelop the land has produced a number of success stories. Katy Podagrosi served as Rantoul's mayor through much of that time. This week, the village's leader for more than 12 years -- and resident for nearly 50 -- is leaving the community. She spoke with AM 580's Jeff Bossert (click below for the full interview)
The head of a St. Louis-based consulting firm hired to manage the Champaign County Nursing Home says there will be no quick turnaround for the facility. But Management Performance Associates President Michael Scavotto also says the home is also getting a bit of a bad rap due to a massive debt... empty beds... and an uneven number of Medicaid and Medicare residents. Scavatto just completed his first visit to the Nursing Home, getting a first-hand look at the facility and meeting with staff. AM 580's Jeff Bossert spoke with him.
One of Illinois' smallest hospitals wants to expand and offer new services over the next few years. But the chief executive officer of John and Mary Kirby Hospital in Monticello says to do that, they'll need a brand new hospital at a brand new location. AM 580's Tom Rogers talked to him.
The Mortgage Bankers Association says of all the homes in the country, nearly 2 1/2 percent of them are in foreclosure. Illinois's foreclosure rate is even higher --- the 7th highest in the nation. Home foreclosures also appear to be on the rise in the Champaign-Urbana area. But as AM 580's Jim Meadows reports, it may not have reached the crisis level ... yet.
The Champaign County Board is discussing recommendations from a consultant for improving finances at the Champaign County Nursing Home. County officials say they understand that they have to act quickly and decisively to fix the nursing home's precarious finances. But even with those changes, many are saying that more tax money will be needed to balance the books. AM 580's Jim Meadows reports.
This week, the dream of Doug and Linda Mills is being realized. The Carle Foundation Hospital campus is expanding, with a new 50-million dollar building housing both the Mills Breast Cancer Institute and Carle Cancer Center. AM 580's Jeff Bossert went on a tour of the facility that will soon be seeing patients -- and talked with some of those responsible for starting it.
The number of casualties keeps rising from the earthquake in China's Sichuan province. The devastation is also felt in Champaign-Urbana. Many Chinese residents here have been checking up on family and friends back home to make sure they're alright. AM 580's Michael Koliska talked with four of them -- and he reports that for at least one, the news has been tragic.