CU-CitizenAccess.org celebrates Sunshine Week all year, every year

From restaurant inspections and complaints about Housing Authority complexes to every arrest in Champaign-Urbana and tax incentive agreements, CU-CitizenAccess has provided much-needed transparency to a number of issues involving East Central Illinois in the past few years.

Delays at proposed Tuscola fertilizer plant put tax breaks at risk

Cronus Chemicals will start losing part of its nearly $40 million in state tax incentives if its proposed $1.9 billion ammonia fertilizer plant in Tuscola is not operating by July 2, according to tax credit agreements.

A review of company filings with the state of Illinois shows the project must be “in service” within 24 months of July 2, 2015. According to the documents, “in service” means “the state or condition of readiness and availability for specifically assigned functions.”

And if the plant is not complete and operating within five years of July 2, 2015, the company will lose out on all $40 million of its tax incentives from the Illinois Department of Commerce, said department spokeswoman Jacquelyn Reineke.

Champaign potholes still costly to city, drivers

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, the city’s public works department responded to 329 pothole service requests from residents — a slight decrease from the 397 service requests in the previous fiscal year.

Popular items mean long waits for Champaign-Urbana library patrons

“I think our patrons are pretty used to how the system works,” said Kelly Strom, collection manager at the Champaign Public Library. “If they don’t want to wait on a holds list, then they can get a rental book if it’s available for that particular title. Otherwise, they seem to go pretty quickly because we buy so many copies.”

Central Illinois already seeing effects of climate change

“We’re actually at the warmest part for the historical record for Illinois,” said State Climatologist Jim Angel, speaking to a crowd of about 60 at the Champaign Public Library on Tuesday. “This is a different climate for what our parents, grandparents or great grandparents would’ve experienced in Illinois.”