Johnathan Hettinger/For CU-CitizenAccess.org –The only domestic violence shelter in Champaign-Urbana has had to turn away hundreds of women and children because it does not have enough room, and the problem is only getting worse, according to shelter statistics. Isak Griffiths, the executive director of the shelter, Courage Connection, said the organization currently does not have the resources to expand its services. But the organization is beginning a strategic planning process to help determine the best way to grow its services, Griffiths said. In fiscal year 2013, the organization received $1,368,912 in government grants and $634,130 in other contributions, gifts and grants, but it was not enough. Where to get help
Domestic Violence Hotline: (217) 384-4390
Toll free: (877) 384-4390
The shelter is routinely near, at or over capacity, said its former director of programs, Katie Sissors Harmon last month.
Rebecca Jacobs/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — When it comes to fires involving buildings in the twin cities, there are six hot spots. Three of them are in Champaign and three in Urbana. The hot spots are areas where fires have frequently occurred. They were identified through an analysis by CU-CitizenAccess.org of fire data from Jan. 2009 to Aug.
Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Cockroaches, rodent droppings and flies were among dozens of violations that prompted health inspectors to fail four restaurants and shut down three last month. A health inspector found “numerous flies,” rodent droppings and a live cockroach in the dry storage area of Mandarin Wok at 403 1/2 E. Green St. in Champaign during its Oct. 22 inspection. The restaurant received an adjusted score of 29 out of 100 and a yellow “reinspection required” placard.
By Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Thousands of agriculture groups and independent farmers – including many from Champaign and other central-Illinois counties – are using a public comment window to express concern over federally proposed water regulation. The proposed Waters of the U.S. rule is a joint-proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The rule aims to clarify which bodies of water the two federal agencies can lawfully regulate. The agriculture industry has largely opposed the rule, as farmers argue it will impede on their operations through unnecessary and unclear regulation. “It’s very concerning,” said Lin Warfel, a corn and soybean farmer from just outside Tolono.
Sarah Soenke/For CU-CitizenAccess.org— Champaign County small business development is still struggling under setbacks from the Great Recession and have not returned to pre-recession conditions, said a county economic development official. Small business start-ups are still often unprepared for the amount of owner investment required by local commercial banks, said Kathy Larson, economic development specialist for the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission. “In general, our clients have been struggling due to the lingering effects of the recession,” Larson said. “They are finding it more difficult to find the amount of financial support they would like.”
Lending regulations have changed to enforce higher criteria levels and a 20 percent to 25 percent down payment from business owners. But the lack of small business growth in the county can also be attributed to fewer applications for loans.
By Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org — There were 10 university housing fires last year, most of which were caused by cooking gone wrong. One housing fire, however, was intentionally ignited. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Campus Code Compliance and Fire Safety division detailed the fires in its Annual Fire Safety Report for 2013, which it released at the end of September. The University is required to update the public on campus security and fire safety each year under federal regulations and the Jeanne Clery Act. Mapping Fires on Campus
Click to see an interactive map showing where the most fires occur around the campus.