Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — The Champaign County Board is continuing its opposition to the mandatory posting of health inspection placards for county food establishments outside the cities of Urbana and Champaign.
The most recent vote against mandatory posting was by a much greater margin this week, with 14 members opposing and 5 supporting.
Clumps of hair at the bottom of coffee cups and green slime leaking out of meat sandwiches were among the more extreme examples of complaints filed by customers and restaurant employees against food establishments this year.
Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Raw sewage in the kitchen preparation area closed down the Aroma Curry House in Champaign in August for two days. Health inspectors also shut down Mirabelle Fine Pastries in Urbana in August and closed Golden Harbor restaurant in September because of critical violations including improper temperatures for food. The three restaurants were the only ones that failed their inspections in the past two months. However, five restaurants had close calls, passing inspections with a score of 36, just one point away from failing. Food establishments are scored on a 100-point scale and fail with an adjusted score below 36.
By Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Whether a restaurant in Champaign County should have to tell customers if it failed its health inspection is still up for debate. As of January, food establishments in the cities of Champaign and Urbana were required to post colored placards that signified whether they passed their inspections. A green placard means it passed, yellow that it failed and must be re-inspected, and red that its inspection was so bad it was closed. However, the County Board initially excluded other food establishments in the county from the new ordinance because of concerns that the placards would hurt profits at smaller, rural establishments. But the board will take up the issue again next week at its Sept.
By Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Meat leaking blood into cases of beer, ice machines with mold and flies in drains were among the critical violations public health inspectors found in city and county restaurants and grocery stores over the past three months. Champaign County health department inspectors failed 13 businesses and closed one of them briefly. In total, inspectors cited the businesses for more than 110 critical violations. In addition, inspectors found three food businesses were operating without licenses. Restaurants, food markets and other businesses are scored on a 100-point scale and fail with any adjusted score below 36. Points are deducted for critical and non-critical violations to get a score.
By Christine Herman/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — “Anne” and “Kate” are licensed home birth providers in Wisconsin but considered criminals in Illinois. They say home birth would be safer in Illinois if the government licensed certified professional midwives like them by helping people distinguish between trained and untrained midwives and reducing the number of unassisted home births. But opponents, who believe hospitals are the safest place for birth, say they will continue to oppose legislation for licensing them. This story was part of Christine Herman’s journalism master’s project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2014.
Visit http://homebirthillinois.com to see more of Herman’s project.
By Christine Herman/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — When Cheryl Gioja went into labor, her husband Joshua got down on his knees to “catch the baby” in the living room of their Illinois home. What he did was not a crime. But if a midwife had been there, she would have been breaking the law. Roughly 800 babies in Illinois are born at home each year. Without access to licensed providers, families resort to hiring “underground” midwives, who may or may not have adequate training.
For the past five years, Champaign Urbana Public Health District officials have discussed ways to best publicize restaurant inspections. In September, they began doing so. Health inspection reports of restaurants and food facilities are available by request from the health department. Last year, the health department also began posting a monthly list of all inspected food facilities and the current status. In 2011, CU-CitizenAccess.org began posting full inspection reports of all restaurants that failed routine health inspections since 2008.
By Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org — Between January and May, 32 restaurants in Champaign-Urbana failed health inspections. Diners still had no easy way of knowing if a restaurant failed – until last week. Despite the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District’s new requirement in January that restaurants post yellow placards if they failed their inspections, the district decided to allow a six-month grace period. That meant even restaurants that failed were able to make corrections during the inspection and post a green placard indicating they passed. In a few cases, restaurants failed so badly they shut down and had to post a red placard.