July 25, 2014Unable to pay her rent after losing her job, Air Force veteran Anna Robinson turned to the Veterans Assistance Commission in Champaign County last year. She brought her bill to the commission’s office and received $744 in financial assistance that same day. But when she sought help from the commission again in January to buy a bus pass, Robinson found it was no longer easy.
July 9, 2014
By Janelle O’Dea and Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org -- At the Theta Chi fraternity house last fall, Champaign city inspectors found 81 fire and life-safety violations, including holes in bedroom floors and inoperative emergency-exit signs.
At the Chi Psi fraternity house, city inspectors cited 76 violations, including a leaky roof and multiple propped-open fire doors.
July 3, 2014
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...
July 14, 2014
By Claire Everett/CU-CitizenAccess.org -- An ongoing struggle between the Monticello City Council and a citizen’s group has led to the city council being cited for violating the Open Meetings Act.
The attorney general’s office said the city council violated the act by holding a closed session in March that led to the creation of an advertisement criticizing four residents for questioning the city council’...
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He looks at his watch and picks up his pace, realizing he's late. In Room 11, a small space with a set of drums, a piano and an old organ, he gently places his instrument on the organ bench as he greets the students preparing for the day's jazz rehearsal.
It's 8:30 on an autumn Wednesday morning and Heather Smith has a decaf pot in one hand and regular in the other. The five-stool bar at Merry Ann's Diner on Neil Street is occupied by men in Carhartts and camo hats, all of whom Heather addresses by name as she tops off their ceramic coffee mugs.