Meth use on the rise again in Illinois
By Thomas Thoren/For CU-CitizenAccess.org
Michael Pasley first used meth in his early teens.
Two decades later, his use came to a quick end when he was arrested April 5, 2010, in Mattoon, Ill. The arrest came after he spent weeks high on meth.
He had been in a friend’s garage “just cooking and doing dope” before the police found him, said Pasley, 35.
Yet during his two decades of meth use, Pasley was not always quite so addicted to the drug.
He was making good money pouring concrete during the summer construction season in 2008. He didn’t have the time -- nor the need -- to make and sell meth. But during the winter, the hours dried up.
So did the paychecks.
“An idle mind is a bad thing,” said Pasley. “When you don’t have something to do, you get restless.I knew if I manufactured meth, I could have money.”
On Oct. 23, CU-CitizenAccess.org and Illinois Public Media take a closer look at the impact of the rise of meth in Central Illinois.
Follow the issue on Twitter #methstory
Tune in Wednesday to Illinois Public Media to listen and discuss the resurgence of a drug believed to be on the decline.
By Robert Holly/CU-CitizenAccess.org -- The Housing Authority of Champaign County started opening up parts of its public housing waiting list at the beginning of August, and it is now accepting housing applications for elderly one-bedroom apartments and family five-bedroom apartments.
But its housing choice voucher waiting list – also known as Section 8 housing – remains closed with no openings in sight.
“We don’t have any anticipation on when section 8 will open again,” said Edward Bland, the housing authority’s executive director.
Local housing advocate and Esther Patt said that, while the partial public housing openings are important, the housing choice voucher waiting list is the key to providing housing throughout the community.
“I’m always glad when a waiting list opens, since all of the lists are closed most of the time,” said Patt. “The greatest need expressed to the Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union is for affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom units for people under age 55 – that means the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list since all public housing other than one-bedroom units for senior citizens has been demolished."
Farmers not yet hit by shutdown
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to send home tens of thousands of employees because of Tuesday’s government shutdown.
As a result, the agriculture department and its nearly two dozen agencies are operating at limited capacity – or not at all.
But even though important agencies such as the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency will be shut down almost entirely, agriculture officials said that Midwest farmers and producers won’t be affected that much.
“If it goes a week or so, the impact is minimal,” said Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau. “The big question is how long the shutdown lasts.”
Gebhards and other officials said that the biggest impact from the shutdown will be further delays to a farm bill resolution, which expired at the end of September.
“The Farm Bill expired and, in some ways, that’s bigger than a temporary shutdown,” said Casey Langan, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. “Where we go forward with the Farm Bill is not clear yet and there’s no crystal ball telling us how this is going to pan out.”
Gebhards said that if the shutdown were to last an extended period, then contract payments from conservation reserve programs may be neglected. Likewise, crop insurance claims may go unfiled, leaving farmers and producers without compensation for failed crops.
Read more here ...
Communication breakdown thwarts government transparency, Restaurant inspection reports, Government shutdown
Communication breakdown thwarts attempt at government transparency
As a member of the Champaign County Local Foods Policy Council, Maya Bauer was required to file a form in 2012 disclosing her finances that might lead to a conflict of interest when she votes at council meetings.
But she said she did not file the form because the county clerk’s office never notified her that she needed to.
Another member of the food council, Christopher Henning, said he was also unaware he had to file the form, which is known as a statement of economic interest. He said he already filed one with the state because of his job at the University of Illinois.
Alfred Anderson served on the Mass Transit District’s board of trustees and on The Housing Authority of Champaign County’s board of commissioners. He recently retired from both positions. He said that he did not file a form in 2012 because he thought he was no longer required to.
But County Clerk Gordy Hulten said Bauer, Henning and Anderson were all required to file with the Champaign County Clerk’s Office in 2012 because they each held a position on a county body. And he said his office notified those three officials and all other did-not-filers several times about their need to file.
About three dozen officials still have not filed after repeated reminders, Hulten said last month.