The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and CU-CitizenAccess are hosting a public discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 29 on the local, regional and agribusiness impacts from climate change — ranging from flooding and the water supply to changing weather patterns and agricultural techniques.
CHAMPAIGN-URBANA: Since the housing market crashed in 2007, the cities of Champaign and Urbana have received more than $2 million in state and federal dollars to combat vacant and nuisance housing. Yet the number of empty houses is still climbing. As of 2014, one in every 10 housing units in Champaign County sat vacant, according to the most recent U.S. census data available. That total number, 8,700, was nearly double the number of vacant housing units in the year 2000. Each year, Champaign puts at least $20,000 into demolishing homes across the city.
A moldy ice chute, food preparation areas with pesticides stored above them and storage coolers occupied by houseflies and moths were among the worst violations leading to closures and failures of eateries across the county since July.
In total, 18 establishments were closed or failed inspections for serious health code violations between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to a review of inspection records.
ByNicole Anderson Cobb and Lois Yoksoulian/ For CU-Citizen Access |
A new fertilizer plant slated for Tuscola is further delayed and projected to be more costly than originally touted. This spring Cronus Chemicals quietly announced on its website that the estimated cost is now $1.9 billion – more than 30 percent above the original estimate. The website also says the plant will not be finished until the last quarter of 2019 – or at least 30 months later than the initial completion date.
Ants on the wall, a live cockroach next to a meat grinder, fruit flies “too numerous to count” and a bucket of bloody juice were some of the worst violations over a ten-month period in Champaign County restaurants.
In total, 39 restaurants in Champaign County failed health inspections – several more than once – from June 2015 to April 2016, according to a review of inspection records. An additional 7 restaurants failed and were temporarily closed.
Four others were closed because of non-payment of annual fees or missing paperwork
Keith Rohl remembers the day he was asked to lease the coal rights to his farmland in Homer, Illinois.
It was 2009, a wet year for the crops, when he was lined up at the grain elevator with his neighbors hearing about the proposed Bulldog Mine for the first time.
“The neighbors were all talking about, ‘You sell your coal rights, and you get to farm your land on top. You’re going to have all kinds of money and everything.’ And I thought ‘Boy, that sounds great to me, and I was ready to sign up,’ ” he said.