These houses at 206 and 208 S.  Prospect Ave. were among dozens listed on the City of Champaign's vacant housing list as of Aug. 30. Photos taken on Sept. 20, 2016.

Despite influx of funds, vacant housing increases in county

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.

University of Illinois professors Don Fullerton (left) and Julian Reif with a map used in their climate change research in November 2015.

Illinois could see effects of climate change as soon as 2020

July was the hottest month in recorded history. And continued increases in temperature and a shift in rain patterns could mean a 15 percent yield loss in the next five to 25 years and up to a 73 average yield loss by the end of the next century if farming patterns don’t change significantly, University of Illinois finance professors Don Fullerton and Julian Reif laid out in a report released from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs last year.

The site of a new nitrogen fertilizer plant in Tuscola, Ill. The plant is slated to be built on 240-acres of farmland and bring 2,000 construction jobs and 175 permanent jobs to the area.

Construction of Cronus fertilizer plant delayed as costs soar

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.

B. Won restaurant in Champaign on  Feb. 24, 2016. Public health inspectors failed more than 40 restaurants over the past 10 months, including B. Won.

39 restaurants fail inspections over 10 month period; 11 establishments closed for violations

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

The board listens to a report during a meeting of the Housing Authority of Champaign County board at their Champaign, IL offices on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Despite yearly purge, “no-trespass” list remains long

Since the beginning of the year, the Housing Authority of Champaign County removed nearly 190 names from their “no-trespass” list — the largest mass purging of the list in the past five years.

Still, about 540 names remain on the list, which is posted on the housing authority’s website.