About Us

CU-CitizenAccess is an online newsroom devoted to community and watchdog reporting by journalism students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

The newsroom focuses mostly on Champaign County and central Illinois, but produces occasional regional, national and international stories.

NEW TOOL: Click here to search Champaign County property by owner name — a feature removed by county officials

Neighborhoods

Champaign’s vacant properties can languish for years without correction; Fines increased in past two years

Building paint is peeling, junk litters the property and “no trespassing” signs sporadically adorn fences surrounding the approximately 330,000 square feet of property of the mostly vacant C.S. Johnson factory in Champaign. ...

Seven07 pipe burst displaces residents

The night Monica Milanowski returned to her apartment at Seven07, a 14-story high-rise in Champaign, after going home for winter break in January, her apartment was flooded with four to six inches...

Over one year later, no detached housing built following Champaign ordinance

Some residents expressed concern about a negative impact on neighborhoods when the city of Champaign passed a June 2022 ordinance to build additional, detached housing on their properties.  But over one year...

Neighborhoods

Champaign’s vacant properties can languish for years without correction; Fines increased in past two years

Building paint is peeling, junk litters the property and “no trespassing” signs sporadically adorn fences surrounding the approximately 330,000 square feet of property of the mostly vacant C.S. Johnson factory in Champaign. ...

Seven07 pipe burst displaces residents

The night Monica Milanowski returned to her apartment at Seven07, a 14-story high-rise in Champaign, after going home for winter break in January, her apartment was flooded with four to six inches...

Over one year later, no detached housing built following Champaign ordinance

Some residents expressed concern about a negative impact on neighborhoods when the city of Champaign passed a June 2022 ordinance to build additional, detached housing on their properties.  But over one year...

Recent News

Complaints about yard waste and housing in disrepair continue to rise in Urbana; Property inspections behind schedule goal

Rental property and nuisance complaints have soared in Urbana over the past few years, records show.  The records, obtained via Freedom of Information Act Request, show a total...

Champaign County doesn’t allow looking up property by name. We made it searchable again.

Although the Champaign County Assessment Office has a property tax lookup tool developed by the software company DEVNET, the office decided to remove the ability to search properties...

Champaign bars, liquor stores failed 25% of underage compliance checks by Illinois Liquor Control Commission last year

The state of Illinois Liquor Control Commission has made enforcing and documenting underage drinking on its website a priority since 2021 — and enforcement of liquor laws at...

After fatal shootings, Rantoul police recommended more training. They just sent one officer to a gun range

This story is part of a partnership focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County between the Champaign-Urbana Civic Police Data Project of the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit public accountability journalism...

Champaign hired Police Chief Timothy Tyler despite disciplinary past and allegations of misconduct

This article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on January 29, 2024. This story is part of a partnership focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County between the Champaign-Urbana...

Illinois sees exit of firearm dealers despite all-time high in gun ownership 

Despite an all-time high in the number of Illinois residents possessing a firearm ownership card, the number of gun dealers and businesses registering guns throughout the state has...

Justice

After fatal shootings, Rantoul police recommended more training. They just sent one officer to a gun range

This story is part of a partnership focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County between the Champaign-Urbana Civic Police Data Project of the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit public accountability journalism organization, and IPM...

Champaign hired Police Chief Timothy Tyler despite disciplinary past and allegations of misconduct

This article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on January 29, 2024. This story is part of a partnership focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County between the Champaign-Urbana Civic Police...

Accidents and emergency calls mount at Archer Daniels Midland plants in Decatur in past year; Employee dies in rail accident, multiple employees injured in explosions

Listen to WILL’s coverage for interview audio and hear from the reporters on The 21st Show. Just months before he planned to retire, 66-year-old Robert Dautel was killed in an...

Champaign looks to expand automated license plate reader program    

Champaign has been using automated license plate readers (ALPR) in an effort to reduce gun violence — and its police department is looking to not only continue usage, but to...