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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.

Security footage across the street from an incident on Saturday, 3/5/2022 at 1:47 a.m. at Red Lion at 211 E Green St in Champaign. A video of the aftermath was uploaded by Harley Coleman: https://home/citizenaccess/…

Documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Police Department show there were nine officers at the incident. The police description of the incident is as follows: “Female punched a male who was working security at a campus bar. Male sustained lacerations to his lip and then took the female to the ground, creating lacerations to the female’s head. The female was transported to a local hospital for treatment.” Woman was 22 and hospitalized and treated by Carle Foundation Hospital. Bouncer details not taken down but he was treated by AMT.

Police said no charges were filed, but bar owner Scott Cochrane said there would be more training for bouncers and security. 

Neighborhood News

How bad are the streets of Champaign and Urbana? Pavement data detail poor quality and need for extensive repairs

It’s not rare to find postings on social media sites in Champaign and Urbana about potholes or crumbling roads causing damage to cars — or just general observations about the shoddy shape so many streets are in. In fact, those anecdotes are backed up by data the cities release every four to five years. In […]

Record-breaking numbers in C-U elicit $3.2 million annual gun violence reduction plan

The City of Champaign is implementing a multi-million-dollar plan to combat local gun violence focusing spending on its street outreach program intended to aid ailing, high-risk young people.  Outreach workers will also be responsible for connecting those in target groups to services included in the budget, such as access to basic needs – food, shelter […]

Of 50 victims, young minorities harmed most by flurry of Champaign gun violence

There were 50 lethal shootings in the city of Champaign between 2015 and the first half of 2022. Of those 50 victims, 15 were 20 years old or younger.  At least 30 suspects were arrested in those shootings, and 15 of them were also aged 20 or younger. Those were some of the numbers revealed […]

Champaign, Urbana intervening to combat American Water’s request to raise rates for residential customers

The mayors of the cities of Champaign and Urbana say the cities are filing documents to intervene in the efforts of Illinois American Water to increase water rates up to 32% next year. Illinois American Water filed a request in February with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to make the increase water and wastewater rates. […]

West Urbana residents criticize safety, impact of University’s plans to install novel nuclear reactor system

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s proposal for deploying a micro nuclear reactor in west Urbana has sparked concern among local residents, who are worried about how safe it is to have the reactor near their neighborhood. “This project is really frustrating on several levels,” David Dorman, resident of West Urbana and one of the […]

East Urbana residents worried about emissions from local asphalt plant

Members of the Historic East Urbana neighborhood association said they are suffering through recurrent odors and potential pollution issues because of the emissions from Emulsicoat, a local asphalt plant.

The most recent complaint, filed to the IEPA in early May 2021, stated “the stench in the East Urbana neighborhood was overwhelming” and that people noted physical problems tied to it. The investigation by Michael Haggitt and Mark Schleuter from that same month had limitations from the lack of hard evidence linking the odor to the suspected Emulsicoat source and recommended no further action beyond the community meeting they held a month prior to that in April. 

Local Canada geese causing issues, spreading into more human-populated areas across Champaign-Urbana

Geese invading grassy and populated areas are causing residents to ask both the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts to manage the geese population better. However, others in the area are trying to get rid of the geese humanely.