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Published: 1 year 44 weeks ago

With the holiday season in full swing, most people seem to be concerned about not letting all those Christmas cookies and latkes go to their waistlines. But for many, a greater concern is where they will get their next meal.

About 15 percent of American households were food insecure at some point last year, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means not all members of those households had access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.

Nearly 6 percent experienced very low food security, meaning the food intake and eating patterns of at least one household member were disrupted due to a lack of money or resources for food, according to the annual survey.

These percentages were about the same as in 2008 and represent the highest level of food insecurity since the USDA began conducting its survey in 1995.  The 2009 report was based on a representative survey of 46,000 households nationwide.

These record...

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Published: 1 year 48 weeks ago

CU-CitizenAccess was at eBlack Champaign-Urbana'sCampus-Community Symposium this weekend to cover the discussion between groups and organizations on how to better connect the community and technology. 

Session highlights include:

Most of the panel agreed that as resources have become limited in the current economy, technology has proven an efficient substitute.

Yet, in the social services sector, technology can be both a hindrance and a help.

Sue Grey, of United Way of Champaign County, said organizations are looking at ways to simplify assistance for those in need such as a "single point of entry into the system of care”.

For example, a family in need would only be required to fill out one set of forms to access assistance at several different locals. Currently, a family seeking assistance has to repeatedly fill out the same forms at each organization – often a time-consuming and frustrating process for the client.

Sessions

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Published: 1 year 48 weeks ago

CU-CitizenAccess was at eBlack Champaign-Urbana'sCampus-Community Symposium this weekend to cover the discussion between groups and organizations on how to better connect the community and technology. 

Session highlights include: 

While most youth today have a strong familiarity with technology, channeling that knowledge toward projects beyond fun and games has been a challenge.

For older students with limited or no knowledge and experience with digital technology, sustaining skills they may learn in class can be problematic because these students may lack access to the Internet and to a computer outside of the classroom.

Primary and secondary education teachers have found these obstacles:

The amount of time it takes to learn new technologies takes away from already limited lesson-preparation hours School districts block sites that may be of use to both teachers and students Little money to buy needed software Lack of dedicated technical...
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Published: 1 year 48 weeks ago

CU-CitizenAccess was at eBlack Champaign-Urbana'sCampus-Community Symposium this weekend to cover the discussion between groups and organizations on how to better connect the community and technology. 

Session highlights include:

In a town the size of Champaign-Urbana, reaching the community means reaching the community's religious groups and organizations.

Churches were also a driving force in social change – helping move forward civil rights and bridging gaps.

Nearly 20 churches in low-income areas are among the more than 270 institutions scheduled to be connected to the Big Broadband network.

While some of the churches have embraced the digital age – such as setting up computer labs and classes to help its congregants and neighbors, stream sermons, record and share choir practices online -  others have shied away from technology – especially in traditional sanctuaries.

"We are in the people business, we have to go...

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Published: 1 year 48 weeks ago

CU-CitizenAccess was at eBlack Champaign-Urbana'sCampus-Community Symposium this weekend to cover the discussion between groups and organizations on how to better connect the community and technology. 

Session highlights include:

Tanya Parker of Unity in Action Magazine moderated the discussion, and the panel included the Rev. Jerome Chambers of the Champaign County NAACP, Eugene Barnes of Metanoia Centers, Lynn Randall of the National Council of Negro Women, Joel Gillespie of SmilePolitely.com, Brian Dolinar of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center and Aaron Ammons of Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice.  

All of their publications and organizations try to give voice to people, issues and stories that they feel are underrepresented in the traditional media. While most of the discussion time was spent detailing their various efforts in the community, the general consensus seemed to be that the Internet and associated...

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Published: 2 years 1 week ago
As a continuing effort to improve this site, we are working on getting our Twitter feed to update automatically as new content is added. Read more ...
Published: 2 years 2 weeks ago

Illinois Public Media and the Eastern Illinois Foodbank are hosting the fourth annual Hunger Symposium. Read more.

Join the Discussion in the comment section or on Twitter at #cucitizen.

This evening from 6:30-8:30 the 2010 Hunger Symposium will begin and we will be live blogging. The symposium takes place at the Illinois Terminal on the 4th floor in the CityView Meeting Center.

The symposium is presented by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and Illinois Public Media. Panelists include Bara Daly, M.A., Barbara Fiese, Ph.D., Nikki Hillier, Ph.D., and Napoleon Knight, M.D.

Barbara Fiese has been the Director of the family Resiliency Center since 2008.

Barbara Daly is the Assistant Superintendent at the Regional Office of Education for Champaign and Ford Counties, and directs the departments of Health, Life & Safety, Homeless among others.

Nikki Hillier has worked for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District since 2004. She is the Program...

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Published: 2 years 2 weeks ago

CU-CitizenAccess is going to PubCampChambana! Check back here Saturday, Sept. 25, for continual updates as we discuss journalism and the community.

For more information about the event, read here

Saturday, 9:30 a.m., @pubcampchambana

About two dozen attendees now discussing agenda for rest of the day. Session ideas have included - underrepresented issues or non-reported issues, the role of libraries, convergence of media, social networks, and community engagement, coverage of state government, sustainability and public education, community journalism training, technology

Great stuff!

Saturday, 10 a.m.: @pubcampchambana

Four sessions proposed throughout the day, with break-out discussions across several topics. Deciding now to split into two groups.

First sessions will include: (1) making the invisible visible and (2) covering state government

Question raised: What makes a journalist a journalist? How do you define "...

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Published: 2 years 4 weeks ago

In some ways, Alveta Henderson's apartment on Kirby Avenue is much nicer than the one she lived in on Crescent Drive.

The 46-year-old single mother of two young children – a son, 9, and a daughter, 10 – moved from Crescent Drive in March. The landlord failed to make repairs on dozens of violations that Champaign inspectors found following a complaint Henderson filed with the city in June 2009. (See story / video)

Violations included mold in the bedrooms, damp carpet and rodent infestation. As of Aug. 17, the case was still open.

Henderson and her family called that two-bedroom apartment home for nearly five years. It was her first steady home in more than 10 years, during which she struggled with homelessness.

Her new place in the 1500 block of Kirby Avenue is nicer, the landlord responsive. There are monthly pest control visits and whenever Henderson calls about a problem, management repairs it within 24 hours.

"I've been bug free...

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Published: 2 years 9 weeks ago

In January, we reported that all rental property in Champaign County outside of Champaign-Urbana lack  a systematic inspection program.  (See series here)

Now the Champaign County Board will be voting on an ordinance this month that gives tenants in Champaign County a local ordinance to use as a basis for claims under the state's Residential Tenants Right to Repair Act.

This act allows tenants to make repairs to their property and deduct the cost of the repair from their rent if the landlord fails to make the repairs after 14 days of notification.

The proposed "Rental Habitability Ordinance of Champaign County, Illinois" (below) does not create a property maintence code and its minimum maintence requirements for habitability will not be enforced locally. 

"Champaign County has not adopted a building code or a property maintence code and therefore renters in unincorporated have no local ordinance or regulation on which to rely,"...

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