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Latest Blog Entries

Published: 48 weeks 17 hours ago

Editor’s note: CU-CitizenAccess.org is taking an in-depth look at nursing homes in Central Illinois.

Earlier this week, we sat down with Chuck Schuette, the new administrator for the Champaign County Nursing Home, to discuss his plans to tackle the challenges facing the county’s nursing home (See interview below or listen to audio interview) 

For more on this project and interactive tools you can use to evaluate nursing homes in your area, tune in to Illinois Public Media or visit CU-CitizenAccess.org on Monday, Dec. 5.

Want to be part of the project or have a story to share about a nursing home experience in East Central Illinois? Contact reporters Dan Petrella or Pam G. Dempsey.

 

For Effingham native Chuck Schuette, running a nursing home has always been the plan.

So when he saw the chance to oversee a nursing home, he took it.

Schuette, the new Champaign County Nursing Home administrator, started his new...

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Published: 48 weeks 2 days ago

By Christen Grumstrup/For CU-CitizenAccess -- As tuition has been increasing here at the University of Illinois over the past few years, so have the students' concerns with paying for it.

Because the price increases for higher education, students are doing many things to try and lessen that burden, whether it is working extra jobs, cutting back on expenses, or graduating early.

Lily Nicholson, a junior at the University, said that paying for college has been a struggle.

“I have been paying for my tuition/room and board through financial aid and working for the past two years,” she said.

Students entering the University for the 2006-2007 school year paid a base tuition rate of $8,440, while students that entered the University for the 2010-2011 school year paid a base tuition rate of $10,386. That is a 23 percent increase in tuition rates in four years. (See registrar's website)

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Published: 48 weeks 2 days ago

By Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess -- Last week, the government launched the Independent Foreclosure Review - a program intended to help homeowners who were victimized by large banks, according to this story by ProPublica.

The Independent Foreclosure Review gives homeowners the chance to have an independent review of any foreclosure action filed against their home between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010.

In Champaign County, foreclosures are on the rise. A six-month snapshot of foreclosure action between April and September shows bank repossession of homes have increased, according to RealtyTrac.

Overall, however, only .03 percent of homes in Champaign County are under foreclosure, compared to a state rate of .22 percent.

Check out the maps below for an interactive look at local foreclosure filings.

Foreclosure

 

 

 

Foreclosures in Champaign County
 

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Published: 49 weeks 1 day ago

By Michelle Hagopian/For CU-CitizenAccess -- When Calvin Miller said last week that he was beaten by Champaign police last Monday, his supporters took to social media to voice their protest and spread the word.

A Facebook group titled “Support for Brotha Calvin Miller” was created by Aaron O Ammons to inform the community about the alleged beating and to rally support at a City Council hearing.

Here’s a sample of what was posted on the event page:

“The behavior at the council was blatantly complacent, all people wanted to do was speak their peace and even that was an issue. I’m sick of always settling for crumbs.”

“This is so terrible! No one should be treated this way.”

“I can’t believe that this is first I’ve heard about this! I’m outraged and would be there if I could! This young man is definitely in my prayers.”...

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Published: 50 weeks 6 hours ago

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- The Occupy Wall Street protests, which spread to Champaign-Urbana and other cities in recent weeks, have called attention to the growing income disparity in the U.S. with their slogan, “We are the 99 percent.”

A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that after-tax income grew at a far greater rate for the top 1 percent of American households than for any other group from 1979 to 2007.

 Growth in real after-tax income from 1979 to 2007

Source: Chart by Congressional Budget Office

While those in the bottom 20 percent saw their income grow by 18 percent during that period, income for the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled, increasing by 275 percent, according to the CBO. All figures were adjusted for inflation.

In 1979, the upper 20 percent of households earned 43 percent of the nation’s income; by 2007, the same group...

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Published: 50 weeks 5 days ago

A new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a connection between high-poverty areas and increased health risks, such as obesity and diabetes.

The study, "Neighborhoods, Obesity and Diabetes - A Randomized Social Experiment" , looked at the health effects on nearly 4,500 women with children who participated in a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-program between 1994 and 1998 called "Moving to Opportunity."

The women were divided into three groups - one of which moved to lower-poverty areas using a rental voucher.

Researchers surveyed the women between 2008 and 2010, looking at height and weight.

What they found were moderate improvements in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among those who lived in lower-poverty areas.

"The opportunity to move from a neighborhood with a high level of poverty to one with a lower level of poverty was associated with modest but...

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Published: 51 weeks 6 days ago

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- A few weeks ago, we reported on this blog that the number of same-sex unmarried couples in Champaign County increased 59 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It turns out, the bureau miscalculated the number of same-sex couples nationwide.

In a press release issued late last month, the bureau explained: "Statistics on same-sex couple households are derived from two questions on the census and [American Community Survey] questionnaire: relationship to householder and the sex of each person. When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 Census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners. Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples in particular is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-...

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Published: 51 weeks 6 days ago

By Landon Cassman/CU-CitizenAccess -- A greater percentage of Champaign County residents were renting housing units in 2010 than in 2000, according to 2010 Census data.

Although the number of households has increased by about 12,000 from 2000 to 2010,
only about 43,400 (53.8 percent) were owner-occupied in 2010, compared to the about 40,000 owner-occupied housing units (55.7 percent) in 2000.

While the percentage of owner-occupied housing units has gone down, the percentage of vacant housing has increased by approximately 1.6 percent in the ten year period. In 2000, about 4,700 housing units, or 6.2 percent, were vacant, compared to 6,900 housing units, or 7.9 percent, that were vacant in 2010.

In Illinois, there was a slight increase of the percentage of homeowners in 2010 than in 2000. According to 2010 Census data, 67.5 percent of housing was owner-occupied compared to 67.3 percent in 2000. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there...

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Published: 1 year 4 days ago

By Michelle Hagopian/For CU-CitizenAccess -- I’m a journalism graduate student in the College of Media working with the CU-CitizenAccess.org team this semester and my job is to follow the social media scene in Champaign-Urbana.

I will first report on how the community is using social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, so that users can get an idea of what different groups are talking about.

I also will look at different software to collect and analyze tweets and ask for advice and ideas from the community.

We know quite a few websites already exist that allow Twitter users to view their tweets on a map. Sites like Bing.com and Trendsmap.com use hashtags, @replies and keywords to show what’s trending in the Twitter universe. Those trends are then superimposed on a map – typically using Google maps. The result: You can click on an icon and see a tweet, its location and the user who tweeted it.

Here in...

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Published: 1 year 1 week ago

We've been reporting quite a bit recently about the sanitary conditions of local restaurants and how much information about those conditions is or isn't available to the public. (Click here to see our coverage of restaurant inspections.)

But one aspect of the story we haven't touched on is the role employee health can play in whether customers get sick when they dine out at a restaurant.

At a recent meeting of the Champaign County Board of Health, Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, said employees working while sick is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness outbreaks locally.

Food-borne illnesses such as salmonella, E. coli and Hepatitis A – which can resemble the intestinal flu – include symptoms such as abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration, according to the National Institutes of Health.

When restaurant employees come to work while experiencing such...

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