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Waffle truck prompts food pilot project, change

By Chad Garland/For CU-CitizenAccess

When is an ice cream truck not an ice cream truck?  According to Mahomet resident Zach Ware, it’s when it sells waffles and coffee.

Ware’s business - the Crave Truck - has prompted Champaign city officials to not only revisit ordinances surrounding peddler’s licenses but also to launch a pilot project to study the impact of food trucks like the Crave Truck that operate more like a small restaurant rather than an ice cream truck.

City officials are set to meet June 26 to discuss it.

But what’s prompted potential local policy change started out as something different.

Chad Garland/A bicyclist checks out the mobile food truck, Crave, as he passes by. The business sells waffles and coffee.

Owner to seek rezoning of property east of Cherry Orchard

By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press editor/An official with a company that owns a closed apartment building east of Cherry Orchard Village apartment complex said he will ask Champaign County to rezone the property as a multi-family dwelling so he can fix up the building and rent it out again.

The property, known as the Jones building, technically is not part of the Cherry Orchard complex, but it is connected to the same septic system and was being purchased by Bernard and Eduardo Ramos, caretakers of Cherry Orchard, located along U.S. 45 between Rantoul and Thomasboro.

Courtesy photo/Arial view of the Cherry Orchard complex

Champaign council leaves groundwater ordinance alone

By Patrick Wade/The News-Gazette -- To the dismay of a health care advocacy group, the city will keep its 4-year-old "groundwater restriction ordinance" after a council vote on Tuesday night.

Opponents of the ordinance said it gives corporations a free pass on cleaning up contaminated properties, but in general, the city council disagreed. The majority of representatives on Tuesday indicated they were unsure repealing the ordinance would accomplish the goal of encouraging the cleanup of contaminated sites.

Council member Marci Dodds said it could, in fact, discourage cleanup and subsequent redevelopment of contaminated properties.

"I prefer cleanup to no cleanup," Dodds said.

Acton Gorton/ - A sign sits in the front yard of a house in the 5th and Hill streets area near a toxic cleanup site. Neighbors of the site are concerned that the cleanup by Ameren Illinois won't be enough to protect them from further toxic hazards, such as groundwater contamination.

Champaign County health care group demands EPA look at pipeline

By Illinois Public Media News - A health care advocacy group is renewing its call on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to investigate an underground pipeline in Champaign’s Fifth and Hill neighborhood.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers held a news conference Tuesday in the neighborhood, and cited a recent report that identified chemical waste in the pipeline know as “coal tar” as petroleum-based. The group’s executive director, Claudia Lennhoff, said the toxins are likely linked to a gas manufacturing plant that had been in the area from 1887 until 1953.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - The 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign believes this pipe once carried waste from the manfacutred-gas plant to Boneyard Creek. The city of Champaign plugged the pipe, but officials doubt it's connection to to the Ameren Illinois-owned site.

Some neighborhoods leave pedestrians out in the street

By Landon Cassman and Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - The city of Champaign came up with a plan 25 years ago to repair deteriorating sidewalks.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - A sidewalk in the Dobbins Downs neighborhood ends mid-yard. Champaign city planning documents call the area's sidewalk system "disjointed."

Excavation work at 5th and Hill site sparks outrage from health care group

By Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media - Excavation work continues at the site that once housed a manufactured gas plant in Champaign.

Ameren Illinois is working on the corner of 5th and Hill Streets to clear soil that is suspected of having traces of the pollutant coal tar.

Most of the work to remove the soil has taken place underneath a large protective tent, but on Thursday workers dug about three feet of dirt outside of the tent.That sparked concerns from the health care advocacy group, Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

The group said a monitoring device that checks for dangerous chemicals went off, raising the possibility that nearby communities might be at risk.

Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media/A bulldozer removes soil that is suspected of having traces of the pollutant coal tar on the corner of 5th and Hill Streets in Champaign on Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Shadow Wood: Longtime residents happy with their neighborhood

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - M.L. Ledent doesn’t like it when people ask if she still lives in her trailer.

“I don’t live in a trailer,” the 83-year-old retired nanny and housekeeper tells them. “I live in a mobile home.”

Ledent has lived in the Shadow Wood mobile home park nearly as long as it has existed.

In 1968, a year after the park opened, she and her husband, who died nearly 20 years ago, moved into a three-bedroom mobile home.

In this series

Shadow Wood: A changing neighborhood

Jose Diaz/For CU-CitizenAccess - The Shadow Wood Mobile Home Park has seen many changes during the past two decades, most notably a dramatic increase in its Hispanic population and a reduction in crime.

Shadow Wood: A changing neighborhood

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Two years ago, Jose Rodriguez and his three daughters left their home in Ibague, Colombia, a city of about half a million people in the slopes of the Andes Mountains, 80 miles west of Bogota, the capital city, and headed north for Champaign.

They followed the girls’ mother, from whom Rodriguez is separated. She came to Champaign a decade earlier after finding work in the area, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen and sponsoring Rodriguez, 38, and their daughters, ages 15, 12 and 7. Like their mother before them, the girls and Rodriguez have settled in the Shadow Wood Mobile Home Park on the 1600 block of North Market Street in Champaign.

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Jose Diaz/For CU-CitizenAccess/In the past two decades, this out-of-the-way neighborhood has undergone dramatic changes. Hispanic residents make up 70 percent of the neighborhood and 12 percent of the city's Hispanic population.

¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.