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7 Champaign County restaurants fail January inspections

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- The list of seven Champaign County restaurants that failed public health inspections in January features a mix of new and familiar names.

One of the familiar names was Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan, 313 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

The pizzeria received a score of 23 out of 100 on its Jan. 24 inspection. Eateries fail inspections when they score 35 or lower. It was the fifth time that Garcia's failed an inspection in the past five years, but it was the first failure since September 2009.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- Garcia's Pizza in a Pan failed its January health inspection, the restaurant's fifth failure in five years. Six other restaurants also failed in January.

December sees few failed restaurant inspections

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- Only two Champaign County restaurants failed public health inspections in December, the fewest in any month since June.

Maize Mexican Grill, 60 E. Green St., and The Clark Bar, 207 W. Clark St., both in Champaign, failed after inspectors from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District gave them each a score lower than 36 out of 100.

Located in a small building on the northwest corner of First and Green streets that once housed Ye Olde Donut Shop and, more recently, the short-lived Derald’s Diner, Maize Mexican Grill opened this fall after receiving its health permit in September, according to the health district’s website.

Landon Cassman/CU-CitizenAccess -- Champaign-Urbana Public Health District inspectors gave two Champaign restaurants failing scores in December.

8 restaurants fail October health inspections

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- Eight restaurants in Champaign County failed public health inspections in October, according to new records obtained by CU-CitizenAccess.

Among the failures was Geovanti's Bar & Grill, 401 E. Green St., Champaign. The Campustown restaurant scored 31 out of 100 on its Oct. 20 inspection by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

The failed inspection was Geovanti's sixth since September 2008, the most of any eatery in the county.

Landon Cassman/CU-CitizenAccess -- Geovanti's Bar & Grill failed a public health inspection in October, its sixth failure in about three years.

New records show more restaurant inspection failures

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- When public health officials conducted a routine inspection of Quiznos in Urbana last month, they discovered 12 critical health-code violations.

They included a “bag of brown lettuce found soaking in liquid in [the] walk-in cooler;” vegetables, cheese and salad dressings stored at improper temperatures; and employees cleaning cutting boards and knives without a proper sanitizer. When inspection was finished Quiznos had scored a negative 22 on the district’s 100-point grading scale.

As a result, inspectors from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District suspended Quiznos health permit on Sept. 26 and temporarily closed the restaurant at 114 N. Vine St.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- Quiznos in Urbana was one of 27 restaurants that failed health inspections during the past six months. The sandwich shop was closed temporarily after scoring negative 22 on a 100-point scale during a September inspection.

Rural poverty presents unique challenges

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess – Brenda MacPeek’s husband used to earn decent money as a long-haul truck driver, making runs all the way out to Colorado.  

But last September, the couple lost their home in Aroma Park, near Kankakee, because they were both out of work. They relocated to a doublewide mobile home in Ludlow, a town of 371 in northeastern Champaign County.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Rhonda Moore, a Ludlow school board member, helped start a food pantry in the rural Champaign County town. Held the fourth Saturday of each month, the pantry has seen demand increase steadily since opening three years ago.

Free or reduced lunch aid soars in public schools

RANTOUL-- At Broadmeadow Intermediate Grade Level Center in Rantoul, third graders quietly file through the cafeteria line and pick up a hot lunch of turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and fruited gelatin. Eight out of every 10 children waiting in the lunchroom line this year are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Shelley Smithson/ Mo Knell serves hot lunches to students at Broadmeadow school in Rantoul.

Urbana Rotary Club pledges money to help feed school children

A program that sends backpacks full of food home with needy schoolchildren every weekend will expand to a fifth Champaign County site this fall.

 The Urbana Rotary Club has pledged $22,500 over the next three years to support the Eastern Illinois Foodbank´s BackPack Program at Prairie Elementary School in Urbana.

 The program combats hunger by providing weekend groceries for children, distributed in backpacks on Friday afternoons to ensure students return to school on Mondays fed and ready to learn.

The News-Gazette/ From front, Deshunta Aikens, Ben Thompson and David Hensley restock shelves at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

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