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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."

New study takes first-time look at Champaign County's housing needs

by Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess — The dream of owning an affordable home is out of reach for one out of three Champaign County residents, according to a new regional housing study commissioned by local government agencies and cities.

The housing study, prepared by Columbus, Ohio-based consultants Vogt Santer Insights, estimates that the median home value for the county this year is $139,419.

The News-Gazette/ A house in the 200 block of Green Street. A new regional housing study shows that owning a house is out of reach for one in three Champaign County residents.

Bilingual programs see growth, challenges

By A.M. Cole—Evelin Luna carries herself with an air of confidence uncommon for a 15-year-old. She is comfortable around adults, aware of the issues concerning the local Latino community and unafraid to address the Urbana School Board in her native language. It wasn’t always so.

A.M. Cole/ Brian, a third grader in Lena Sacco's bilingual class, writes down observations he made during their science lesson on May 12, 2010.

Local police departments continue to deny open records requests

By Dan Petrella— Complaints filed by white residents with the Champaign Police Department were three times more likely to be upheld than those filed by black residents, an analysis of police records from 2006 to 2008 shows.

Dan Petrella/A police cruiser sits outside the Champaign Police Department on the corner of University Avenue and First Street in Champaign. An analysis of police records dated from 2006 to 2008 show that compliants filed by white residents were three times likely to be upheld than those filed by black residents

Farmers markets offer better access to fresh foods for low-income families

By Jhane Reifsteck— Local farmers markets in Champaign and Urbana, IL have started accepting LINK cards, creating more options for low-income people and families to obtain fresh foods.

CU Citizen Access/ A woman shops at a farmers' market in Urbana. Local farmers markets have started to accept government benefits such as food stamps as payment for goods, giving receipients more fresh food options.

Extras: Big Broadband

A consortium composed of the cities of Urbana and Champaign and the University of Illinois submitted in August three related proposals to the federal government applying for stimulus funding to improve broadband Internet access in the area.

But why does Urbana-Champaign need “big broadband” Internet service in the first place? How will the proposed network connect homes and community institutions? How will this network be paid for and governed? How does the technology work and what does this all mean?

Marie Wilson/ Sheila Miller loads one end of a fiber into an arc fusion splicer, which heats and connects the strands. Splicing 12 strands, the number in a normal cable, takes about three hours, she said.

¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.