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City of Champaign continues to stymie N-G FOIA request

An interesting article from Patrick Wade in today's News-Gazette:

The News-Gazette has refiled a Freedom of Information request, asking the city of Champaign for names of police officers against whom citizens have filed complaints during the past five years.

City attorneys contend -- contrary to a ruling by the state's public access counselor that was more than a year in coming -- that they need not provide the names of officers who had complaints files against them. Since the ruling by the PAC took longer than 60 days to arrive, it is an advisory opinion and does not bind the City to any action.

[Deputy City Attorney Tricia] Crowley wrote that releasing complaints filed against officers who were later found to have done their jobs properly could have serious implications for the individual officers and the department as a whole. Those complaints could be used against officers who have, in reality, done no wrong, and it could create a perception of the department as the oppressor rather than the protector, she wrote.

I'm not sure why refiling the request would lead to any hope of reaching a different outcome, but best of luck to the News-Gazette in their quest.

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Prairie Fruits Farm cheese featured on Murray’s blog

The accolades and silly foodie love keeps pouring in for Prairie Fruits Farm, which was paid a personal visit by the folks behind Murray's Cheese in New York City. If you aren't aware, Murray's is likely the most famous and well renown of all the NY cheese shops, made famous for being referenced multiple times on the big and little screens for the past 70+ years.

And yes — they actually came to Urbana to check the joint out, and — surprise! they fell in love they way that all of us (or most of us) have.

They will even be selling it at their famous stores in NYC.

Boy that Goat Lady sure done some good 'round these parts.

Check it here: http://blog.murrayscheese.com/

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Local food insecurity update, via C-U Citizen Access

Last week, C-U Citizen Access' Pam Dempsey and Hannah Meisel posted a series of articles on local hunger issues:

Of the food insecure population statewide, 60 percent have incomes above the income limit for SNAP benefits, according to data from the "Map the Meal Gap" project.

"The food pantries are usually pretty good about giving fruits and vegetables, salad mixes, that kind of thing," Raab said. "They do also have easy quick foods like canned pastas, boxed meals, but the pantries give a nice balance."

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Ellnora announces full lineup and schedule

You may have noticed that the Ellnora Guitar Festival has been dropping some pretty awesome additions in the past few weeks — My Brightest Diamond, Lee Ranaldo, Calexico, etcetera. Now they've released a full lineup and schedule, which adds Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure and Brooklyn drone artist Noveller. We really like that you can catch Chris Thile, Adrian Belew and Daniel Lanois for zero dollars this year. There's also something called the Sonic Garden going in on the west terrace, which will hopefully accomodate larger crowds than the Amphitheater is able to hold.