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SPews: August 20, 2010

Opposition voiced to Olympian Drive plan,” News-Gazette, August 20

Champaign County Board members, in a wide-ranging discussion that lasted nearly an hour and a half, indicated opposition to the proposed Olympian Drive project.

But there was support for a more limited project that would connect the roadway from Apollo Drive on the west to Lincoln Avenue on the east.

Despite some talk before the meeting about taking a possible straw vote to determine a county board consensus on the current proposal, no action was taken at the meeting.


Dozens told they’ll lose use of Kenney Gym on UI campus,” News-Gazette, August 18

Until he was 60, Nick Holonyak, the inventor of the LED, could walk on his hands in Kenney Gymnasium.

Now 81, he can’t do anything at the University of Illinois gym, which he’s been told doesn’t have the resources for safely maintaining space for 75 to 100 mostly older exercisers.

With University system financially in the black, professors comment on lack of raises,” Daily Illini, August 15

According to an e-mail obtained by The Daily Illini, faculty and academic professionals will not receive a general salary increase for the 2011 fiscal year.

. . .

Thomas Overbye, professor in electrical and computer engineering, and chair of the campus operations committee in the Urbana-Champaign faculty senate, said faculty retention remains a major problem in academic disciplines where industrial work can offer more competitive compensation.

. . .

“You cannot continue to not give faculty raises, and expect to retain top faculty,” Overbye said.

State owes $2.2 billion to feds for unemployment benefits,” State Journal-Register, August 19

Illinois has borrowed more than $2.2 billion from the federal government since July 2009 to pay unemployment benefits.

The good news is the state has not had to borrow since April, and the loan is interest-free for now.

“We really do access it as needed. It’s a day-to-day decision, five days a week,” Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesman Greg Rivara said Thursday.

Blagojevich: Senate seat talk was legal ‘horse trading’,” Pantagraph, August 20

A defiant former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said federal prosecutors are trying to criminalize “political horse trading” during a post-corruption trial media tour of TV and radio interviews Friday.

. . .

“If they’re charging me with crimes, then they ought to charge every other politician in America,” Blagojevich said during an interview with Chicago’s WLS Radio on Friday. “Every time a congressman votes and trades his vote with another congressman for another vote they out to charge those people, too.”


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