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by Jeff Biggers
When besieged residents, already choked by toxic coal dust, face off with Peabody Energy officials on Tuesday, February 18, in Harrisburg, at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hearing for a five-year strip mine expansion permit, more than 1,019 paltry acres will be at stake.
As President Lincoln once invoked in a moment of crisis, the courageous residents in the showdown at Cottage Grove are "our last best hope."
Innovative and detailed graphic is a visual exploration of the life cycle of coal as an energy source; artists will tie artwork to local energy issues in Central Illinois.
WHAT: One day exhibit of Beehive Design Collective work entitled “The True Cost of Coal,” including an artist-led discussion of the piece.
Two years in the making, “The True Cost of Coal” is an elaborate narrative illustration that explores the complex story of mountaintop removal coal mining and the broader impacts of coal in Appalachia and beyond. The image is the culmination of an intensive and collaborative research process, as the Beehive Design Collective methodology centers on first hand story-sharing. To create the poster, the Beehive interviewed hundreds of community members throughout the Appalachia region. These exchanges of inspiration and information were collaboratively woven together into a tapestry of hand-illustrated graphics, designed to strengthen and support genuine dialogue, critical reflection, and strategic action in defense of the Appalachians Mountains and the cultural and biological diversity they nurture.
By James Kilgore, Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice
When we began our campaign to stop jail construction in Champaign County in early 2012, I thought we were doomed. The grand plan to spend $20 million on this project seemed like a done deaI. The Sheriff was driving the initiative; the leading lights in the County Board seemed to think jail construction was the only prudent course. Yet, nearly two years later we have a very different scenario. The 2014 budget for Champaign County doesn’t include a single cent for jail construction. In fact, the county has allocated more than $200,000 in new money for social programs aimed at keeping people out of jail. In a county of slightly more than 200,000 residents, this is an important start.
How did this happen? The answer is simple- a campaign of ordinary people, led by a core from the Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice (CUCPJ), turned the situation around. This campaign is proof that action by people at the grassroots level can make a difference.
MASTERPIECE POLITICAL THEATER
by Local Yocal
SPRINGFIELD- The uproar here in this university town is fairly consistent in its understanding of what the recent passage of pension reform means: it diminishes and impairs pension benefits for state employees. While few of us who have had our food stamps cut, or will have our unemployment benefits withdrawn, or suffer the indignities of earning restaurant or Walmart pay, can ever feel sorry for these people; it is noteworthy to watch the middle class cry foul when they too are betrayed by their government.
This may be overcynical here, but it seems Speaker At-It-Again knows darn well this legislation violates the Constitution. Unknown is how the justices who will rule on the lawsuits to follow Tuesday's vote, can weasel around this language. Then again, we've seen a mandate to buy health insurance become "a new tax," so anything can happen.
by Local Yocal
CHAMPAIGN- In a recent News-Gazette article, City of Champaign Planning and Development Director Bruce Knight and Champaign County Economic Development Corporation Deputy Director Eric Kotewa both lamented how difficult it is to attract new business into old abandoned spaces. Left to sit, properties become hazardous eye sores draining the economy. In addition, the city of Champaign already has too much un-used office and retail space nobody wants. Most start-ups and national franchises want fresh properties built-to-suit on the fringes of town, rather than configure into what is already available.
HOW CRIMINAL CASES SHOULD BE COVERED IN THE MEDIA
by Local Yocal
URBANA- In a recent case against a U of I football staff member, crime reporter for The News-Gazette, Mary Schenk, may have finally gone too far.
Democratic Candidate for Congress in the 13th District, David Green, delivered this speech below on Oct. 20, 2013. The question now is will the other 2 candidates for the March 18th primary be willing to debate Green.
"My campaign invokes FDR’s New Deal and the Occupy movement of the 99%; it is rooted in the idea that the idleness of those who want to work is unnecessary and is to nobody’s benefit; that we are a rich country that must choose not to have poor people and especially poor children; and that there is enough for everyone, and that it is the right of everyone to have enough. It is a campaign of analysis, ideas, compassion, and vision.
My campaign is also in opposition to U.S.-driven predatory global capitalism and the immoral wars needed to maintain an unjust and class-driven system of radical inequality, increased poverty, and species-threatening climate change, all while recklessly flirting with the threat of nuclear war.
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR JOB OPENING
Full time with benefits.
Application Deadline: Sunday, December 1, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC), a local grassroots organization committed to using media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice in the Champaign County area, seeks a permanent, full-time Operations Director.
We are seeking a person with a commitment to social justice, strong customer service and communication skills, with an attention to detail.
Press reports indicate that the bill to approve gay marriage in Illinois has now passed both the State House and Senate. It is now on it's way to Gov. Quinn's desk, who has said he will sign it. Marriage begins for all next June 1. Congratualtions to all who've worked so long to demand equal treatment before the law for all, no matter who they love!
by Monica Davey and Steve Yaccino
The Illinois House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to wed, ending months of delay over the issue in the Capitol and clearing the way for Illinois to become the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit gay couples to marry.
The vote was 61 to 54, mostly along partisan lines, with only three Republicans voting yes. Eleven Democrats voted no, and two voted present.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has removed coal-related educational sections from its website, less than two weeks after the launch of a grassroots campaign demanding that the pages be taken down.
The website sections were supposed to educate children about energy, but had been widely denounced because they focused on misleading pro-coal messages.
On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Carol Ammons announced her candidacy for the 103rd District of the Illinois House of Representatives. The seat has become open since Naomi Jakobsson announced her retirement. Ammons has a long track record as a local service provider and community organizer. She is co-founder of CU Citizens for Peace and Justice. She has served on the Champaign County Board and is currently a member of the Urbana City Council. She recently resigned as Operations Manager of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center.
Below is a speech she gave in front of the Lincoln statue in Carle Park in Urbana.
“Spring Awakening” is up and running (through Oct 5) and consuming most of my time, so little posting here. But you guys in comments have been doing an amazing job keeping it going.
On October 6, I will be giving a major presentation:
“Drug Wars Assault on Justice – a talk with Pete Guither”
Sunday, October 6 at 4:00 pm
Hanson Student Center
Illinois Wesleyan University
The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center Foundation is seeking applications for its IMC Guest Artist program. Applications are due Friday October 4, 2013 to email@example.com or submit to IMC staff. The goal of the program is to provide an artist space, community, and motivation to work while enriching the community through engagement with art. Artwork includes visual art, music, writing, performance, and conceptual work. The program runs 3 months from October 15, 2013 – January 15, 2014.
The IMC Guest Artist is provided with:
The IMC Guest Artist is expected to:
Mr. Chris Alix and Mr. James Quisenberry August 14, 2013
Champaign County Board
1776 E. Washington St.
Urbana, IL 61802
On February 20th of this year, several members of the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee met with you and Mr. Kalmanoff, the Champaign County Board’s consultant on jail-related issues. Our aim was to add the concerns of residents living in closest proximity to the jail to the mix of voices bringing information and ideas to the County.
The Human Services Council of Champaign County, Illinois, is pleased to announce Cultural Competency Café, a one-day professional training in diversity and cultural competency on Friday, October 4, 2013. Established in 1974, the Human Services Council is an association of over 60 public and not-for-profit organizations whose mission is to enhance interagency coordination and collaboration in the delivery of human services, and to provide for an ongoing exchange of information that will improve the lives of those it serves.
In 2009, Urbana considered and then put aside what was called a "Chronic criminal nuisance ordinance." A News-Gazette article about it noted that the ordinance was never really killed off as much as discussion about it was suspended.
There has been no mention of it lately.
While never enacted, Urbana's proposed law was designed to displace alledgedly criminal occupants from properties of "problem" landlords. One of the criticisms at the time was the disproportionate impact such an ordianance would have on minorities and women.