Saturday, November 10, 2018

Sheriff Updates


The new incoming Sheriff has chosen a Deputy Sheriff. The current Sheriff is still retiring and the current Deputy Sheriff, who was running for Sheriff in this last election, will be retiring as well now. From the News-Gazette today:
There's a new sheriff in town - and he has a new chief deputy
Dustin Heuerman admits that Tuesday's landslide vote to make him the first Democratic sheriff in Champaign County since 1934 came as a surprise...

His Republican opponent, Allen Jones of Rantoul, a 29-year employee of the Champaign County Sheriff's Office, said in a Facebook post Friday afternoon that he will retire Nov. 23. As the chief deputy to outgoing Sheriff Dan Walsh, Jones was an at-will employee, not enjoying union or civil-service protections.

Heuerman said his experience working under Walsh as a road deputy on second and third shifts was good. His relationship with Jones, who was his lieutenant, was not as good and part of the reason he moved on to his position at Lake Land College in Mattoon, where he is program coordinator and adviser for the criminal justice program. He is also a part-time police officer there.

Heuerman has bachelor's and master's degrees in criminology and a doctorate of education in community-college leadership. He is also a member of the Illinois Community College Board.

With the election over, Heuerman said he and Barrett are putting together an agenda to improve morale in the department and get things done like consolidating the jails, trying to limit the number of mentally ill people who are jailed, getting more deputies hired, and increasing training for deputies and correctional officers.
Full article here with a lot of details on the unexpected election results, the party dynamics, and other additional information.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Champaign HRC and NAACP Report


This week's City of Champaign Human Relations Commission meeting (agenda here) included a presentation of the NAACP report on criminal justice. Thomas Moore argued that the report is an educational tool as opposed to a road map and what we've tried over the past forty years hasn't worked. He argued for a new focus on the ineffectiveness of punishment in the system of mass incarceration. He noted that jails are a big part of the problem and a local issue. Video is available here and the NAACP report begins at the 6:20 mark. There were many ideas discussed and listed in the News-Gazette yesterday:
Among the suggestions discussed during Monday's meeting:

— Allowing those incarcerated to register to vote and cast votes while in prison.

— When drawing up legislative district boundaries, assigning prisoners to the locality they come from instead of the prison site.

— Advocating for more humane policies that stress restorative justice.

— Having the NAACP form a partnership with local libraries to develop a crime-and-punishment bibliography and establishing a repository of books and articles on incarceration, public safety and justice.

— Advocating for the collection of data on the justice system "to develop more grounded responses to crime and punishment."

— Developing justice reform that gives a prominent role to the faith community.

— Exploring programs that restore civil rights for those incarcerated and awaiting trial.

— Developing a pretrial-assessment protocol in Champaign County.

— Integrating restorative practices within both the Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana 116 school districts.
Full article here. One item not mentioned in this list was their support of the recommendations of the Racial Justice Task Force (more information on that here). Some of the discussion talked about mass incarceration being a new Jim Crow which references a study of the mass incarceration system that looks at disparities throughout the criminal justice system. More information on that information and popular book in criminal justice reform circles here.

Election Results


I'll be updating the elected official pages soon. Democrats scored victories in all of the County-wide offices and retained control of the County Board under the new Democratic County Executive in the new County Executive Form of Government. More details from the News-Gazette local Election Results here. Here's a snippet from their coverage:
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrats have swept all Champaign County offices.

— Democrat Darlene Kloeppel won the race for the new position of county executive over current Republican Clerk Gordy Hulten.

— Democrat Aaron Ammons won the race for clerk with 54 percent of the vote over Republican Matt Grandone.

— Democrat Laurel Prussing won the race for treasurer with 54 percent of the vote over incumbent Republican John Farney.

— Democrat George Danos won the race for auditor with 56 percent of the vote over incumbent Republican Diane Michaels.

— And Democrat Dustin Heuerman won the race for sheriff with 55 percent of the vote over Republican Allen Jones.
Full article here and results here. Full County results from the Champaign County Clerk here. For Illinois results generally check out WBEZ's list here. National results here from Axios.

If you noticed a lull in new posts lately that's been due to illness and election madness. We'll be getting back into the swing of things soon. Municipal election information will continue to come from the Cheat Sheet: C-U Local with more information as we approach the consolidated election primary!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

County Board Approves First Solar Farms



The October 18th County Board meeting (video here, agenda here, and addendum here) mainly focused around approving the first solar farms since the ordinance allowing such developments was passed (more on that here). To jump to the portion of the meeting discussing the solar farms in question and concerns about the ordinance click here. News-Gazette blurb from yesterday:
Champaign County Board approves two rural solar farms
...
Members approved Community Power Group's plans to build a pair of 2-megawatt farms — one on 13.56 acres of a 57.84-acre tract at county roads 2350 N and 1700 N, north of the St. Joseph Sportsman Club, and another on 16 acres of a 36.77-acre tract at the southeast corner of county roads 1300 E and 3300 N in Ludlow Township, northwest of Rantoul.

The votes came with some reservations, as residents and officials of nearby municipalities have voiced concerns that the panels could bring noise, affect property values and restrict a community's ability to expand.

Some board members suggested at Thursday's meeting that the county's zoning board take another look at solar-farm rules, but no formal action was taken.
Full blurb here. There was also some discussion on RSM, the firm chosen to do the post-closing accounting services for the Champaign County Nursing Home after the sale. There were some concerns about conflicts in the past, but Administrator Busey had found that the auditors involved didn't believe those problems originated with RSM and shouldn't be a problem in the future. The full discussion is available at the video jump-to link here. Everything else in the consent agenda and regular agenda and addendum passed by either voice or roll call vote.

Nursing Home Update


The sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home appears to be moving along without any surprises or hurdles. In an update on the upcoming review board hearing the News-Gazette pointed out that the staff charged with looking for any reason to not recommend going forward did not have any negative findings for the board. From last Wednesday:
State review board report raises no red flags on nursing home sale
The pending $11 million sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home is headed to a hearing before a state review board without any negative findings from the board's staff.

The transfer of the property and operation of the county-owned nursing home meets all the requirements under a state administrative-code section dealing with long-term-care facilities, according to a report released Tuesday by the staff of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.

The anticipated completion date of the sale of the county-owned nursing home is Nov. 30, according to the staff report. That's pending approval by the board at its next public hearing Oct. 30 in Bolingbrook.

The sale could potentially be finalized between Oct. 31 and Nov. 30, according to Champaign County Administrator Deb Busey.
Full article here.

Sex Ed and Local Government


If your memories of Sex Ed were the horror shows and dire warnings from local religious elders in their public school teacher day jobs (squeezing as much shock and awful secular public schools would allow) then this recent article on how modern Sex Ed works in the area may sound like an improvement. From last Tuesday's News-Gazette:
Health district educators ensuring middle-schoolers get comprehensive sex ed
...
To ensure students in Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul were getting "comprehensive" information — which includes teaching about sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, abstinence and consent — educators with the health district have been going into middle schools for the past five years, equipped with an evidence-based curriculum that goes for seven weeks.

"It's called 'Making Proud Choices,'" Greger said. "Generally, the kids are really receptive to it. The teachers enjoy the program, as well."

If it seems redundant to bring an additional educator into middle schools already staffed with health teachers, Greger said it's often not.

"It kind of takes maybe that awkwardness out of teaching it for the teacher," she said. "We're in there with those kids for however long; we don't see them every day. The kids might even be more comfortable talking to us about that kind of thing than with their regular classroom teacher."
More at the full article here. It also highlighted further collaboration that led to consent being on the curriculum:
For the past two years, the three educators have reached roughly 1,000 students per year, with Fruitt adding that Rantoul schools have added an extra layer of education for students by inviting Urbana's Rape Advocacy Counseling and Education Services to present on sexual-assault prevention.

That, she said, came about as a result of a coalition between school officials, the health district and social-service providers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Legionnaires' Cases in Champaign County

[UPDATE: from today's News-Gazette:
Church one of 3 sites tested for source of Legionnaires’ 
The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District was testing a local church and two other locations Wednesday that could potentially be connected with six cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Champaign County.

First Christian Church, Champaign, was identified by state health officials as an investigation target.

However, just three of the six local people sickened by Legionnaires’ — a severe form of pneumonia — since Sept. 15 had contact with the church, according to Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

A now-deactivated decorative water fountain at the church is one suspected source of the infectious Legionella bacteria responsible for the disease, Pryde said. If water becomes contaminated with the bacteria, water features

such as fountains can become vectors for infection if people breathe in water that has been aerosolized, she said.

Health district officials aren’t disclosing the identities of other two investigation sites, she said. Results of the testing are expected within a couple of days.
More at the full article here.]


From Fox 32 Chicago (w/ some extra details than local coverage):
6 cases of Legionnaires' reported among Champaign-Urbana residents
Six residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease over the past month in the Champaign-Urbana area downstate.

The disease was potentially transmitted during wedding gatherings at the First Christian Church, 3601 S Staley Rd. in Champaign, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state health department and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District were conducting an ongoing investigation into the cases Tuesday. No additional information about the residents was available.

Legionnaires’s disease is caused by a bacteria that is generally spread through water and water vapor — not through personal contact. Symptoms include potentially fatal pneumonia, high fever, chills and muscle pain, and it usually takes up to two weeks from exposure for the illness to manifest.

The disease has garnered a high profile after an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in downstate Quincy left 13 of its residents dead and sickened dozens more since 2015. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is up for reelection next month, has been railed by his opponents for his response to the crisis.

The health department has been announcing new cases of Legionnaires’ since then, citing “an abundance of caution.”

About 300 cases of Legionnaires’ are reported across the state each year, the state health department said.
Local coverage from the News-Gazette here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Early Voting Trends


If you're curious how much early voting is affecting the midterms, there appears to be some ongoing trends towards the practice, but whether or not it is changing who comes out to vote significantly may be debatable. From the News-Gazette today:
Trend: Fewer waiting until Election Day to cast votes
...
The number of people voting at their polling places has steadily declined over the past decade as more states have added early voting options, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

In 2004, it was one vote out of five votes that were cast early, absentee or by mail, the commission said in a report last year. By 2016, that number had grown to two votes out of every five cast.

Illinois is one of 37 states that offer at least some form of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures...

Early voting got off to a strong start in Champaign County and has tapered off a bit, [Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten] said, but numbers are still on target.

"The demand so far has been about what we expected, and we expected the demand to be significantly higher than it was four years ago," he said.

Hulten projects about half the votes for the upcoming election will be cast in advance of election day — consistent with the 2016 election, he said.

Hulten is posting updates on early voting counts in Champaign County on Twitter, and according to the last update 28 days before election day, 8,433 people had requested an application to vote by mail and 2,890 ballots had already been cast — either by mail or in person.
Full article with additional information here. Speaking of the County Clerk, the race to replace Gordy Hulten and two contested primaries has resulted in some larger than normal fundraising for the seat that has long been a Republican held one. More on that from the News-Gazette's Tom Kacich here.

ACA Enrollment Assistance


Their are local organizations and government backed resources available to help people access various benefits and services they qualify for. This includes the Affordable Care Act which is having open enrollment soon. There will be an event to help people in Champaign County learn more about it at the Champaign Public Library this week:
ACA Open Enrollment Community Meeting

Monday, October 15, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library

Do you, or someone you know, need help signing up for health insurance? Do you know if you qualify for financial help with your health insurance?

Everyday people need help signing up for health insurance – whether it be Medicaid, or ACA Marketplace plans. Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is here to help!

The ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment is only 45 days long! Open Enrollment for the Marketplace is from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018 for 2019 coverage. So, it is time to get ready!

CCHCC’s federally-certified staff are the most experienced enrollment counselors in our community. At our upcoming ACA Open Enrollment Community Meeting, we will provide information and help answer questions. Please plan to attend!

WHAT:  ACA Open Enrollment Community Meeting

WHEN: Monday, October 15, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Champaign Public Library – 200 W. Green Street, Champaign

MISC.: Free parking • Near CU-MTD bus lines • Wheelchair Accessible • Refreshments


Join us at the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Community Meeting to find out what you need to know for you and your family. We will discuss:

    Types of health insurance offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the Affordable Care Act/ACA/”Obamacare”/healthcare.gov);
    Financial assistance available to make health insurance more affordable;
    Exemptions from the Individual Responsibility Requirement (“the mandate”) and how to apply; and
    How you can get ready for the ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment.

This Community Meeting is presented by Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), and co-sponsored by: Barham Benefit Group, Carle, Christie Clinic, OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, Health Alliance Medical Plans, Cunningham Township, and Promise Healthcare.
More links and contact information from the CCHCC page here. Additional information about the insurers and plans available were laid out in the News-Gazette yesterday:
Area Affordable Care Act enrollees to have choice of two insurers
Much of East Central Illinois will have a choice between two insurers — Health Alliance Medical Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield — for 2019 health coverage purchased through the state's Affordable Care Act online market.

With less than three weeks before the start of open enrollment Nov. 1, rates and details for specific plans aren't yet available.

But after several years of double-digit rate increases, consumers can expect to see rate increases for next year to be on the more modest side — and even to see some decreases, according to an Illinois Department of Insurance analysis...

Anyone planning to enroll in coverage in Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt, Vermilion, Clark and Cumberland counties will have 16 to 20 different health-plan options from Health Alliance and Blue Cross Blue Shield through the government market.
More at the full article here.

West Nile and Nervous System Disorder Concerns



In whatever warm days may occur, be vigilant about repelling mosquito bites. From the News-Gazette Thursday:
Village asks for help to prevent spread of West Nile virus
Village officials are again spraying for mosquitoes and are asking Tolono residents to do their part after one person became ill with West Nile virus...

This is the first human West Nile case in Champaign County in 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health website...

Since West Nile is spread to people by infected mosquitoes, health officials urge getting rid of standing water sources around the home that can be mosquito breeding areas, checking window and door screens for holes, and covering up and using insect repellent outdoors.
Full blurb here. In a more rare, but possibly related warning, the Illinois Department of Public Health has also warned about a possible spike in Nervous System Disorder cases, which has an unknown cause but could also be related to mosquito bites and West Nile type viruses:
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received recent reports from health care providers of nine sporadic, clinically diagnosed cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).  IDPH is working with the health care providers to collect necessary information to send to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC reviews medical information on all reported clinical cases to classify cases as AFM. The case reports are from individuals younger than 18 years of age and from northern Illinois.  Specific location information is not available.  The CDC will make the final determination on AFM classifications and numbers are subject to change.

In September, IDPH issued an alert to health care providers about AFM, including information about reporting this clinical syndrome and submitting specimens.  Illinois has monitored this syndrome since 2014 when it was first described by CDC.  Since 2015, four cases reviewed by CDC experts have been counted in Illinois.  IDPH continues to work closely with the CDC to monitor reports of AFM.

AFM is a serious, but uncommon condition.  It affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.  AFM or neurologic conditions like it have a variety of causes, including viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.  The viruses can include:
  • enteroviruses
  • West Nile virus and viruses in the same family
  • adenoviruses
Much is still unknown about AFM and often, a cause for AFM cannot be identified.  Symptoms can include:
  • sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes
  • facial droop/weakness 
  • difficulty moving the eyes
  • drooping eyelids
  • difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech
If you or your child develops any of these symptoms, you should seek medical care right away.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis.
Although we are still learning about AFM and its causes, being up to date on all recommended vaccinations is one way to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can cause AFM.  You can also protect yourself from mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile virus—another known cause of AFM.

While we don’t know if it is effective in preventing AFM, steps you can take to help stay healthy include:
  • washing your hands often with soap and water
  • avoiding close contact with sick people
  • cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant, especially surfaces that a sick person has touched
For more information on acute flaccid myelitis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/.
 There was also a News-Gazette article on the same here.

The Week Ahead: 10/14 - 10/20

*** There is a County Board regular meeting this Thursday. Agenda here. More information on how to attend a county board meeting here. More information below. ***



Vote By Mail requests are available to voters generally now. Ballot requests for the November 6th, 2018 General Election have already started and EARLY VOTING HAS BEGUN! More information on Vote By Mail in Champaign County here. Ballot request direct link for residents here. More information on County elections (including checking your registration, sample ballots when available, and early voting times and locations) at our Elections page.


Other Events:

There are a lot of political campaign and organizing events popping up. Check out your preferred candidates and you will likely see campaign, canvassing, or voter registration events in the area. Many are using facebook to more easily share event information and reminders. Check out the Champaign County Voter Alliance's preliminary general election candidate guide to see who is running. We'll be updating County race information from the primary election to the general soon.
 
Groups that crossover with Racial Justice Task Force recommendations meeting this week:
Build Programs Not Jails meets Wednesday, October 17th at 7pm at the Independent Media Center. Meetings are every other Wednesday at 7pm at the IMC.

County Calendar:

*** There is a County Board regular meeting this Thursday. Agenda here. More information on how to attend a county board meeting here. Probably one of the larger issues is passing the 2019 budget, but there may be some continuing concerns about a lack of rules being agreed to for the County Executive form of government after the election from the Committee of the Whole last week. An attempt to give them some preliminary rules to start with abiding by State statutes and in transition from current County Board rules failed after a great deal of work by the County Executive Transition Committee over 8-10 meetings over the year.

The Sheriff's Merit Commission meets on Tuesday. The agenda is available here. From the previous minutes, it appears that this body determines the qualifications for hiring and advancement in the Sheriff's Office and makes decisions on the same.

Wednesday there is the Technology Oversight Committee. I don't have any information on exactly what this committee does. I believe it may be more of a management committee for computers and IT issues for staff in the various county facilities. More information to come on that.

Also on Wednesday there is the Mental Health board. If you're interested in finding out more about county Mental Health programs and agencies it can be a bit wonky. It is, however, very interesting if you want to see all of the gears moving to provide care to so many in our community. If you're interested in what an MHB or DDB meeting is like, here are a couple write up examples: Mental Health Board 2018, Developmental Disabilities Board 10/25/2017.

Before the County Board meeting on Thursday there will be a "Truth in Taxation" meeting to explain an increase in the tax levy (agenda here). For a quick primer on the difference between a Tax Levy and a Tax Rate, we have that: Tax Levies versus Tax Rates.

There is a Zoning Board of Appeals Special Meeting Thursday night (upcoming agenda here). Board page here. Now that the new Solar ordinance has passed, the race is on for companies to use it. At least a couple exemptions appear to be on the agenda Thursday.

The GIS Policy Committee meets Friday. The GIS talks maps and data, orthophotography, sewage systems, water permeability of soil and drainage and the intricate systems that allow a consortium of city and county governments, as well as private companies needing data. For more information about the GIS and what a meeting is like, check out this write up.


The full 2018 schedule is on the Calendar page and the County page. The regular County Board meetings are back to Thursdays until next holiday season.

If you're curious about learning more about how your county government works, it's easy enough to live stream a meeting or go in person: Attend a Meeting.

http://www.co.champaign.il.us/CAL/2018/181014.pdf

*Meeting is broadcast live on Comcast Public Access and at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/champco1776


Where is Brookens?

Brookens Administrative Center
1776 East Washington Street
Urbana, Illinois 61802-4581
Phone: 217-384-3772

After 4:30 the Washington Street side Parking Lot is Closed See Maps for the North East Parking Lot Access







County Executive Form of Government Still Lacks Rules


The top items from the Committee of the Whole County Board meeting was the preliminary budget information and the new County Executive form of government rules not being approved (yet?). Full video of the meeting from the County Clerk's YouTube here. From the News-Gazette last Wednesday:
County looks for balance in 2019 budget
Following years of financial concerns largely stemming from the troubled Champaign County Nursing Home, the Champaign County Board plans to begin the next fiscal year with a balanced budget.

On Thursday night, the board held a public hearing on its proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, which was followed by the board's Committee of the Whole voting to place the tentative proposal on file.

While the budget predicts $120,775,667 in revenues versus $123,006,313 in expenses, County Administrator Deb Busey said it is considered balanced under county policies because the difference is money the county set aside in advance in previous budget years to be spent this year.

The biggest change in the budget involves the nursing home, which is slated to be sold at the end of this month.
More budget details at the full article here. What caught my attention was the failure to approve the new Champaign County Board rules designed by the County Executive Transition Committee. Video of the discussion and the vote starts here and runs 30 minutes. The rules presented are available in the agenda packet with a short introduction on page 53 (page 56 of the PDF file) here.

New member Pranjal Vachaspati argued that it would make sense to have rules for the new board to work within before they change or adopt their own desired rules. Member Anderson argued that there are default rules from the State they could follow, but Weibel noted that the 8-10 transition committee meetings were attempting to do that very work of applying the basic state guidelines to do that. There seemed to be disagreement on how smooth or chaotic the situation would be if the incoming County Board after the election would be if no rules were approved here for them to start with. Member Patterson suggested seeking the counsel of the State's Attorney on the legal ramifications of not having rules in place.

The vote failed with no alternate plan or consultation. It appeared from the discussion after the vote that the next County Board will just have to figure it out by the seat of their pants. Perhaps it's not as dire as that. I imagine all of that work in the 8-10 sessions of the County Executive Transition Committee being thrown out in the end had to be frustrating and added to the gloom.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

County Board Candidate Split Forum


The final candidate forum in a series hosted by the News-Gazette, the League of Women Voters and NAACP locally hit a snag on the last night due to a boycott by the Champaign County Democratic Party of the News-Gazette's involvement after publishing a political cartoon they felt promoted sexual assault (more on that controversy here at the Daily Illini). This left the candidates mostly split up with Republicans doing introductory statements at the original forum event and mainly Democrats at a second Q & A forum hosted by the People's Agenda. The News-Gazette had an overview of the first event with Republicans last week:
Dems' absence turns final candidate forum into series of monologues
Seven debates among candidates for the Champaign County Board were scheduled for Friday, but only one happened after local Democrats didn't show up.

The Champaign County Democrats urged their candidates to boycott the event after one of the sponsors, The News-Gazette, published a controversial editorial cartoon about the #MeToo movement.

The election forum, also sponsored by the League of Women Voters and NAACP of Champaign County, went on without any of the tension that preceded the event.

Instead of audience-submitted questions about the issues facing the Champaign County Board, the Republican candidates were given five minutes to introduce themselves.

"Our policy is that if we have a forum planned, and there is only one candidate remaining, that candidate will have an opportunity to make a five-minute statement about their policies and qualifications," said Holly Wilper, the forum's moderator.
More details at the full article here and full video from CGTV here. The People's Agenda Q & A style forum featuring mainly Democratic candidates (with Rich Montgomery the Republican exception running for District 6). Here's an overview of that event with video timestamps:

Introductions at 0:00

Question 1 (at 18:45) was on how the County Board should collaborate more with the U of I and Parkland. The answers revolved around with partnering with them in a mutually beneficial relationship for both students gaining real world experience, and the County having access to innovative data and ideas to solve local problems.

Question 2 (at 28:24 ) asked how the candidates saw their upcoming role with the County Executive position. Many of the answers were dependent on if the first occupant was adversarial or cooperative with the board itself.

Question 3 (at 37:05) asked whether the candidates would spend tax money on a new jail. Almost universally the candidates discussed selling and/or demolishing the old downtown jail and avoid the costly upgrades it would need to be compliant with regulations. They variously argued for expanding services at the satellite jail as part of renovations, improvements or expansion projects.

Question 4 (at 46:22) asked what the County Board should use any money made available from the Nursing Home should be used for. There was a consensus that there would be no "extra money" in the immediate future as there would still be outstanding debts to vendors and other budget issues to deal with. In scenarios further into the future or various budgetary opportunities the candidates suggested money go towards holding the buyers compliant to the terms of the sale, mental health services, or innovations on poverty relief, etc.

Question 5 (at 53:25) asked about the County Board's role in the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force. There was a general appeal towards environmentalism and the need to protect a resource that the community needs to survive.

Question 6 (at 1:01:52) asked what they learned from constituents about their concerns while canvassing. The answers here varied quite a bit with each candidate and district.

Question 7 (at 1:11:32) asked a lighter question of what their favorite place was in Champaign County. Answers varied from the personal, to the political, to the humorous... with some joking about hard drinking after the event.

Wrap up / Closing statements at (at 1:20:03). Moderator Elizabeth Hess's final word to the audience: "Vote!"


Other Local Forum Links: