Federal housing analysis says Champaign rental market oversaturated, but city continues to approve development

The development of student apartments in Champaign-Urbana has not slowed down over the past five years, despite two separate federal housing analyses describing the rental market as oversaturated.

“During December 2016, the estimated student-targeted apartment vacancy rate was 12.9 percent, up from 7.4 percent a year earlier” a federal 2017 Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis reported in January.

But Ben LeRoy, an associate planner for the Champaign planning and development department, said that the city’s policy on student apartments is influenced more by the developers on campus and less by sources such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which produced the January 2017 report.

Volunteer East Lawn cemetery lacks city, county support

It’s not always easy for a local cemetery to stay alive.

Gravesites need to be maintained, bills need to be paid, and revenue relies solely on death.

Every active cemetery deals with difficulties, but for a board of less than 10 retirees, maintaining East Lawn Burial Park in Urbana is a grave concern.

Champaign schools implement coding curriculum

Champaign Unit 4 Schools have implemented a curriculum based around coding, beginning in kindergarten and going all the way up through high school. The students have designated time each week to learn how to code through the programming language Scratch.

Long-time housing for migrant farmworkers closes

Since 2001, the former hospital on Nightingale Court in Rantoul, Ilinois housed as many as 450 migrant farmworkers and their families to work in the fields in central Illinois.
But this year, its owner – Unique Storage Inc. – did not submit a migrant labor camp application for the site, known as Nightingale, according to the state public health department.
Instead, housing for the farmworkers was moved elsewhere.

Damage from dicamba spurs confusion, questions

In 2016, Monsanto released its dicamba-resistant soybeans in the company’s largest ever rollout of a new biotechnology.
But its accompanying herbicide – XtendiMaxTM herbicide with VaporGripTM Technology – was not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency until several months later, leading some farmers to use other versions of the herbicide on their soybeans.