FOIA guide: Local law enforcement

There are four departments that work to police the Champaign-Urbana community. When requesting information, it is often beneficial to get the same data from each department in order to get the full picture

Chris Genzel in his back yard

Homeowners pay for errors in outdated flood maps

Chris and Barb Genzel have lived in the same house in Urbana for nearly 40 years and they say their house has never flooded.

“Behind our house is a farm at a lower elevation, and our house backs up to a drainage ditch. We knew we were never going to flood,” Chris Genzel said recently.

How to track contributions to state and local candidates

The Illinois State Board of Elections web site is packed with data on contributions to state and local candidates and on how those candidates spend their money. So we thought that CU-CitizenAccess.org would offer a quick tutorial in how to find that information yourself. First, go to the State Board’s Web site at http://www.elections.il.gov/ as shown in Figure-1. Figure 1Move your cursor towards the top middle and click on “Candidates” to get going. When you click on that, you will get this screen as show in Figure-2.Figure 2Move your cursor towards the middle of the page and click on “Campaign Disclosure”, located within the “Welcome Candidates” list.

From 1990 to 2010: Twenty years of extreme poverty in Champaign-Urbana

Extreme poverty is defined as those incomes that are less than half of the defined poverty income. The maps below look at extreme poverty in 1990, 2000 and 2010 in the Champaign-Urbana area using census data. In 1990, the census measured a poverty income for a family of four at $13,254. In 2000, the census measured a poverty income for a family of four at $17,463. In 2010, the census measured a poverty income for a family of four at $22,113.

Photo of Champaign County Clerk's Office

Efforts at transparency in government lost in translation

Illinois state law requires government officials in Champaign County to file forms disclosing financial dealings that might lead to conflicts of interest in their official duties.

But a review by CU-CitizenAccess.org of over 9,000 forms filed by officials over the past five years found that an average 16 percent of officials reveal any specific information.