About Us

CU-CitizenAccess is an online newsroom devoted to community and watchdog reporting by journalism students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

The newsroom focuses mostly on Champaign County and central Illinois, but produces occasional regional, national and international stories.

January 13, 2022

County COVID breakthrough cases undercounted, but university offers more accurate numbers

January 13, 2022

Historic Urbana-Lincoln Hotel to welcome guests next year after numerous failed attempts to reopen

January 12, 2022

The story behind the race to test for COVID-19 at the University of Illinois

January 12, 2022

Contaminated drinking water from Peoples Gas leak persists, funds to fix frozen as lawsuit continues

December 24, 2021

Need for mental health services on campus grows but resources remain tight

December 23, 2021

Restaurant closures, failures down under new restaurant health inspection system

December 23, 2021

East Urbana residents worried about emissions from local asphalt plant

December 23, 2021

Local Canada geese causing issues, spreading into more human-populated areas across Champaign-Urbana

December 23, 2021

Urbana’s number of waste haulers cited as inefficient, countering sustainability goals

December 23, 2021

Nearby landfill capacity nears limit within two decades

Neighborhood News

East Urbana residents worried about emissions from local asphalt plant

Members of the Historic East Urbana neighborhood association said they are suffering through recurrent odors and potential pollution issues because of the emissions from Emulsicoat, a local asphalt plant.

The most recent complaint, filed to the IEPA in early May 2021, stated “the stench in the East Urbana neighborhood was overwhelming” and that people noted physical problems tied to it. The investigation by Michael Haggitt and Mark Schleuter from that same month had limitations from the lack of hard evidence linking the odor to the suspected Emulsicoat source and recommended no further action beyond the community meeting they held a month prior to that in April. 

Local Canada geese causing issues, spreading into more human-populated areas across Champaign-Urbana

Geese invading grassy and populated areas are causing residents to ask both the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts to manage the geese population better. However, others in the area are trying to get rid of the geese humanely.

Domestic violence exacerbated by pandemic, leaving marginalized communities especially vulnerable

Domestic violence in the city of Champaign rose by 13% last year, surging from 871 incidents in 2019 to 982 incidents in 2020, a review of the last full-year data available from the Champaign Police Department shows.  Domestic violence incidents in Champaign represented 4% of total crimes in 2016 but increased to 8% in 2020 […]

Results of defunct Urbana Community Alternative Policing program a mystery; racial disparity reports no longer accessible

UCAP was intended to be a catalyst for the community policing program. It no longer exists and there doesn’t seem to be a community policing program for northern Urbana, north of W. University Avenue and west of N. Broadway Avenue, or any other part of Urbana.

Inconsistent garbage pickup angers Champaign residents

The inconsistent pick up by some commercial garbage-hauling companies has been sharply criticized residents in the Champaign area. Despite an increase in complaints, no companies have received a fine from the city. The city also has no employee in the city’s public works department who is dedicated to dealing with complaints about waste haulers. 

Garden Hills residents feel ‘neglected’ by Champaign over years

For years, Garden Hills residents, property owners and advocates have been unsuccessfully pleading with the city of Champaign for improved living conditions, more city funding and reduced crime.

While plans are underway for some improvements, some said it should have come sooner.

Rising number of foster kids linked to domestic violence in Champaign County

The Champaign County CASA provided legal services this year to about 595 foster children, but served about 200 less just two years ago.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. This branch of CASA is based in Champaign, but is a national organization that has been around since 1994. The special advocates are contracted by the county and assigned to a child to oversee their home reassignment and to assure they are getting proper care. 

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