Champaign Park District revenue declines

The Champaign Park District, facing at least $1.8 million in lost revenue, is set to meet July 22 to discuss its budget for the upcoming year.

Part of the budget, which includes grants and the park district recently applied for a Rebuild Illinois grant. It is also in the process of applying for an Illinois Emergency Management Agency grant, but Wallace said in a phone interview Thursday that the grant has shifted to being administered federally and so the grant is more limited in scope.

Formerly incarcerated man dedicates life to anti-violence work

At the age of 17, Jobie Taylor was just about to graduate high school when he was convicted of first degree murder in the south side of Chicago.

Given a sentence of 40 years, of which he served 20, for a crime he claims he didn’t commit, Taylor is now 44 years old and dedicates his life to changing the exact culture he grew up in.

He works with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Education Justice Project, a program that provides higher education at Danville Correctional Center. He’s now a case manager at the Housing Authority in Champaign, where he works with at-risk youth to get their GEDs and find jobs.

Trending on Reddit: r/UIUC discusses protests, reopening campus

For the last two weeks, members of the r/UIUC subreddit actively discussed two main topics: reopening campus in the fall and peaceful protests and looting in Champaign-Urbana.

Posters, often students, staff, alumni and community members, critique the university for the quality of the online education they get paying the same amount of money they did for the in-person classes. Overall, r/UIUC subreddit members are worried about what they should expect next semester.

Champaign opens up small business portal

The City of Champaign announced in an email that it is offering grants of up to $15,000 for small business owners. The email comes in the wake of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s announcement June 17 that the state of Illinois will provide grants for small businesses under the new Business Interruption Grant program.

Illinois’ program provides $60 million of funding to small businesses, including allocations of $20 million to bars and restaurants who can’t have outdoor seating, $10 million to barber shops and salons, and another $10 million is allocated to gyms and fitness centers.

Small Business Administration opens disaster relief portal

The Small Business Administration has re-opened its Disaster Relief portal for small businesses in Illinois.

In the June 16 email, the Illinois branch added that Illinois small businesses can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance in addition to loans. The email stipulated that advances won’t need to be repaid and that a business may get an advance even if it isn’t able to get a loan.

Timeline: Social media during Black Lives Matter protests and mall looting

The first on-street reactions of the Champaign-Urbana community on the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis were reported on local Facebook groups on May 29, 2020. Since then, citizens from both cities posted videos, opinions, and encouragements to join the protests.

Those videos inspired others to organize their own events, protests, and petitions, all documented on public social media posts.

Virus outbreaks hit businesses throughout county

Twenty-six outbreaks have been recorded across several facilities and businesses in the county as of June 8, according to Julie Pryde, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District administrator.

The health district has recorded 30 total outbreaks, including those at the Rantoul Foods meat processing plant, an outdoor equipment manufacturing plant and two nursing homes, University Rehabilitation Center and Meadowbrook Health Center.

New Illinois cannabis law presents challenges for medical patients

Flaws in the Illinois state legislature’s bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use has led to statewide shortages in the product, particularly for the nearly 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients, according to a review of state documents and interviews with those in the industry. Indeed, since the medical cannabis program launched in Illinois in 2014, complaints filed by medical patients against dispensaries in the state have soared, as 102 out of all 267 complaints were filed in 2020 alone. 

David Kurfman is a registered Illinois cannabis patient from Mount Sterling, who has been using the plant to treat his epilepsy since 2015. He believes the state has not done enough to protect its medical cannabis patients during a time when there is higher demand than supply can adequately meet. “It’s been dismal for medical patients,” Kurfman said. “Patients cannot consistently find the specific products that they need for their various conditions.”

The new law, which was passed by the legislature in May 2019, took effect on January 1, 2020.