Small Business Administration announces grants for civil unrest damages

Champaign County businesses that suffered damage from looting may eventually be included in funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a spokesperson said last week.

John Dwyer of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, said in a phone call that over 50 businesses were affected by looting. The SBA announced in an email on June 26 it would be providing grants to Illinois businesses affected by civil unrest between May 26 and June 8.

Citizens Utility Board issues scam warning

The Illinois Citizens Utility Board has warned of several scams that take advantage of utility consumers. Among the scams the board noted in a June 30 email to consumers was a maintenance plan, where water companies offer a protection plan to people that is often expensive and frequently goes unused.

The board was created by state law in 1984 to advocate for Illinoisans in dealing with utility companies, and its website said it has saved the state’s residents $20 billion by stopping rate increases. The group is not affiliated with a political party, but was created by an Illinois law.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District warns of foodborne outbreak

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) notified the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) of a “multi-state outbreak” of an intestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis. According to the press release, it is believed that the outbreak to be linked to packaged garden salad, and there are six cases of the illness in Champaign County as of July 1.

Fresh Express issued a recall for the products on June 27, 2020. The recalled food products were made in a production facility in Streamwood, Illinois. This factory was also linked to over 500 cases in 2018, and infections were traced to McDonald’s restaurants in several states.

Trending Topics: Chambana talks about protests, fireworks, giveaways

Among the most trending topics on Facebook and Twitter in late June were peaceful protests, a give away of seven $50 gift cards to local restaurants and fireworks concerns all around Champaign-Urbana almost a month before the 4th of July.

Area hospitals receive millions of dollars in Covid-19 emergency funding

Carle Foundation Hospital has received nearly $18.8 million this month in grant money under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act, according to COVID Stimulus Watch. Meanwhile, Christie Clinic received about $2.4 million in grant money.

These grants were awarded through the department’s Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund on June 11, according to COVID Stimulus Watch, which is a service of Good Jobs First, which collects data of financial assistance from federal, state and local government programs. COVID Stimulus Watch, specifically collects and publishes data from CARES Act recipients.

Campus crime decreased after coronavirus, but crime statistics remain varied and ‘confusing’

Before University of Illinois students were sent home in mid-March, there were at least 183 crimes in Champaign-Urbana reported directly to university police — mostly underage drinking and theft. After March 21, the total number of crimes reported decreased, with 52 crimes directly reported to university police as of May 31 according to the daily crime log.

Meat and shopping: One more impact of the coronavirus on ordinary life

It began in mid-March when the new coronavirus became part of ordinary American life with shortages of household products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels. Now, as May has turned to June, scarcity – and the fear of it — is all about the meat. As of June 6, there have been at least 20,400 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 216 plants in 33 states, and at least 74 reported worker deaths, according to a Midwest Center analysis.

Urbana Park District board seeks to improve diversity on advisory board

In an effort to increase the diversity of its advisory committee, the Urbana Park District Board is focusing its recruitment efforts on areas north of University Avenue as well as other areas north of Interstate 74.

The Urbana Park District Advisory Committee currently has five vacancies.

By the numbers: Market Place Mall looting

Following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, protesters gathered at the Market Place Mall on May 31, and 26 people were subsequently arrested by the police on a variety of charges, such as burglary, criminal trespassing and mob action.

Of those arrested, Champaign County was the primary residence. Most were local, with 22 people coming from the cities of Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul. Only one individual was out-of-state, providing a residence of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the remaining 3 came from other counties in Illinois.

Rural residents face diminishing access to quality nursing homes

Many rural counties in Illinois face the same lack of choice when it comes to high-quality nursing homes. Rural nursing homes are buffeted with a number of issues that often lead to understaffing and low quality of care. In addition, some nursing homes in rural areas are closing because of financial challenges.

There are 52 counties in Illinois with a population of under 30,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and 45 of which has three or fewer nursing homes. Pope, Pulaski and Putnam, three counties with over 16,000 people in total, have no nursing homes within the counties.