Smile Politely

SPews: March 30, 2010

We’re trying something new this week: aggregating some of the more interesting local news stories in a weekly post. We’re calling it SPews, because it’s Smile Politely News, and we’re also basically regurgitating stuff we found somewhere else. It’s really catching on these here interwebs, and we didn’t want to be left out. Hope you enjoy. We’ll be doing this weekly, although the whole Tuesday thing is a bit of an experiment.


Champaign County Likely Got Bigger,” News-Gazette, March 25

Here are 2009 population estimates for area counties, along with the percentage change from the 2000 census counts:

– Champaign, 195,671, up 8.9 percent from 179,669.

– Coles, 52,065, down 2.1 percent from 53,196.

– DeWitt, 16,034, down 4.6 percent from 16,798.

– Douglas, 19,169, down 3.8 percent from 19,922.

– Edgar, 18,471, down 6.3 percent from 19,704.

– Ford, 13,911, down 2.3 percent from 14,241.

– Iroquois, 29,690, down 5.2 percent from 31,334.

– McLean, 167,699, up 11.5 percent from 150,433.

– Moultrie, 14,392, up 0.7 percent from 14,287.

– Piatt, 16,550, down 0.5 percent from 16,635.

– Vermilion, 80,067, down 4.6 percent from 83,919.

Student in custody following fight at academy,” News-Gazette, March 28

“Police say that at least one student is in custody following what was described as a ‘large fight’ Sunday evening at Lincoln’s Challenge Academy in Rantoul.”

Illinois Opens Spring Football With No Juice,” Bloomington Pantagraph, March 29

In Juice’s wake, Charest emerges as the early front runner to lead Illini offense.

U of I Researchers Identify New Soybean Aphid Biotype,” EurekAlert, March 29

In yet another sign of the impending apocalypse:

“‘Identifying a biotype that can overcome Rag1 and Rag2 resistance, even before soybean varieties with these resistance genes were deployed in production, suggests high variability in virulence within soybean aphid populations,’ said Curt Hill, U of I principal research specialist. ‘This gives the pest a high potential to adapt to and reduce the effective life of resistance genes deployed in production.'”

“Sheila Simon picked as Quinn’s running mate,” Chicago Tribune, March 28

But Simon quickly sought to downplay the idea that Democrats – fearing voter backlash from the Rod Blagojevich scandals that put Quinn in the governor’s chair – were trying to trade on the reputation her late father established.

“A famous name is not enough. Voters shouldn’t stop there,” Simon said after the vote. “I hope to meet with people across the state of Illinois and give them the opportunity to get to know me on my own ground – to know me as a lawyer, as a former prosecutor, as a teacher, a wife and a mother. The famous name gets my foot in the door, and that’s only the start. It shouldn’t be the end.”

“ICC weighs water rate increase request,” The Telegraph, March 28

The commission has not generally granted Illinois-American Water the rate increase amounts requested, but the company has received some reduced percentage of increase in past rate cases.

Solo Cup loses $4.5 million for quarter, $35.7 million for year,” News-Gazette, March 30

“The global economic recession that started late in 2008 and continued in 2009 had a significant impact on our 2009 operating results,” the company said in its annual report issued last week.

In particular, consumers ate out less frequently, hurting food-service businesses that account for 81 percent of Solo’s net sales. High unemployment rates also helped weaken demand at some food-service operators, the annual report said.

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