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I’m still alive… November 29, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local, News - National.
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I’ve just been posting over at my new space….  www.jdub217.com

Feel free to check it out.

Here’s my latest post on the current AIDS epidemic… 


Cell Phone Ban October 5, 2006

Posted by j-dub in General, News - Local.
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I’m sure you’ve read/heard about this story, but if you haven’t, here is a link.

Illinipundit author, Joan Dykstra, has also posted about this recently.

Urbana Alderman Charlie Smyth is going to propose a cell phone ban for drivers in Urbana. Basically, this is in response to Matt Wilhem’s tragic death in early September.

Let me say this. I understand Mr. Smyth’s concern, and it is a legitimate one. So are eating, reading, talking, singing, and a 100 other things while you are driving. Are we going to police them all? Who’s going to enforce the ban(s)? What’s the casualty rate for every minute of cell-phone usage on the road? Where does all of this stop?

I’m sure millions of people talk on their cell phones while driving each day, and probably for hundreds of millions of minutes each day. I would find it hard to believe that the casualty rates are staggering. Mr. Smyth compares cell phone usage to drunk driving, and while they are similar in that they both delay reactions times, etc; I don’t think that’s a fair or equal comparison.

I commend Smyth’s attempt at being somewhat pro-active, yet reactive at the same time. His son went to High School with Mr. Wilhelm.

Here is some potential language listed in the N-G article:

It would include only limited exceptions, such as for on-duty police officers acting in official capacity when no other means of communications is available; when using a telephone to call 911 in an emergency; and when a vehicle is parked and not in gear.

Use for an emergency makes sense, but once again, how do the police know you are on an emergency phone call? Will they pull you over and ask? If you are it’s okay, and if not you just lie and then he has to prove it in court? Or you are honest and get a ticket. I just don’t see how it will work.

The fine for violating the ordinance would be $75, but if a violation also occurs with a traffic accident, the fine could increase to as much as $200.

Smyth is not proposing to allow hands-free cell phones, as in Chicago, where drivers are otherwise banned from cell phone use.

Personally, I have a hands-free device, and I know I’m less distracted when using it versus holding a phone to my ear. I know there are studies which say you are still distracted, but I’m also distracted when I talk to a passenger in my car. That’s essentially what a hands-free device is like, talking freely while driving.

My favorite quote from the article:

Alderwoman Heather Stevenson, R-Ward 6, had this to say:

“It’s just one more form of nanny government is what it seems like to me,” she said. “I don’t know where it’s going to end.

My sentiments exactly…

Rantoul Retention Pond August 2, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local.
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The forecast for the next 36 hours sounds like deja-vu from a week or so ago. Severe storms, lots of rain, hail, etc.

Hopefully, folks in Rantoul will have their waders ready.

Almost every time there is a good shower, the village of Rantoul turns into an assortment of ponds. These ponds tend to form in certain sections of town and always underneath the overpass by Rogers; rendering 136 west of 45 useless.

Well, Rantoul built a new retention pond (within the past few years) that was supposed to alleviate this problem. This, according to all the wonderful folks I know in and around Rantoul. These same folks, have also heard rumbles that the retention pond was doomed from the start because it was not constructed properly. It’s also curious to note that the pond has been an afterthought from the moment is has been completed. Hardly a word has been spoke of it and I’m beginning to wonder why.

Obviously the pond isn’t doing it’s job, as was indicated by the flooding last week. I’m no drainage expert, and I know we received a lot of rain, but it doesn’t take an expert to see a lack of improvement. Especially when you hear the same stories from the same people about the flooding still being a problem. Maybe the retention pond is doing it’s job, but the drainage to and from the pond is the bottleneck. I don’t really know, but it’s clear they didn’t address the root of the problem.

I have a few questions. Why build a pond that doesn’t work? Was the pond necessary? Why build a pond if the infrastructure can’t deliver to and from the pond as needed? Was the project screwed up along the way? If so, why didn’t they fix it?

Chicago Olympics July 28, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local.

For those of you who might not know, Chicago is one of 3 finalists trying to host the 2016 Olympic games. There is potential for some of the Olympic events to be held right here in Champaign-Urbana at the University of Illinois.

With respect to this issue, WCIA ran a story yesterday about a University professor, (who’s last name I can’t remember, but I believe it started with an S) who wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the sole purpose of saying the University of Illinois/Chicago would not be a suitable venue for the olympic games. He says this is because the University still uses the Chief as their mascot. Basically, he said University wouldn’t be appropriate to host an international audience because of their current Chief issues.

Hold on just one second…Let me preface my comments by saying I support the Chief and I’d be sad to see him go. However, I understand the possible disrespect is causes to Native Americans and if the University did decide to part ways with the Chief; I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

That being said, what’s this guy thinking? If I were the University I would find some way to can this guy for slander against the University. His whole premise was that we at the U of I support a racist, stereotypical, and insensitive mascot and therefore wouldn’t be worthy of hosting any events for the Chicago-based games which would have an international audience. Gee, I’d sure like to have a job where I can outright diminish my employer in the media, get away with it, and still keep my job.

I understand it’s his opinion and his right to say something, but give me a break. Most people in the real world wouldn’t be allowed through the doors the next day after making such boldface comments about their employer. Especially considering the fact that he wrote a letter to the IOC to jeopardize the Chicago Olympic bid.

And another thing, if he despises the U of I so much, why is he still working there?

Obviously, the IOC doesn’t think it’s a problem or Chicago probably wouldn’t be in the final 3, or at least there wouldn’t already be talk about the U of I possibly hosting events if Chicago got the bid.

Some people are truly amazing.

I have two questions:

  1. Does the Chief have anything to do with respect to the Chicago bid, even if events were to be hosted at the U of I?
  2. Would you still have your job after a similar incident?

Ryan Katcher’s Body Found at Kickapoo July 26, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local.

Well, the first true lead into this story comes 5 and a half years later. The authorities, who were testing new equipment, found his truck (his body inside) in Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Park.

I can only report absolute shock when I heard the news. I’m just baffled by the whole thing really. I’m also extremely relieved for the family and Oakwood area residents. If you were around the area (as I was) when this happened, you would know the magnitude at which this affected people locally.

I didn’t personally know Ryan, but I do know people from that area and I know how this strange sequence of events has always puzzled and saddened everyone involved.

I thank the local authorities who have hopefully put an end to the story by finding Ryan.

Here are some links to all the local stories that I could find:

WCIA Channel 3:


The News-Gazette:


The Commercial-News:




Find Ryan Website:


I’ll post some more of my opinions/thoughts later this evening. Feel free to pass along any info, thoughts, etc.