Author Archives: Diane

Phosphorus is not for us

Following up on the chemical ban, I also attended several committee meetings about a possible ban on phosphorus fertilizers in Illinois. Currently, the ban has passed in the House but is not yet law. Lawn care companies could be prohibited from using phosphorus in fertilizer as early as July 1, according to a bill that’s […]

BPA-free babies

Here’s another story that was in the works for a while. In early February, representatives from Environment Illinois spoke about toxic chemicals during the unveiling of their 2010 legislative agenda. I followed up on this issue by tracking a bill that would ban Bisphenol A. Illinois environmentalists, public health organizations and child safety advocates are […]

Nuclear power revival?

This was my first cover story for Illinois Times. I visited the nuclear power plant in Clinton, Illinois. This was the second time I’ve had to wear a hard hat while reporting! This was also the first time I’d taken photos in a while, so it was good to get some practice. It was a […]

New energy codes leave home builders in the dark

This story came out of a local home builder’s complaint. He was speaking with my editor about doing a letter on this subject, but I decided that it would make a pretty good story. I’m pleased with the result. Zinn Construction, a custom home building company based in Sherman, builds eight to ten homes per […]

Communities demand solutions for pension burden

This week, I wrote about the local pension problem, and a new pension reform coalition. If you’ve paid property taxes in Springfield, you’ve contributed to a police officer or firefighter’s pension fund. According to Mayor Tim Davlin, almost 100 percent of property taxes collected in Springfield go to police and fire pensions. In accordance with […]

Popular farm chemical goes on trial in Springfield

This is one of my favorite stories I’ve written this semester. The atrazine issue is one I wasn’t previously familiar with, but I really enjoyed learning about it. Capturing the debate between science and industry was particularly interesting for me, especially because both sides are so passionately sure they’re right. Stories like these are important, […]

A Sticky Situation

This week, I wrote about a bill that would loosen regulations on Illinois beekeepers. The state’s beekeepers are buzzing to gain some independence. A new bill would ensure that small honey producers are able to sell their products at farmers markets, fairs or roadside stands without government regulation. The measure, supporters say, would allow beekeepers […]

Let the sunshine in

This week, I wrote about the push for solar energy in Illinois. Investing in solar energy could bring the state as many as 17,000 new jobs, one environmental expert says. As the fifth largest producer and consumer of electricity, Illinois is not living up to its sun-harnessing potential. The state is seriously behind on solar […]

Permit process slows down manufacturers

One story I wrote this week comes from the General Assembly’s joint commission on job creation. I focused on the issue of EPA permits. After a two-year permit process, U.S. Steel Corp. finalized a $750 million project in Granite City, Ill., last October. In Alabama, a similar project’s permit only took six months to clear. […]

Low marks for state’s infrastructure

This week’s story is about the state’s inability to maintain roads, bridges and waterways. The state’s infrastructure earned failing grades in a report issued last week by the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. If the situation does not improve, civil engineers say, drivers may see more potholes on roads and highways, […]