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College for Kids at Parkland celebrates its 35th year

Depending on who you speak with, some will tell you that your college-aged years are the best of your life. The wealth of knowledge gained on a collegiate campus and the time spent there is outstanding for students and faculty alike.

Growing up in a household where one of my parents worked for a university, I thought college was the coolest thing in the world. I wanted to go to college from a young age because I saw older young people enjoying themselves and having the freedom to learn what they wanted and do what they wanted on their own time.

My experiences on a campus as a youngster were really cool. I got to see what it was like to have students heading to class and going to the dining halls and hanging out outside of class. I was in awe and wished I could have participated in those experiences right then and there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a program for young people that I was able to be a part of.

Champaign has a program for kids like me at Parkland College. The College for Kids program is turning 35 years old this year and students in grades 3-8 are invited to participate. There’s two sessions taking place in June and July where students can explore a variety of subjects on a college campus. More details on the May registration can be found here.

It’s a great way for inquisitive young minds to stay sharp as they’re in the middle of their summer vacation. More than that, though, it gives young students to live life as a big shot on campus for a few days.


Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee launches new Pro Bono Pledge


<span 0.875em;="" line-height:="" 1.357;"="">The Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee has launched the Pro Bono Pledge to encourage and recognize lawyers providing free legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Illinois.

“Our legal community has had a longstanding tradition of providing pro bono legal assistance, and for that we should be congratulated,” wrote Committee Chair, Mark C. Palmer of Evans, Froehlich, Beth & Chamley, in a letter to attorneys in the Sixth Circuit. “However, the number of unrepresented individuals and families has increased significantly, and more pro bono assistance is needed.”

The Pledge calls on law firms and corporate legal departments to:

  1. Encourage their attorneys and legal staff to provide pro bono legal services and in doing so, provide an environment which is hospitable to the rendition of such services;
  2. Designate a primary pro bono point of contact within the firm or corporate law department;
  3. Consider adopting a written pro bono policy; and
  4. Recognize attorneys and legal staff who participate in pro bono services, as appropriate.

The pledge was formally launched on March 30, 2015. Interested attorneys and law offices can sign the pledge at www.pili.org/6thcircuit. 

The Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee is a group of lawyers and judges working to enlist, educate and recognize attorneys dedicated to pro bono work in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The ultimate goal is to expand the reach of legal aid to poor and underrepresented communities. It was launched on October 23, 2012 in partnership with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI). Pro Bono Committees in Illinois’ Third, Fifth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Judicial Circuits have also launched similar Pro Bono Pledges. More information about the Pro Bono Pledge is available at: www.pili.org/pro-bono/pro-bono-pledge.

About PILI: PILI's mission is to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need. PILI envisions a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where law students, lawyers and legal professionals at all stages of their careers engage in public interest law or pro bono work, and remain committed to addressing the unmet legal needs of the poor and underrepresented.

To learn more about PILI, visit our website at www.pili.org, or contact PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann at mbergmann@pili.org or 312-832-5129.


iTV-3 announces expansion groundbreaking on May 8th in Urbana

Good news, Urbana. iTV-3 is breaking ground next week — so fiber is coming your way. Check out the full press release below:

Please make plans to join representatives from iTV-3, UC2B, the cities of Urbana & Champaign, and the University of Illinois for a groundbreaking event to celebrate the expansion of gigabit-to-the-home service in Urbana-Champaign. 

A full invitation and press release will follow soon. Please see event logistics below. 

Who: Calling all gigabit enthusiasts in Urbana and Champaign! This groundbreaking is open to the general public, local business, public officials, community anchor institutions, University representatives, and anyone interested in the expansion of the gigabit network throughout Champaign-Urbana. Please help us spread the word by forwarding this email!

When: 11a.m. on Friday, May 8th

Where: Home of Bruce Komadina & Jenny Putman, 402 W. Delaware, Urbana (Intersection of Carle and Delaware)

Why: We are celebrating the start of construction of iTV-3 gigabit fiber-to-the-home service into new neighborhoods!

iTV-3 and UC2B have been busy behind the scenes since announcing a private-public partnership last Spring. iTV-3 has upgraded the core of the network in a brand new datacenter and each one of the core routers can handle 16Tbps of traffic. This equates to downloading the entire Netflix catalog of content in less than 30 minutes.

iTV-3 is also installing new fiber to the premise equipment in Champaign and Urbana area to meet the future needs of the community.  This will enable iTV-3 to expand the network and provide Gigabit service to more than 250,000 homes including 45,000 households and businesses in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Help us celebrate the first C-U neighborhood to reach a 50% commitment and encourage other neighborhoods to build demand. Visit www.ThePerfectUpgrade.comto view the current sign-up map and learn more. 


Town Hall on budget cut proposals

Rep. Carol Ammons, the Campus Faculty Association, and the Graduate Employees Organization are co-sponsoring a town hall with Ralph Martire, the Executive Director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability. 

Ralph Martire is Executive Director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability, an advocacy think tank that works across ideological lines to promote social and economic justice. In February 2011, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission. He teaches graduate courses for the University of Illinois and Roosevelt University. He serves on the School Board of River Forest District 90 and is a regular columnist on education, fiscal and economic policy for the State Journal Register and Daily Herald.

WHEN: Monday, April 27 from 4 - 6 p.m.

WHERE: Champaign Public Library


Tonight on SP Radio: Urbana’s Market at the Square 2015

Urbana's Market at the Square is right around a week away (but hey, who's counting?). Join us tonight on SP Radio as we chat with Natalie Kenny-Marquez, Director of Market at the Square, about what this year's market will have to offer. 

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here.


Lt. Governor Sanguinetti stopped by Barkstall Elementary

This afternoon Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti made a trip to Champaign to meet with Ms. Ellis’ social studies class at Barkstall Elementary. The students in the class wrote letters to her asking about her role in government and instead of writing a canned reply, the Lt. Governor decided to stop in and meet the students personally.

Personal politics aside, the Lt. Governor was warm and comfortable with the children as she talked about her life as a young person. She was born in Miami to very young parents and talked about how she loved music and writing and that’s how she became a lawyer. She described a few of her responsibilities as the Lt. Governor and then opened the floor for questions.

The elementary students asked some pretty heavy hitters like “What is your favorite sport?” (fast-paced walking) and “Do you have animals?” (she has three: Tweety the bird, Sweetie the Spaniel, and Taco the Calico cat). It was rather adorable watching her interact with youngsters and trying to leave political rhetoric aside, although she did mention that she was in the business of problem solving and kept telling the children that her job is to create jobs for them in the State of Illinois.

The class presented Sanguinetti with a few souvenirs and she took pictures with the students before heading out. All in all, a really cool experience for those involved and good on the Lt. Governor for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk to the future of the United States.


Mayor Don Gerard gets the penultimate Democratic selfie

Don Gerard is doing a helluva victory lap this final month in office. One minute, he's presenting information on the big victory he helped out with to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, and now, he's taking selfies with ol' Amtrak Joe, our nation's Vice President. 

It's nice to see. 


Picture: provided 


Costume contest and free comics at Action Jackson Comics on May 2nd

Per a press release from Action Jackson Comics:

Free Comic Book Day is May 2nd — a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores, with no purchase required and no strings attached.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Action Jackson Comics, 123 West Main, Suite 103, in Urbana

Along with the free comic books that will be given out for Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), Action Jackson Comics will be holding a Costume Contest with categories for children/teens and adults. Everyone must sign the release form to participate in the contest and have their photo taken.  Action Jackson Comics be posting a photo of participants on the Action Jackson Comics Facebook page. People will then vote for the best costume via Facebook. The most likes in each category will be the winner. There will be 1st through 3rd place prizes. 

Children/teen’s contest prizes (ages 0-18)

First Place: $25 Gift Certificate, FCBD T-shirt, FCBD Poster

Second Place: FCBD T-shirt, FCBD Poster

Third Place: FCBD Poster

Adults contest prizes (ages 18+)

First Place: $25 Gift Certificate, FCBD T-shirt, FCBD Poster

Second Place: FCBD T-shirt, FCBD Poster

Third Place: FCBD Poster

For more information, visit the Action Jackson website.


Join Bodywork Associates at Indi Go Artist Co-Op for the Art of Science

Bodywork Associates and Indi Go Artist Co-Op have come together to host an opening reception for The Art of Science 5.0 tonight at 6 p.m. The exhibition is in its fifth year and showcases images from the University of Illinois' Institute for Genomic Biology.

Doug Nelson, President of BWA, helped to create the event five years ago when he had a vision to display scientific findings as art. Today, the exhibit stays true to that vision and continues to highlight the discoveries and work done by the IGB.


Bones Jugs does Bone Thugs

Wasn't it just a matter of time until this happened? Local band Bones Jugs N Harmony doesn't have much crossover in music or style with the hip hop group they their name from, however, they recently decided to take a stab at covering a song by Bone Thugs N Harmony. Here's what they have to say about it:

Originally released on April 23, 1996, "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony broke down musical genres and reached #1 on 3 different Billboard charts: Hot 100, R&B, and Rap. The juxtaposition of serious, somber lyrics with upbeat melodic delivery connected with music fans from all walks of life and made this song a landmark hit of the mid 90's.

Out of respect for the original artists, and in keeping with the heavy themes of life and death, we've created a cover that maintains the serious tone of the Bone Thugs version. However, instead of electronic synthesizers and drum machines, we recorded it with live instruments; mainly an antique whiskey jug and some bones.

Listen to and download tha song for free on Bandcamp: