Audio / Link / Photo / Quote / Video / Word / Submit to the SPlog! +

Oh hell yeah, Stoner is the new Mayor in Monticello

One of the principal joys of coming home for the holidays is reading the local paper - in my case, that means the Monticello Journal-Republican. While this usually just includes brushing up on high school sports and reading the "Court News" to see who got a speeding ticket, today, I noticed this gem of a headline:

My hometown never ceases to amaze me, and it seems clear that hazy days are ahead for all of the residents of the small town just 20 minutes outside of Champaign-Urbana. In all seriousness, Larry Stoner was a band teacher when I was in school, and by all accounts is a pretty cool guy. I wish him nothing but the best of luck as Mayor of our fair city. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


Espresso Royale announces gift card special

If you love Espresso Royale Coffee (or any of their other drinks/food), prepare yourself for perhaps their most remarkable deal yet. This Black Friday, on November 27th, Espresso will be giving out a $25 gift card completely free with the purchase of a $100 gift card (or $35 for $30 if that's too steep), which is basically free money if you drink a cup of coffee a day. This deal is also accompanied by the standard Espresso seasonal drink lineup, including Peppermint Bark Mochas, Gingerbread Lattes, Eggnog Lattes, and Ginger Chai Lattes.

If you, like any normal functioning coffee-addict, can predict that you’ll be spending at least $100 dollars at an Espresso at any point in the future, then this deal is for you. Don't miss out. It's a guaranteed win.


Champaign Surplus announces Black Friday sale

Champaign Surplus would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful to be part of such a great community. Once you’ve shared good food and laughs with the family on Thanksgiving, rest up for Black Friday shopping at Champaign Surplus. You don’t have to start shopping on Thanksgiving Day though or wake up at 3 a.m. to get great savings. Our doors open at 9 a.m. on Black Friday and there are plenty of great deals to go around.

For starters, we’ll be giving out a doorbuster FREE pair of Fits merino wool socks (a $19.99 value) with any $5 purchase while supplies last. Save 30% on select styles of men’s, women’s, and kid’s outerwear, clothing, and footwear from brands like Patagonia, Kuhl, Prana, Woolrich and more. And save 25% on select styles from brands like Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, and many more!

Find special deals like the boy’s and girl’s Columbia Alpine Action Jacket for just $67.50 (regular $90). This jacket features special Outgrown cuffs that can extend to accommodate for growth over multiple seasons. Or save more than $150 on the women’s Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka for $370.30 (regular $529).Look for our circular in The News Gazette Thanksgiving Day for a complete list of Black Friday Deals.

If you can’t make it out on Black Friday (or choose to skip the long lines and traffic), you can still enjoy shopping with the family at Champaign Surplus. Our special deals continue through Monday, November 30th! Spend the day supporting your area businesses this Saturday during the nation-wide Small Business Saturday. Champaign Surplus and many other Champaign Center Partnership downtown merchants are participating with great specials to take advantage of. Then, join in downtown for the Parade of Lights & Tree Lighting Ceremony, starting at 6 p.m.


Donate socks to senior citizens

Cassel Heating and Cooling are at it again. Last time I checked in with this company they were giving away a free heater to a family in need. This time they are collecting socks to donate to senior citizens. From their website:

Join Us in our Socks For Seniors© program. A non-profit community service project to help senior citizens keep their feet warm this winter.

Each year Socks For Seniors hosts it’s annual Sock Drive along with Community Leaders and Volunteers. The dropoff locations: Cassel Home Comfort 2100 S. Neil St.

Consider making a donation because it's a pretty simple way to help others out and cold feet are the worst. The worst. 


Barrelhouse 34: DT Champaign’s new craft beer bar unveils name, hiring now

It's official: The name for the new craft beer bar in Downtown Champaign (34 Main Street) will be Barrelhouse 34. We posted some information about it as they were in the process of hiring a GM when the named hadn't been announced, but now there's a name, and some photos of the interior to go along with it (below).

Perhaps you're interested in working there? They're hiring, and you can check out the info here:

Barrelhouse 34, Downtown Champaign's newest craft beer and craft spirits bar, is now hiring bartenders for its approaching opening by the end of the year.

We look forward to hearing from industry professionals who are:

  • passionate and knowledgeable about beer, spirits, and hospitality
  • presentable and professional in appearance
  • outgoing and personable
  • hard-workers
  • punctual
  • dependable
  • quick learners
  • team players

We are looking for individuals who love sharing their passion for beer and cocktails with the great people of our community. Please send your resume and briefly explain why you would be great behind the bar at Barrelhouse 34 to cmthrmanager@gmail.com.


Le Shoppe to close after 26 years of business

After many years as a staple of Midtown Champaign — Le Shoppe announced today via Facebook they will be closing their doors after 26 years of business. Although there's no specific date set at this point, check out the post:


I'd like to thank everyone that has supported me at Leshoppe for the last 6 years. Thanks a Million!! I sorry to say but...

Posted by Le Shoppe on Monday, November 23, 2015

Rebecah has featured Le Shoppe a few times in her local guide to shopping over the past few years, as well as mentioning their redesign in BEST Culture 2015.

Top photo by Polly Bland.


Ray Spooner finishes cross country ride for ALS

Champaign-Urbana's Ray Spooner has completed his ride across the country to raise money for ALS, per People Magazine, as of November 19th. It's been a bumpy road to say the least. You can read all about it at the article, but also watch the video of Spooner completing his ride, overcome with emotion:

Spooner has raised over $57,000 for ALS (and you can still contribute), a disease that he has been disagnosed with. Amazing feat, Ray.

Sipyard Tap Takeover

This Friday, November 27th, Sipyard will host a tap takeover (starting at 11 a.m.). Per its Facebook page: 

Enjoy post-Thanksgiving with Southern Hopishere, a special collaboration between Triptych Brewing and Arcade Brewery. Only one keg will make it down to Urbana!

For the beer geeks:
Southern Hopisphere is a must for the Belgian IPA fan. Brewing with only hops from the southern hemisphere, Southern Hopisphere has big tropical and citrus hop character with a slight amount of the Belgian yeast character shining through
Malts: Pils, Pale, Melanoidin
Hops: Wakatu, Summer, Vic Secret
Adjuncts: Blond Soft Candi Sugar

Happy Thanksgiving, and hoppy drinking. 

Sipyard is located at 204 W Main Street, Urbana. 


Illinois-Chicago State preview

Chicago State (3-1)
All-time: 0-11 (last meeting: Illinois 77--53 Chicago St., 11/22/13)
Tip-off:  7 pm in Springfield
TV: ESPN 3 (streaming)

After four games, Chicago State is averaging 96.75 points per game. With Illinois’s defense looking as lively as your uncle after the dessert round on Thanksgiving, this is a rather scary proposition. The big, and I mean big, caveat with the Cougars’ scoring is that so far they have played Illinois Tech, Indiana University Northwest, Trinity International, and (#7) Iowa State: only one of those schools is real, I’m pretty sure.

Though the comps are hardly better than games against the Culinary Institute of America, a few things stand out about the Cougars. Against the Cyclones, CSU lost 106-64, with 10 players getting at least 10 minutes of playing time. In other games the rotation has been slightly less deep, but having many players that can be thrown into the mix will be a benefit for CSU against a very shallow Illinois team. Another thing Chicago State is doing frequently is just chucking up threes: against ISU they were 10 for 37, against Indiana Northwest just 9 for 30. Opposing teams have killed Illinois from deep, but getting CSU to take threes, especially forcing bad shots, would still be a good game plan for the Illini.

More than anything, Illinois needs to lead wire-to-wire. In each of its four games Illinois has trailed at half. This has much to do with scheduling talented mid-majors thirsty to knock-off some big schools in nonconference play (North Florida and Chattanooga were both picked as preseason favorites to win their respective conferences). Chicago State, despite its high-scoring start, is not one of the giant-killer schools on Illinois’s schedule. So this is a chance for the Illini to just go out and ball on someone. If they don’t take that opportunity, well John Groce may as well resign.

Predicted lineups

Gut feeling

It’s really hard to imagine Illinois dominating this one after blowing a 9-point lead late in the Chattanooga game, but I do think they win it. If it’s not a blowout I hope it will at least be convincing.