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Help send a Champaign Family to the Rose Parade

When parents Sheila and Terry Walters, from Champaign, IL, received news that their son, Caleb, had passed away in a motorcycle accident, their world turned upside down.  Not only was the couple suddently faced with the reality of losing their son, but they also needed to make a decision about Caleb becoming an eye, organ and tissue donor.

Sheila and Terry courageously chose to pursue donation, and Caleb gave the amazing gift of sight to two people.  With help from the Illinois Eye-Bank, Caleb's corneas provided sight-restoring transplants to individuals suffering from corneal blindness.

One of those people was Cyndy Loula. Today, Cyndy sees because of Caleb's generosity. After struggling for years with keratoconus, a disease effecting the shape of the cornea, and losing both her sight and independence, Cyndy's restored vision gave her a new lease on life.

After several years of writing letters back and forth, the Walters and Cyndy finally met and became instant friends. Now, the three of them act as passionate ambassadors for the Illinois Eye-Bank, sharing their personal accounts of restored hope through donation and the gift of sight.

As a way of thanking Cyndy and the Walters for their continued work and support, the Illinois Eye-Bank wants to send them to California to participate in the Donate Life Float during the Rose Parade. Donate Life America annually sponsors this float to honor donors, donor families, recipients and the gifts of sight, life and mobility. Cyndy, Sheila and Terry have a very powerful story to share, and positioning them on the national Rose Parade platform will allow them to provide hope to others facing similar situations.

The Illinois Eye-Bank is a nonprofit organizaiton which heavily relies on the generosity of financial contributors to carry out its mission. The charity cannot send Cyndy, Sheila and Terry to California alone, so YOUR help is needed to get them there.

Terry (left) and Sheila Walters, donor parents.

To support this cause, please make a financial donation online to the Celebrating the Gift of Sight campaign. Any contribution makes a significant difference. If you can't help finanancially, please simply share the campaign link on your social media sites, and encourage your friends, family and coworkers to provide their support as well.

The Illinois Eye-Bank is proud to be part of the Champaign-Urbana community. In fact, in 2013 alone the Illinois Eye-Bank facilitated corneal transplants for 8 people from Champaign-Urbana. Additionally, 50 residents became cornea donors, providing the gift of sight to others in need.  

With your assistance, the Eye-Bank can continue serving your community, and can send the Walters and Cyndy to the Rose Parade to show the country the great work being done in your own backyard.

For more information on the Illinois Eye-Bank, visit the organization online at www.illinoiseyebank.org, and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/illinoiseyebank. For questions, please contact Brittany Wright, Community Relations Liaison, at bwright@illinoiseyebank.org, or at (312)469-5516.


bacaro hosting Halloween Chicken Shack

For one night only — this Friday, October 31st — bacaro will be turned into a fried chicken shack. This is a brilliant idea, and I encourage you to forgo passing out candy to childen so that you may pass chicken into your mouth. Bacaro is open 5-11 p.m. 

Here's the menu:

Thad's Chicken Shack
Friday October 31 2014
One Night Only!

Oysters On The Half Shell  
horseradish, lemon, black pepper vinaigrette           
6 for 12.     or     12 for 24.
Chopped Romaine Salad
radish, celery, almonds, feta     8. 
Rabbit Nuggets
bacaro barbeque sauce     10.

Fried or Roasted
Bacaro Original, Jalapeno Ranch, Spicy
half for 15.     or     whole for 20.

Not Chicken
Pan Fried Catfish     13.
Beef Brisket     15.
Fall Vegetable Mac and Cheese    10.

Mashed Potatoes with Chicken Gravy     4.
Collard Greens     4.
Cornbread     4.
Bacon Potato Salad     4.
Honey Biscuits     4.
Baked Beans     4.

Pecan Pie Bar with Bourbon Crema     4.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie with Warm Caramel     4.


Local Iggy Azalea metal cover collects some attention online

Local rock group Eriose, who released their first single this past January, has gotten a bit of traffic with a metal cover of Iggy Azalea's song "Fancy." The video was posted Friday, the 23rd and was noticed the following day and shared by metal websites Metal Sucks and Metal Injection, who posted an article saying, "this is proof these damn things need to stop."
Eriose is made up of locals Alexandra Wilson, Brendan Summers, and Zakk Burke, musicians who share similar tastes. They felt the song would be fun to cover in part because of it's contentious nature. "We knew we would have a consistent balance of people who enjoy it, and people who would hate it," Wilson said.
The response has been varied as far as their press and the ensuing youtube comments. "When I woke up to a text saying 'We're featured on Metalsucks and Metal Injection,' I didn't exactly know how to respond," said Summers. "I obviously wanted our cover to do well, but I didn't expect it to get picked up by such biased communities. It was exciting because it was spreading like wildfire, but at the same time it was terrifying due to all the extreme criticism. Either way, I was very happy to have our work spreading around the Internet at such a ridiculous rate."
Their video received over 11,000 views on Saturday and is currently sitting at upwards of 22,000.

Open House for Urbana’s Climate Action Plan Phase 2

The City of Urbana is hosting an open house to share and discuss the Urbana Climate Action Plan Phase 2. The open house will provide an opportunity for residents to offer direction on what greenhouse gas reduction strategies are most important.

Residents can review the plan and speak with City Staff and Sustainability Advisory Commission members about the plan.

Who: All are welcome
When: Thursday October 30th at 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Where: Urbana City Council Chambers

The open house will be followed by a joint meeting between the Sustainability Advisory Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission discussing the Long Range Transportation Plan.

Residents can also submit public comments today through the City's online survey.  Comments on the Phase 2 Climate Action Plan are critical in the process.  Comment period closes October 31st.

Urbana’s initial phase of the City’s Climate Action Plan concludes at the end of 2014.  Phase 2 of the Climate Action Plan zeroes in on a smaller number of strategies that the City and residents can employ to reach a 25% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from a 2007 baseline.  As part of the plan development process, an updated greenhouse gas inventory tool was used to create a 2013 inventory and update the 2007 baseline inventory.

For more information, visit http://www.urbanaillinois.us/sustainability or contact Scott Tess at 217-384-2381 or srtess@urbanaillinois.us.


U of I to host MoSAIC Math + Art Festival

From the press release:

University of Illinois to Host MoSAIC Math + Art Festival

Urbana, IL – University of Illinois will be hosting a festival celebrating the connections between mathematics and the arts on Friday-Saturday, November 21-22, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The festival will be held in Altgeld Hall and the Illini Union on the University campus and is free and open to the public.

The MoSAIC Festival includes a variety of hands-on workshops, lectures, a mathematical art exhibit, short films, and an area for informal exchange. It is designed to be easily accessible by audiences high school age and up. See www.math.illinois.edu/MOSAIC

Some of the featured presenters at the festival include:

  • Bob Bosch, Oberlin College, an award winning mathematician and artist, whose artworks appeared in the MAA and AMS magazines
  • Judy Holdener, Kenyon College, a University of Illinois alumna who will lead a workshop on Balloon-twisting 
  • Eve Torrance, Randolph-Macon College, who will lead a workshop on orgami
  • Reza Saharangi, Towson University, who will present on The Art & Design of the Decagram 
  • Anton Lukyanenko, Universit of Michigan, a University of Illinois alumnus who will lead a workshop on “Heisen-blocks.”
  • Jessica Li, an Illinois Geometry Lab-mentored high school student, who will present a workshop on the mathematics of snowflakes, a project which has lead her to the semifinals of the prestigious Siemens talent search.
  • Natalya Zielnicki, Harvard University, a former Countryside Middle School teacher who will lead sessions on mathematics and art in teaching.

MoSAIC stands for Mathematics of Science, Art, Industry, Culture. The purpose of the MoSAIC project, which holds festivals at several universities each year across the United States, is to promote awareness and interest in mathematics through its connection to the arts. MoSAIC is a joint venture between The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and The Bridges Organization.

“Mathematicians see math as art, and many artists love math. At a MoSAIC Festival these usually separate worlds can unite! The sparks generated will be inspiring,” says David Eisenbud, Director of MSRI. “A student who is engaged in mathematics through the arts may be hooked and go on and explore further on their own,” adds George Hart, Bridges board member and MoSAIC Director.

MoSAIC fits in beautifully with the University of Illinois’s historic strengths in interdisciplinary work between STEM and the arts, and in particular with the public engagement work of the mathematics department via the Illinois Geometry Lab.

MSRI’s MoSAIC Festival of Math & Art program has been made possible through generous support by the Simons Foundation (www.simonsfoundation.org).

From its location in Berkeley, CA, MSRI (www.msri.org) hosts visitors from all over the world to pursue advanced mathematical research, and is committed to furthering mathematics education from elementary school to the postgraduate, as well as furthering the public understanding and appreciation of the beauty and excitement of mathematics.  The Bridges Organization (www.bridgesmathart.org) oversees the Bridges conference, an annual 5-day conference on connections between mathematics and the arts.

For more information on the MoSAIC project visit www.mosaicmathart.org.


Jayadev Athreya, Assistant Professor and Director, Illinois Geometry Lab


Department of Mathematics, 1409 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801



Bambenek releases statement on Unit 4 School resource officers

From a John Bambenek-distributed press release:

Contact: John Bambenek / john@johnbambenek.com / 217-493-0760
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bambenek Releases Statement on Unit 4 School Resource Officers
Questions Why Schools Must Pay City for Police the Taxpayers Already Provide
Champaign, IL – School board member John Bambenek today released the following statement questioning why Champaign Unit #4 has to pay the City of Champaign for a police presence when taxpayers are already funding a police department to protect residents.

“Champaign Unit 4 schools currently pays the City to provide police officers to the middle and high schools. I have recently learned this is not true for other school systems around Illinois. I have asked for further research as to how typical this arrangement is but it seems odd Champaign schools need to pay special fees to the Champaign police to provide a presence when they are already funded by the taxpayers to provide police service.”

"At first blush, however, it seems that the city has misplaced priorities when they can afford to give away millions on so-called tax incentives to politically connected businesses and the families and friends of politicians but then come hat in hand to the schools asking for a diversion of scarce education dollars to fund the police.  I think we can do better."


Wednesday afternoon artist lecture at Parkland Gallery

From a Parkland press release:

Carrie Ann Schumacher, Artist Lecture
Wednesday, October 29, 1:15 pm in the gallery

Carrie Ann Schumacher is a multi-media artist living and working in Chicago.  She received a BFA in Digital Media from Elmhurst College in 2008 and an MFA in Painting from Northern Illinois University in 2012.  She currently serves on the faculty at Kishwaukee College, where she teaches Computer Art, Introduction to Visual Arts, and Digital Imaging.

Carrie Ann Schumacher writes of her work:

"The dresses I create from the pages of romance novels examine the demands that feminine culture places upon women by utilizing the garment as a social signifier. Women often define themselves through clothing; we use our appearance to project ambitions, attract mates and signal our social status. Fashion magazines become the bibles that guide the creation of self-image, and generation after generation of females have been programmed to buy into this culture of unrealistic beauty.

Romance novels echo this sentiment, as they represent an impossible alternate reality, one where love and relationships are all-consuming and eternally passionate. Reality never touches either the fashion or romance realms, but the former is advertised as a way to obtain the latter.

The dresses reflect this as they are seductively beautiful, but due to the material from which they are created, unable to be worn. Completely without function, it represents how useless the feminine myths we have created are in real life."


See David Bowie Is at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art

We have a few seats left — call now to reserve yours!


Friday, November 7th, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum, this retrospective is a chronology of the extraordinary career of musical artist David Bowie. More than 300 objects from the David Bowie Archives are on display, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork, and rare performance material from the past five decades.

Bowie's work has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design, theatre, and contemporary culture. The exhibition focuses on his creative processes, shifting style, and collaborative work with diverse designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, and film.

Our day includes museum and special exhibition entry. After the tour we will eat lunch and have free time to explore the rest of the museum, shop their extensive bookstore and giftshop or walk Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

The cost of the tour is $75 (lunch additional). The Bus departs from Parkland College on Mattis - Business Training and Community Education, 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

This trip is a collaborative effort between Community Education and Parkland's Giertz Gallery to assist with art exhibits and programming.

Please contact Community Education at 217/353-2055 to purchase a ticket. Seating is limited.