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iTV-3 announces TV packages for Champaign-Urbana

From the press release:


Fiber-optic network will deliver ultra high-speed Internet and television over one of the most innovative city-wide gigabit networks in the U.S.

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS, MARCH 6, 2015 –- Residents in Urbana-Champaign will soon have access to a variety of high-definition television packages in addition to ultra-fast broadband, all delivered over a world-class fiber-optic network from iTV-3 and the UC2B not-for-profit. 

Franchise agreements with the cities of Urbana and Champaign were recently reached, allowing iTV-3 to add a suite of competitive channel packages to their lineup.The iTV-3 network is 100% fiber-optic and offers superior bandwidth capacity, reliability, and picture quality compared to traditional coaxial cable companies. 

Signing up for service for both TV and Internet is easy and can be accessed at www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com. As always, no contract is required for any iTV-3 services. 

Three different tiers of television service are available with more than 300 available channels and thousands of on-demand movies. TV service is all-digital with uncompressed video quality at all times, allowing for the highest-quality picture. An assortment of DVR features are also offered among three distinctive television packages. In addition, a wide variety of sports channels and other family programming is included in the base package.  

A final channel lineup will be available as soon as agreements with local networks are completed. A preliminary version of the lineup for the Champaign-Urbana market can be downloaded here

Visit www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com to sign up for both gigabit Internet service and television. Prices and bundled options are displayed on the website, along with the number of sign-ups needed for each neighborhood. The network’s expansion is driven by demand and iTV-3 will expand service to any area that reaches a 50 percent sign-up commitment. No contract or deposit is required to sign up, but iTV-3 requires a valid credit card to verify the registration. iTV-3 will never charge customers before an installation appointment is scheduled and service is confirmed.

iTV-3 is a Peoria-based family-owned company and was selected by UC2B as a private partner to expand the existing gigabit fiber-optic backbone. Since the public-private partnership was announced in May 2014, numerous “behind the scenes” updates have been completed to enable fast, reliable speeds for future users throughout Urbana-Champaign. In November 2014, iTV-3 announced the first neighborhood to reach the required number of sign-ups. Construction is slated to start as early as possible this Spring. 

For questions about iTV-3 television and fiber-optic broadband service, contact the iTV-3 office at 217-530-0333 or visit a local Family Video. iTV-3 sales teams will also be canvassing areas in Urbana and Champaign throughout the coming weeks to collect sign-ups and share information. 


iTV-3 is a subsidiary of the Illinois-based family-owned company that owns and operates more than 775 Family Video stores in 19 states and Canada. Family Video is the largest movie and game rental chain in the United States. Family Video has three stores in Champaign-Urbana. It has been in the Internet Service Provider business since the mid 1990’s, and has provided fiber-based services since 2009. Learn more at www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com.

UC2B is a not-for-profit organization created by the Cities of Urbana and Champaign and the University of Illinois to oversee the UC2B fiber optic network throughout the community. UC2B started as an intergovernmental consortium in 2010 to build and operate the UC2B fiber-optic network using federal and state grants with local matching funds. For more information about UC2B, visit www.uc2b.net.

Levi Dinkla, iTV-3 Vice President, levi.dinkla@itv-3.com
Brandon Bowersox-Johnson, UC2B Board Chair, bowersox@uc2b.net


Illinois basketball preview: Purdue

This game could not have been scheduled better if the Big Ten had tried. Two 19-11 teams sitting firmly on the NCAA Tourney bubble, looking for win #20 and ready to beat each other up to get it. Whether you're cheering for the Illini or Purdue (and lacking common sense, like our publisher, Mr. Seth Fein — a known Purdue fan), this is going to be a great game.

I underestimate Purdue before Big Ten season started, but with good reason: they lost to North Florida and Gardner-Webb. They flipped the script in conference play, however, and helped increase the stature of the league this season (if the Big Ten gets the most teams in the NCAA Tourney I'd credit Purdue for that, whether they're in or not).

The key for Purdue's second-half rally has been a deep squad that work well in Matt Painter's system. Purdue gets an average of at least 10 minutes per game from 10 different players, and each of them has bought into Painter's physical style of play. As they've gelled they've gotten to be as tough as nearly any Big Ten team.

As seen in the last Illinois-Purdue match-up, however, the Boilermakers are vulnerable when they commit too many fouls. Illinois got 24 free throw attempts and Purdue got 9 in their last meeting; Illinois won by 9. This is a common problem for Purdue (outlined at Hammer and Rails) and something Illinois has exploited in other teams (e.g., Nebraska on Wednesday). Of course, the opposite would be equally injurious to Illinois. If Nnanna Egwu picks up 2 fouls in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Illini are in a tough spot.

This game will be much more fun than just watching who gets to the free throw line the most. But don't count that out as a major factor in the outcome of the game, and potentially in who makes the NCAA Tournament, perhaps at the expense of the other team.

My prediction: Illinois 65 – Purdue 60


Oh yes it’s ladies night… At Apricot Lane

Hey ladies in the place I'm callin out to ya!

Did that 27 year-old pop culture reference get your attention? Good. The rest of that jam by the Beastie Boys is obviously a little funky and a little raunchy, but that opening line is perfect for this. I truly am calling out to the ladies of Champaign-Urbana.

Cancel your plans on Tuesday and call up some of your girlfriends that you haven't seen in awhile and make some plans. You haven't connected enough because life's gotten in the way: it's been cold, work has been crazy, you just haven't had a minute to have that brunch and a mimosa or the appetizers and glass of wine after work.

It happens.

So make some plans on Tuesday (that's March 10th). It's the middle of the week and it's the right time to have something to look forward to. The weekend is still far enough off, but you can you spend this weekend planning. Set up an 8 p.m. dinner downtown (Urbana or Champaign) and tell the significant other that you're going to be a little late. But let's not start at 8. We don't need to compress this night out.

Any good night starts with a pre-game, a warm-up. It just so happens that on Tuesday there's going to be a perfect warm-up for your night out. From 5:30-7:30, Apricot Lane is hosting Girl's Night Out. There's going to be wine tasting, snacks, an opportunity to win Apricot Lane fashions, and a 20% discount on your purchase. The event is being put on by chamabanamoms.com, so you know it's going to be fun.

Why not get your girlfriends together to do a little shopping, wine tasting, and re-connecting before going out on the town for dinner? It's Tuesday, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun.

Hey ladies, get funky.


Tonight on SP Radio: Don Elmore

Tune in tonight at 5:30 p.m. to hear from Don Elmore, who was recently selected as the new Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. We'll find out what's up with the Small Business Development Center, which offers counseling to people who operate businesses or want to start one up. 

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.


Technology Entrepreneur Center seeking Marketing Coordinator

Our friends over at the Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) are in need of a Marketing Coordinator — which you can read all about below.

The Technology Entrepreneur Center in the College of Engineering is seeking an outstanding marketing professional to join our team as the Marketing Coordinator. We just reposted our job description here: http://go.illinois.edu/TECMarketingCoordinator

Perhaps you're that person? Check out the full listing for all the details.


You should be eating pizza for dinner tonight

Tonight is going to be the last night of this cold weather that seemed like it was going to last forever and we were going to live in this world where we waited for warmth and sunshine like they were Godot. That's not happening. And we're inching closer to sun and sanity.

Regardless, it'll be natural to want to go explore the outside world when the temperatures become a bit more manageable. And with that said, you're not going to do that tonight. Tonight, you are staying the heck inside because it'll be 1 degree out and there's no way in hell you're going to get groceries, cook, or even get out of your car to pick up dinner.

Tonight, you're ordering pizza. To be more specific, you're ordering Jet's Pizza. Why? Just look at that crust. When you're bundled up on the couch and watching Scandal, you're going to want the crispy, buttery goodness surrounding your homemade sauce and fresh cheese. Anything else is a disservice to you. A flimsy, soft cheese circle just doesn't provide the full body hug of a nice crunchy squared slice.

You know what? The week is almost over, you deserve to upgrade to Turbo Crust. Add a little parmesan and romano to your life. Get a little crazy with it. It's pizza. It's supposed to be fun.

If you're going to go toe to toe with the cold tonight, do it with a slice of pizza. Do it with the right slice, though, and have the folks from Jet's deliver it to you. Don't waste your time with Peyton Manning's buddy or the Noid. Get the good stuff.


Check out video footage of the INNCEL 2015 winners

The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation just wrapped up their annual Innovation Celebration earlier in the week, and you can learn more about the winners via their video series they just sent out.

Check out everything from the press release:

Congrats to the 2015 Innovation Celebration Winners! 

Over 400 people gathered at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for the 10th Annual Innovation Celebration on the evening on March 3rd to recognize those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University's economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in the community. 

Innovation Celebration is not merely an award for accomplishment, but a benchmark of success for those outstanding individuals, organizations and corporations who are nominated and selected to receive this prestigious award. Additionally, Innovation Celebration serves as a tangible collaboration between the University of Illinois, Parkland College and the community.

The winners were chosen out of more than 100 nominations.

Innovation Transfer Award - University of Illinois

Dr. Kenneth Suslick



Innovation in Engagement Award - Parkland College

Applied Media Promotions (AMP)


Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO)


Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award

Rithmio, Inc.


Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award

Agrible, Inc.


Entrepreneurial Excellence: Advocacy Award

Alex Ruggieri


Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award

BRG Sports, Inc.  


Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award

Cathy Singer - Yahoo!, Inc.


Innovation: Longevity Award

Horizon Hobby


The EDC is pleased to work with the following sponsors of Innovation Celebration 2015: the University of Illinois' Technology Entrepreneur Center, Research Park, Office of Corporate Relations, and Office of Technology Management, along with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Parkland College, Singleton Law Firm, Serra Ventures, Ramshaw Real Estate, Pixo, Pavlov Media, Meyer Capel, Martin Hood Friese & Associates, IllinoisVENTURES, Fox Development Corporation, U of I Employees Credit Union, Surface 51, Prominic.NET, Akuna Capital, JSM Development, M2 on Neil, Waterborne Environmental, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, and McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff.

A special thanks to 40 North for producing the videos.


Columbia Street Roastery demos the pourover method

Admittedly, I am a coffee plebe. I know there are all kinds of different beans and methods to brewing a nice cup of joe but I've just never really had the nerve to explore any further than ordering the house coffee, black.

At my house though, is a kettle that's constantly on the stove. Nearby is a coffee grinder with a little blue light that shines when it's plugged in. And usually next to that is a weird funnel-like thing with some paper in it. Every morning, my roommate makes some noise in the kitchen for awhile and then I smell coffee. One cup. Perfectly brewed. 

On a remote corner of our countertop sits a Keurig machine. Sad. Alone. Unused. An arsenal of K-Cups sits in a drawer. They won't see the light of day. It's over for them. They've been defeated by the pourover method.

Truthfully, without ever really paying attention, I had no idea how those three things came together to form that perfect cup of coffee. Well, until today.

Today, I noticed that Columbia Street Roastery produced a video explaining the pourover process to me and I was intrigued. I watched. And now I want coffee.

This video is wonderfully produced, by the way. It's worth your time to check out and maybe learn a new way to brew some coffee and if you're so inclined, pop over to Columbia Street Roastery and tell them that the coffee plebes want more videos. 


Parkland Theatre presents Evening of One-Act Plays

On March 13th and 14th, Parkland College Theatre will mount its 24th annual Student Production, a collection of one-act plays directed and performed by Parkland Theatre students.

The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be presented in Parkland's new Second Stage black box theater space. Seating is limited, so reservations should be made sooner rather than later. And, while admission is free, donations are appreciated.

The shows, casts, and directors are as follows (per the Parkland website):


Written by: Kobo Abe
Directed by: Ryan Fleming

A stick falls from the sky and is found by a hippie boy and hippie girl. Little do the two know that the stick is actually a human man. Then, a man from hell and a woman from hell come to take or buy the stick from the hippie boy and girl. After a long discussion, the hippie boy sells the stick (his soul) to the man from hell. While all of this is happening, we learn more about "the stick" and why he turned into what he now is. Thus, the audience will learn how we may avoid becoming sticks ourselves.

The cast features David Dillman, Chey Drew, Nathanael Fryer, Warren Garver, Justin Klett, and Jelinda Smith.


Written by: Romulus Linney
Directed by: Katie Odom
A talented and troubled young director is recruited by a New York producer to direct a showing of Ibsen's Ghosts when the lead actress's ideas of the play seem to strike a very sensitive and personal nerve. Through the course of this short but moving one act, bits of the human condition are explored along with the deep seeded bonds that are formed between mother and son in this captivating one act play.

The cast features Warren Garver, Evan Seggebruch, Teri Sturdyvin, Chelsea Tyler.


Written by: D. M. Larson
Directed by: Jace Jamison

Three extraordinary people come together in an effort to rid themselves of their super human responsibilities with the help from The Doctor. Through ups and downs, they must decide if it's worth being normal, or if they are better off being super.

The cast features David Dillman, Chey Drew, Justin Klett, Evan Seggebruch, Jelinda Smith, and Teri Sturdyvin.