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Uncork Urbana Wine Festival announced for June 14th

Pretty cool event that is coming up over in Urbana. Check out all the information below from the press release:


The Urbana Business Association and the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association are delighted to announce the newest festival coming to downtown—the Uncork Urbana Wine Festival. Taking place June 14th from 1–9 p.m., the festival is a chance for wine lovers and enthusiasts to gather for a day of wine, music and food.

Attendees will have the opportunity to sample wines from up to 15 different vineyards, all located within Illinois’ borders. Local breweries may also be offering samples of craft beer. Attendees may also purchase wine by the glass or bottle.

Common Ground Food Co-op will provide cooking demos and sample food pairings to accompany the wine.

“We’re excited to bring an event to downtown Urbana that’s unlike any other event in the area”—Cynthia Chandler, executive director of the UBA.

Uncork Urbana will take place in the Busey Bank parking lot, located at the corner of Main and Race Streets. Admission is $10, which provides the attendee with a commemorative tasting glass (while supplies last) and 5 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for purchase. This event is for ages 21 and over.

For more information, visit www.urbanabusiness.com/uncork-urbana-wine-festival/.

This event was created in partnership with the City of Urbana, and is sponsored in part by Common Ground Food Co-op and Illini Radio Group.


Illinois Innovation Prize finalists chosen

From the press release:


URBANA, Ill. (April 23, 2014) – The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, innovation and leadership. We distinguish ourselves by creating knowledgepreparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs through invention and entrepreneurship.

Today, the Technology Entrepreneur Center announces the six finalists for the Illinois Innovation Prize, which awards $20,000 to one student who stands out as a passionate innovator and entrepreneur, who is working with world changing technology and is seen as a role model for others.

The winner will be announced and awarded at a showcase and ceremony scheduled for Friday, April 25th, 2014 in the Auditorium of the NCSA (1205 W. Clark St., Urbana). The innovation showcase will begin at 11:30 a.m.; ceremony at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public and is part of the Entrepreneurship Forum taking place at NCSA that day.

Finalists for the 2014 Illinois Innovation Prize include:

Canan Dagdeviren; PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering
Canan pursues her Ph.D. under supervision of Professor John A. Rogers. She has recently developed a new class of biocompatible piezoelectric mechanical energy harvesters that are soft and flexible, with low bending stiffness, allowing them to conform to and laminate on soft tissues such as heart, lung, and diaphragm. These devices are first of its kind nano-generators that convert mechanical energy from internal organ movements into significant amounts of electric energy to power medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers.

Peter Fiflis; PhD Candidate in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
Peter is currently studying plasma wall interactions in nuclear fusion devices. His doctoral research has led to the development of several innovations including a device for the production of millimetric size spheres of low melting point materials, a test chamber for the examination of corrosion of liquid metals on plastics, ceramics, and other metals, and a method for the low cost production of nanostructured tungsten wires. Fiflis is investigating the extension of the nanostructuring method to a broad range of materials other than tungsten for more efficient and robust catalysts. 

Paul Froeter; PhD Candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering
In 2006, Paul began his study in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on digital signal processing at the University of Illinois. In the spring of 2011, Paul joined Professor Xiuling Li’s nanostructured device research group as a crystal growth research assistant. Finding passion in strained films, he went on to create the group’s first fully insulating rolled-up membrane. This opened routes to realizing miniaturized RF components, biocompatible interfaces, and high quality optical components.  Paul has received the Frank C. Mock Scholarship, ECE Alumni Scholarship, E.C. Jordan Award, and Andrew T. Yang Award.

James Pikul; PhD Candidate in Mechanical Science and Engineering
James is currently working between the fields of mechanical engineering and materials science. He currently makes microbatteries that are 100X more powerful than conventional batteries and 2,000X more powerful than other microbatteries. For his work, he won the Materials Research Society Gold Award. In his spare time he also has a company, JáD Naturals that produces a 100% natural skin care line to naturally treat Rosacea and Psoriasis.

Analisa Russo; PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering
Analisa is developing a product to be used as an alternative to traditional breadboard kits that she hopes will motivate, excite, and inspire students to learn about science and engineering. Her product, the Circuit Scribe, is a rollerball pen filled with conductive silver ink for sketching circuits directly by hand.  Circuit Scribe kits are an inexpensive and intuitive way to bring textbook circuit diagrams to life on paper.  In addition to STEM education applications, the Circuit Scribe finds uses in electronic art and circuit prototyping.  Analisa recently marketed the technology with her lab group’s startup company, Electroninks, in a successful Kickstarter campaign raising $675K. 

Adam Tilton; PhD Candidate in Mechanical Science and Engineering
Adam’s PhD work is in the areas of control theory and computer science. During his PhD research, he developed a new approach for pattern recognition and classification in machine learning.  Adam co-founded a data analytics software company, Rithmio, whose first product is a gesture recognition software system for wearable devices. Rithmio’s software has two features that set it apart from the state-of-the-art. It can be trained by the user for new, user-defined gestures, and once trained, it can accurately distinguish the gesture being performed and provide precise analysis of how the gesture compares to a baseline.

The Illinois Innovation Prize, administered by the Technology Entrepreneur Center in the College of Engineering, is awarded on an annual basis to the most innovative student on campus. This year, TEC will reward and recognize the most innovative student on campus with $20,000. This student is a passionate innovator, working with world changing technology, entrepreneurially minded, and a role model for others. 

This day-long event allows attendees to participate in hands-on workshops and panel discussions to learn: the Lean Startup Method, How to Fund Your Company, and the Impact of Social Entrepreneurship. This event will begin at 9 a.m. with keynote speaker, Bill King of UIUC and UI Labs and Provost Adesida will give remarks during lunch at 12PM. Additionally, all finalists of the Cozad New Venture Competition (CNVC) will showcase their ideas in the morning, and compete for over $185,000 in funding and in-kind prizes during the final competition at 2 p.m. 

For More Information:
Danyelle Michelini
Technology Entrepreneur Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 333-1210


Champaign shows up in Nate Silver’s “Which Cities Sleep In, and Which Get to Work Early” column

Champaign was recently featured on Nate Silver's column on FiveThirtyEight, "Which Cities Sleep In, and Which Get To Work Early". If you live here, you know one of the added benefits is a short commute time to work (14-15 minutes, on average), and Champaign was featured as a metro area with the latest median arrival time to work. Check out the chart below, and the article linked above to read the whole thing.


Community poetry jam and open mic celebrating National Poetry Month

Open Mic Saturday, April 26th, 5–8 p.m. at Channing-Murray, 1209 West Oregon, Urbana, IL

After a whole month of poetry workshops, writing and sharing, it's time to bring your words, creativity and music to the public. Join us as we open the stage to everyone from the community, all ages welcome — Bring an instrument? Sure, choose to have an insturment accompany your poetic voice. Just want to play music? If we have time we can fit in your musical performance between the spoken word performances. It's gonna be a great time for everyone.

For more information visit cupoetry.com or email us at cupoetry@gmail.com


What You Will Shakespeare presents The Revenger's Tragedy

The What You Will Shakespeare Company — a non-profit, student-run theatre company within the University of Illinois — will present a production of The Revenger's Tragedy on April 25th and 26th. The performance will be held at 8 p.m. and performed at University Place Christian Church, which is located on the corner of Wright and Springfield. Tickets are $7 at the door.

This text-based production focuses on the depravity and charity of both the protagonists and antagonists, displaying realistic flaws in each character. Join an assassin fueled by obsession, a hedonistic plotter, a maiden of unparalleled celibacy, and a host of unforgettable characters as they plot incestuous trysts and remorseless homicides through a tale that takes twists and turns through wit, slapstick, and tragedy in equal amounts!


A Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor to speak in Urbana

Garrison Keillor, the host of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, will read from his new book and answer audience questions during a WILL fundraising lunch at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 7th, at Urbana’s Frasca Field.

Keillor will be signing his book, The Keillor Reader. Copies will be available for purchase at the event, which takes place inside a hangar full of vintage airplanes and cars.

To get a ticket to the event, including a box lunch, make a $50 gift to WILL by visiting will.illinois.edu/garrisonkeillor or calling 217-333-7300.

The Keillor Reader brings together the full range of his work: monologues from A Prairie Home Companion, stories from The New Yorker and The Atlantic, excerpts from novels, and newspaper columns. With an extensive introduction and headnotes, photographs, and memorabilia, the book also presents pieces never before published, including the essays “Cheerfulness” and “What We Have Learned So Far.”

Keillor — a storyteller, sometime comedian, essayist, newspaper columnist, screenwriter, poet — has hosted A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul, Minn., since 1974. Today, some 4 million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations coast to coast and beyond tune in to the show each week. Keillor has been honored with Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In addition to The Keillor Reader, his many books include Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny. He is the host of the daily program The Writer's Almanac and the editor of several anthologies of poetry.

Tickets to the event will be mailed when payment is received. Frasca Field is at 1402 Airport Rd., Urbana.


Illini basketball’s Darius Paul arrested

News via IllinoisHomepage.net — but it looks like Illini basketball player Darius Paul, brother of former Illini star Brandon Paul, was arrested early this morning. Here's the info from said post:

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- Police say a UI basketball player was arrested early Tuesday. 20-year old Darius Paul, of Champaign, is accused of underage drinking and resisting a police officer. Authorities say two officers spotted Paul and another man cross a parking lot at 20 East Springfield Avenue "acting suspiciously."

When police tried to stop the men, Paul took off and was eventually tackled by one officer outside his apartment in the 100-block of East Healey. Neither Paul nor the officer was hurt, but during an interview, Paul reportedly admitted drinking a "large amount of alcohol."

Paul is a sophomore transfer from Western Michigan University. He sat out last season because of NCAA rules. The second man with Paul was never identified. Both charges are Class A misdemeanors with maximum penalties of up to 364 days in jail.

Not a good way to start the off season.


Volunteers needed for Dump & Run: May collection days

The University YMCA is seeking Dump & Run volunteers in Champaign-Urbana to help collect, sort and pack up reusable items from move out and spring cleaning. Volunteers are needed during Dump & Run’s collection days from May 12-17 and from May 19-23.

For each volunteer, volunteer orientation will take place at the University YMCA at the beginning of each volunteer shift. No heavy lifting is required. Volunteer groups are also encouraged to sign-up.

If you would like to join the University YMCA’s Dump & Run program as a volunteer, call the University YMCA at 217-337-1500, or visit universityymca.org/dump_and_run/volunteer.

"When you volunteer, you get first dibs on the things collected (after only 6 hours of volunteering) - and we get an unbelievable amount of great things donated! So come out and volunteer for this great cause," said, Alicia Beck.

Because of Dump & Run volunteers, each year six semi-trailers worth of used, but quality goods out of Champaign-Urbana's dumpsters and landfills each year. This project reduces litter and consumer waste, saves space in landfills, lowers dumping costs for certified housing and apartments, provides inexpensive items for folks to purchase in the fall - and acts as a major fundraiser for the University YMCA.

The University YMCA is the oldest non-profit in Champaign County, connecting student leaders to community since 1873. The University YMCA combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century and a half of experience in developing cause-driven leaders.


Entrepreneurship Forum taking place April 25th

From the press release:

Join us for a day of celebrating entrepreneurship on campus.

This day-long event allows attendees to participate in hands-on workshops and panel discussions to learn: the Lean Startup Method — with a special appearance by Steve Blank, How to Fund Your Company, and the Impact of Social Entrepreneurship. This event will begin at 9 a.m. with keynote speaker, Bill King of U of I and UI Labs and Provost Adesida will give remarks during lunch at 12 p.m.

Additionally, all finalists of the Cozad New Venture Competition (CNVC) will showcase their ideas in the morning, and compete for over $185,000 in funding and in-kind prizes during the final competition at 2 p.m. This day of entrepreneurship will also include the announcement of the $20,000 Illinois Innovation Prize Winner (IIP) at 2 p.m.

Check out the full agenda for Friday, April 25th here.