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

Donation parking meter

I spotted this meter downtown just outside of Big Grove. The idea behind it is that you can put your change into it and the money will go to helping local homeless people. RealChangeCU.org is the website associated with the meter and touts that a mere 65 cents donated will pay for a nights stay at a shelter including meals. The program is sponsored by our local mental health program Community Elements. 

What do you think about this idea? Will it "change" anything?


Tonight on SP Radio: Pygmalion 2014

Tonight on Smile Politely Radio we talk all things Pygmalion with the inimitable Seth Fein and Caleb Curtiss. Music, literature, handmade and vintage items... This year's Pygmalion has it all, and we'll be getting the scoop tonight on WEFT.

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.


BBQ Thursdays at Billy Barooz

Billy Barooz, located in southwest Champaign at The Crossing, is serving up some BBQ tonight and every Thursday. Chef Patrick Spahr is plating up some tasty brisket for sandwiches and nachos, and ribs, all smoked on site.

Check out those smoke rings on that brisket! Come taste it yourself. You can catch the NFL game tonight while you're at it.


Botanical Illustration at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery

Botanical Painting on the Farm

Please join us for a day of painting, wandering, and eating on the farm. Artist Cara Cummings is excited to partner with Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery to offer a day on the farm where you will have the opportunity to learn about botanical illustration, make a painting, tour the farm, eat a lunch prepared on the farm with local ingredients, and end the day with a fun discussion of everyone’s work while tasting artisan cheeses and, if you choose, sip some wine (BYOB).

When: Sunday, October 12th, 2014 — 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

What: A botanical illustration workshop

Price: $55.00

Register: www.carasgarden.com


JSM open leasing

Let the apartment hunt begin! Fall 2015-16 open leasing for JSM’s large apartment category has started. If you’re new to the apartment searching scene, this time may feel overwhelming but JSM is here to help. Call our leasing office at 217-359-6108 with any questions you may have or to schedule a showing.

So, what JSM properties are classified as large apartments? Here are a few of our most popular ones:

Green Street Towers: 616 E. Green Street, Champaign

These luxury four bedrooms, two (or four) bathroom apartments are located between Sixth and Wright Street in the heart of Campustown. Arranged around a private central courtyard, these units feature custom designed interiors with ceramic tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms along with coordinating with furnishings, carpet, and textured walls. Modern GE appliances combined with the designer countertops complete the contemporary appearance. NEW for 2015/16: LED kitchen lighting, new bedroom blinds, accent walls, and painted contemporary kitchen cabinets.

Green Balcony Apartments: 508 E. Healey Street, Champaign

Conveniently located on the corner of Sixth and Healey Street in Campustown, these four bedrooms, two bath apartments offer secure access with an electronic entry system, wall-mounted book cases,  beverage chillers, 2-flat screen televisions, in-unit washer/dryers, and more.

Johnstowne Apartments: 508 E. John Street, Champaign

Located on John Street between Fifth and Sixth Street, these four bedrooms, two bath apartments offer a new electronic secure access system, stainless steel GE appliances, granite countertops and a dining bar area with beverage chiller. NEW for 2015-16: LED kitchen lighting, kitchen and bath flooring, granite countertops, and new appliances.

These are just a few of our great large apartments now available for lease for Fall 2015-16. For a complete list of apartments, visit www.jsmliving.com or call 217-359-6108. Hurry, these won’t last!


C-U’s second annual Oktoberfest line-up announced

The second annual C-U Oktoberfest will take place 3 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, October 11th in Downtown Champaign. Event entry is $5, and the event will benefit the Developmental Services Center. White Horse Inn and Chester's BBQ will do the food, and there will be beer from Triptych, Destihl, JT Walker's, and The Blind Pig. Check the press release below, and our thoughts on last year's event

The 2nd Annual C-U Oktoberfest

September 8, 2014—(Champaign, IL) —The C-U Oktoberfest is a fall celebration of music, beer, and food held in downtown Champaign, at the corner of Neil and Washington Streets (parking lot area in front of the Children’s Orpheum Science Museum) on Saturday, October 11th from 3:00 p.m. to midnight. Cost to enter the event is $5.

Patterned after the annual festival in Bavaria, the C-U Oktoberfest features live music from bands playing festive polkas, waltzes, and traditional German music...mixed in with plenty of your favorite songs. Beer from local brewers, including The Blind Pig, JT Walker’s, Destihl, and Triptych as well as traditional German beer will be served. An official C-U Oktoberfest beer, produced from a collaboration of local brewers, will be unveiled the night of the event.

Party-goers are encouraged to get in the spirit by wearing their best dirndl or lederhosen (or come as you are) and dance the night away!

To add to the festive atmosphere, there will be steins, hats, and t-shirts available for purchase.

White Horse Inn and Chester’s BBQ will be selling a variety of food during the entire event including 1,000 pounds of authentic Oktoberfest sausages, sauerkraut, German potato salad, schnitzel, kroketten and baked goods. Bavarian pretzels are being offered by Destihl.

Bands will be playing beginning at 5:00 p.m. with Die Musikmeisters and The Bolzen Beer Band returned by popular demand from last year’s event. Also joining us the year are the ever-popular, party polka band....The Polkaholics from Chicago. This line-up is guaranteed to have you dancing the night away.

Speaking of dancing, David Lin from the Regent Ballroom will offer a free polka demonstration/ lessons at4:00 pm under the big tent! Come watch local dancers polka and then join in the fun!

The festivities for the evening include:

3:00 pm Gates Open

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm Face Painting, Balloon Making, Polka Dance Lessons

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Die Musikmeisters-Live Music

8:30 pm to 10:00 pm The Polkaholics ~ Live Music

10:30 pm – Midnight Bolzen Beer Band-Live Music


Volunteers are needed and opportunities are still available. Please visit www.dsc-illinois.org

The C-U Oktoberfest is a celebration that will support children and adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities in our community; proceeds from the event will benefit Developmental Services Center (DSC) and helps to further our mission, “To enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing services and supports which enable them to live, work, learn, and participate in their communities.”

Please join in the fun! Prost!

For more information, go to www.cuoktoberfest.org or find us on Facebook.

This event is generously sponsored by Busey Bank, Honda/BMW, DCF, the Robeson Family Benefit Fund, the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Hyatt Place, Atkins Group, BankChampaign, Champaign Telephone Company, Cozad Asset Management, Ippatsu Salon, Martin, Hood, Friese, and Associates, Pavlov Media, Reynold’s Towing, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, and Wells & Wells Construction. Sponsorships are still available by contacting Janice McAteer at jmcateer@dsc-illinois.org or (217) 356-9176.

The mission of DSC is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing services and supports which enable them to live, work, learn and participate in their communities. DSC was formed in 1972 by the merger of four community organizations serving people with disabilities. The result is a comprehensive organization that is able to provide multiple services in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Piatt Counties. DSC serves individuals who may have epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, developmental and intellectual disabilities or other disabling conditions. It is through the programs and services offered at DSC that these individuals are able to pursue a more fulfilling life.

Interviews and photo opportunities the day of the event are available by calling Janice McAteer at 217.898.5117.


Station Theatre to produce McNally's Mothers and Sons in the spring

As is usually the case (and as was previously reported on SP), the venerable Station Theatre in Urbana announced its 2014-2015 season with a bit of a gap in its schedule. The March/April show, to be directed by Artistic Director Rick Orr, was, at that time, shrouded in a tiny bit of mystery.

Well, mystery solved.

The Station has posted on its website that Orr's spring directorial effort will be Mothers and Sons, the most recent play by lauded playwright Terrence McNally. The play ran on Broadway for 33 previews and 104 performances before closing on June 22 of this year. (The play's Broadway run and performance rights availability necessitated its "TBA" status when the Station made its season announcement in August.)

The play, which starred Tyne Daly and Frederick Weller, received mixed reviews but was nominated for two Tony Awards.

Terrence McNally is a recipient of numerous Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (A Perfect Ganesh). His comedy It's Only a Play has just been revived on Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

The Station's production of Mothers and Sons will open March 26 and run through April 11.


Is Uber coming to Champaign?

Interesting. It appears as though Uber, the cab/driver service (mostly located in metro areas), could potentially be coming to Champaign. Per an email we just received, it looks like it could be a possibility. Personally, I am a huge fan of Uber. Check out the info below, and perhaps you have more information than we do to share.

From: Uber Illinois <supportchampaign@uber.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 6:32 PM
Subject: Have You Considered Making Money With Uber?

Uber is thinking about coming to Champaign, IL, and we're looking for help from loyal riders like you to get started.

Have you ever considered making money with uberX? Our Uber driver partners enjoy the freedom and flexibility of setting their own hours, the feeling of being their own boss and many other benefits. In fact, many of our partners have other jobs, but drive with Uber as an easy opportunity to make extra money on the side.


Why drive with Uber?

  • Earn great $$$ by driving people around
  • Be your own boss
  • Drive whenever you want - Uber is available 24/7
  • No startup costs or fees
  • Receive your trip payments weekly via direct deposit straight to your checking account

Driver Requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • A 2004 or newer four-door vehicle in excellent condition
  • A valid driver's license, vehicle title/registration, and insurance
  • Pass a background check - it's painless we swear!
  • A great attitude and knowledge of the city

Have questions? Reply to this email and let us know how we can help you get started.

Hope to see you in Champaign soon!

Ride on,
Team Uber Illinois

Update: Wednesday, 2:10 p.m. 

After seeing a sponsored post in my personal newsfeed on Facebook, I'm guessing this is happening.


Allerton hosting Farm to Mansion dinner

The Allerton Park and Retreat Center is hosting a farm to mansion dinner, and the deadline to get tickets is tomorrow, Wednesday, September 17. 

The dinner is Sunday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m. and will feature a menu by Thad Morrow of bacaro. Here's the press release:

Allerton’s fall fundraiser to feature local chef, foods

Monticello – Allerton Park & Retreat Center will host a Farm-to-Mansion Dinner Fundraiser on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. at Allerton Park, 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello. Tickets are limited and are available for $100. Call 217-333-3287 or visit allerton.illinois.edu.

Guests will enjoy an evening of farm-to-table food and conversation as Chef Thad Morrow, of Champaign’s Bacaro, highlights the flavors of the season with produce grown at the University of Illinois’ Sustainable Student Farm and meat sourced from Triple S Farms in Stewardson, IL. Tasting-portion samples of Chef Morrow’s culinary mastery will be complemented with beer from JT Walker’s Brewery in Mahomet, IL. Wine will also be available.

The event will raise money for continued stewardship and educational efforts in Allerton’s natural areas. “Our inaugural Garden Party fundraiser this Spring was a huge success, and we wanted to shift the focus from the gardens to another well-known and loved aspect of the Park,” said Bridget Frerichs, Allerton’s Director of Development. “We are looking forward to working with these local organizations to not only raise funds for Allerton, but to highlight their businesses and all that they are doing for our community.”

One of the first to get involved with the fundraiser was Stan Schutte of Triple S Farms. “I was excited to learn about the fundraiser for Allerton Park. Allerton is known for teaching 4-H groups, which we were heavily involved in, so it holds a special place in my heart,” Shutte said.  “I’m looking forward to the event.”

Besides being the site for the well-known 4-H Memorial Camp, operated  by the U of I Extension Service, Allerton Park & Retreat Center has hosted an increasing number of public events in the recent future, including summer nature camps and the U of I Credit Union Concert Series.

Tickets for the Farm-to-Mansion Dinner are $100 and must be purchased by September 17. Call 217-333-3287 or visit Allerton’s website to purchase tickets online.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center, located in Monticello, Illinois, is comprised of 1,500 acres of woodland, prairie areas, a Georgian-inspired manor house, a 10-acre meadow, formal sculpture gardens, and interpretive and primitive hiking trails. There is no admission fee to the Park; open daily 8 a.m. to sunset. For more information and to view other events, visit allerton.illinois.edu or call 217-333-3287.