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Shop local on Small Business Saturday

As shoppers hit the stores to fill their holiday wish lists in Champaign County, Busey encourages consumers to shop local on Small Business Saturday, November 29th. In contrast to Black Friday, which drives shoppers to large retailers, Small Business Saturday® encourages people to support businesses that are locally owned and operated.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and are essential to strengthening the local economy,” says Jason Van Antwerp, VP & Portfolio Manager at Busey. “Busey is committed to helping entrepreneurs in Champaign County grow and prosper, and we invite you to do the same by shopping local on Small Business Saturday.”

In total, Illinois has nearly 1.1 million small businesses, or establishments with fewer than 500 employees, and represent more than 98 percent of all employers (Source: Small Business Association). Champaign County has 4,099 small businesses and 1,903 of them have four or less employees (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

“Shopping locally supports local entrepreneurs and their families while keeping profits in our community. These business owners in turn put that profit right back into our community when they make purchases at other local businesses,” says Erin Lippitz, Champaign Center Partnership Executive Director. “Our citizens can take pride in their communities when they shop or attend events in their local communities. This is crucial to maintaining the current retailers, restaurants and specialty shops as well as recruiting more businesses to join our small business retailers.”

In conjunction with Small Business Saturday, Busey will feature local small businesses on social media. Connect with Busey, November 24-29, on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.busey.com for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit any Busey location, call 1.80067BUSEY or visit http://www.busey.com/home/resourcecenter/socialmedia.


Submissions now being accepted for the 2015 Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival

From a press release:

Filmmakers are invited to submit entries for the 2015 Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival (CIFFF) to be held on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. March 23-25, 2015. The theme for this year’s festival is Coming of Age Sexuality.

The CIFFF Committee and the Women’s Studies Program at EIU are looking for films of high artistic quality that satisfy at least two of the following criteria: films created with an emphasis on gender and/or social justice issues; films that link local and global issues; films created by people underrepresented in the media field (women, people of color, queer/transgendered people, and people with disabilities); and films made by people from the Central Illinois area.

While there is an emphasis on local filmmakers, honors have previously been awarded to directors in Illinois, Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Canada, Iran, Australia, Philippines, and India. Subjects have included art therapy and how it can heal victims of gender-based violence, an artist who found her calling when she returned to her childhood home in Cambodia, and the diverse history of women’s political activism around the world.

“The Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival welcomes submissions from students and aspiring filmmakers in both documentary and fictional film categories,” said CIFFF committee chair Robin Murray.

Submissions should be short films of no more than 30 minutes in length. There is no submission fee for the film festival. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2015. The films will be screened on March 24, 2015.

Filmmakers can submit to the film festival in one of three ways:
·       Online through Film Freeway at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/CIFFF.
·       Upload a video to Vimeo, Dropbox or Youtube and email Murray at rlmurray@eiu.edu with a link to the film.
·       Mail a DVD of the film to: Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, Women’s Studies Program, Eastern Illinois University, 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920, Attn: Robin Murray.

The DVD should be labeled with a name, address, email address and title of the film. After mailing the film, an acknowledgement should be emailed to Murray.

Submissions sent via email or standard mail should also include a cover letter that explains how the filmmaker or film fits the criteria listed above and a two to three sentence synopsis.
CIFFF takes place each year in March during Women’s History Awareness Month (WHAM). The WHAM schedule at EIU also includes the Women’s Studies Annual Awards Ceremony, a keynote presentation by author, activist, professor and recording artist Elaine Richardson, aka Dr. E, a living history performance, and a concert of women’s music, among others events. This year’s theme for WHAM is Gender and Sexuality.

Now in its seventh year, the film festival promotes the mission of the EIU Women’s Studies Program, which is to promote an understanding of how issues related to gender, age, race, economic status, sexual identity, and nationality affect women's lives and the communities in which they live. In order to promote an equitable and sensitive environment for all persons, Women’s Studies also responds to issues affecting women on the EIU campus and in the local community.

Additionally, the CIFFF Committee invites local organizations or members of the community to host a film screening and/or discussion. Those interested in doing so may contact Murray for more information or to share ideas.

To learn more about the CIFFF, visit www.eiu.edu/~filmmnor/ or http://cifff.wikispaces.com/, email Murray at rlmurray@eiu.edu or call 217-581-2428.


Phone Calls with Santa

The Champaign Center Partnership, in collaboration with Q96, is pleased to bring you Phone Calls with Santa on Wednesday, November 26th from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on 96.1FM.

Santa will be live in the studio accepting phone calls from children that morning and he’d love to hear from you! Just call 328-9600 that morning and you can tell Santa exactly what you want this holiday season. Santa will take phone calls for the full hour.

“We’ve been wanting to do something like this for quite some time,” Champaign Center Partnership Executive Director, Erin Lippitz, said. “We thought that the chance to get to talk to Santa himself would be a really fun way for kids to start off the holiday season. And since many schools are off the day before Thanksgiving, we hope to have plenty of calls to keep him busy.”

Kids — Don’t forget to drop your letter in our North Pole mailboxes and enter for a chance to win the honor of being a judge for the Parade of Lights! The lucky young winner will also get to ride in Santa’s sleigh during the parade! Mailboxes can be found through November 25th at Gameday Spirit at Sixth and Green in Campustown, Latte Da in the Champaign Public Library and at the WHMS studios at 2301 S. Neil St in Champaign.

Mail your letters soon. Santa will answer a few of them on the air on November 26th. Santa will also announce the winner of the contest live on the air that morning!

Questions? Call 352-2400


Virginia Theatre cancels Bill Cosby appearance

From a release by the Virginia Theatre:

Bill Cosby Appearance Cancelled 

The Champaign Park District has announced the cancellation of two appearances by Bill Cosby originally scheduled at the Virginia Theatre for Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Full refunds will be issued to patrons who have purchased Bill Cosby tickets from the Virginia Theatre. These refunds will be available at the Virginia Theatre Box Office, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, beginning at 10:00 A.M. (CST) on Monday, November 24th.
For questions regarding ticket refunds for Bill Cosby, please call the Virginia Theatre box office (open M-F 10:00 A.M. - 5:30 P.M.) at 217-356-9053
Media inquiries may be directed to Champaign Park District Executive Director Joe DeLuce at 217-819-3821.


Tonight on SP Radio: Illini Sports

Join us tonight on Smile Politely Radio as we talk to the one and only Chris Davies, SP's sports writer extraordinaire. We'll take a stroll down football season's memory lane and look ahead to what basketball season may offer.

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.


Tent City seeking volunteers for IHSA playoff games

From Visit Champaign County:

We’re in need of volunteers to assist us in our annual “Tent City” next weekend. For those of you not familiar, “Tent City” is designated are for pre- and post-game celebrations for the teams, families and fans, located just outside of Memorial Stadium. Each school has their own designated tent and we host an Entertainment Tent in the middle. Our volunteers are needed to assist us with judging the spirit contest, distributing welcome information, popcorn/cotton candy production, helping with temporary tattoos and face paint and in some cases, shaking the players hands as they step off the bus, welcoming them to “STATE”. Volunteer hours are anytime from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. All volunteers will receive our “Community Expert” t-shirts, as well. The opportunity truly is one of the best volunteer jobs around. (All of the tents do have heat and power!)


Trunk show at Kessler Optical this Saturday, November 22nd

Kessler Optical is hosting a trunk show on Saturday, November 22nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., showcasing new collections from international frame designers Alain Mikli and Philippe Starck. Additionally, they will have frames on hand from the newly-reissued Vuarnet collection.

This event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Kessler Optical is located at 44 E. Main St., Suite 100, Champaign IL