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This seat at Espresso Royale in Urbana has the most chill

This might seem like a silly thing to post to the SPlog about, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Minimal amount of students, a little bit of traffic, steady coffee shop, green tree overhanging, gorgeous afternoon in Urbana. Corner of Goodwin and Oregon.

I think this spot is the most chill spot right now.

Enjoy your Friday afternoon and Memorial Day weekend, all.


Parkland College announces free Education to Employment workshops

Are you looking for a job? You're in luck, if so, because Parkland College has just announced their Education to Employment workshop series, happening all throughout June in a ton of different disciplines.

No matter your interest, chances are it's covered here - and best of all, these workshops are all completely free. Find the full schedule and description of each individual event below.

From Parkland's press release:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College will host a series of workshops for area job seekers focusing on ways to improve their work readiness and career options through education.

Created in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), Parkland's "Education to Employment" workshops will take place Mondays and Wednesdays throughout June at the Illinois workNet Center, 1307 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign.

The free, one-hour workshops will begin at either 11 a.m. or 3 p.m., part of IDES' Resource Orientation.

"Parkland offers valuable resources that unemployed residents simply may not be aware of, resources that can get them back to the workforce sooner than they realize," said Julie Marlatt, Parkland's dean of enrollment management and coordinator of the series. "We are pleased to partner with our state's employment security division to help those seeking work get back on their feet through the power of education."

A list of workshops in the series is listed below. For more information about the series, contact Parkland College at (217) 351-2535.

Financial Aid and Veterans' Education Benefits
June 6 at 3 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Taylor, Advisor and Veterans Certifying Official, Financial Aid and Veterans Services
Discover options for federal and state financial aid, scholarships, veterans' education benefits, and WIOA programs. Topics include programs, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Introduction to Parkland College
June 8 at 11 a.m.
Presenter: Tony Hooker, Adult Admissions Advisor, Admissions and Enrollment Management
Review the steps for beginning or returning to college. Your questions on how to apply, majors, and completion steps will be answered. See what your future can look like with a degree, certificate, or course completion from Parkland College.

Make Real Money Now: 4-Week Truck Driver Training
June 13 at 3 p.m. or
June 29 at 11 a.m. (repeat session)
Presenter: Linda Peterson, Branch Manager, 160 Driving Academy
Residents completing Parkland College's Tractor Trailer Driver Training can receive their CDL and begin work in four weeks with a starting salary of around $40,000. Learn more about the program, what it takes to qualify, and why this is an excellent option for a lifelong career.

Anytime, Anywhere: Flexible Online Learning
June 15 at 11 a.m.
Presenter: Derrick Baker, Director, Professional Development and Instructional Technology
Did you know you can reap the benefits of a Parkland education even if you aren't able to come to campus? Learn what courses you can take online and how to succeed in online classes. Meet one of our online instructors and see examples of what happens in an online class. 

Finding Your Second Career
June 20 at 3 p.m.
Presenters: Sandy Spencer, Director, and Carrie Harris, Career Counselor, Parkland Career Center
Looking to "reboot" your career but don't know where to start? Join us for a brief introduction to career assessment and advising. We'll match your interests to job titles and college majors, answer your questions, and leave you more confident about making a career change.

Health Professions Opportunities
June 22 at 11 a.m.
Presenter: Michele Spading, Vice-Chair, Health Professions
Discover eligibility requirements and employment opportunities for health career programs at Parkland. Topics cover certificate programs, which can take one semester to one year to complete, and professions requiring a two-year associate's degree. If you have a desire to help others, this may be the right career area for you!

Business/Computer Science and Technologies   
June 27 at 3 p.m.
Presenter: Cyndia Hinton, Program Manager, Computer Science and Information Technology
Those seeking business, computer science, and hospitality industry careers will benefit from this session, which covers career training as programmers, database managers, network administrators, 3D animators, web designers, business administrative professionals, and more. Learn how to successfully enter the workforce and begin a promising career in two years or less.


Illinois Public Media wins two Telly Awards for web series

If you're not familiar with Illinois Public Media (WILL)'s ART/BTS series yet, you probably should be. They follow around local artists from all walks (including a blacksmith. Seriously.) and do an in-depth interview with them that rivals most anything on the internet in complexity and presentation.

This month, ART/BTS has won two Telly Awards, which are presented to some of the best series' in the country. Check out the snippet below for more info, and stream T.R.U.T.H's episode of ART/BTS below.

From WILL's web page:

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.

This year ART/BTS won a Silver Telly for Videography/Cinematography and a Bronze Telly for Web Series.

Congratulations to Tim Meyers (pictured right), producer/director; Isaac Musgrave (pictured left), cinematographer/editor; and Ryan Marshall, production assistant on a job well done!

Check out both award-winning seasons of ART/BTS


5 year-old C-U rapper Baby Harmony is adorable

Yes, you read that headline right - there's a new 5-year-old rapper in C-U, and she goes by the name of Baby Harmony. Last night, she dropped her debut music video for a remix to O.T. Genasis' "Cut It" and it's absolutely adorable. Coupling a natural camera presence with high production quality and positive messages, this video really is pretty impressive.

As of right now, her fan page on Facebook has 333 likes and this video has over 4,500 views, which means that she's more famous than most of us will ever be. Already. At 5 years old.

Stream the video below and try not to smile:

And here's another track, with her 8-year-old brother King Mari:

Champaign Unit 4 School District announces summer food programs

Earlier this month, we mentioned how Urbana's schools will be offering free meals to those 18 and under this coming summer, and today, the good news just keeps on coming, as Champaign's Unit 4 School District has announced a similar program.

Though the schedule differs, breakfast and lunch will be available from at least one of Champaign's schools from May 31st to August 12th to help students whose parents are working during the day and aid the hunger that many face when school lunches go on hiatus for the summer.

For more information, check out the full calendar below or click over to Unit 4's website:


Check out this career-spanning list of Poster Children live shows

Champaign-Urbana's Poster Children were established in 1987 and outside of their music being really good, they're are known for influencing the intersection between major and indie labels in music, at a very basic level. At the level short and sweet enough to keep your attention in this short post.

Anyway, the band recently posted a massive and nearly-comprehensive list of their live shows — dating back to dates in 1987. 

Damn, that is a LOT of shows, and definitely worth a gander.

Top photo by Todd Loerzel.


Only @KCPA: Tony Award-winning director and Pulitzer Prize-winning author hold summer production

Last week, Donald Marguiles presented a Q&A after his film The End of the Tour screened at Spurlock Museum. What we didn't know was that he was in town for the rehearsals of his work-in-progress Long Lost, across the street at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. 

Daniel Sullivan holds an endowed Swanlund chair (that's a BFD) and theatre professorship here at the University of Illinois, and is the man behind "The Sullivan Project", an initiative that creates full productions for leading playwrights while their work is still in early stages. He will be directing the production of Marguiles' work-in-progress.

The plot is as old as time: two brothers are brothers — complicated, volatile, and family. That is all I know so far, but keep an eye out for more details to come. Still, sometimes the oldest stories are best, and truths today are different on the surface while universal at their core. 

The brothers themselves are to be played by Kelly AuCoin (as David) and David Alford (as Billy), both gaining national attention from big-name television roles (Blacklist and Nashville respectively). Kelly McAndrew will play David's wife, and Michael Goldsmith their son. 

When I wrote my summer preview, I had an inkling there was something in the works from Illinois Theatre, but I had no idea it was going to be this amazing, of this stature. Take my word for it and order tickets now, for performances beginning Wednesday, June 8th, through Sunday, June 12th. 


Neutral Cycle offering summer-long bike rental

The good people over at Neutral Cycle in Champaign are offering a hell of a deal for the entire summer if you are bicycle-less. For the low price of $80, you can rent a bike for the entirety of summer, and even get a free tune up and bike light.

Bookings are being accepted now via Neutral's website, and as soon as you start renting, you have until August 8th with your newly-acquired steed.

From Neutral's Facebook post:


Turn up: State Senate passes bill to allow alcohol sales at University events

Per a report in The Gazooit looks as though we might be closer to being able to consume alcohol, as adults over 21, at university events. This includes sporting events.

Check out the article linked above, and I have to say, bravo, Rep. Chapin Rose for this bit:

“This requires the U of I to come up with a new policy for liquor within the next six months, where I would hope they take into account that it doesn’t seem to be really fair to me that the rich guys get to eat their cheese and drink their wine in the expensive suites but the rest of us plebes can’t have a beer,” said Rose.

Some more from the article:

In preparing their written policies, universities are asked to take seven issues into consideration:

  • Whether the event is a student-related activity.
  • Whether the physical setting is conducive to the control of liquor sales.
  • The ability of the event coordinator to ensure that the sale and serving of alcohol and the demeanor of the participants are in accordance with state law and university policies.
  • The anticipated attendees at the event and the expected proportion of those over 21 years of age to those under 21.
  • The ability of vendors to prevent the sale or distribution of alcohol to those under 21.
  • Whether the event prohibits participants from taking alcoholic beverages from the venue.
  • Whether the event prohibits participants from bringing their own alcoholic beverages to the venue.

Now if Governor Rauner just signs the damn thing.