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Neutral Cycle needs your input for Active Chambana

Neutral Cycle requests your opinions on a survey for their upcoming fitness promotion program that collaborates with local organizations, Active Chambana. For your participation, you will receive a free water bottle and the chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Common Ground Co-op. The survey closes on Saturday, February 20th at 6:00 p.m.

From Neutral Cycle:


WE NEED YOUR ADVICE! This year Neutral Cycle is building a program that encourages you to be more physically active in...

Posted by Neutral Cycle on Saturday, 30 January 2016

Common Ground Co-op releases Champaign store update

When I moved from Urbana to Champaign, perhaps the biggest thing I knew I would miss was quick access to Common Ground Co-op for healthier and more sustainable grocery options. I was so overjoyed when they announced a new Champaign location, but now, it appears as though they have been delayed once again.

If this means the new Common Ground location in Champaign will be awesome-upon-arrival, however, I can totally understand the delay and wish them the best. For all the info, including a video and a loosely revised timeline of construction, check out the full press release below:

Hello Cooperators!

We have an important update on our Champaign store project that we would like to share.

At our January board meeting, General Manager Satina Braswell presented a revised project timeline for review, which was approved unanimously. The new timeline includes the following milestones:

September 2016: we will relaunch our owner loan campaign, with a goal of raising $1.5 million total.

January 2017: we will start construction.

Summer of 2017: opening of the new Champaign store!

This revised timeline comes in response to staff concerns about operational readiness. As we plan the expansion to a second location, we've kept three critical questions in mind. Can we afford this? Is there enough local demand?  Is our staff ready? The answer to the first two has always been a resounding yes but, as time for opening the Champaign store came closer and closer, the staff realized they needed more time to work on internal systems and operations for the project to be done right and in a way that strengthens the Urbana store at the same time.

Satina has spent the last couple of weeks working through the new timeline with our project manager, landlord, design team, contractor, owner loan campaign manager, and primary lender. They remain as committed to the project as we are. Satina's top priority right now is to spend time working through staff concerns and making improvements in our operations, so that all staff are ready to serve our owners and both cities with excellence.

You may have questions about this news, and we welcome those conversations. Click the image below for a brief video from Satina answering common questions. Board members will also be available to answer your questions at the Urbana location in the classroom on Saturday, February 13 from 10 AM to noon, as they are every second Saturday of the month, or you can contact them at board@commonground.coop.

To stay up to date on our progress, you can also follow our expansion blog at http://commonground.coop/get-the-scoop/blog/tags/expansion, where we will be posting regular updates about what is going on to prepare for the Champaign store and how you can get involved.


General Manager Satina Braswell and the
Common Ground Food Co-op Board of Directors


Kenna Mae featured on Daytrotter

Singer-songwriter Kenna Mae has recently made the move from C-U to New Orleans but the impact of her debut album Blue Darlin' is still being felt here - it made our top 10 list of albums for 2015. Daytrotter recently released their recording session with Kenna Mae - check out the full thing here.


Illini 4000 and Portraits Project Gallery at [co][lab]

The Portraits Project and the Illini 4000 are pleased to announce their Spring gallery event, taking place at [co][lab] in downtown Urbana! A collection of documentary style portraits from those who have experienced cancer will be on display in addition to community artwork.

The gallery will open with a reception on Friday, February 12th at 5 p.m. Several speakers will share their experiences with the Portraits Project starting at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. The Illini 4000 hopes you will stop by to see and listen to their inspiring stories!

About the Portraits Project:

As cyclists with the Illini 4000 bike across the country, they conduct interviews with many incredible people whose lives have been affected by cancer. These interviews, or ‘Portraits,’ are conducted with cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and anyone else willing to share their story. These stories share insight into their heart-felt experiences as they gain new focus on family, friendships, and community. There is no agenda, and the interviews always begin with: “In your own words, tell us about your experience with cancer.”

Gallery Open Hours:
Thursdays and Fridays: 5-10 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Come witness these inspiring stories full of courage, sorrow, resilience, and hope collected from people across America.


Mahomet-Seymour dance team “What room does fear have?” video goes viral

Viral videos happen all the time, as one who uses the internet knows quite well, and can take off in an instant. The Mahomet-Seymour Dance Team found that out, as their performance has taken off — being featured on numerous publications (San Francisco Globe being one of them) and has amassed thousands of views on Facebook and upwards of two million on YouTube.

Check it out:


We are incredibly proud of these amazing dancers; their strength, talents, joy, time, spirit, heart and translation thru...

Posted by Mahomet Seymour Dance Team on Saturday, January 30, 2016

H/t Jill Guth.


The Dietary Food Store is closed indefinitely

By the looks of it — these signs posted on the door — the Dietary Food Store is closed indefinitely. Sadly, Winifred Sanders, the owner (in her 90s), had a fall. Hoping she has a speedy recovery, no doubt.

The Dietary Food Store is located at 802 W. John Street, and if you're unfamiliar, do yourself a favor and check out J. Matthis Helmick's piece on Winifred Sanders and the shop to catch up.

The text might be a little hard to read by the photo, so here is what it says:

Note to Friends

Winifred Sanders had a fall. She is recovering. Please send any notes or cards to her at:

Winifred Sanders
C/o Jack Andersen
P.O. Box 6241
Champaign, IL 61826

(Please include your phone number or address so she can get back to you when she is able.)

H/t John Steinbacher.


Popcorn shop offers bacon and cheese flavored popcorn

Cool Bliss Popped Bliss is located at 22 E. Springfield Ave. in the same group of buildings as the I.D.E.A. Store. They make all sorts of savory treats like popcorn, candied apples, and chocolate. They are the same folks that own the shaved ice truck that sits near Lil' Porgy's on West Springfield Ave. 

There are a ton of different, funky flavors of popcorn to choose from. I went with the bacon and cheese flavor. They actually cut up bacon and put it in the corn. Oh, and the cheese? It's real. Not powder. So yeah, it was delicious. 

This was a fun place to go into. The staff were friendly, it smelled delicious and it was interesting seeing all the different flavors of popcorn. Check them out Tuesday to Saturday 10-8 p.m. and Sunday 10-5 p.m.


Big Grove clarifies Mimosa-gate with grace

You might've been witness to some confusion that took place for the much-talked about bottomless mimosa brunch special by Big Grove Tavern that was circulating on Facebook over the past week. Bottomless mimosas? Uh, awesome, right? 

Well, it is awesome — though there was some slight confusion and some folks were a little upset, which is understandable. But really, this was just an honest mistake — not a malicious bait and switch. Let's be real, folks. These are mimosas we're talking about here.

Here's the info from the Facebook event, linked above:

Dear Big Grove Tavern customers, we sincerely apologize for the confusion regarding our recent Facebook post about our Mimosa Bar Brunch. We take full responsibility for our mistake and we want to honor your expectations. For this weekend only we will offer our one-hour mimosa bar with the purchase of an entrée. Due to the Illinois state liquor laws, we cannot give any product away at zero cost. Therefore, for this Saturday and Sunday between 10:00am to 2:30pm with the purchase of an entrée you can enjoy our one-hour mimosa bar with four seasonal fruit mimosas for $1. We value everyone in our community and want to continue to uphold our values and our standards of service, especially to meet and surpass your expectations. We hope to see you all this weekend and in the weeks to come. Once again we apologize for any confusion caused by our excitement in posting about our new One Hour Mimosa Bar Brunch.

Here's some more information, directly from Beckie Kane and Big Grove themselves:

For The Mimosa Bar's premier weekend: (Feb. 6th-Feb. 7th)

With the purchase of a brunch entree guests are able to add the 1hr mimosa bar for $1. Our mimosa bar will feature several varieties of juices each week. Our staff will be circulating with mimosas and guests are welcome to try any of the flavors over the hour. The hr begins when the entree is ordered. 

Moving forward we will be offering our mimosa bar every Saturday & Sunday during brunch.

With the purchase of a brunch entree guests are able to add the 1 hr mimosa bar for $13. Again, there will be a variety of rotating juices available for guests to enjoy and our staff will be sure everyone's glasses are full!

So yeah, let's just take a deep breath here and appreciate the good things — like good food and booze. Hair of the dog is positive.


Tonight on SP Radio: FirstFollowers Re-Entry Program

Tonight on Smile Politely Radio, Marlon Mitchel and James Kilgore stop by WEFT to discuss the FirstFollowers Re-entry Program. FirstFollowers is new program at Bethel AME that aims to help people who have been incarcerated find their way back into the community once they are released. 

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. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes.