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Wear Orange events are happening in C-U next weekend

Wear Orange is a campaign dedicated to honoring the lives of those affected by gun violence and elevating gun violence prevention efforts nationwide. The local chapter of Moms Demand Action-IL is participating in two Wear Orange events next weekend to bring awareness to the community about local efforts to support responsible gun ownership and gun violence prevention. Wear Orange was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate the life of their murdered friend, Hadiya Pendleton, by wearing orange- the color hunters wear to protect themselves in the woods.

The first is Alma #WearOrange at the Alma Mater 12 p.m. on Friday, June 2. Community members are encouraged to show up in their orange (a color that is plentiful around here) and make a statement against gun violence. You can RSVP to the event here:

The following day, Moms Demand is joining Patricia Avery and her Champaign-Urbana Area Project for a neighborhood block party at Tremont and 4th streets in Champaign. Anyone is welcome to attend. Here's the event description from Facebook:

Come out and meet and greet new and old neighbors for a free, fun filled day of fellowship, food, fun, and much, much, more!



Hot Rod Davis holding office hours from 1-3 pm on June 2nd

As many of you know, our US Representative for Illinois' 13th district has a bit of a constituent problem. To put it bluntly, he's scared of us. He's scared of Champaign-Urbana. Which really sucks, because he's so scared that he won't listen to us, which is literally what he's employed to do.

Now, I rip on Hot Rod a lot, so let me be fair to him - these open office hours are a way for constituents to voice their concerns. There are no two bones about that.

The problem, however, is that they're not efficient, he makes people wait outside for hours to talk to him, and he gives the same bland GOP talking point to every question he's asked. Hot Rod does, at the very least, meet people face to face (but only if it's during the afternoon on a weekday), so there is a miniscule facade of constituent interaction.

Next Friday, June 2nd, Hot Rod will be making his way back to his Champaign office on Fox Drive to hold more open office hours, this time between 1 and 3 pm, when pretty much everyone has to be at work.

Rodney, who has never really been interested in hearing out opinions before, will perhaps have an open mind this time, especially after he denied the Congressional Budget Office's report that 23 million people will lose health care under Trumpcare, a bill he has long-supported. But I wouldn't bet on it if I were a concerned IL-13 resident. Either way, it doesn't hurt to show up and have your voice heard.

We'll see you next Friday, Hot Rod, and we'll be just as mad, if not more mad, than we were before.


Jalen Coleman-Lands leaving Illini basketball program

Being an Illini fan is always a roller coaster, and today, it looks like the metaphorical rise that came with the signing of Trent Frazier and Mark Smith is coupled by an inevitable fall: Jalen Coleman-Lands is transferring.

Yes, he probably was one of the most experienced/skilled players returning for next season, and yes, that means that the Illini will only have nine scholarship players next year. Nine. Like less than 10.

As of now, there's no reason why he's leaving. But he is. And most of us will be sad about it.

Maybe Brad Underwood will be able to work some magic and get a quality transfer, but until then, we wait. Shouldn't be too hard for a fanbase that has been waiting about 10 years, right?

Ah, the life of an Illini fan.


Common Ground to host monthly Wellness Wednesdays through the end of 2017

If you have an interest in personal care and wellness, Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana has a new monthly event for you. Every month until the end of 2017, they will have one day (the final Wednesday of that month) where they will offer 10% off of all personal care and wellness items. 

The May edition kicks off next Wednesday, May 31st, and you can RSVP on Facebook here. To find the full schedule, check out Common Ground's Facebook Event section here.


C-U named one of Midwest Living's "Best Midwest Food Towns"

Midwest Living has named Champaign-Urbana one of their finalist in the "Best Midwest Food Towns" — and now, voting continues to see who will take the crown. Per a release by Visit Champaign County, you have until May 31st to cast your vote at

From the press release:

Champaign-Urbana Named a Best Midwest Food Town

Champaign, IL – The monthly magazine, Midwest Living, just announced a curated list of the twelve most delicious food towns in the Midwest which includes Champaign-Urbana. As part of their Greatest Midwest Town’s contest series, readers will vote from May 1–31 on the best food town to be featured in their September/October issue.

“We are honored to be chosen as a finalist for the Greatest Midwest Food Town by Midwest Living,” exclaims Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing for Visit Champaign County. “Our food scene in Champaign County is unrivaled for a city this size in the Midwest. From fresh, farm-to-table selections to diverse, international cuisine, Champaign County has something for everyone at every price range.”

Voting is available every day during the month of May at, and Visit Champaign County is encouraging all to show their pride in the community.

“Being named the best Midwest Food Town would be a tremendous boost to culinary tourism,” explains Reifsteck. “Food is now one of the top reasons why people travel, so showcasing our tasty, local offerings is only going to continue to brand Champaign County as a destination and further generate economic impact.”

Visit Champaign County recently held their first Champaign County Area Restaurant Week this past January, featuring 18 participants boasting special menus to bring in new customers. The event was very popular, with Yoder’s Kitchen, a participant in Arthur, giving out over 1,000 slices of free pie as part of the promotion.

Additional towns in the contest include: Bloomington, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa; Lawrence, Kansas; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; Springfield, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Fargo, North Dakota; Toledo, Ohio; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Madison, Wisconsin.

About Midwest Living


Midwest Living is the leading lifestyle media brand that celebrates the good life in the Midwest through the pillars of home, food and travel. The publication distributes six publications annually, reaching 3.7 million readers with over 187,000 followers on Facebook. Midwest Living is a publication under the Meredith Corporation, a publicly held media and marketing services company founded upon serving their customers and committed to building value for their shareholders. Their cornerstone is knowledge of the home, family, food and lifestyle markets. 


The People’s Agenda is hosting three “progressive summer” events

The People's Agenda, a progressive local political organizing group, will be offering three "101" classes this summer for those who are interested in getting more involved in politics, but don't know how it all works or how to jump in and make an impact. Trainings will be held at the Independent Media Center, and no sign up is needed. Here is the description from their Facebook event page:

Time to build up our organizing strength to have a powerful impact this fall. Let’s make this a Progressive Summer!

Join us for all three trainings for maximum readiness, or for just one - we promise we’ll make these trainings political-action-muscle building and power packed! All of the workshops will be beginner-friendly yet full of material for the more politically confident as well.

Government 101 - June 8th, 5-8pm @ the IMC
You can’t win the game if you don’t know the rules. This the workshop to be at to learn about municipal, state and federal government structures; how a bills becomes a law, where you can interact with legislators and legislation to have the most impact on the process; and what the responsibilities are of the different elected positions.

Voter Registration 101 - July 13th, 5-8pm @ the IMC
This is how we win! There are more Democrats and Independents than Republicans, more progressives than conservatives, so why do we keep losing? Because our team doesn’t get out and vote - be a part of the solution and learn how to change that at this workshop. We’ll cover the technical aspects of how to register to vote and strategies to organize a voter registration drive as well as the way to organize a get out the vote campaigns that impact elections!

Precinct Committeeperson 101 - August 10th, 5-8 @ the IMC
What the heck is a precinct committeeperson? It is the most important and invisible position in politics and we’re going to teach you all about it. Precinct Committeepersons are responsible for making sure their party voters in their precinct are informed on candidates/issues and they lead efforts to get folks to the polls. A party that has active and engaged precinct committeepeople can dramatically impact the direction of elections and politics. Come learn about what they do and how easy it is to run or support those progressives that will run for these secretly powerful positions in the next election!

Catalyze, a tech networking event by Research Park, happening tonight

From the press release:

Research Park presents Catalyze

Catalyze aims to connect those interested in the tech field with local companies

CHAMPAIGN:  In this day and age, talent is king when it comes to the technology industry, and Champaign-Urbana is lucky to have a lot of it. In an effort to continue the maturation and growth of the tech workforce in the Champaign-Urbana area, the Research Park presents Catalyze, an event designed to build networks and enable tech talent to connect with employers. The event will take place on Thursday, May 18 from 5-7 p.m. in the EnterpriseWorks Atrium, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign. 

While not a career fair, Catalyze aims to connect professionals in an informal environment. Attendees are encouraged to come to enjoy stimulating conversation and build new relationships with those in the CU professional community, while simultaneously learning more about possible job opportunities and career options in the ever-growing tech field.

Notable employers scheduled to be at Catalyze include  Syngenta, Agrible, Gartner, Huawei and Turn, as well as startups companies that are located in the park, and looking to expand their professional networks at well.

For a detailed description of these companies, please visit the Research Park website. 

Anyone in the area who is looking to expand their network should come out to Catalyze and bring their resumes and business cards. Those interested in coming do not need to RVSP or pre-register to attend. The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation is a co-sponsor of the event. 


U of I study links higher mass transit use rates with lower risk of obesity

I was perusing Reddit yesterday, as one does, when I noticed a familiar study at the top of r/Science, the main science subreddit on the site. The link, which led to a study about mass transit use, came right here from our own back yard: the University of Illinois.

In the study, Dr. Sheldon Jacobson (a professor in Computer Science at the U of I) states that he has linked higher mass transit use with lower obesity rates, saying:

As local communities seek to allocate public funds to projects that will provide the most benefit to their residents, our research suggests that investing in convenient and affordable public transit systems may improve public health by reducing obesity, thereby providing more value than had been previously thought.

So, in celebration, why not take the bus to work today? CUMTD has a robust system that can get you pretty much anywhere in town.

While you're riding, you can read the full news release from the U of I, which can be found here.

​Photo by L. Brian Stauffer


Illini Union announces Summer Quad Cinema Series lineup

Now that summertime Champaign-Urbana is in full swing, campus can become a little vacant at times. To combat that, the Illini Union will be showing a ton of free movies outside on the quad all summer long. Plus, the films are popular ones from a wide variety of genres.

To get the full schedule and watch trailers, click over to the Union's website.

May 18
Get Out

May 25
Power Rangers

June 8
Beauty and the Beast

June 15

June 22
Zookeeper's Wife

July 6
The Fate of the Furious

July 13
The Circle

July 20
Everything, Everything

August 17
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Photo by the University of Illinois