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Happy hour ban in Illinois could be lifted soon

Good news for fans of happy hour (bar owners and patrons alike), but things could be changing: The happy hour ban could be lifted soon in Illinois.

Per The News-Gazette, legislators approved the bill to reinstate happy hour, though there are still some steps to be taken to make this a reality. Here's what it means, if it passes:

Under the act, restaurants and bars could offer discounted beer, wine and spirits for up to 4 hours a day or 15 hours a week. They would still be prohibited from offering volume discounts, such as 2-for-1 specials, or happy-hour deals after 10 p.m. And they would have to advertise specials a week in advance.

So, what happy hour specials should bars be offering in C-U if it passes?

Photo by Patrick Singer.

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SP EIC Emeritus Chris Maier’s Little Salon gathering serious buzz in D.C.

As a community magazine, people come and go constantly from SP — which is kind of a positive thing about it from which to begin. People move through this community and keep things flowing. New writers, editors, and all of that, all the time. It keeps things fresh.

Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and co-Founder of SP, Chris Maier, was recently featured for the growing trend of Little Salon which has been creating some buzz in the Washington, D.C. area. Though this article was published about a month ago, it's definitely worth mentioning here.

Check out some of the information below, and go ahead and read the whole thing (linked above):

On a Tuesday night in July, in a Harvard Street NW rowhouse that looked like any other, Charlie Nilles hoisted his 35-pound bass over a sea of people chatting and drinking wine on the staircase, filling the living room and spilling into the kitchen and foyer.

Nilles gingerly set the instrument down next to Mark Evans' cello. All heads turned toward the string musicians, both members of the National Symphony Orchestra and a smaller ensemble, the LeDroit Chamber Players. They picked up their bows and glided into "Duo," a piece they'd transcribed for cello and bass. The room fell silent. The wine-drinking paused. There was no icy glow from a cell phone. The entire crowd was mesmerized by the musicians, close enough to touch, serenading them in the middle of a Columbia Heights row house.

This is the magic of Little Salon.

Conceived by fiction writer Chris Maier (below), Little Salon brings high-quality art to informal settings, with no ticket prices or exclusive invitations. Next month, the event will celebrate its first anniversary of monthly gatherings in D.C. residences.

At the July show, the "stage" between the fireplace and makeshift wine bar featured poetry, another piece by the LeDroit Chamber Players (this time, a Béla Fleck song originally composed for banjo), and short fiction.

“A lot of us arrive at genres of art with preconceptions of what that art is supposed to be, and how accessible it's supposed to be, and who it's supposed to be made for,” Maier said. “If we can challenge those things, and do it in a fun, conversational, unpretentious space...it's good for everyone.”

Good stuff, Chris!

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Great tips on how to start hiking and exploring the outdoors

For those that find the gym routine to be a little drab, there’s a great alternative to hitting the treadmill. Hiking outdoors is not only a powerful cardio workout but includes a nice view, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature.

If you’re just getting into this adventurous outdoor activity, here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your hike:

Start slow and build up your hike:
A short hike, close to home is best for beginners. Gradually work your way up to trails that are a bit longer or ones that include more difficult terrain.

Look to step it up:
Uneven terrain works muscles all while improving balance and stability. Even small hills will intensify your workout and help burn those extra calories.

Pack a bag:
Get a day pack for shorter trips or a larger one for multi-day hikes. If you’re just going for a short local hike, a hydration backpack might be the best option. It’s important to have everything you may need in case of emergency, including plenty of water, first aid pack, food, and a cell phone. This extra weight will also help strengthen your back muscles while you hike.

Make it a routine:
Even on the days you can’t make it out to your favorite trails, power-walk around the nearest hilly terrain while carrying your pack. This will keep your muscles ready for your bigger hikes

Know the safety rules for hiking:
At first, don’t hike alone, especially on unfamiliar or remote routes. A friend or group can help you navigate and assist you if you get injured or need help. As your skills improve, you’ll feel more comfortable going alone. When hiking solo, always remember to familiarize yourself with the trail map ahead of time and check the weather so you can pack the proper equipment. However, no matter how prepared you are, it is vital to always let someone know where and when you will be hiking. Never head out alone without first notifying a friend or family member as to where you will be and for how long.

Local hiking trails:

Homer Lake Preserve
Meadowbrook Park
Allerton Park
Kickapoo State Recreation Area
Turkey Run
Lake Mingo Trail
River Ridge Backpack Trail, Forest Glenn Preserve
Moraine View State Park

With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, we want to encourage everyone to get outside and be adventurous! Whether that means taking a family camping trip, going on a weekend backpacking excursion, hiking the local trails or simply relaxing in a hammock in your own backyard, Champaign Surplus has the gear and advice you need to get it done!

The massive CampTastic Sale starts today and runs through Memorial Day! From tents and sleeping bags to backpacks and hiking boots, you’ll find everything you need to have a happy, campy summer at amazing prices.

Shop the CampTastic Sale now at 303 S. Neil St, Downtown Champaign or www.champaignsurplus.com.

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Change.org petition by C-U’s Chris Green is crushing it, 100K+ signatures and counting

You might know Chris Green. He's pretty much one of the best dudes there is, like, anywhere. He knows I'd say this to his face, too. He's just one of the best. 

As Seth mentioned once before, he's been in and out of Champaign for years, and when he's not hanging out with Lady Gaga, he's fighting the good fight for defense of animals around the world, amongst other really cool things.

Anyway, this something that's worth noting — as his petition on Change.org now has over 100,000+ signatures for the fight to end transporting exotic animal hunting trophies on airlines

His letter is to the following:

CEO, Delta Air Lines Richard Anderson
Delta Air Lines
President, Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian
Executive VP & COO, Delta Air Lines Gil West
SVP & Chief Communications Officer, Delta Air Lines Kevin Shinkle

Please follow the lead of South African Airways and end the transport of exotic animal hunting trophies

Amazing work, Mr. Green. Incredible that it has that many signatures and is moving swiftly across the internet. 

We're behind you, pal — plus we've dipped into this sort of thing in the past. We're looking at you, Jimmy.

One last thing, for kicks:

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The News-Gazette did not apologize to Cristian Zamora's family

This past Sunday, I wrote an article wherein I asked The News-Gazette to apologize to the family of Cristian Zamora, a recently deceased UIUC grad, for interrogating them about the coroner's report that disclosed that he was found to have had marijuana metabolites in his system.

They didn't.

I even started a Change.org petition, to see if others felt the same way. Over the course of the week, over 550 people signed it, and asked the same.

Doesn't matter.

And here is the reason why: no matter how many people signed it, or end up signing it, the people who control the content of The News-Gazette are by and large cowards.

You can read it on the Editorial page almost daily. Whether it's Jim Dey's simplistic brand of callous neo-conservative rambling, or a front page "if-it-bleeds-it-leads story", sensationalizing the wave of gun crime currently tearing parts of our city into halves, the brass over on Main Street have shown time and time again that they're more interested in the number of times you click on an article than they are reporting meaningfully on what's happening in our community and why it matters.

To apologize would show weakness. It would force them to acknowledge their humanity, and to own up to their flaws, and that's not something they've ever done, or will ever do. Believe me, they will go down kicking and screaming, lamenting the faults of a progressive society, one that places a premium on equal rights, redemption, and dare I say it, contrition.

No, The News-Gazette isn't in that business. Ultimately, they are in the business of scaring you.

Which is too bad, because with the number of fine beat writers that they employ, I will continue to read them, and likely, so will you.

In truth, nothing will really change as a result of the News-Gazette's botched coverage, or of our community's outcry. Admit it: you've already stopped thinking about this for the most part, right? I know that it's definitely further down my list today, moreso than it was yesterday, and the day before that. Am I right?

Anyhow, this will get a requisite and obligatory mention in Tom's Mailbag later today, I am sure, where it will be defended similarly to how they defended themselves when taken to task for scraping content from the Champaign County Jail to publish mugshots of unconvicted people who were recently arrested.

And that's the best we'll get.

In the meantime, people who are considering a job here, or to stick around after college, will, at some point, look at the News-Gazette, and shake their head in disbelief, the way so many of us who already live here do on a daily basis.

My advice: stick to the writers who seem to be able to publish what they wish, and without those same tactics that the ownership employs daily: Melissa Merli, Don Dodson, Marcus Jackson, Paul Wood, Chuck Koplinski, Nicole LaFond, Meg Dickinson, Andrew Howie, Tim Ditman, Fred Kroner, and yes, goddamnit, Tom Kacich.

There are others, I am sure, and they deserve commendation for their work, for having to put up with writing for a newspaper that seems to believe the community that reads it actually wants this sort of news.

We've all worked jobs where we had to just silently judge our bosses, and while I'm remiss to put words into anyone's mouth, I'd like to imagine this is the case more often than not at The News-Gazette. Who knows?

Well, I suppose I don't, but what I do know is that good people don't behave in this way. Normal humans don't think it's okay to pick up the phone and call a bereaved family for an article that doesn't absolutely, positively require their voice. Normal humans consider the humanity of those around them, and when they get sidetracked, or lost, and get called out on it, they apologize.

The people who run the News-Gazette are not normal humans. They don't really seem to be human at all, at times. Sadly, this is one of those times, and it's too bad, because as a result of their unwillingness to reflect, their unwillingness to show compassion, our entire community loses.

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The Marathon Guitarkestra needs your help

The Marathon Guitarkestra has recorded its drone piece "Sanctuary" at Earth Analog for release on Heirship Records, and you can now pre-order the digital or vinyl version of the album via a Kickstarter campaign. Other incentives include zines, stickers, buttons and DVDs, but perhaps the coolest one is the $100 "personalized drone." There's only one of those left, so hurry up and pledge! 

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Forced off the course for the 2015 Illinois Marathon? Your 2016 entry is on them

Were you one of the runners that was forced off the course due to weather conditions at this past weekend's Illinois Marathon? Well, if so, there's some good news on the horizon if you're looking to make it up next year: 2016 is on them. Check out the information via their social media channels below:

 

The Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon will offer a COMP entry into our 2016 marathon to ALL marathoners who stopped...

Posted by The Illinois Marathon on Monday, April 27, 2015