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Country Club brings swinging to Champaign-Urbana

The inconspicuously named Country Club describes itself as a social club for swingers, and not the dancing kind. Each month, they pick a public meetup location, usually a bar, in Champaign-Urbana. They simply provide a gathering place for couples to safely come meet other like-minded couples and make casual conversation over drinks.

Their next event, "December Dazzle", will take place this Friday. The location is only announced to members, who have to fill out an application before they can join the group.

Smile Politely generally never publishes under pseudonyms,  but has made an exception to keep the anonymity of our reader secure.


Tomorrow is the last day to register for Urbana Park District’s Winter Solstice Night Hike

For those of you interested in taking a brisk outdoor walk to enjoy the winter wonderland, Urbana Park District has you covered. They will be offering a Winter Solstice Night Hike next Wednesday, December 21st at Urbana's Meadowbrook Park. 

Registration is available online at this link, but only until tomorrow. Tickets cost $9 for Urbana residents and $14 for non-residents.

For more information, here's what UPD has to say: 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016
06:30 PM - 08:00 PM

Meadowbrook Park
2808 S Race Street
Urbana, IL 61801


Bundle up as we experience the prairie during the longest night of the year!
Meadowbrook Park - meet at the Race Street parking lot

Age 6 and Up, all participants under 15 must attend with registered adult

Bundle up as we experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the prairie during the longest night of the year. Explore features of the night sky, and look for signs of wildlife - we may even hear the call of owls. A brisk nighttime hike will leave you feeling energized! Pre-registration is required for this exclusive opportunity.


Giordano’s opens January 10th; alleged second location coming to Illini Union

Back in August, it was announced that Giordano's — the beloved Chicago pizza joint — will open in Champaign-Urbana, taking the space that was previously occupied by Buca di Beppo's in Marketplace Mall.

Per this post in Champaign Urbana History on Facebook — Giordano's is... kind of open:

Giordano's Pizzeria at Market Place is open. Sort of. Selling frozen pies and gift cards. Dining room opens January 10. Rumor has it they're going to open a second location in the Illini Union late next summer.

A second location as well? If we get more info to confirm this, we'll update. But for now, that's what we have.

UPDATE: Per — it is indeed open.

CHAMPAIGN -- It's the day pizza fans have been waiting for.

Giordano's partially opened on Sunday.

While the restaurant will not be offering dine-in services until January 10th, they are now selling frozen pizzas, gift cards and merchandise at the Marketplace Mall food court entrance of the restaurant.

After the soft opening on January 10th, the pizza chain will be open for dinner only. The following week, they will extend their hours to accommodate for lunch.

The store manager told us the grand opening will likely be toward the end of January.

For now, you can stop by from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sundays.

Top photo credit and info credit to Mitch Kazel.


Summer Camp announces 2017 dates and ticket pre-sale

In November, there was some information circulating that speculated that Summer Camp Music Festival would be moving to Danville from their long-time stand Chillicothe's Three Sisters Park. Today, however, we have confirmation that this is not the case, and that Summer Camp will go on from May 26-28 this year in the same park as always.

Tickets go on sale here on December 14th at 12 p.m. Central Time.

For more information, read the release from the fest below:

Dear Summer Camp Fam,

I am pleased to announce that we have come to an agreement with Three Sisters Park. Summer Camp Music Festival 2017 will again take place at its longstanding home in Chillicothe, Illinois.

I know the past couple weeks have been a bit unsettling, and I greatly appreciate all the support we received from you.

It was refreshing and inspiring to feel all your love.  It again renewed my faith and commitment to doing what we do.

I would like to thank the great people at Kennekuk County Park, The Vermillion County Conservation District, and the community in Danville, who, knowing the uncertainty of the situation, put untold hours into helping us devise a plan to move should it have become necessary.  As I stated before, I am hoping that relationship will turn into fruitful ventures in the future.

But again, most of all I must thank you, our loyal fans, for continuing to support this crazy journey we embarked on 16 years ago and for continuing to show that know matter the turns and twists, it all comes down to a love for the music and community that we have grown together.

Much Love - Can't wait to see you at Summer Camp 2017!!

Ian Goldberg
Founder and Director
Summer Camp Music Festival


Jimmy John’s can’t enforce that bullshit non-compete clause anymore

Remember that bullshit non-compete document that Jimmy John's — headquartered here in C-U — was making minimum wage employees sign? Well, thanks to the Illinois Attourney General, it is officially bullshit to enforce said bullshit.

Per the press release:


Attorney General’s Settlement Ensures Sandwich Shop Workers Will No Longer Be Subject to Restrictive Non-Compete Agreements

Chicago —Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a settlement with Jimmy John’s for imposing highly restrictive non-compete agreements on its low-wage sandwich shop employees and delivery drivers whose primary job tasks are to take food orders and make and deliver sandwiches. Between its franchise and corporate-owned locations, Jimmy John’s operates nearly 300 sandwich shops in Illinois.

Madigan’s settlement agreement with Jimmy John’s Enterprises LLC and Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC requires the company to:

  • Notify all current and former employees that their non-competition agreements are unenforceable and confirm that Jimmy John’s does not intend to enforce them;
  • Notify all franchisees in Illinois of the same and ask them to rescind any non-competes they used based on the model agreement provided by Jimmy John’s corporation;
  • Implement a process to remove all non-competes from Jimmy John’s “new hire” packets and stores;
  • Agree to use non-competes in compliance with Illinois law moving forward; and
  • Provide $100,000 to the Attorney General’s Office to use toward education and outreach to raise public awareness regarding the legal standards for enforceability of non-compete agreements and promote employer best practices.

“This settlement helps ensure Illinois’ workers have freedom to change jobs in order to seek better wages, further their careers and improve their lives,” Madigan said. “Workers in Jimmy John’s sandwich shops should know they are not subject to these unfair and unenforceable agreements.”

Madigan filed a lawsuit in June 2016 that alleged Jimmy John’s required all employees to sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment. The agreement restricted employees during their employment and for two years afterward from working in any other business that earns more than 10 percent of its revenue from selling “submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita, and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches.” Under the terms of the non-compete agreement, this work restriction applied to any sandwich business located within three miles of any Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop in the country. A later, nearly identical version of the non-compete agreement modified the geographic limitation to two miles around any Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop in the country.

Madigan’s lawsuit alleged the agreement was illegal and unenforceable under Illinois law. Madigan’s office is currently investigating several additional employers for the use of unenforceable non-compete agreements.

According to White House and U.S. Treasury reports, non-competes impact approximately 30 million – nearly one in five – U.S. workers, including roughly one in six workers without a college degree. Under Illinois law, non-compete agreements must be premised on a legitimate business interest and narrowly tailored in terms of time, activity and place. Starting in January 2017, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act will prohibit use of non-compete agreements for employees earning minimum wage or less than $13 an hour.

The settlement was handled by Madigan’s Workplace Rights Bureau Chief Jane Flanagan, as well as Assistant Attorneys General Anna Crane and John Wolfsmith. The mission of the Workplace Rights Bureau is to protect and advance the employment rights of Illinois residents, particularly low and moderate-income and immigrant residents. The Bureau recently held a symposium on “Emerging Legal Issues in the Workplace” in which national and local experts discussed recent trends and policy proposals surrounding the increasing use of non-compete agreements.


This site maps where all the pinball machines are in C-U

Pinball is popping up all around CU and this website can give you the locations of all of the machines in town. It is a user maintained website so you can add to it or remove machines as you see fit. Games usually cost $1 a piece and sometimes give you a deal if you put in $3 at a time. My personal tip to you for a fun pinball game? put $3 bucks in, play with friends, and don't be afraid to give it a little shake when the ball is bounching around. You can even download an app called PayRange and pay for some of the machines via your cell phone. So easy!


Innovation Celebration 2017 nomination deadline is December 9th

Innovation Celebration 2017 is taking place Friday, March 3rd of 2017, though there's still time to nominate someone for an INNCEL award. Check out all the information below, though the deadline is next Friday, December 9th, so you best get to it if you're interested.

Check out our recap of INNCEL 2016 here.

Know an entrepreneur/innovator in Champaign County who deserves to be recognized?

We are pleased to announce the 12th Annual Innovation Celebration in recognition of those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University's economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community. 

Friday, March 3, 2017
5:30-8:30 pm

Parkland College - Student Union
2400 West Bradley Avenue 
Champaign, IL 61821

The awards have been established to recognize the various ways in which individuals and organizations have utilized innovation, creativity, and leadership for entrepreneurial endeavors and economic development in the community. Please nominate as many people/organizations as you would like. 
Nominations are open to the public and will be accepted through 4 pm on December 9, 2016.
Nominations will be viewed and judged in December 2016 by a panel of past winners, sponsors and community & university leaders. Finalists will be announced in early 2017. 

To learn more about the event, view past award winners, watch our videos, and RSVP, visit our event website

Awards & Descriptions

Innovation Transfer Award-University of Illinois 
Recognizes an individual or group from the University of Illinois whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact.

Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award-University of Illinois
Recognizes an individual or team from the University of Illinois that has channeled their experience living with a disability into positive change through the creation of new products, environments, or protocols that enhance quality of life. 

Innovation in Engagement Award-Parkland College 
Recognizes an individual or group at Parkland College who has shown support of the college's community engagement mission. 

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award
Serve as change agents by creating and implementing sustainable solutions to reshape society, benefit humanity, and address social concerns. 

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award
Formed by students in the last three years and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award
Formed in the last three years, and demonstrates a commitment to continuing success through entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Advocacy Award
Actively engage, encourage, coach and mentor entrepreneurs in the community, and provide extensive support to help them achieve success.

Innovation: Economic Development Impact Award
Has successfully commercialized innovations while demonstrating a commitment to positive, local, economic impact.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award
Demonstrates expertise in assembling resources, creating an organization, and working to build and implement effective action plans.

Innovation: Longevity Award
Recognizes those enterprises whose sustained success is the direct result of continued innovation over many years.

Top photo by Sam Logan.


C-U gets shout out in New York Times article about David Foster Wallace

A recent New York Times Travel section article about David Foster Wallace mentions Champaign-Urbana and the ways in which this particular part of the Midwest influenced the writer's work. In the article, author Lynn Freehill-Maye roadtripped to C-U and visited a few local spots, including Urbana's Blair Park: 

For Wallace, life was unstructured. I stopped at placid Blair Park, where he and a high school teammate, John Flygare, taught tennis for five summers. They’d collect cash for the lessons, order pizza out of the proceeds, then turn over whatever was left in the cash box to the Urbana Park District every couple of weeks, Mr. Flygare told me. No one monitored. “I see my kids almost assuming their lives are going to stay structured,” he said. “When we were among ourselves, we were just free.” There were no children in the park that morning, a school day. Soccer nets were up now, signs of an organized sport new to Illinois. An older man walked his dogs alone.

It's a nice article about the peace one can find in Central Illinois. You can read the entire article here

Photo by Jessica Hammie. 


II-VI EpiWorks celebrates groundbreaking for upcoming major expansion

II-VI EpiWorks (fka simply EpiWorks) has recently undergone a major acquisition over the course of the past year, and are clearly one of the best success stories in Champaign-Urbana tech as of late. The work they do is truly mindblowing (they are a leading global provider of compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers) — and they celebrated their groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.

Here's the press release:

II-VI EpiWorks Undergoing Major Expansion

Champaign, IL, November 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The II-VI EpiWorks Division of II‐VI Incorporated (NASDAQ:IIVI), a leading provider of compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers, today announced that it is breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art production facility in Champaign, Illinois.

The expansion is expected to be complete by mid-2017 and will enable a quadrupling of capacity in Champaign over the next three years. In addition to substantial epitaxial wafer production space, the new cleanroom will house a state-of-the-art wafer characterization and test laboratory. To operate the new facility, EpiWorks is actively recruiting experienced managers, engineers and technicians. This aggressive expansion enhances EpiWorks’ leadership position in the global compound semiconductor industry, supporting the performance and volume requirements for several key components that enable multiple growing markets. These include InP and GaAs-based optoelectronic communication components for cloud computing and datacenters, VCSELs for 3D sensing and next generation wide bandgap devices for 5G wireless infrastructure.

“High-performance compound semiconductors are required to meet the performance needs of modern communication networks, sensors, smartphones, wireless communications networks, and datacenters. Our technology is being adopted in many applications, and we are ensuring that our capacity continues to meet customer demand now and in the future,” said Giovanni Barbarossa, Chief Technical Officer and President of the Laser Solutions Segment. “The new capacity will support our RF and photonics businesses, and we will have more resources to research and develop new materials and products.”

“Immediately after merging with II-VI in February, we ordered three new MOCVD production tools and filled our current cleanroom space. These systems have already been installed, and we have now moved into the next phase of growth by expanding our cleanroom space, launching an aggressive hiring plan, and working to build the industry’s most technologically advanced and efficient manufacturing line.” said Quesnell Hartmann and David Ahmari, co-founders of II-VI EpiWorks.

“It is great to see EpiWorks continue to grow and create jobs in Illinois,” Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said. “This company has a strong Illinois history, having been founded by University of Illinois alumni. EpiWorks’ success in Illinois is a testament to our state’s research universities, the ingenuity of our workforce, and the innovative community in Champaign Urbana. We hope to continue to be a partner with them to help grow their business within our borders and build upon this success.”

About II-VI Incorporated
II-VI Incorporated, a global leader in engineered materials and opto-electronic components, is a vertically integrated manufacturing company that develops innovative products for diversified applications in the industrial, optical communications, military, life sciences, semiconductor equipment, and consumer markets.

About II-VI EpiWorks
II-VI EpiWorks develops and manufactures compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers for application in optical components, wireless devices and high-speed communication systems. The company’s products provide these applications additional performance, such as greater bandwidth, higher power efficiency and better reliability. To learn more about EpiWorks visit

Dawn Sandone


Champaign Central High School hosting madrigal dinner next weekend

If you're familiar with unique holiday traditions, you have probably heard of madrigal singers, the extracurricular activity in high school that focuses on seasonal songs and medieval culture.

Champaign Central High School is no exception to this seasonal trend, and has announced that their 36th annual Madrigal Dinner will be taking place next weekend (December 10th and 11th).

Tickets are available for both the dinner itself and the concert portion by itself. For more information, check out what Unit 4 had to say about it below: 


Our Madrigal dinner is a 21st century reenactment of a baronial feast from the European Renaissance. This family-friendly event, now in its 36th year, is a beloved Central tradition, and all choir students participate. Guests with reservations are treated to a multiple-course dinner featuring a chicken entree or vegetarian option (children’s meals are available), and all guests are entertained by over 50 of Central’s student musicians. Guests not wishing to make dinner reservations may come for the “concert-only.”

Reservation information

Adult meal – $25 (Specify chicken or veggie)

Children’s meal - $10 (Children 12 and under)

Concert-only –$7

Meals are by reservation only, and may be made November 14th – December 5th  by several means:

Phone - Call 779-379-2313

Email -

Online - (Order by check or PayPal)