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The Champaign City Council wants your input

Have your say! What do you want the City of Champaign to focus on over the next two years? The Champaign City Council is asking for public input ahead of meetings at the end of September to set their vision and goals. From their website:

The City Council sets the vision for the City and adopts goals to reflect that vision and guide decision-making at all levels of City government. The goal setting process builds Council consensus on policies and projects that impact City residents, businesses and the community as a whole.  The City Manager uses the City Council’s vision and goals to set priorities, direct work activities, and allocate staffing and financial resources.

The Champaign City Council will meet September 26 & 27, 2017, to establish their vision and goals for the City to focus on over the next two years. The City welcomes the public’s input on this important process, and encourages residents to complete the following two-question survey. Printed surveys are also available from the City Manager’s Office (102 N Neil St., Champaign). Survey responses are due by September 13, 2017.


Columbia Street Roastery holding free tasting September 16th

Columbia Street Roastery will be hosting a free coffee tasting on Saturday, September 16th at 10 a.m. at the Roastery. It's an awesome chance for you to learn more about coffee, and taste different coffees from around the world. 

Think fast though, there are only 15 spots available for the tasting. Shoot them an email or stop by the store to RSVP and let them know you'll be there. 


This Craigslist “human” will give you $20 to protest the “War Chant” banning this Saturday

I can't make this shit up.

I use the term "human" here loosely because only people that have lost touch with reality do things like this.

Here's someone who is offering up cold hard cash if you're down to protest the banning of "War Chant" at the upcoming Illini Football game this weekend. Seriously. I mean, I don't want to post about this anymore than you want to see us post about it anymore, but I can't help myself because this is absurd and happening here in our community.

This is probably a bullshit post to get people like me to post about it on Smile Politely, but whatever. Here I am, typing this post.

However, $20 can be yours! I didn't want you to miss out on this opportunity, truly.

Anyway, here's the text:

Protestors wanted - War Chant hide this posting

We are offering $20 per person to come out and boost our rally attendance. We are protesting UofI board banning of our historic war chant!

First football game is Saturday, 9/2/17 at 9:00am. Look for the registration table to the left to collect. You'll be given a ticket and then you can trade that ticket after the rally for cash!

Email them and see what's up. We're still waiting word back.

Here's the posting:

Read Chris Evans' piece about the banning of the song from yesterday while you're at it.


Circuit Judge rules in favor of Parkland: Rochelle Harden must choose

Smile Politely interviewed newly elected Parkland Board member Rochelle Harden a few months ago about her controversial situation: can she occupy a space on the board as well as maintain her position on the faculty? Circuit Judge Tom Difanis has now made a ruling. Ms. Harden must choose one or the other. From the News-Gazette:

"Harden, the first African-American on the Parkland board in its 50-year history, indicated that unless she decides to appeal the ruling, she likely would quit the board and continue as a faculty member.

'Believe me, if I could afford to quit my job and serve — because people voted for me and I really want to honor that — but I need my job,' she said following a 50-minute hearing at the Champaign County Courthouse."

The N-G has the full story.


Jonathan Ebel of Urbana announces run for Rodney Davis’ House seat

Since Carol Ammons announced that she would no longer seek Rodney Davis' seat in IL-13, there has not been a candidate from Champaign County who has thrown their hat into the 2018 race. Today, that changed with an announcement from Jonathan Ebel of Urbana.

Ebel, who is a Navy veteran and a professor at the University of Illinois, is the fifth Democrat from IL-13 to announce a run against Rodney "Hot Rod" Davis.

For more information, check out Ebel's campaign Facebook page here, and read The News-Gazette's profile on him here.


C-U Immigration Forum accepting nominations for Welcome Awards

The C-U Immigration Forum is preparing for its 4th Annual Welcome Awards to recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed to the success of immigrants in Champaign County. The awards ceremony is part of Welcome Week, which will take place September 15-24. Here are the specifics:

The Champaign-Urbana Immigration Forum is hosting the 4th Annual Welcome Awards! This year we are excited to announce a new collaboration with the cities of Champaign and Urbana. As part of this new partnership, the Champaign-Urbana International Humanitarian Awards (CUIHA) will now be included in the Immigrant Welcome Award Ceremony.

The CU Immigration Forum is now accepting your nominations in consideration of the individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions, taken risks, and have provided leadership for the well-being and success of immigrants in Champaign County. To view the award categories and to nominate, please fill this short form using the following link: The CU Immigration Forum will accept your nominations through September 1, 2017.

The award recipients will be officially recognized at the 4th Annual Welcome Awards Ceremony and Celebration from 2pm-4pm on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the Muslim American Society Center. Event goers can expect food and fun for the whole family as we recognize and celebrate the individuals and organizations that have created a welcoming atmosphere for immigrants in Champaign County, Illinois.  For more information about the event including past award recipients, visit:

This event is part of Welcoming Week (September 15-24), a national week of events that works to bring communities bring together, immigrants and U.S.-born residents in a spirit of unity and to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone. For more information about Welcoming Week, visit Welcoming America's website at:


No charges filed against Champaign Police Officer who shot unarmed suspect

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a particularly-questionable officer-involved shooting in Champaign-Urbana.

Though there was no body camera footage, the Champaign Police Department did release the dash camera footage from Officer James Hobson, who shot unarmed suspect Dehari Banks after his foot slipped following a car chase in Champaign.

According to State's Attorney Julia Reitz, there is no evidence that Officer Hobson committed a crime, and all discipline handed down must be internal, through the Police Department.

The dash cam footage and audio is terrifying, and without any public mention of entrance and exit wounds, it still seems as though Officer Hobson acted negligently at best, and over-aggressively at worst.

Watch the dash cam video here, via The News-Gazette.

Read State's Attorney Reitz's statement to the Champaign Police Department, and CPD's press release below:

Champaign Police Provide Update into Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation

This news release comes as an update to the community regarding the June 11, 2017 shooting incident in which Champaign Police Officer James Hobson reported an accidental discharge of his duty weapon during apprehension of a fleeing subject. The single bullet discharge resulted in the subject, 22-year-old Dehari Banks, being struck in the shoulder and sustaining a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

The Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Investigative Team, led by the Illinois State Police, conducted the investigation into this incident and submitted those findings to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. Per written notification from State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, criminal charges will not be filed in regards to Officer Hobson’s actions.

According to reports, Officer Hobson initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle that Dehari Banks was driving. Banks eluded the officer for several blocks before ultimately crashing into a residential garage and fleeing on foot. The foot chase ended when Banks reached a fenced-in area in the 300 Block of N. Fourth St.; at which time Banks turned towards Officer Hobson, who drew his duty weapon as he was coming to a running stop. Officer Hobson reports that as he stopped, his foot slipped on the ground, causing an accidental discharge of his weapon.

Following the shooting incident and per Department policy, Officer Hobson was placed on paid investigative leave. He returned to the Department on June 22, 2017 and was assigned to desk duty and firearms training, pending the completion of the Multi-Jurisdictional Team’s investigation and the State’s Attorney’s ruling. The SA’s decision and review of Officer Hobson’s firearms training will determine his return to patrol duties.

Included in next steps, the Champaign Police Department will conduct its own internal investigation into the incident. At the conclusion of the internal investigation, the Department’s Firearms Discharge Review Board will convene to address the factors of the incident, as outlined within Department Policy 1.5: Firearms Discharge Investigation and Review. Chief Anthony Cobb will then complete a final review to implement his findings and recommendations, including any potential discipline.

“Our Department takes use of force incidents very seriously, especially when someone has been injured by gunfire,” shared Chief Cobb. “We’ve already taken some proactive measures to review and implement individual training needs, as well as taken review of Department-wide firearms training. I’m confident that the Firearms Discharge Review Board will thoroughly examine the issues surrounding this incident and make further recommendation on employee performance.”

With the conclusion of Illinois State Police’s investigation review and the State’s Attorney’s ruling, Champaign Police is releasing the squad car video with audio recording, associated with the June 11 shooting.


Deadspin blasts Illinois Football - again

In what is certainly a stale and overdone trope, Deadspin took to the internet today to publish a piece entitled "Illinois Is Paying Lovie Smith A Lot Of Money For This Shit", and featuring another picture of a half-empty fan section.

I get it - Illinois Football is bad. It's more fun to think of funny things to tweet during the game than watch the actual game. Perhaps we've just gotten used to being bad by now, but honestly, why are people still so infatuated with the fact that a bad team doens't inspire their fans?

That's not a remarkable phenomenon at all. The first time, it was funny, the second time, it was bordering on annoying, but this latest piece is the definiton of beating a dead horse. It's the equivalent of someone saying "Ha ha, look at the bad team. Their fans don't even want to come to the games (imagine that?) because they're bad."

No shit, Deadspin. We know we're bad. We're working on it. Pick on a team who pays athletes or has fake classes instead. Let us lose in peace.