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By the way, you can vote right now

Yeah, right now. Both vote-by-mail and early in-person voting for the March 20 primaries are available now through March 20. Early voting information is available on the county clerk's website.

If you're not up to speed on all of the contested elections, the Champaign County Voters Alliance has put together a pretty handy guide detailing the candidates and their positions and also has links to assist you with verifying and updating your voter registration.


Polyvinyl artists are currently ruling the NACC chart

It always feels nice when something happening locally music-wise has a larger impact on the grander scheme of the industry. Polyvinyl is always doin' the work — and one of their most recent signings, Anna Burch, has an awesome new record out called Quit the Curse.  It came out on February 2nd, and has been ruling the North American College & Community Chart for a solid month now.

Not only that, but their recent acquisition, Jeff Rosenstock, has recieved a ton of praise for their new record, POST-, and even though they have fallen out of the top 10, they still remain in the top 20 as of this past week.

Kudos, PV crew.

Here's what NACC posted on Twitter a few days ago:


Division I hockey is a possibility for Illinois Athletics

The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics just released a hockey feasibility study that indicates NCAA Hockey could be very successful here. The study also proposes a downtown facility to house three sheets for hockey and community ice activities, as well as a conference center, hotel, and office space. 

Here is the full news release from Illinois Athletics:

CHAMPAIGN, ILL -  The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) has released a comprehensive study completed by Collegiate Consulting into the feasibility of starting a Division I men's hockey program. The study was initiated in June, 2017, and commissioned by the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), and College Hockey, Inc.

"The strong consensus of everyone involved in college hockey is that NCAA men's hockey will flourish at the University of Illinois," said Mike Snee, executive director of College Hockey, Inc. "From the number of native Illinois players currently playing college hockey to the continued growth of youth hockey players in the state, there are many reasons to be confident that the Fighting Illini could quickly become a top national program and sustain it every year.  We are very appreciative of the University administration's willingness to consider bringing NCAA hockey to Champaign."

Based on interviews with, and feedback from, campus and community stakeholders and strong support from the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL, the report indicates there is growing excitement among the statewide hockey community about the UI starting a Division I hockey program. The report states that with the expanding enthusiasm for ice hockey at all levels in the state of Illinois, the foundation appears to be in place for Illinois to develop a men's hockey program that will, in a relatively short timeframe, become financially viable and competitive on a conference and national level.

The state of Illinois has the sixth-highest youth hockey participation in the nation (22,373 in 2017), which has grown exponentially with an increase of nearly 300 percent since 1993. The state also produces the fourth-most Division I hockey players in the country, with 85 players from Illinois currently competing for Division I teams. Despite such broad participation and such quality players, the sport is not sponsored by any Division I school in the state.

"The NHL and NHL Players' Association, expanding on the good work of College Hockey Inc., are proud to support the expansion of NCAA DI college hockey," said Kevin Westgarth, Vice-President of Business Development and International Affairs for the NHL. "The excitement that we've seen in the wake of our partnership with the University of Illinois and the Chicago Blackhawks to fund a feasibility study to explore the addition of varsity hockey has been palpable and widespread, from UI alumni, the Illinois hockey community, and the entire college hockey family. The support from the Blackhawks has been critical in raising awareness, and we are coming ever closer to realizing our goal of delivering more DI opportunities to elite hockey players, while building a new three-sheet ice facility in Urbana-Champaign to increase access and opportunity for the next generation of hockey families."

The study recommends development of a new facility on the location proposed in downtown Champaign. The DIA concurs with this recommendation and will begin focusing its planning efforts on the downtown location. The facility, which would have seating capacity of 5,000 – 6,000, could provide new competition space for hockey, volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling. The downtown location allows the University to partner with the City of Champaign and, with its easy accessibility to the many amenities and business establishments that downtown has to offer, should serve as a boon to the local economy.

At this time, the DIA is not prepared to make the ultimate decision about adding hockey as a varsity sport. This will happen only if the DIA can successfully fund the program and receive needed support from various campus and community stakeholders.

"We are excited to share the results of our feasibility study and continue advancing our efforts to bring Division I hockey to Champaign-Urbana," said Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. "This is one of our most ambitious and potentially impactful projects in recent memory. Adding Division I hockey and building the new arena it would require would be transformative for the sport of hockey in the state of Illinois and for our university, our athletic program, and, importantly, for the Champaign-Urbana communities. We are grateful for the partnerships we have developed with the Chicago Blackhawks, the National Hockey League, and College Hockey, Inc., all of which have become true champions for this cause. We look forward to engaging with more people from across the state to generate the support necessary to make this project a reality."


Allerton is hosting a Vine to Wine event on March 10th

Learn all about Pinot Noir and the history Italian wines and, of course, sample them, at Allerton's Vine to Wine event. Your ticket includes two seminars, tastings, and a dinner with wine pairings. Make it a staycation by adding on a stay at the mansion. Here are the details: 

Learn something new and enjoy a variety of wines! Educational seminars will explore the ‘Queen’ of red grapes, Pinor Noir, as well as the history and production style of a selection of Italian wines. Afterwards indulge in a delicious French-inspired meal with wine pairings (menu -

Spend the night and enjoy a light complimentary breakfast and guided mansion tour or leisurely hike on Sunday.

Registration Options
Event + Dinner – $110/person
Event + Dinner and Lodging (Single Occupancy) – $190/person
Event + Dinner and Lodging (Double Occupancy) – $310/couple

Photo from Facebook


The 2nd Annual Mahomet Craft Beer Festival is April 21st

The 2nd Annual Mahomet Craft Beer Festival will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Satuday, April 21st in Downtown Mahomet. It's hosted by JT Walker's and the Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce. 

The event will feature local breweries, though specific vendors and participants have not yet been announced. Follow the event on Facebook (linked above) for those details. In the meantime, you can catch up on last year's event

Photo by Rebecca Johnson


Grovestone and Prairie Fruits Farm teaming up for cheese platter workshop

Grovestone and Prairie Fruits Farm are teaming up to host a cheese platter (with wine!) workshop on Thursday, March 29th. 

The workshop is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Grovestone (1707 W Kirby Ave, Champaign); tickets are $55 and available for purchase online. So, what do you get for that price tag?

About the Classes: Just in time for the holidays! Join our local cheesemonger from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for a delicious and informative class on how to build the perfect cheese platter.

Learn different cuts and styles, general rules of thumb, and complementary pairings to make the most of your cheese boards at home.

Enjoy tastings of wine from Vintage Wines and cheese while we build our platter together... go home with your creation and the skills to wow your guests at the next festive gathering!

Must be 21 years of age for the wine tasting.

Bonus: Each student will receive 10% off of their Grovestone purchases the day of the class.

Well, it looks like you get a cheese platter, which will obviously be delicious. If you register and need to cancel, please note that you have to do so with a one week notice, or you won't get refunded. Call 217-239-2700 to cancel, or for more information. 

Photo by Jessica Hammie


Black Dog Urbana now has online ordering

If you were wondering how ordering smoked goodness from Black Dog Smoke & Ale House could be even easier, you now have your answer. They have just added online ordering for their Urbana location. A few clicks and you are on your way to a yummy dinner that you don't have to cook. This link will get you there.


Illini Hillel is hosting a Purim Drag Show

I mean, does it get any better than that event title? It's sponsored by Illini Hillel and the University of Illinois LGBT Resource Center. Thursday, March 1st, 9 p.m.-12 a.m. at the Canopy Club. Tickets can be purchased from Here are the details from FB:

Purim: the Jewish holiday where nothing is as it appears. Party with us in your best costume with drinks and a full drag show. Featuring professional drag queens and kings performing the story of Purim. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will be donated to The UP Center of Champaign County.


The Art Theater hosting Oscars trivia night on February 25th

The Oscars are coming up, are you prepared? Have you caught up on what's been nominated? If you haven't, you should start there. Once you've done that, or if you're already caught up, here's an opportunity to showcase your film knowledge at the Art Theater on February 25th.

From the Facebook event:

Calling all cinephiles and trivia enthusiasts: come out to the Art Theater on Sunday, February 25 at 7:00 and test your knowledge of Academy Awards nominees and winners at our Oscars-themed trivia night. Individuals and teams of up to 6 people can compete for prizes. There will be drink specials! And of course popcorn! Tickets are $7 per person. Don’t miss your chance to be recognized for excellence in cinematic trivia achievements!