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The GOALS Project a finalist in tech makeover contest

C-U nonprofit, The GOALS Project, is excited to announce they made it to the final round of voting for the R.K. Dixon "Make My Nonprofit Better Contest," where they have a chance to win a $15,000 technology makeover!

Support some of our community's most vulnerable members — teen parents and their children — by voting daily for the The GOALS Project at (every device gets a vote!).

Thank you!

The GOALS Project is a 501c3 organization that empowers teen parents to improve their lives and the lives of their children. We offer mentorship, workshops, and support to teen parents as they tackle educational, career, and parenting goals. Check out our youtube video for more information on our group, and this contest.


U of I not considering selling beer at Illini football games

Sad news, Illini fans. During an interview with WCIA, University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman has revealed that of all the things facing the embattled U of I athletic programs, alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium during home games are not a high priority moving forward, despite previous press and legislation that would suggest otherwise

This will be especially hard on State Senator Chapin Rose, who gave one of the most rousing defenses of the sale of beer at Illini games that I have ever read, saying: 

I would hope they take into account that it doesn’t seem to be really fair to me that the rich guys get to eat their cheese and drink their wine in the expensive suites but the rest of us plebes can’t have a beer.

Who knows, maybe with Lovie at the helm Illini games will be do-able without beer. It's possible, I guess. But if the team wins like four games or something like they usually do, the least us fans should be able to get out of it is a cold brew. Sigh. I guess there's always next year.

Photo by


Registration for Unit 4’s Free/Reduced meals plan now open

Applications are now open for free and reduced lunch for students and families in Champaign's Unit 4 School District, and you can do it all online.

For full instructions and details, check out this info from Unit 4: 

To complete the online application, parents should visit

The online application offers a quicker response time and a high level of accuracy for families. Only one application per family should be completed. Parents may visit to check the result of their application after 48 hours.  

Families at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, Kenwood, Dr. Howard, Garden Hills, International Prep Academy, and Stratton do not need to complete this application and should instead complete a separate form that will be made available at their school. These campuses participate in a separate school-wide program that offers free meals to all students.


WILL launches The Bandwagon, a new sports podcast

In the world of Champaign-Urbana sports talk radio, options are generally pretty dry. Outside of ESPN Radio's Tay and J Show and assorted sports programs on WDWS, there isn't really anything alternative to the mainstream. 

Luckily, WILL has been seeking to change this lately with their podcast, The Bandwagon, which is available online every two weeks or so. You can stream the podcast here, and for more information, check out the press release below:

Join WILL's Brian Moline, Lisa Bralts, and John Steinbacher every two weeks for your new favorite sports podcast, The Bandwagon.

“This all started with a conversation last year about how to bring people who don't identify as sports fans into a conversation about sports,” said Brian Moline, co-host of the show.

This idle suggestion-turned-podcast stands at the intersection of sports and culture, pondering what’s really going on. The Bandwagon isn’t just about scores and trade rumors and the holy trinity of MLB/NBA/NFL, it’s also about having thoughtful discussions around issues that affect athletics and ethos. Hosted by two guys and a woman with wildly different athletic interests, each episode’s topics can range from ping pong to dressage to youth sports to social media’s role in the sports world.

In fact, the distinct lack of “hot takes” and “REAX” is what makes The Bandwagon distinct among the many other sports podcasts out there. “While outcomes are very interesting, the experience of ‘the game’ itself from the athlete’s perspective, the viewer’s perspective, the perspective of someone who doesn’t think sports matter but is affected by them anyway… those are the things that interest us and that’s what we love to discuss,” explained Lisa Bralts, co-host of the show.

Sports are both a fascinating diversion and a reflection of our society, often serving as a significant component of people’s interaction with one another, whether they identify with sports or know nothing about them, e.g. The Superbowl. “They’re a way for people to connect on a larger scale, and especially given the polarization going on around so many topics in today’s society, I think they can be more significant than ever before,” said John Steinbacher, co-host of the show.

However, things that avid sports fans take for granted aren't necessarily common knowledge for everyone, so The Bandwagon works to be a bridge between the sports and non-sports camps—a podcast place where everyone can come to listen and learn something new.

There is also a lot of rivalry talk. “Rivalries are what make sports great both for the athletes—who need someone or something to compete against to keep the fires stoked—and the spectators,” continued Bralts. “I think the three of us learn something new every time one of us brings a rivalry, whether it’s in the research or in the on-mic discussion.”

So forget the “hot takes” of your typical sports podcasts and come aboard The Bandwagon. This week the show is talking about lesser-known Olympic sports, the US-USSR Olympics rivalry during the Cold War, the Crossfit Games, and the silly stuff we saw on social media this week!

You can follow the podcast on Twitter @bndwgnpdcst, and you can listen to all past episodes at


Courier Cafe and Silvercreek going up for sale

According to The News-Gazette's interview with Allen Strong, longtime owner of Urbana's Courier Cafe and Silvercreek restaurants, both restaurants will be up for sale soon. Check it:

URBANA — After about 45 years of serving food — everything from ice cream sodas and deli sandwiches then to chicken saltimbocca and pan seared duck breast today — restaurateur Allen Strong says he wants to do something else.

He wants to get out of the food business and is looking for someone to take over his two restaurants (Silvercreek, Courier Cafe) about two blocks apart on Race Street in Urbana.

"I can't do it forever and at some point — before your health starts to go — you've got to figure out something. And (wife) Nancy, she's desperate to travel and do other things, and we've both worked hard all of our lives and we just feel it's time to let somebody else take over the reins, if there is anybody," said Strong, who turns 64 later this month. "There may not be anybody who's interested. Who knows?"

Do yourself a favor and read the entire article, pretty interesting stuff. We'll see what happens in the near future.

Check out Jess' features on both Silvercreek and Courier.


C-U lands top 50 “Best Cities for Music Fans in 2016” by ValuePenguin

In a recent study by ValuePenguin, they've put out a list of best and worst U.S. cities for music fans — and Champaign-Urbana makes the list at #45, as Consequence of Sound points out.

Check out the top 50 below, and head over to ValuePenguin to check out the whole study:

01. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
02. Urban Honolulu, HI
03. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
04. Madison, WI
05. Austin-Round Rock, TX
06. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
07. Tucson, AZ
08. Rochester, NY
09. Pittsburgh, PA
10. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
11. Salt Lake City, UT
12. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
13. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
14. Eugene, OR
15. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
17. Asheville, NC
18. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
19. Boulder, CO
20. Binghamton, NY
21. Wilmington, NC
22. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA
23. Fort Collins, CO
24. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
25. Duluth, MN-WI
26. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
27. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
28. Sioux Falls, SD
29. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
30. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
31. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
32. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
33. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
34. Trenton, NJ
35. Colorado Springs, CO
35. Lincoln, NE
37. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
38. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
39. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
40. Gainesville, FL
41. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
42. St. Louis, MO-IL
43. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
44. Appleton, WI
45. Champaign-Urbana, IL
45. Lynchburg, VA
47. Charlottesville, VA
48. Rockford, IL
49. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
50. Portland-South Portland, ME


Columbia Street Roastery hosting free coffee tasting this Saturday

Good news for those of you who are coffee connoisseurs, Champaign's own boutique roastery, Columbia Street Roastery, is hosting a completely FREE coffee tasting this Saturday from 10 - 11 AM. Registration is required in person at Columbia Street Roastery before Saturday's event.

For more information, make sure to check out the Facebook Event:

***Due to large demand we are only taking sign ups in store. Please stop by 24 E Columbia St. and get your name on the list for our free coffee cupping!!!***

Come join us Saturday July 16th, 2016 at 10am for our free coffee tasting session. It is open to the public. Its a chance for you to learn and taste different coffees from around the world. Send us your email or stop by our retail store and let us know your coming. We only have 15 spots so please sign up early as they do go fast.

The tasting (or as we like to call them cuppings) will happen at the Roastery located at 24 Columbia St. Champaign IL. Remember ... ITS FREE!!


Young Blu releases new video

Champaign hip-hop artist Young Blu has just released a new video. Entitled “Cuttin’ Up//Playa Made,” it’s the first single from his EP The Gin Tape, which is the latest in a solid series of releases that spans several years. The EP is currently available on all major streaming platforms, such as iTunes and Spotify. Check it out here.


Urbanalove and Neutral Cycle hosting showing of Wizard of Oz next Friday

Urbanalove and Neutral Cycle are partnering to present the very first outdoor film series show of the Summer, featuring the Wizard of Oz, hosted in the parking lot of Busey Bank in Downtown Urbana. Of course, the event is free and open to the public, and would make a great weekend event if you've got nothing going on.

The film kicks off at 8:30 on Friday, July 23rd. For more information, RSVP to the Facebook Event here and read the description below:

Come out to the first installment of this year's Urbanalove Summer Movie Nights! Join us for a celebration of our community with activities, food, music, and a film.

Featured Movie: The Wizard of Oz [runtime 1:52]
Sunset: [approx. 8:30pm]

Film Review:

Visit our website for updates on future events: