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Krannert Center’s ticket sales for the 2017-18 season start tomorrow

For those of you who are interested in what is perhaps the most culturally diverse space in Champaign-Urbana, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts unleashed a brilliant 2017-18 lineup earlier this year.

To attend, one must purchase tickets, and the good news is that those tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10 am. After that time, all you have to do is go on to Krannert's calendar here, choose the event you want to attend, and you should be able to purchase straight away.

For more information on Krannert's offerings, check out their website here.


Minneci’s at the Crossing closing on July 15th

Your options for Italian food in southwest Champaign just got a little more limited, folks - Minneci's at the Crossing took to Facebook last night to announce the closure of their restaurant (located at Robeson Crossing in case that wasn't apparent in the name) on July 15th. Until then, all wine will be half-price, so that's good news at least.

Minneci's catering operation will carry on as normal, as this only affects the restaurant located at the Crossing.

For more information, check out Minneci's Facebook post below:


Common Ground Food Co-op round-up donations to go to Black Lives Matter this month

If you're familiar with Common Ground Food Co-op's Round Up For Good program, you realize just how easy it is to donate a bit extra to help out a local organization that is doing good in the C-U community. This month's featured organization is Champaign-Urbana's chapter of Black Lives Matter, which aims to achieve racial justice in Champaign-Urbana and across the country.

For more information on how you can donate or get involved, check out CGFC's Facebook post below:


Experimental Aircraft Association hosting free plane rides for kids this Saturday

The Experimental Aircraft Association's Chapter 29 (based in Champaign), will be hosting free introductory flights for children aged 8-17 at Champaign's Willard Airport this Saturday. Flights will take place from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

For more information, including safety info, registration details, and flight plans, check out the full ChambanaMoms announcement here.


Lodgic Everyday Community opening conceptual workspace Summer 2018 in Champaign

Here's an interesting new concept coming to Champaign-Urbana next Summer — Lodgic Everyday Community — heading for 1807 S. Neil Street in Champaign.

From the press release:

CHAMPAIGN, July 6, 2017 — Moose International is embarking upon a brand-new, innovative concept designed specifically with modern working professionals and families in mind, and they are launching it in Champaign’s Illini Plaza. The iconic fraternal service organization officially unveiled the new concept — Lodgic Everyday Community — at their annual convention in Tampa last week. The Lodgic name is a nod to the hallmark Moose lodges that have been the heart and soul of the organization’s 129-year history, but the new Lodgic brand is a revolutionary way to engage the next generation in service and community.

“Lodgic is a completely new kind of place that will offer modern professionals and families the flexibility and support in three areas they value most,” said Scott Hart, CEO, Moose International. “Maximized productivity, high-quality time together as a family, and a genuine sense of community are at the core of Lodgic.”

Under one roof, Lodgic Everyday Community will seamlessly blend three services:  

  • Lodgic workplace — Full-service, hospitality-forward coworking to serve independent workers, small-business owners, and other location-independent professionals, the fastest-growing segment of today’s workforce.
  • Flexible, drop-in childcare — Play-based, early childhood learning curriculum with Mooseheart values of empathy, caring, respect, kindness, responsibility, and service embedded within the experience.
  • Healthy, delicious, affordable meals — Healthy, fast-casual, convenience-driven cafe with take-home meals and a full-service spitfire kitchen and bar.

The concept has been a work in progress since 2014 with expert researchers and partners from branding, coworking, childcare, and dining all engaged in developing something mid-size metro areas have never seen before. “People in communities like Champaign-Urbana want the same amenities as their urban counterparts, but they don’t want to sacrifice the things that make their community special,” said Cheryl Farr, CEO, SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners, development partner to Moose. “Lodgic is designed primarily for people who don’t need — or want — to be tied to a desk all day from 9 to 5. It’s also ideal for the stay-home parent who needs a place to help manage their family’s responsibilities,” said Farr.

“We are very excited to welcome Lodgic to our business community,” said Craig Rost, Executive Director, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “Lodgic Everyday Community will undoubtedly help Champaign-Urbana attract and retain business, while also providing a space for entrepreneurs and remoteworkers to thrive.”

For two years the Lodgic design process has centered around its ambitious purpose. “Everything about the physical space represents something completely re-imagined for modern working families,” said David Vermeesch, strategic design advisor to Moose. “But we’ve built every detail squarely on the timeless mission of Moose to help communities thrive and caring for kids.”

At its core, Lodgic Everyday Community will focus on strengthening families and cultivating the next generation of global citizens with sound character who are dedicated to stewardship and service.

Lodgic hopes to serve as a stable, ongoing support mechanism for Mooseheart Child City and School, including the expansion of the Tommy Moose first-responder program — for children locally and across North America. “It’s been invigorating for us to take our 100 year history in caring for children and translate it into a completely new kind of environment for families,” said Gary Urwiler, Director of the Mooseheart Child City and School.

Please visit to learn more, and sign-up to receive Lodgic Everyday Community updates.

Lodgic Workplace
Lodgic coworking is designed as a fresh take on the workplace, which means it’s nothing like a traditional office. It will offer quiet phone tents, energizing huddle huts, cozy corners, smart event spaces, healthy food and drinks, and fast fiber speed.

It’s a 24-hour vibrant work zone for freelancers, start-ups, small businesses, or professional nomads.

Flexible, Drop-in Childcare
Lodgic flexible childcare is a new kind of high-quality, licensed care that allows parents to come, go, and pay only for the time they need. No reservations required. It works by the hour, by the day, by the week, or month. Evenings and weekends, too. It’s like an affordable day camp for growing minds and building character. Arts and crafts, healthy snacks and naps, and early-childhood happiness adapt to the modern family’s work week.

Healthy, All-day Dining
Lodgic welcomes the community inside and out with smart dining that is healthy, energizing, and affordable. At Lodgic, everything is connected, so culinary adventure and local foodie culture is built into every space. At the family-friendly cafe and market, the on-the-go option is also the good-for-you option. Nearby, the spitfire grill is a full-service kitchen and bar with house-made, locally sourced freshness that tastes a lot like comfort food and feels a lot like home.

About Moose International
The Loyal Order of Moose is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal order and community service organizations. With one million members and over 1,500 Moose Centers across the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Bermuda, it provides members with family-oriented social, dining, and sports activities. In local communities, members are known for volunteerism and community service. Nationally, the organization’s main endeavors include Mooseheart Child City and School, a residential community and school for children whose families are unable to care for them; Moosehaven, a Florida retirement community for senior members; and Tommy Moose, a national first-responder program for police and rescue to help children in acute crisis situations. Mooseheart Child City and School is one of the longest-operating children’s residential care facilities in America. Its beautiful rural campus spans 1,000 acres and has its own ZIP code. Children receive the nurturing home, emotional development, and solid education they need to reach their full potential through the pioneering Mooseheart method of innovative and nationally recognized educational and family-living programs.

ChambanaMoms covers this at good length, and here are some renderings from the Lodgic website (captions from ChambanaMoms explaining the photos):


An artist’s rendering of the childcare area at the new Lodgic Everyday Community coming to Champaign in 2018. “Image courtesy Lodgic Everyday Community. SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners. BHDM Design, Interior”

An artist’s rendering of the food service area at the new Lodgic Everyday Community coming to Champaign in 2018. “Image courtesy Lodgic Everyday Community. SIGNAL.csk Brand Partners. BHDM Design, Interior”

Here are a couple more renderings per their website:


U of I receives $950K grant from USDA for pollination research

The University of Illinois has been awarded a $950,000 grant from the USDA to fund research aimed toward pollination health. This competitive grant comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which is investing over $7.6 million into the research of pests and beneficial species. 

By receiving this grant, the University is expected to lead innovative and environmentally sound strategies that will aim to manage agricultural pests and species benefical to pollination.

Check out the full article above via the News-Gazette.

Top photo from USDA's Facebook page.


Illinois House passes state budget; now awaiting Senate vote

It appears we're inching closer to getting a passed budget following the end of last week marking the end of the fiscal year. Obviously, our state is in very, very bad shape — and without a passed budget for what seems like a century now, Illinois would be in peril without something happening. Just watch this video, and you'll see.

Following a weekend full of negotiation and talks, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a budget yesterday. Now it will need to head over to the Senate, but things look good to get it passed.

Check out all the details via Tom Kacich at the News-Gazette:

SPRINGFIELD — Defying Gov. Bruce Rauner and his millions in campaign funds, more than a dozen Illinois House Republicans Sunday night voted for a permanent increase in the individual Illinois income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

The corporate income-tax rate also will increase, from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.

The vote was 72-45, a veto-proof majority if the vote holds after a promised Rauner veto.

Moments later, the House approved a companion budget bill, 81-34.

The Senate still must vote on the $5 billion income-tax increase, perhaps as early as today, but Democrats hold a greater majority in the Legislature's upper chamber, and it is expected to pass with less drama than the House's more than two hours of debate that included shouting, jeering and some tears.


Ivy House Studios and Gallery Art Exhibit hosting benefit for R.A.C.E.S.

The Ivy House Gallery is hosting a fundraiser for Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services, RACES on Friday, June 30, 2017 from 6 to 10 p.m.

50% of the proceeds from the art sales will be donated to RACES, while the other 50% is reserved for the artist.

The show will feature work by serveral local artists, including:

Anthony Raleigh
Casey Lowry
Hillary Brady Morris
Hope Holland
Julie Sue Fiscella
Payel Kundo
Sue Ann Orr

At 7:00 pm there will be a special presentation!


Walk and Concert to Support Yingying Zhang taking place tomorrow night

The Campus and Champaign-Urbana community has been rocked by the disappearance of Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar who was picked up in a car on June 9th and has not been heard from since.

While the police and FBI are still conducting their investigation, the community has taken the cause to heart, holding multiple fundraisers that will hopefully lead to Yingying's safe return.

Tomorrow evening, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association will be holding a walk, starting at 5:30, to rally support for bringing Ms. Zhang home safely.

For more information, RSVP to the Facebook event here, and read the description below:

The public is invited to take part in the Walk and Concert to Support Yingying Zhang on Thursday evening as a means of conveying community support and concern for the visiting scholar missing since June 9. The event is organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

The walk portion of the event starts at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, at 6:45 p.m. Walkers will proceed to Turner Hall, the laboratory where Zhang works, at 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., and then will walk to the North Goodwin Avenue vicinity where Zhang was last observed, before returning to KCPA.

Krannert Center is providing space for a brief concert to follow the walk, featuring Jasmine Fields Orchestra. Light refreshments during the concert will be provided by the Illini Union.

Parking at KCPA is free after 5 p.m. Community members wishing to take part in the walk should begin assembling in the plaza on the western side of the building at 6:30 p.m. In the event of a storm, participants will be invited to enter KCPA for a gathering instead of a walk.