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Smile Politely and Chambanamoms to host Mayoral Debate March 29

In just under a month, the people of the city of Champaign will go to the polls to select, amongst a few things, another four year term for their Mayor. 

In case you've been living under a rock over the past few years, Don Gerard currently holds the position, and won by just a few hundred votes last time out, narrowly defeating three-term incumbent Gerald Schweighart, a radical tea party conservative who, on record, claimed to believe that President Barack Obama wasn't, in fact, an American

So, now four years later, Mayor Gerard has three challengers: two women who sit on City Council in Deb Feinen and Karen Foster, as well as Joe Petry, who currently serves as Champaign Park District Board President. 

Last summer, we hosted a Q & A at Mike N Molly's with the three challengers

We are honored and excited to invite you all to join us at Jupiter's at the Crossing on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 4 p.m. to watch us mediate what will hopefully be a lively and spirited debate between all four candidates. 

Readers may submit questions to both us and to Chamabanamoms by emailing to info@smilepolitely.com or editor@chambanamoms.com

More information about the format and rules will be released closer to the event. 

The debate will be moderated by Publisher of Smile Politely, Seth Fein and Editor-in-Chief of Chambanamoms, Laura Bleill. 

We look forward to seeing you there. 

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Awesomely vulgar socks at Art Coop

There are like 15 different styles of these socks. They look a bit short to be full-on men's dress socks, but I think you could make it work. Especially wearing the "I used to give a fuck" pair. 

Art Coop is located in Lincoln Square Mall. 

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A teacher at Centennial had a priest conduct Ash Wednesday service in school today; UPDATED

In a city that is known for having played host to the landmark trial defending the 1st Amendment right to the Separation of Church and State (McCollum v. Board of Education), it is with a great deal of shock that this came across the Smile Politely desk anonymously this evening. 

 

That right there is Father Joel Phelps of St. Patrick's in Urbana, placing ashes on the foreheads of young Catholic children. Not in a place of worship, but inside Centennial High School. 

Any reasonable person who lives in America and understands the basic principles upon which our nation was founded will understand why allowing something like this to take place inside of a publicly funded school building is 100% unconstitutional and illegal. 

My initial questions are these: 

  1. Why would a teacher at a public school ever consider this to be an even remotely OK thing to endorse and organize? 
  2. Why would Father John Phelps not remind said teacher about the importance of obeying the 1st Amendment, and instead suggest that they organize a trip to church instead? 

And to that end, let me be clear about a few things: 

  1. I know for a certain fact that every single student that wished to observe Ash Wednesday would have been given an excused absence. 
  2. There is nothing wrong with believing in God. I believe in "God." 
  3. There is absolutely no reason for a ceremony of this kind to take place inside of a publicly funded high school. 

The person who posted this picture is, in fact, a teacher. Allegedly, it was a teacher that organized the priest coming into school. 

While we are still awaiting an official statement from Unit 4, the most important question here is simple: "Did Unit 4 administration know about this?"

UPDATE: Stephanie Stuart, spokesperson for Unit 4, replied this evening with the following:

"We are aware of the incident and will investigate diligently in order to gain a clear understanding of the situation."

We've asked for a statement, and have not received a reply to as of 8:15 p.m.

One of our community writers, Jay Rosenstein, directed and produced a documentary film on the trial some years back. You can watch it here: 

It's also worth noting that McCollum is mother of Dannel McCollum, the former Mayor of Champaign

More as it comes in, but folks, if you'd like to take a Facebook photo of what the very opposite of the American foundation looks like, it's sitting above you. 

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Old photo of Champaign’s City Building

This is a photo of the City of Champaign building, taken from the west side of the building looking east down University Avenue. I've sort of outlined the approximately locations of Esquire and Seven Saints currently exist. Pretty interesting, no?

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After improbable Illini win, Mayor Gerard gets the last laugh

Say what you will about the fact that Gerard hasn't raised one red cent for his campaign this quarter. Or make fun of him for his peculiar social moments during his tenure as Mayor, both on social media, and at the park that one day when that one dude picked a fight with him about jack shit.

The man knows how to wield his Qwerty Keyboard on the ol' Blackberry. And some times, the right people take notice and play along.

How's this? 

Or more than that, a full on endorsement from Dakich himself? Sure, why not:

Who wins the Mayoral race is anyone's guess I suppose, but you can't call the incumbent boring. And that's not bad. 

Credit to @Mickey_Schaefer on Twitter for the photo. 

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Check out this dated Alma Mater photo

Check out this post card I picked up at an antique shop. Notice the little amount of trees surrounding the Alma Mater? Now-a-days there is a huge amount of foliage! It was not dated but If someone has some info on when this was taken I'd be interested to hear.