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Category: Photo

The Illini Inn was demolished this morning

Well, that escalated quickly. Just this past Monday, word was going around the internet that Illini Inn would be demolished this summer. What they failed to mention, however, was this the demolition was coming way sooner than we expected. They barely left us any time to mourn!

Check out the picture of the empty lot above, and next time you're having a beer, pour some out for The Illini Inn, a vestige of Champaign-Urbana who was lost on June 8th, 2017.


Longtime News-Gazette photographer John Dixon retires after 43 years

From the News-Gazette:

John Dixon on Wednesday retired after 43 years at The News-Gazette. He was hired in 1974 as a part-time photo lab technician. In 1979 he was hired as a staff photographer, promoted to Chief Photographer in 2013 and promoted later that year to Photo Editor. Here are some of his favorite photos from the past five decades.

Information about the above photo:

June 6, 1987 - Two workmen work to free the shaker floor inside boiler #6 at Abbott Power Plant in Champaign. The men were converting the boiler back to coal from oil and gas.


Empowered: A Benefit Concert set for June 18th

Empowered: the Series, a web series about five female superheroes, is partenering with the Independent Media Center for benefit concert on June 18th to raise money for production and to support Courage Connection domestic violence shelter. The event will feature local musicians and a raffle with prizes including:

$10 Flying Machine Coffee Gift Certificate
Private Piano Lessons with Kelsey Sharp
Reiki Healing Sessions with Kelsey Sharp
Gift Voucher to Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space ($50 value)
One hour music lesson with Ryan Groff of Elsinore ($60 value)
Voucher for 6-Week Adult Guitar Course with Community 4 Arts Center ($100 value)
Two Hours of Studio Time with Ryan Groff of Elsinore ($100 value)

Flyer is below, and you can find out more from their Facebook event page.


Caribbean Grill opens restaurant on Tuesday, May 30th

Caribbean Grill opens its restaurant at 2135 South Neil Street in Champaign at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30th.

I had the pleasure of stopping by for a media preview, and it’s beautiful. Though fast-casual dining, the dining room doesn’t feel cheap or as if an afterthought. The stunning centerpiece of the cozy space is the wall of reclaimed wood — it’s incredibly contemporary in design, eco-friendly, and absolutely gorgeous.

The menu will feature the staples of the food truck menu, plus daily specials (menu below). There are some new additions, especially for our vegan and vegetarian friends (check out the jerk portobello and the candied yams).

Owner Mike Harden and his team build the space from the ground up (it was just an empty room when he took over the space), and has clearly spent time considering each element of the restaurant and the menu; this care and attention does not go unnoticed by the diner (well, at least this diner).

The food truck will still be in operation, but is closed the week of May 29th to ensure an efficient launch of the storefront. The food truck will be up and running the first week of June.

There will be a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30th. The restaurant will open after the ceremony.

Here’s the info:

What: Caribbean Grill Restaurant

Where: 2135 South Neil Street, Champaign (near Biaggi’s and Le Peep and Natural Gourmet) There’s plenty of parking!

When: Opens Tuesday, May 30th.  Regular hours Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Why: Because it’s delicious, duh.



Photos of the restaurant by Jessica Hammie and Patrick Earl Hammie. Photos of the food by Rebecca Wells.


Champaign Unit 4 School District releases free summer meal schedule

Earlier this month, we reported on how the Urbana School District would be offering free meals for anyone under 18 for most of the summer, and today, we get a very similar schedule from Champaign's Unit 4 School District. These meals can be redeemed by any child in Champaign and will include both breakfast and lunch.

Check out the table below to see when and where lunches will be available:


40 North Sky Gallery winners announced

Public art is awesome, so naturally, when I heard that 40 North was giving away billboard space to artists for a couple of months at a time, I was intrigued.

Today, the winners for the Sky Gallery competition have been announced - their artwork (pictured below), will be featured on various billboards in town over the next 12 months. Take a gander to read a bit about each piece, and the artist behind it:

Kim Curtis, Thirtyseven: eleven

"Thirtyseven is a two-lane highway that winds at water level through the northern edge of the San Francisco bay system. Used primarily by commuters on their way elsewhere, the view changes with every season, hour and in this case even with the tide. It is a maze of wetland waterways, tall grasses, scrubby bushes and all sorts of man-made constructions that reflect its various uses over time.

As with all of my work, my focus is to recapture the sense of immediacy when confronted with a place like this.  Especially when driving, but even while slowly walking, the mind is bombarded by simultaneous information. We note consistencies and irregularities, changes in light and shadow, spontaneous appearances of color, and vast chunks of area we don't understand. We are reminded that what we see is often both familiar and unintelligible."

Kelly Hieronymus, Field No. 213

"Farmland is a spectacular thing. It is ever-changing yet consistent at the same time. My interpretation of the South Farms Research Plots embrace that cycle. This particular plot has changed crops 86 times, but the overall lines and roads stay the same. This piece is comprised of 4 different works that are meant to be viewed as a whole."

EKAH, The Fox's Wedding

"This drawing is based on a folk tale I grew up with when I was a child in Korea.  When sunshowers are witnessed folks would say that a fox is getting married that day.  I find foxes striking and beautiful and wanted the piece to be reminiscent of the old Korean and Japanese woodblock prints.  In the west, the tale may be familiar to the viewers via a film by Akira Kurosawa called Dreams."

Megan Hinds, Breaking the Fourth Wall

"The investigation of insects collective brilliance and swarm accumulation is what fuels my artwork. I am inspired by simple and humble creatures that are responsible for epic feats of organization and creativity. The intimate and welcoming spaces I create gives desires of entering the swarm of insects.  Allowing one to glide through the masses filled with exploration, discovery and movement. Studying these behaviors of insect worlds opens up new ways of thinking about human interactions and communication."

Suzanne Keith Loechl, Fragile: Story

"The earth beats and hums with zillions of tiny (or not so tiny) systems that are perfectly calibrated to maintain the balance of life. My work is an ongoing exploration, which endeavors to portray the natural world and those who live in it as strangely beautiful -- yet enormously fragile."

Lydia Puddicombe, Caladium

"My work is a representation of my thoughts on the lives of the animals, plants, and objects that surround me daily. I think about things' feelings and assign personalities to everything from my dog to the mailbox. I draw, carve, and color my musings in a style influenced by folktales and their accompanying imagery. I strive to create empathy in my audience for these characters and hope it will have relevance in their lives, perhaps making the world around us less disposable and more alive."


Take a look inside Salad Meister’s space in Campustown

If you've had your ear to the Champaign-Urbana restaurant scene over the past couple of months, you're probably familiar with Salad Meister, a new salad-based restaurant which opened its doors in Campustown last month.

Here are some shots of the new restaurant for you to take a look at, below. They're located at 601 6th Street, Suite 104 in Champaign — you might venture over there now that the students have vacated the area. 


Sistering CU is hosting a free community film screening

Sistering CU is a relatively new, volunteer run organization that provides support for parents of newborns, free of charge. According to their mission statement, their goal is "to spread community awareness about postpartum maternal health and partner with maternity care providers in Champaign County to empower new families through education, volunteer-led in-home visits, and group support." They are hosting a screening of the documentary Dark Side of the Full Moon Tuesday, May 30 at 6 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library. See the event flier below.


Big Grove Tavern hosting Patio Bash this coming Monday

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, and to celebrate, Big Grove Tavern will be hosting a "Patio Bash," including typical Sunday brunch favorites (on a Monday!) and brats, grilled up outside on BGT's Downtown Champaign patio.

For more information, check out the flier and specials (via Big Grove themselves) below:

Kitchen Specials

- Breakfast Burrito with Carne Asada
- Arend Family Farms Brauts
- Our custom Burgers
- Our expanded Benedict menu

Bar Specials

- BGT mimosa bar
- Margarita specials
- Our House Local Light Beer

Doors open at 10am. We have expanded our patio for 2017 and look forward to a great summer!


CUMTD releases traffic update for Parkland and the U of I

Now that's it's Monday and school is out-of-session, CUMTD's MCORE improvements are ramping up again, which means bus service at the University of Illinois will be affected until further notice. A road closure near Parkland College also has things shifted up a bit for their campus bus routes, as well.

For information on how routes are temporarily changing, check out MTD's press release below:

Champaign-Urbana, IL—There will be a number of significant changes to Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) stops and service beginning Monday, May 22, 2017 due to MCORE construction resuming in front of the Illini Union and a road closure in effect at Parkland College. The changes include:

MCORE on Green Street near Illini Union

Beginning Monday, May 22, major sections of Green Street from Wright Street to Goodwin Avenue will close to through traffic as construction on MCORE Project 2 resumes (see driving map attached). Significant automobile and bus traffic and pedestrian access reroutes during this period will occur for primary campus locations:

Illini Union: The building’s entire north entrance will close. Vehicular access will remain from Matthews Avenue onto Green Street. Businesses within Illini Union remain open.

Matthews Avenue: Traffic flow will switch to southbound only from Springfield Avenue to Green Street.
Green Street Sidewalks: Pedestrian access will be maintained on one side of the street or the other depending upon construction activities.
Engineering Hall: Vehicular access will remain from Matthews Ave onto Green Street.

The City of Champaign, University of Illinois, City of Urbana, and MTD appreciate your patience as the MCORE project team works to provide a more sustainable and connected transportation network in the core of our community. More information about MCORE, including project maps, and a question form is available at MCORE’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will provide regular updates. All affected businesses in Campustown and the Illini Union remain open and appreciate the public’s patronage and patience during street closures and construction.

As always, up-to-date information about MTD service and MCORE reroutes are available at, on MTD’s Facebook & Twitter feeds, or by phone at 217.384.8188.

Parkland College

Parkland College has announced that a full closure will take place on its Bradley Avenue entrance beginning Monday, May 22, and lasting approximately four weeks. The resurfacing of the perimeter road on Parkland’s campus necessitates this closing. In addition, several of the College's M-wing entrances and walkways will also close temporarily during the summer due to scheduled repairs.

Access to Parkland College from the east (from Mattis Avenue via Parkland Way) and the west (from Duncan Road) will remain open to automobile traffic, however Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) buses will drop off and pick up passengers only at stops located near the Bradley Avenue/Clayton Drive corner (see map attached); no MTD buses will enter campus. Sidewalks between the Bradley Avenue/Clayton Drive corner and the main building will remain accessible during this project; marked pathways will guide pedestrians to Parkland’s building.

“We appreciate the Parkland community’s flexibility while we make these necessary improvements,” said Stephanie Stuart, Parkland’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “This work is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the Parkland campus is safe for students, staff, and visitors using various modes of transportation.”

As always, up-to-date information about MTD service and this reroute is available at, on MTD’s Facebook & Twitter feeds, or by phone at 217.384.8188.available at, on MTD’s Facebook & Twitter feeds, or by phone at 217.384.8188.

Individuals with disabilities who may need additional assistance during this time are encouraged to contact Parkland’s Public Safety Department at 217.351.2369.