Category: Video

See what happens when you return your vote by mail ballot in Champaign County

The News-Gazette recently went behind the scenes in the Champaign County Clerk's office to give community members a look into what happens once their vote by mail ballots arrive. It's worth a few minutes of your time, to get an idea of how your votes are safeguarded along the way. You can check out the video here.

It's important to watch all the way to the end. In the last few minutes, County Clerk Aaron Ammons points out a wall full of returned vote by mail applications, where members of our community have written offensive, aggressive, and obscene message to Ammons and his staff. All because they received a piece of mail. 

We are living in a scary time, folks. 

If you have not returned your vote by mail ballot, please do so as soon as possible. With the election just a week away, putting in one of the secure drop boxes or bringing it with you to vote early in person are your best bets. You can find more information here.

Photo from Champaign County Clerk's Facebook page.


Watch Meanwhile…Letterpress help get out the vote

With their commitment to "resisting [queer and trans] erasure through print culture," it's no surprise Meanwhile... Letterpress has been working hard to get out the vote. Watch the magic happen as 450, two-color postcards come to life. 


Video from Instagram

Follow Meanwhile...Letterpress on Instagram

Top image from Instagram


Here’s the video from the IL-13 debate

Last night Illinois Public Media, WCIA, and League of Women Voters of Champaign County hosted a debate between IL-13 Congressional candidates Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and Rodney Davis. If this flew under your radar, you can still watch it through Facebook Live.

Top image photos from (l) Rodney Davis' website and (r) Betsy Dirksen Londrigan's website.

Rodney Davis confronted over Trump’s tax avoidance

Congressman Rodney Davis was recently asked:

"How is it possible that I pay more in federal income taxes than the President? How is that fair?"

I imagine many of us asked ourselves this question upon learning about Trump's massive tax avoidance. If you're a well-adjusted human adult with a functioning moral compass you probably landed on "it's not fair and it shouldn't be possible" which is cool because it's the objectively correct answer. 

If however you're a petulant hack like Rodney Davis, then you probably said something dumb like "well, it's legal, you'd do it too if you could" and pretended like you just knocked it out of the park even though a.) that answer makes you sound like a sociopath, and b.) you're literally a lawmaker and the only reason it's possible for Trump (and others like him) to manipulate our tax code in this way is because you made it possible.

It's possible because Rodney Davis rewarded those who took advantage of the laws they wrote in this way and for this purpose by giving them even more money via the GOP Tax Cuts. 

It's possible because, like many of his Republican colleagues, Rodney Davis has mistaken his near total self-interest for an actual set of values, projecting his selfishness onto others in the mistaken assumption that if any of us were in Trump's situation we'd do the same thing.

It's possible because too many people that think like Rodney Davis believe that responding to the question "is this fair" with "well, it's legal" is an actual coherent answer instead of an admission that they have no concept of what fair/unfair even means.

Fair/unfair is not a question of legality, it's one of morality. It may be legal for Trump to abuse the system in this way, but that doesn't make it fair. It certainly doesn't make it good, and it certainly doesn't absolve Rep. Davis of the responsibility he has as a lawmaker for creating and protecting the system by which people like Trump loot our public resources for their private gain with virtually zero repercussions. 

Top image is a screenshot from the video.


Look at this baby rat drinking water

Looking for a new pet to bring home, but not necessarily a cat or a dog? The Champaign County Humane Society has baby rats available for adoption right now. I'm not much of a rodent person, but I have to admit, these little guys are kind of cute. Just look at these little paws holding the sides of the water bottle:

Find out more about the adoption process here.
Photo from Champaign County Humane Society Facebook page.

Illini Union noontime performances can provide entertainment for your lunch break

Each weekday, you can tune into the Illini Union's Facebook livestream and catch performances from talented University of Illinois musicians. They sing, they play a variety of instruments, and they can offer a little entertainment while you're enjoying your lunch. 

Here's a performance from last week:

Photo from Illini Union Facebook page.

Urbana City Council votes to release Urbana School Board from SRO contract (if they want)

Last night, Urbana City Council discussed the ongoing School Resource Officer (SRO) debate. If you are unfamiliar with the situation, here it is in brief: Urbana School District #116 would fund and add two armed SROs in Urbana schools, one at the high school and another at the middle school, costing the school district $321,300.

If you're curious what Champaign and Urbana school board members think about SROs in schools, look no further than our Editorial Board feature to showcase who thinks what.

There was concern that the City of Urbana would sue the Urbana Board of Education if the contract was not carried out, which turns out to not be the case. The City of Urbana's council discussed this at length last night, voting 5-2 in favor to release the school board from that obligation if they so choose with no penalty. This means that if Urbana School District's Board of Education votes to end their pursuit of adding SROs in their schools, they can choose to not continue the intergovernmental agreement between the city and the school district.

The Urbana BOE meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. to discuss what they will do about this situation.

The Urbana Public TV recording of last night's meeting is below. The discussion starts around 2:15 mark, with the vote around 2:45. In case you don't have time to watch the video, here is the resolution, here is the city council agenda for last night's meeting, and you can see who voted for the amended resolution below:

  • Brown: yes
  • Colbrook: no
  • Hursey: no
  • Luit: yes
  • Miller: yes
  • Roberts: yes
  • Wu: yes
Top image is a screenshot from Urbana's City Council meeting.

In honor of Obama Day, watch his 2018 speech at the U of I

Today is President Barack Obama's birthday, and Barack Obama Day in Illinois. In honor of his birthday and to celebrate this noted day in our state, take an hour to watch the speech he delivered at the University of Illinois in 2018.

Can't watch? You can read our summary of it.

Though it might not feel like it right now, "better is always worth fighting for," so take a break, catch your breath, and keep on fighitng the good fight.

Top image by Anna Longworth.

Shiners Moonshine is closing

Another bad news announcement this week: Shiners Moonshine is closing August 31st.

Sadly, the moonshine store never really had an opportunity to get off the ground; it's been open for less than a year.

Starting on Thursday, July 16th, you can stop by the Neil Street location to purchase bottles of booze. Everything is 25% off. Note that nothing will be restocked, and it's cash only.

Shiners Moonshine
809 S Neil St
Th-Sa 2 to 7 p.m.

Top image by Patrick Singer.


Help, I can’t stop watching this video of this adorable fox

I am in a bit of a trap, thanks to the Champaign County Forest Preserve District's video of this adorable trotting fox they captured on camera. I've been caught in the spiral of cute animal videos on the internet and can't get out. Do I actually want help? No.

I am considering making into a Zoom background that just is a continuous looping GIF image so others that I interact with virtually can experience it as well.

Animal content is good content; It's been bears and guinea pigs most recently.


Top image is a screenshot from the video.


Watch Elizabeth Majerus’ readings from the Allerton Poetree Hike on YouTube

This past Saturday, June 27, Allerton Park and Retreat Center hosted their first virtual poetree hike featuring tours of the Park's flora and fauna, along with readings by local poets. Well, in case you missed it, or if you just want to relive the event, check out this video of Elizabeth Majerus reading "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer, "The Leaf and the Tree" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and "The Woman with a Dress of Sky" and  her own "The Woman with a Suit of Earth." Enjoy.

Top image: Allerton Park and Retreat Center logo above green field. Image from website.