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Parkland Women’s Basketball Team national runners-up

While you were probably busy watching the Illini get demolished in the NIT and binging on the NCAA Tournament over the last week or so, you may have missed a basketball powerhouse right under your nose.

The Parkland Cobras lost at the buzzer 66-64 in the NJCAA D-2 National Championship on Saturday night. Heartbreaking for sure, but despite the loss, the Cobras’ season was an absolutely incredible one.

They lost the first game of the year to Mineral Area CC 87-69. After that loss they won 35 games in a row to make it to the finals. The squad finished 35-2 and was led by sophomores and All-Tournament players Hannah Wascher and Laura Litchfield.

Leading the Cobras through this historic season was Head Coach Mike Lindemann, who’s begun to turn Women’s Basketball at Parkland into a destination.

Take notes, John Groce, there’s a quality basketball team in town.

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CS @ Illinois Splash happening April 11th

From the event organizers:

On Saturday, April 11th, we are inviting all high school students to UIUC for a FREE undergrad-led outreach event: CS @ ILLINOIS Splash. The students will spend the day taking fun courses taught by undergrads, creating a custom schedule based on their interests. The program includes all three meals on Saturday for free. We hope they can enjoy a day of creativity on-campus while meeting other high school students and college undergrads!

Splash will offer a wide selection of classes with topics in and out of computer science. Some courses our instructors are planning to teach:

  • Robots: Our Future Overlords
  • UIUC 101: How to Succeed at UIUC! (or any college)
  • Secret Codes, Magic Tricks, And Coloring Books
  • Landing a Job your Freshman Year
  • Hacking Ninja 101
  • Quizditch: Harry Potter Trivia
  • E-sports Are The New Sports: League Of Legends Analysis
  • What the Heck is Machine Learning?
  • Awesome Animations in Swift

...and a whole bunch more! 

We would like your help in inviting students to Illinois for Splash. Any high school student interested in computer science is welcome to attend. Interested students should submit their emails at https://splash.cs.illinois.edu by Tuesday, March 24th to ensure availability. We will reach out to them within two weeks with more information. Splash is entirely free, though students will need to provide their own transit to UIUC. We plan to do our best to facilitate carpooling where possible.

Questions? Course ideas? Let us know at cs-splash@illinois.edu. We look forward to meeting your students at Splash!

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Bull & Dog makes Farren’s pop

I love looking at food. I mean, I love eating food, too. But there’s something about looking at a full spread of steaks or fries or salads or really anything that appears to be cooked perfectly. It makes me hungry.

Just the other day I had demolished a gigantic slice of New York-style pizza only to walk a few blocks and see a gigantic sign for avocado fries which I promptly ordered and inhaled. I did that because it looked good. I saw a picture of avocado fries and determined that I needed to smash the fried slices of avocado and cheese and sour cream into my face.

It’s funny how that works with food, honestly. It’s tough to get really psyched about pictures of ingredients of food but when those things are well-constructed and put on a plate, you can make a full man hungry again.

That’s honestly one of the reasons the new Farren’s website is great. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to do that ASAP. Farren’s has been home to some of the best burgers in Champaign since 2000 but now there’s a place where you can look at them on the internet.

The design is pretty crisp with a scrolling menu that allows you to stop and check out the beer menu or cycle through the actual menu of the food. And if you’re like me, you’ll stop and look at all of the pictures of the food.

Credit goes out to local crew Bull & Dog for putting this site together. If you’re not aware of what Bull & Dog does, I’ll let them explain it:

“Bull & Dog Collective is a network of audio engineers, musicians, photographers, videographers and designers that specialize in making musicians and bands not only sound good, but look good too.”

They occupy the old Pogo Studio building on the corner of Taylor and Walnut and, as a relatively new group in town, it’s pretty cool to see them put together a visually exciting new website for a Champaign classic.

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City of Urbana is seeking Marketing & Special Events Intern

The City of Urbana is looking for a Marketing and Special Events Intern. The position is expected to start immediately and will go through June 30th. Students or recent graduates with graphic design and special events coordination are encouraged to apply. Interested applicants should fill out an online application, resume, and a letter of interest explaining specific career interests and how the internship can help attain career goals. 

You can check out all of the details and apply here.

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YWCA announces 2015 Leadership Award winners

Earlier this week the YWCA announced the following winners of the 2015 Leadership Awards:

  • Advocacy: Claudia Lennhoff, Champaign County Health Care Consumers
  • Education: Rebecca Ginsburg, Education Justice Project
  • Social Justice: Nicole Cooke, UI Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics: Brenda Wilson, UI Microbiology
  • Trailblazer: Naomi Jakobsson, Illinois State Representative, retired

Awardees will be honored at the Women’s Achievement Celebration, over dinner from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, on April 23, 2015 at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Registration information and tickets to the event can be found here.

Here's more info about the YWCA:

The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Throughout our history, the YWCA has been in the forefront of most major social justice movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women.

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Spring, meet the Middle Market

Let's all welcome Middle Market back from month-long hibernation. Let's get out to stretch those legs and get some great local products. Everything that you love about a farmers market along with great weather, what a perfect Saturday!

Come for the local produce, meats, jams, baked goods, flowers, wines, and artisan crafts, stay because there is nothing like great finds on a Saturday morning!

C-U at the market, Saturday March 21st from 8 a.m. to 1p.m., inside Lincoln Square!

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Observe a little Irish history today with O’Brien Auto Park

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today, and judging by the all green everything, most folks are well-prepared for a pint of Guinness and the rest of the festivities that go along with celebrating the famed St. Patrick. The celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day vary by region, and Americans, for some reason seem to be at the forefront of the party-styled observation of the holiday.

I’m not going to bore you with a telling of the tale of St. Patrick and how he helped convert pagan Irish folks to Christianity or anything like that today. Wikipedia exists for that reason. However, in my browsing of Wikipedia I noticed some similarities between an Irish crest and a local business.

It’s probably my rudimentary knowledge of family crests and anything related to Irish history, but O’Brien Auto Park’s logo is an adaptation the O’Brien crest. That sentence sounds strange, because you’re probably thinking, “Of course it’s the O’Brien crest. It’s called O’Brien Auto Park.”

       

But seriously, the O’Brien coat of arms represents one of the most legendary Irish houses of all-time. They produced over 30 monarchs and battled Norse Vikings for control of their island. It’s a pretty fascinating story.

While there aren’t really any Norse vikings for O’Brien Auto Park to battle out in Urbana, there might be a bit of a parallel to the O’Brien lineage. They’ve “defended” their turf as central Illinois’ largest volume auto dealer for 25 years. Their “clan” employs 200 local folks who believe in the O’Brien motto, “We Stand By You.”

Truthfully, O’Brien is doing this community right. Their longevity and willingness to integrate themselves into the fabric of Central Illinois can be seen as a local equivalent of being one of the major houses of Medieval Ireland. Their clan is growing, and on this St. Patrick’s Day, you should think about pledging your automobile allegiance to their crest.

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Illinois NIT preview: Alabama

Did you know there was an Illini basketball game today? Did you care after the team's embarassing loss in the Big Ten Tourney? No matter the answer to those questions, here's what you need to know about Illinois's first round match-up in the NIT.

First of all, because of rennovation to the State Farm Center, Illinois has to play all its NIT games on the road even though they're the 3 seed in their region. So, for this first game, Illinois will be in Alabama to play the Crimson Tide. The Tide started the year 12-3 and then collapsed, going 6-11 down the stretch and losing to Florida in the first round of the SEC Tournament. This collapse cost coach Anthony Grant his job; as a result assistant coach John Brannen will be coaching Alabama in the NIT.

Alabama has a few decent shooters — as a team the Tide shoots about 50% from inside the arc--but have struggled against quality opponents because they rely a lot on the three and have a worse track record behind the arc (sound familiar?). The only win Alabama has against an NCAA Tourney team this year was a 56-50 win over UCLA (widely regarded as the least deserving team to receive an at-large bid), the Tide also lost to NIT 5 seed Arizona State 76-71 earlier this season.

The struggles Alabama has had this season mean relatively little if the Illini of the Big Ten Tourney show up in Tuscaloosa. If the team plays with as little passion and energy against Alabama as it did against Michigan, then the true end of the season will likely feel welcome.

I don't know which Illini team will show up, but this tweet doesn't inspire confidence:

Adding more doubt is the fact that Illinois is 2-8 in true road games this year. After seeing them collapse up close and in person against Michigan, I'm predicting a loss (not that my predictions are ever very good).

My prediction: Illinois 61– Alabama 67

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C-U Comedy to host competition on UIUC campus

A stand-up comedy competition for UIUC students will be held Monday, April 20th, at 8 p.m. at Gregory Hall (810 S. Wright St., Urbana).

Per a CU Comedy release:

The University of Illinois Stand Up Competition is back! Students compete on the stage to see who can get the most laughs and impress the judges. Sign ups are limited, so act fast!

To sign up, e-mail: justin@cucomedy.com

Rules for the event, per the CU Comedy website:

- You must be a current University of Illinois student to enter.

- There is NO enrollment fee.

- You must show up by 7:30 to claim your spot

- Set times are 5 minutes. Going over will result in disqualification.

- There are no contect restrictions, but please use common sense.

- Performers will be judged on 3 catagories: material, stage presence, and crowd reaction.

- The order will be made by random draw. You can not pick your spot.

Prizes for th event are as follows:

1st: $50 Gift Certificate

2nd: $25 Gift Certificate

3rd: $10 Gift Certificate 

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BASETRACK Live at Krannert Center on March 18th

On Wednesday, March 18th, for one performance only, BASETRACK Live will be presented in Krannert Center's Colwell Playhouse.

BASETRACK Live was created by Edward Bilous. The production, directed by Seth Bockley, was adapted by Jason Grote (in collaboration with Bockley and Anne Hamburger) and co-composed by Edward Bilous, Michelle DiBucci, and Greg Kalember.

Here's the description, per the KCPA website:

A multimedia experience based on the real words of modern-day Marines and their families, BASETRACK Live uses photos and video from journalists embedded with Marines in Afghanistan; a live, contemporary score; and text adapted by Jason Grote (Mad Men, Smash) to share the stories of those stationed abroad and their loved ones as they struggle to cope with separation and the uncertainties of war. BASETRACK Live began as a Facebook page that photojournalist Teru Kuwayama (once embedded with the First Battalion, Eighth Marines in Afghanistan) launched to help Marines communicate with those they left back home. Since its inception, the page has received over 5 million hits and has become a connecting lifeline. Now, through educational, moving, and inspirational performances and community engagement, BASETRACK Live raises awareness, promotes communication, and focuses national attention on the issues facing our returning veterans.

For ticket information (and you had probably better get on that), contact the Krannert Center ticket office.