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BrewLab Coffee is open

BrewLab Coffee is the newest coffee shop to open on campus. Located at 630 South Fifth Street, Champaign (Fifth and Green), BrewLab is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The cafe is bright and well lit, and promises delicious coffee beverages. 

Photo from Facebook. 


A fundraiser for Courage Connection and Cunningham Children’s Home is happening July 22nd

On July 22nd, local jeweler Christopher & Co. is hosting a fundraiser for Courage Connection and Cunningham Children's Home. The event, Taking the Diamond for Women and Children, will take place in the Bling Pig Brewery beer garden (aka "the Piglet") during the 3:05 p.m. Cubs/Cardinals game. Josh Laskowski from Stevie Jay Broadcasting will emcee, and there will be games, a trivia contest, a raffle, and even a Harry Carey look-a-like contest (with a $100 prize).

According to communication director Carol Timms, "We will have two fishbowls for donations. Cubs fans can donate in the Cubs bowl and Cards fans in the  Cards bowl. At the 7th inning stretch, we will announce what team has raised the most money and those fans will receive an extra raffle ticket."

Prizes include but aren't limited to:

Cubs Blue Lapis Necklace and Cardinals Ruby Necklace from Christopher & Co.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 GPS Sports Band from Educational Dividends
Books and  Gift Certificates from Jane Addams
Cardinals Tickets from Stevie Jay Broadcasting
$100 Gift Card from BodyWorks
$100 Rodan and Fields Gift Basket
5 $100 Gift Cards from This Is It Furniture
3 $5 Gift Certificates from TCBY and Hammerhead Coffee           
5 $20 Gift Certificates from Zorbas
$200 Gift Certificate from Pace Pro Carpet Cleaning and Restoration 
Free individual annual income tax preparation from Stephens and Stull
Photography from Strauss Photography

And it's an opportunity to try out Smoked, the new food truck on the scene in C-U. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon! For more info, check out the Christopher & Co Facebook page.


Bookmobile! goes west on month long tour

Bookmobile! just released their album, Rocket To The Moon. Last Saturday they had an album release party which doubled as Fringe Fest at Bentley's Pub and the first date (July 8th) of their monster tour. Until early August, Bookmobile! will be playing 26 shows spanning from Champaign to as far as Seatle and San Diego in a period of 28 days, that doesn't include a lot of downtime. The band and its members have never really experienced such a long and fast paced tour such as this, making for one hell of a tour with some crazy stories, count on it.

Bookmobile! will also be documenting their tour through SP's tour diaries segment, so be on the lookout for weekly updates throughout the journey out west. 


Illinois finally has a state budget

Ladies and gentlemen, after multiple years without a budget, the State of Illinois finally (despite Governor Rauner's best wishes) has a budget for next year.

This means that road crews will start working again, universities will stop being stripped of much-needed funds and countless social services will begin to operate again, albeit with a few tax raises and small cuts along the way.

The Illinois House of Representatives, who moved to override Governor Rauner's budget veto, voted 71-42 in favor of the budget, leaving Rauner no option to block it.

Check out some tweets below, and we will update this post as we know more.


Prairie Fruits Farm’s happy hour is this Friday

From 5 to 7 p.m. this Friday, July 7th, Prairie Fruits Farm will host a family-friendly happy hour, featuring grilled sausages, cheese, baguettes, charcuterie, and other snacks. Gelato will, of course, be available by the scoop (or pint, no judgment). There will also be booze — the featured cocktail is a margarita made with vodka infused with damiana (a fragrant and relaxing herb), tequila, lime juice, honey, salt, and a fresh flower garnish.

More details are available on Facebook, but I've included some helpful hints below.

 Photo from Facebook. 


Courage Connection surpasses fundraising goal

Some great news from Courage Connection, one of our local organizations that is in danger as our state budget hangs in the balance. Gotta love the power of community.

Courage Connection Grateful for our Caring Community

When the state of Illinois failed to pay on a contract for over $300,000 to serve families who have suffered from domestic violence in Champaign County, Courage Connection was in danger of closing.  At risk was a legacy of support, shelter and service: 24 hour hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy, transitional housing, job readiness programs, parenting education, children’s programs, safety planning, and more.

In ten short weeks, Courage Connection exceeded its goal of $350,000 and raised a total of $390,991.  Hundreds of donations from individuals, faith-based organizations, and businesses allowed the agency to continue serving victims and survivors of domestic violence.

When faced with the possibility of closing the nation’s oldest domestic violence agency, supporters Helen Satterthwaite, Dorothy Bell and the Junior League of Champaign Urbana rallied their friends and colleagues.

Current and former board members of Courage Connection, along with the Junior League of Champaign Urbana issued a $50,000 Match for Courage challenge to close the gap in the final days of the campaign.  President of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, Jenette Jurczyk, said, “It was such an honor to work with Courage Connection and the Match for Courage Campaign.  Junior League has a mission to improve communities by building and supporting organizations that work towards the safety and stability of women and children.  The crisis faced by Courage Connection brought the women of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana together, as it brought so many in our community together in solidarity with a common goal of keeping their doors open.  We support the work that Courage Connection does now and will continue to do for survivors of domestic violence across our greater community.”

The Match for Courage challenge was met by a group called The $5,000 Project, created by Helen Satterthwaite and Dorothy Bell, to save Courage Connection.  Helen and Dorothy were joined by Naomi Jakobsson, Holly Jordan, and Anna Merritt, in the group effort to solicit support for the agency.

Development Director, Megan Wolf said, “We are forever grateful to The $5,000 Project, the Junior League, and our board for their support as we faced this crisis.  We live in a wonderful, caring community.  To anyone who made a donation, or said a kind word on our behalf, thank you.  Thank you for helping the people in your community that needed you.  Thank you for saving lives of women you have never met and changing the future for their children.”

Fundraising efforts covered expenses incurred in fiscal year 2017 which closed on June 30th.  With the budget crisis still looming overhead, the agency’s challenges are not yet behind them, but Executive Director Isak Griffiths is hopeful for the future of Courage Connection, “We knew that if we made it through this crisis, we would look different when we came out the other end.  We are currently reorganizing and making decisions about our future that are focused on the client’s best interest; research-based client success; and trends in funding.  We might be smaller, but we will also be stronger and more stable.”   

President Michael Ujcich commented, “I have been truly overcome by the generosity and support our community has offered during our time of crisis of funding. From small dollar collections to large check donations, each one has helped keep our services going, seamless in the eyes our clients. As we extend our gratitude via phone calls and notes, it is truly humbling to know the love found in our community.”


Refugee families in C-U: Here’s how you can share your story

Even a small community like ours has been impacted by the global refugee crisis. Yet, what we know about refugees is usually handed down by media outlets and incorrect/misinfomed assumptions. Refugees, like people from other diverse backgrounds, have a wealth of knowledge waiting to be shared.

I am a graduate student in the education department at U of I, and I would like to collect family stories as part of my research. Do you know of a refugee family with small children that would like to participate? Would you want me to come to a function and provide additional information about this project?

I have to disclose that I have not been successful in getting a response from the organizations one may contact for this and thus, so I come here to see if anyone can help. (I only say this to deter people from asking me to contact the usual places.)

Please email me at: for additional information.


Learn the importance of pollination at Monarch Summer on July 9th

This Sunday, July 9th, learn all about the importance of pollination, butterflies, and their habitats during Virginia Theater and will premier two new documentaries, Flowers Against the Sky and Touched by a Butterfly created by local pollinator enthusiasts Kirby and Cindy Pringle. 

After the showings there will be pollinator-themed art, face painting, as well as free flower and plant giveaways from Keep Champaign Beautiful.

For more information, check out the poster for the event below: