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Illini basketball preview: Iowa

Illinois at Iowa
1 p.m.
Big Ten Network

Illinois has been off all week, I'm sure you noticed. Anyway, here's some good news:

Honestly, if you're not laughing at John Groce's spin these days, what are you laughing at? There's not much left to say about the Illini this year, other than speculate on the team's future. This isn't that kind of article, so here's some info on Iowa.

First, Illinois has beaten Iowa this year. You might not remember the 76-64 win on January 25, because winning seems like something that doesn't happen anymore, but it's a fact. In that game Iowa's stud, Peter Jok, was playing hurt. It showed, as he only had 10 rather anonymous points and 2 rebounds. He sat out the next two games for the Hawkeyes and has come back to be almost his old self, with 12, 28, and 13 points in their last three games. 

Beyond Jok the Hawkeyes are a ragtag bunch, but they've managed a topsy-turvy Big Ten season much better than the Illini. At 6-7 in conference, Iowa is only a win from being in the top half of the standings, though their 14-12 record (same as Illinois) is more indicative of where they'll be playing in the postseason (the NIT with a bunch of other Big Ten teams). Fran McCaffrey has extracted value from his bench this season, getting big wins over Iowa State and Purdue. I'd expect something similar when Illinois comes to town.

My prediction suggestion: Go for a hike and enjoy the nice weather rather than watch this game. 


Very good dog with ties to Urbana wins Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club

This is a very good dog, Rumor, that took home some hardware at the Westminster Kennel Club recently in New York City.

Full article over at the News-Gazette, but the pup is co-owned by Patti and Van Dukeman — the latter of the two is the President of Busey Bank:

Rumor, co-owned by Patti and Van Dukeman of Urbana, was crowned America's top dog Tuesday night when, a year after a near miss, she came out of retirement to win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.

Good girl.

Top photo bJulie Jacobson/AP.


Fighting for our rivers and waterways

This community has proven that it is ready to stand up and fight for clean water, after that insane aquifer battle we thought we'd settled back in 2015. 

So now that the Stream Protection Rule has been repealed, the resources further downstate are threatened once again. 

And while "armchair activist" is usually used in a deragatory fashion, Prairie Rivers Network is giving us a chance to sit down for a good cause by bringing the Wild & Scenic Film Festival — one of the largest environmental film festivals in North America — to Illinois and our own Art Theatre. 

They're even going to be showing the film that Uni High students made which is now part of the Smithsonian's travelling exhibit called Water/Ways: "The Pollution of Our Water Ways". That's just one of the 15 or so all-ages appropriate short films that will be screening at this benefit event. Check out the link for more details, synopses and screencaps. 

So save the date: April 4th from 5-9 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, but you can also purchase PRN membership and get in for a package rate of $30. All proceeds are going to clean water initiatives, which we already need, just maybe moreso in the near future. 


Isaac Arms announces new album, drops first single

Isaac Arms, former member of the C-U rock outfit Withershins, has announced the release of a new solo album. An eponymous effort put forth with his backing band, The Extremities, Isaac Arms and the Extremities comes out on February 21st via Fourth Street Records. The album will have sonic similarities to Arms’ work in Withershins and other projects, featuring big shoegaze sounds over a pop-emo soundscape, but with a new spin. The first single from the album, “Cut The Anchor,” is available for streaming now. 
Arms is a central member of the local music scene and has been involved in many different projects and causes over the last several years, including many different bands and organizations, and management of the local label Heirship Records. All proceeds from Isaac Arms and the Extremities will go to benefit the organization Girls Rock! C-U, continuing the trend of local musicians doing a lot of good while also doing what they love.
Isaac and his band will play a release show on the 21st at Blips and Chitz. All proceeds from the show will also go to GR!CU.
Stream “Cut The Anchor” below and learn more on the bandcamp page.

Big Grove Tavern hosting “Mimosagate 2017” event

On February 25th and 26th, Downtown Champaign's Big Grove Tavern will be hosting a special mimosa-inspired brunch, entitled Mimosagate. Here, Big Grove's mimosa bar will be ever-accessible, for an extremely minimal cost, ensuring that your weekend day starts right. They'll even be open longer than normal on the 26th.

As part of the brunch, for an extra dollar (you read that right), you will be able to take advantage of BGT's extensive mimosa bar. Drink up.


Miga seeking experienced line cooks

For those of you who are seeking a job, or know someone who is seeking a job, Downtown Champaign's Miga is looking to hire two experienced line cooks.

Experience in fine dining is preferred, with pay being based on experience. The job is also full time.

Applications can be received in the restaurant (301 N. Neil St.) after 3 p.m., or interested applicants can send a resume to


Winder releases debut single

Local post-hardcore band Winder have put out their debut single. Entitled “Fertile / Feral / Fallow,” the fast-paced track clocks in at 1:27 and is full of distorted guitar and fuzzy vocals. The track is an official introduction to Winder, though showgoers in the area have been aware of them for a while. The group’s members hail from both C-U and Bloomington, and Winder have already played shows in both areas, including the venues Blips and Chitz, Ghost Planet, and a set at this year’s iteration of The Great Cover Up at The Accord.

The track is the first release off of their upcoming debut EP. Stream “Fertile / Feral / Fallow”  below.


Look no further than Fleurish this Valentine’s Day, people

If you're looking for a last minute (or spontaneous) floral gift for Valentine's Day, you should make a visit to Fleurish in Downtown Champaign. We stopped in there today to check things out and see what Sarah Compratt & Co. had to offer. Plus, they deliver as well.

Call them up at (217) 607-0015 if you have questions.

All of their roses, Rosa Prima, are sourced direct from Ecuador:

Exotics, like these — Obake, and Vanda Orchid, below that.

Tulips are sourced domestic from Washington state.

Go in there and check it out — you'll probably find something you want to take home with you. Options include wrap boquets, vased arranged (half dozen, dozen, two dozen), with a lot more in terms of the flower you're looking for (daisys, hydrangeas, cymbidum mini, tulips, ranuculus, quince blossoms, lily orientals, vanda orchids, and more).


Unit 4’s Kids Plus program is hosting a variety of speakers for Black History Month

Champaign Unit 4 Schools' Kids Plus program is celebrating Black History Month with a ton of speakers from a variety of different industries and trades. For details on how to catch their presentations, check out the press release below:

This month in the Champaign Unit 4 School District Kid Plus program, students' activities are focusing on a celebration of books around African American stories that will help to inspire students to "let their dreams take flight!"

In addition to providing all Kids Plus sites with books and activities to share with our students this month, we are also scheduling speaker/readers from the community along with administrators within the district who have children in the program including Angela Smith, Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Equity (Southside) and Orlando Thomas, Director of Achievement and Student Services (Barkstall).  Kids Plus administrator Tony Maltbia and director, Aushurra will also share with students. Audrey Mock, Family Information Center, and Javae Wright, Lead4Life will also share their talent and inspiration with students.

We kicked off our speaker presentations at Westview with a local international pilot for American Airlines, Patrick Boadu (from Ghana) and shared the book about Bessie Coleman by Nikki Grimes, the first African American licensed pilot who served as an inspiration for Mr. Boadu as he dreamed of becoming a pilot.  He shared with students how Black History is History for all because we can all learn and be inspired by these stories of overcoming obstacles and teaching our dreams.  It was a very inquisitive group and many shared their dreams.

Westview is the first of 12 schools who will be receiving visitors throughout the month including local musician Nate Banks, artist Jessie Knox, and University of Illinois Professor of Psychology, Carla Hunter.  All will share books that inspire from within their chosen field and encourage students to never give up on their dreams.  The dates and schools for each of these speaker/readers can be obtained by contacting Izona Burgess at or calling Kids Plus at 217-351-3719.