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Illinois-Rutgers preview

Rutgers (6-16, 0-9)
All time:
2-0 (last: Illinois 66, Rutgers 54 in Champaign, 2/3/15)
Tip-off: 5:30 pm
TV: Big Ten Network

Well, "contusions," in other words bruises, suffered during the Wisconsin loss have rendered Michael Finke "very unlikely" to play and Kendrick Nunn a game-time decision. Meanwhile, Mike Thorne Jr. is unable to return and Leron Black is still out indefinitely. 

This is fine. Cameron Liss (5 minutes in 2 games, 1 assist and 1 foul) is ready to be a rotation option with Maverick Morgan at center. Oh, and Malcolm Hill, who was just named one of the 10 best shooting guards in the country, may also play in the post! 

But this is Rutgers. Rutger sucks. So maybe this doesn't matter at all? Either way, here's an actual, real-life Big Ten ad to get you hyped for the game.

It's lit, y'all.

Projected lineups

Illinois: Jaylon Tate, guard; Jalen Coleman-Lands, guard; Kendrick Nunn, guard; Malcolm Hill, guard; Maverick Morgan, center

Rutgers: Bishop Daniels, guard; Corey Sanders, guard; Mike Williams, guard; D. J. Foreman, forward; Greg Lewis, center

Gut feeling

If there was ever a combination for Illinois to lose to Rutgers, missing or questioning this many players is definitely it. Looking at the Scarlet Knights roster, though, I'm not sure. Those guys are all anonymous. They may as well be Chicago State...wait, uh, Illinois only barely beat Chicago State. Shit, this game is gonna be ugly.


Film screening: My Brooklyn-Demystifying Gentrification

My Brooklyn: Demystifying Gentrification

My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class.

Two screenings - FREE

Wednesday evening, February 17 at 6:00pm at the Champaign Public Library
followed by a community panel to discuss recent development trends in C-U.

Thursday, February 18th at 7:30 p.m. in Plym Auditorium, Temple Buell Hall
followed by Q&A with film director.

Find out more about the film here.

My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighborhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.

Meanwhile, development officials announce a controversial plan to tear down and remake the Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district just blocks from Anderson’s apartment. She discovers that the Mall, despite its run-down image, is the third most profitable shopping area in New York City with a rich social and cultural history. As the local debate over the Mall’s future intensifies, deep racial divides in the way people view neighborhood change become apparent. All of this pushes Anderson to confront her own role in the process of gentrification, and to investigate the forces behind it more deeply.

She meets with government officials, urban planners, developers, advocates, academics, and others who both champion and criticize the plans for Fulton Mall. Only when Anderson meets Brooklyn-born and raised scholar Craig Wilder, though, who explains his family’s experiences of neighborhood change over generations, does Anderson come to understand that what is happening in her neighborhoods today is actually a new chapter in an old American story. The film’s ultimate questions become how to heal the deep racial wounds embedded in our urban development patterns, and how citizens can become active in fixing a broken planning process.

Sponsored by Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Center for Advanced Study, 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign, Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, City of Urbana, Champaign County Habitat for Humanity, Champaign Country Health Care Consumers, Champaign Country Regional Planning Commission, Channing Murray Foundation, College of Law Community Preservation Clinic, Education, Latina/o Studies, Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, Anthropology, Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Theater, History, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, Planners Network, Student Planning Organization


Caribbean Grill’s Soul Food Sundays returns

Caribbean Grill's food truck is on hiatus right now, but owner Mike Harden is keeping busy. For the second year in a row, Soul Food Sunday means that you can pick up some delicious soul food each Sunday in February. Want to know more? Revisit my interview with Mike from this time last year. 

Meals are available, to go, at Refinery (2302 W John Street, Champaign), from noon to 4 p.m. Here are the menus:


Pens part of Pens to Lens starts today

The 4th annual Pens to Lens competition began accepting submissions today, Feb. 1st, 2016, for both aspects of ajudication: short scripts for Student Screenwriting, or completed films for the Student Film Festival. Both competitions are open to current students from grades K-12 in East Central Illinois. 

Submission deadline for Student Screenwriting will be Feb. 29th, 2016, for finished scripts no longer than 5 pages. Check out submission guidelines at the website, which is also where all scripts must be submitted. The student filmmakers will have until June 30th, 2016 to submit their finished films for the Festival. Those films must be written, directed, and produced by current students, but read the submission guidelines for this, as well, and keep in mind all the films must be uploaded to vimeo or youtube to be considered.

Pens to Lens, recently winning the Social Venture Award at 2016's Innovation Celebration, provides an opportunity to encourage young writers by showing them the power behind their talents. When professional actors and filmmakers create a finished film from a short script and screen it at the Virginia for a community audience, the effect is overwhelming

From speaking to the 2015 winners, I know many kids have already been working on their scripts for months... but there's still time to create something amazing and perhaps walk the red carpet yourself come August!


New Public i now available

The new issue of the Public i is out now. There are articles by Black Students for Revolution calling for end to tuition, Nathaniel Moore on solitary confinement, Joe Dole (an incarcerated writer), Stacy Harwood and colleagues on racial microaggressions, Natalie Prochaska on housing segregation in C-U, Susan Shoemaker on terrorism, and more. 

The Public i is a news-focused, collectively-run, non-profit newspaper in Urbana-Champaign. The paper is a project of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (U-C IMC) and is organized and edited entirely by volunteer citizen-journalists. 


Illinois-Wisconsin preview

Wisconsin (12-9, 4-4)
All time:
110-82 (last #5 Wisconsin 68 – Illinois 49, Feb. 15, 2015 in Madison)
Tip-off: 6:30 pm
TV: Big Ten Network

As discussed after the Ohio State loss, inconsistency is basically what can be expected from Illinois right now. The team is struggling to maintain offensive rhythm, so what exactly the play on the floor will be remains to be seen.

As for Wisconsin, they're hot right now. They've won their last three, including beating #4 Michigan State and #19 Indiana. Their schedule is the 6th toughest in the nation and they've fared fairly well considering the turnover in players and coaches they've experienced. 

Wisconsin's greatest threat is forward Nigel Hayes. The junior can do a little bit of everything and has a very adaptable game. He's averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Supporting him are Bronson Koenig, who is big threat from the perimeter and averages 13.5 per game, and Ethan Happ, a freshman forward who is coming into his own with 12.6 points per game.

Predicted lineups

Wisconsin: Zak Showalter, guard; Bronson Koenig, guard; Nigel Hayes, forward; Ethan Happ, forward; Vitto Brown, forward

Illinois: Jaylon Tate, guard; Jalen Coleman-Lands, guard; Kendrick Nunn, guard; Malcolm Hill, guard; Michael Finke, forward

Gut feeling

Not a blowout, but not a win for Illinois either. I see the Illini being a little less streaky on offense, but unable to top the Badgers. Wisconsin is clicking right now, so it could be tough for Illinois to overcome their momentum.


Urbana Police Department to give away bikes

The Urbana Police Department's annual bike giveaway will be on Friday, February 12th, from 10 am - noon.

From the press release:

The Urbana Police Department will be offering bicycles free of charge to citizens of Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas. This event will take place on Friday, February 12, from 10 am- Noon at 202 S Vine Street, Urbana Illinois (Old Good Year building). The Urbana Police ask that each citizen be limited to one bicycle. The bicycles will be offered in as is condition to interested parties.

For more information please contact Evidence Technician Michelle Carr or Lt. Bob Fitzgerald at 217-384-2320 at the Urbana Police Department.


Tonight on SP Radio: Bar M

Tonight on Smile Politely Radio, Kristin Walters stops by to discuss wine, local wine, and Bar M, which opens February 4. Bar M, a new wine bar, will be located in the Cafeteria and Co. building at 208 W. Main in Urbana.

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes.


217 Tattoo Company maybe soon to close

I spoke with Stump at 217 Tattoo Company about leaving and the shop potentially closing down:

"It's just time for a change. I am going to come back every month and work for a few days. We'll leave the shop open for the guys to work for a few months. But we'll likely eventually close down."

217 Tattoo Company is located at 1314 W. Church St. in Champaign. 


U of I Community Credit Union: UIECU announces new name, brand

In an email release, the U of I Employee Credit Union has unveiled their new brand: U of I Community Credit Union.

Check out the information released today:

Allow us to reintroduce ourselves.

We’re proud to serve both campus and community, and now our name will show it! On Monday, February 1, 2016, U of I Employees Credit Union will change our name to U of I Community Credit Union.

This name change doesn’t mean your membership is changing – you’ll still be a member, and you’ll still enjoy crowd-pleasing service and fan-favorite products. What this change does mean is that you can invite more of your friends and family to become UICCU members! Anyone who lives, works, or studies in Champaign County can bank here!

  • You will begin to see our logo and name change on digital and paper materials. These and other changes are all a part of our brand enhancements.
  • We are still managed by our same volunteer Board of Directors and staff.
  • We are still your Credit Union!

We’ve got some other exciting changes coming too, including a new community-based look and feel. We’ll keep you up to date! You can also get updates by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter .

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 217-278-7700.


UPDATE (2/1/2016): Here is the information per the press release:

U of I Employees Credit Union Changes Name to U of I Community Credit Union

Champaign, IL – To demonstrate its commitment to serving both campus and community, University of Illinois Employees Credit Union has changed its name to U of I Community Credit Union effective February 1, 2016.

“With the name change, we are eliminating the barrier that the word employees created” said E.J. Donaghey, President and CEO of UICCU. “We have always been proud to serve both campus and community, and now our name will truly show it.”

In addition to the new name, U of I Community Credit Union will be unveiling an updated community-based look. U of I Community Credit Union will continue to be governed by its current local, volunteer Board of Directors.

U of I Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative that provides a wide range of financial products and services.