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Siam Terrace is giving out face masks with carryout orders

While supplies last, Siam Terrace is providing customers with masks for free when you order curbside pick-up or delivery.  

I reached out to Siam Terrace myself, and here's what they said:

With overwhelming support from our community, we would like to give back to the amazing C-U. We started this mask project. It started when we wanted to find masks for our employees...and good masks were difficult to get. We bought masks to give to the people in our community.

Right now, we are giving 1-2 masks with each order. We also have more for kids in the family. Please let the readers know about the kids size masks.

Besides being so generous with masks, Siam Terrace offers authentic Thai cuisine. You can check out their menu at their website and order lunch or dinner for curbside pick-up or home delivery.


U of I President Killeen hopes to “bring our campuses back to life” this fall

Yesterday, University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen made an announcement about the fall semester, which has been widely discussed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the entire note below, which showcases President Killeen's optimism and hope to re-open the campus in the fall with students coming back to Champaign-Urbana. While there's no definitive answer as to whether or not in-person classes will take place in the fall, time will tell as to whether or not that's a possibility.

From the U of I System's announcement:

The following massmail was sent to students, faculty and staff today from University of Illinois System Tim Killeen:

Dear colleagues:

I write to inform you that I have created a system-wide coordinating committee to support our universities as they begin planning for the reopening of campuses in the fall and examining the changes that will be required to ensure both safety and excellence.

The committee will help make certain that leaders at our three universities are all benefitting from the best and latest scientific and health information about COVID-19. Each university is also looking at the distinctive issues that are involved in resuming on-campus classes and activities this fall at institutions that differ widely in size and scope.

Transitioning to a “new normal” while retaining our world-class educational experience and protecting the health and safety of our campus communities will be the overriding priority. Included in the coordinating committee’s planning will be issues such as how the pandemic will affect class sizes, residence hall occupancy, large sports or entertainment events, and other traditional campus activities.

The coordinating committee will be co-chaired by Barb Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, and Avijit Ghosh, vice president and chief financial officer. It will include the three provosts from our universities, two vice chancellors overseeing student affairs and research, and a tenured faculty member from the University Senates Conference.

The fall semester may not look exactly the same as when you left our campuses. But I am confident that with the appropriate protocols in place, we will restore much of our face-to-face teaching, as well as lab-based research, residential life and the other unique benefits that make our campus communities second to none. The committee will explore every option to ensure the well-being of students, faculty and staff, including new cutting-edge technologies and devices that are being developed every week as science learns more about the virus.

For now, it is incumbent on all of us to stay the course and continue following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s new stay-at-home order, which extends through May 30. I am deeply grateful to all of you for everything you have done to keep our operations rolling while also doing your part to slow the virus’ spread. Scientific evidence shows that our collective efforts are working in Illinois and it is now time to plan for our future.

I look forward to the fall when we can come back together and bring our campuses back to life. In the meantime, thank you again for your sacrifice, understanding and commitment. Take care of yourselves, and each other.



Photo by Anna Longworth.


Some positive news from C-U Public Health District: “Keep flattening the curve Champaign County”

As we mentioned earlier this week in our Editorial, being a good citizen during the pandemic in part involves listening to the information that comes from Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. Here's a nice piece of positive information from Julie Pryde & company today: Champaign County appears to be flattening the curve in some capacity. 

As CUPHD points out, extending "doubling time" is a positive thing:

Champaign County currently has a "case doubling time" of 12.2 days. The longer the doubling time, the less likely we are to overwhelm our hospital resources.

We all need some positive news, even a small amount of it, so here it is. As always, keep up to date with CUPHD by following them across the board on social media:

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Summer Camp Music Festival to move forward as planned

The Summer Camp Music Festival, which takes place at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL from May 22nd to 24th, has announced that it plans to go full speed ahead despite current fears regarding COVID-19. Check out their press release below: 

A statement from the directors of Summer Camp Music Festival: 

“As you may have seen yesterday, the Illinois Governor has placed a ban on all events of 1000 or more gathering until May 1st. While we are deeply saddened for the effects this is having on our society, the silver lining is that Summer Camp takes place at the very end of May. As such, all of our plans for the Summer Camp Music Festival are to move forward as usual for now. We will, of course, keep you updated if anything changes or new information as it becomes available.

We realize this is a difficult time for many. Our industry (as well as many others) is getting hit very hard with a loss of work and income for many musicians, venue staff, promoters and so on. Our community is widely affected, from our health and finances to our families and more and we take this very seriously. During this time, we feel that it’s more important than ever to continue to share expressions of love, help and understanding with each other. As we look ahead for a light at the end of the tunnel we want to give you something to look forward to.

In an effort to shine the light and spread positivity, we are continuing to plan to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with you all in May! As such, we are pleased to present you our 3rd Artist Announcement. We are looking forward to a great celebratory weekend together, as a family, and coming out stronger on the other side!”

As they mention at the bottom, they are also announcing their third wave of artists slated to perform over Memorial Day weekend. You can check out the list at their Facebook page or their website.

Top Photo from Summer Camp's Facebook event page.

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Bones Jugs announce hiatus

In a long post on their Facebook page, Bones Jugs announced they will be going on hiatus for the foreseeable future. 

As they say in their message to fans, this will be the first time in their seven-year run that they will be taking a break from playing regular shows. They leave open the chance that we may see them pop-up sporadically, but for now, we'll have to do without our two-man-one-man-band/two-man orchestra. 

Check out their farewell-for-now post below. 

Top Image: members of Bones Jugs sit on a front porch surrounded by various instruments, one holding their banjo. The photo was taken during a live performance and the musicians are interacting with each other, smiling and laughing. Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.


Visit Champaign County, Champaign County EDC, more collaborate to launch Chambana Proud

Chambana Proud, a collaborative effort by Visit Champaign County, Champaign County Economic Development Program, and You're Welcome CU, has been launched to "foster community pride in Greater Champaign-Urbana Area". You can read all about the new venture below via Visit Champaign County's press release.

From the press release:

Chambana Proud Launched to Foster Community Pride in Greater Champaign-Urbana Area

Champaign, IL—Chambana Proud, a joint collaboration with Visit Champaign County, the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and You’re Welcome CU, officially launched at to bolster pride among residents of the area.

“There is much to celebrate in this community,” states Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement at Visit Champaign County. “While we focus on telling our story every day, we wanted to give tools to those who live here a way to share what they love about Champaign-Urbana, more commonly known as Chambana.”

The initial campaign focuses on Champaign-Urbana t-shirts providing a highly visible outlet for sharing what makes this community special. The t-shirts were designed by local artists in a collaboration with 40 North | 88 West, the Champaign County Arts Council. Artists include: Scott Barber (Scobar); Ralph Roether; Madelyn Witruk; and David Michael Moore.

In discussing the ideas for the designs, Carly McCrory, Executive Director for the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation states, “Champaign-Urbana is a hotbed for innovation and we are traditionally so humble in reminding the world where some of today’s most celebrated technology was invented. This is another opportunity to brag and showcase that this community makes a difference in lives around the globe.”

The t-shirt, “We Made the Internet” by artist, Ralph Roether, celebrates the invention of the modern web browser, Mosiac, launched in 1993 from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications led by Marc Andreessen.

“We’re Super Sweet”, designed by artist Scott Barber aka Scobar, touts the invention of Super Sweetcorn, a hybrid of sweetcorn from University of Illinois professor, John Laughnan, that brought this tasty summer favorite to dinner tables and grocery stores for all to enjoy.

And the sweet tee, “Whipped Cream” also by Barber, is a nod to University of Illinois graduate student Charles Getz made whipped cream in a can a possibility.

Beyond these innovation t-shirts, creating designs that simply let the world know that Chambana is the heart of Central Illinois, from artist Madeyln Witruk, to the simple hashtag “#chambana” popular on Twitter and Instagram in the area help brand this growing community.

Following the initial launch of this campaign with Weiskamp Screen Printing, Reifsteck and McCrory plan to bring these designs into local shops and destinations bringing in visitors. Long-term, they expect to add more designs available on multiple items from canvas bags to mugs.

Additionally, Chambana Proud will continue to find ways to create community ambassadors, seeking input from what residents love about Chambana, to ultimately creating an ambassador program that helps recruit and welcome newcomers to the area.

For more information on this campaign, visit or contact Terri Reifsteck at Visit Champaign County at 217-351-4133, or Carly McCrory with Champaign County Economic Development Corporation at 217-359-6261.

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Storytelling Open Mic Night starting at Seven Saints August 27th

"Do Not Submit Chambana," a new local outpost of the popular Chicagoland "Do Not Submit" storytelling movement, will start a monthly open mic series at Seven Saints on August 27th. As a word nerd and lover of all things literary and narrative, I'm excited to see "Do Not Submit" take hold in our community. These events provide a safe environment for story sharing that is both free of judgment and cover charge. 

Find out more on the Facebook event page.

Do Not Submit Chambana
Seven Saints
32 E Chester St, Champaign
Every 4th Tuesday, starting August 27th
Sign up a 6 p.m., start at 6:30 p.m.

Photo from Facebook event page


Rodney Davis was so offended by the President’s racist comments that he did absolutely nothing

Congressman Rodney Davis is a feckless coward.

I’m aware that this isn’t a very civil thing to say. I’m also aware that Rep. Davis hates incivility.

Luckily, an opportunity presented itself this weekend for Davis to prove that his concern over the absence of polite and respectful political discourse was more than self-righteous moral preening or a transparently calculated attempt to stifle criticism.

Unfortunately, Congressman Rodney Davis is a colossal hypocrite and cynical political opportunist who is more interested in keeping his nativist base happy than being consistent in his beliefs, so he didn’t do that.

When the President (who benefits from Davis’ overwhelming support) told four women of color (three of whom were born here) to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” in an explicitly racist attack, Davis had the chance to be as clear and as forceful in condemning those comments as he is when his constituents beg him not to take away the healthcare they rely on to not die.

Instead Davis has been completely, utterly, deafeningly silent. It’s a weird choice for a guy that never misses an opportunity to paternalistically lecture his constituents about how we need to return to the halcyon (see also: mythical) days of reasoned dialogue with those who disagree with us.

It’s not like Davis hasn’t been given ample time and opportunity to respond. It’s been over 24 hours. I’ve called his DC office and e-mailed his communications director requesting a statement. Actual journalist Mark Maxwell over at WCIA 3 has been after Davis since last night with no success. If Davis actually had something to say, he would have said it by now, which tells me one of two things:

A.) Davis sees nothing wrong with the comments


B.) Davis hasn’t been told what to say yet

Neither option makes Davis look particularly good. If it’s Option A, Rodney Davis is a racist, full stop. If it’s Option B he’s little more than a child who isn’t allowed to cross the (political) street unless someone holds his hand. It’s on Davis and his team to help those of us justifiably appalled by the President’s comments to figure out where he stands. The absence of an answer is itself an answer on something as blatant as this.

In contrast I reached out to his opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, for a statement and got this back in five minutes.

"We need leaders who are more afraid of losing their moral compass than they are about losing an election. We deserve a representative who isn't afraid to raise her voice against racism and injustice."

**Editor's Note, 7:40 p.m.: Rodney Davis has made a statement, per WCIA's Mark Maxwell. See Maxwell's tweet below with the rather unsurprising response where he basically turns it back on Democrats and squeezes in a reference to the congressional baseball game shooting. 

Photo from Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images


Rose Bowl Tavern undergoing new ownership March 1st

The historic Rose Bowl Tavern, located at 106 N. Race Street in Downtown Urbana, will undergo an ownership change starting on March 1st. Steve Campbell has transfered ownership over to Charlie Harris, Marten Stromberg, and Sam Payne — all three are a part of the local music scene in a some capacity. Rose Bowl Tavern has been open since 1946, and Campbell has owned the venue since April 1994.

Harris stated that there will be some changes, but "same vibe, more music — and 'home of country music', but what country?" We'll be sure to provide a full rundown of what they have to say soon enough, but that's the news for this legendary hootenanny.

Here's the new crew with the old crew:

Top photo by Patrick Singer


The Art Theater launches $25,000 fundraising campaign to remain open

The Art Theater in Downtown Champaign has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 in the next 25 days. The single screen cinema states that they need to raise the funds "immediately to remain open". Read the statement below, as per their website:

Dear friends of The Art,

The Art Theater needs your help! For years, the Art Theater has provided the Champaign-Urbana community with world class film experiences as the only independent non-profit theater in the area. Through Hollywood classics, eye-opening documentaries, foreign films, children’s features, avant-garde experiments, midnight cult favorites, and everything in between, the Art has offered a haven for movie lovers. And for a community of our size, having a resource of this caliber available to us 365 days a year is truly precious.

As a single-screen theater that focuses on the exhibition of independent films, we need your financial support to maintain our offerings. As you may know, in 2017 the Art Theater became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and we now depend on personal and corporate donations for our lifeblood. I therefore call out to fellow cinephiles who want the Art Theater to remain a vibrant facet of our community. Due to a slow end of 2018/beginning of 2019, we need $25,000 immediately to keep us open.

The Art is fortunate to have a dynamic new Executive Director, Dr. Porshé Garner, and she and my fellow Board members are determined to ensure that the Art Theater flourishes as an essential ingredient of the quality of life we enjoy here in Champaign-Urbana. So, please, join us by making a contribution today – donations can be made at the box office or online using the button below. And come see a movie soon!

Thank you,

Jerry Payonk
President, Board of Directors, the Art Film Foundation

We reached out to Executive Director Porshé Garner for comment, and she elaborated on the campaign.

SP: Can you detail what these dollars will directly benefit?

Garner: The ask we are making would go directly to the daily operations of The Art Theater. As a non-profit organization we depend on individual and corporate donations to continue our compelling programming. Most people do not know, but in the film exhibition industry as much as 51% of our ticket sales go back to the distributors.

SP: How close is the Art Theater to closing its doors without these funds?

Garner: We absolutely need these funds within the next two weeks or so that we can continue meeting our total expense lines.

Top photo by Anna Longworth

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Untitled 2019: a Friday night 80’s-style party to support local art

Whether the 80's were a time you actually lived through, or something you experienced secondhand through music, TV, and film, you know that they were "extra" before "extra" was even a thing. Big hair, bright colors, and, of course, the films of John Hughes. Leave it to 40 North to choose this decade as inspo for Untitled 2019, 40 North's only fundraiser of the year.  It was a big decade, and let's hope it inspires big support. Because support for the arts is like gloss for 80's girls. You can never have enough.

“The services 40 North provides to this community are so vital to our way of life, contributing to a lot of the arts & culture that we often take for granted throughout the year. Untitled is the one time we are able to support 40 North for all that they do to improve our quality of life, so we can sustain events like Friday Night Live, the Eric Show, Boneyard Arts Festival and so much more. Not to mention, it is quite simply the most fun fundraiser you’ll ever go to.” Terri Reifsteck, Board Treasurer and Event Chair.

So grab a gloss, get a ticket, and help guarantee that these programs that enhance our quality of life don't go anywhere.  

“Art is fundamental to our quality of life – from its impact on social issues to education to general vitality of the community – the arts are essential for a successful and functioning society. 40 North and our programs require support and nurturing just like any other mission-driven non-profit in this community. This event is a chance to not only celebrate what we have but to help build what we still need.” Kelly White, Executive Director, 40 North

Enjoy the nostalgia, the adult beverages, and the amazing local art. Go home happy knowing you did something that would make John Hughes smile. And can someone save me a Pretty in Pink cupcake?

Untitled 2019
Orpheum Chidren's Science Museum
346 N Neil St, Champaign
February 22nd, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Tickets are $45 and can be ordered online 

Photos from the 40 North Facebook page.


51 Main open as a warming center today for those in need

51 Main in Downtown Champaign will be open for those in need during this deep freeze here in Champaign-Urbana. They'll be providing socks, gloves, blankets, food, hot beverages, and more for those who need a place to go — and rides are available via this number: 217-520-0580. 51 Main is located at 51 Main Street, Champaign. 

Remember — a lot of things are closed today, and there's more information about warming centers and such via the City of Champaign. If you need a ride, MTD's got you.

If you're located in Bloomington-Normal, you have options as well.

See their Facebook post: