Category: Word

Japan House Shares kicks off on May 31st

Japan House is launching a new online series, Japan House Shares, on May 31st at 4 p.m. The first installment will feature Omusubi, a Japanese snack. Director Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud will share the food's history, and then will make several varieties. There will also be a craft project to try. 

You can find the series on YouTube

Image from Facebook event page. 


Don’t miss the Art in a Time of Quarantine virtual show

Chambanamoms, Krannert Art Museum, the Urbana Arts and Culture Program, Museum of the Grand Prairie, and KOOP Adventure Play invited K-12 students to submit artwork and the stories behind their artwork during the month of May, and now those pieces will be featured in a virtual show.

The show will debut on the Museum of the Grand Prairie Facebook page on June 4th at 4 p.m., and will then be posted to YouTube

Image from Facebook event page. 


NuMed is selling bandanas to raise money for COVID-19 relief

As an essential business, NuMed dispensary in Urbana has continued to provide services to their customers throughout this time of sheltering in place. Now, they are going a step beyond to support the community.

They are selling bandana-style face masks for $5 each, and 100% of sales will go to the Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund, established by Community Foundation of East Central Illinois and Champaign County United Way. The fund, which we've shared about a few times, supports organizations in our community that are helping those most affected by the pandemic. 

NuMed is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The first two hours are reserved for medical patients. 

Photo from Illinois News Joint website. 


Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund received a $250,000 grant

Last week, the Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund, established by Community Foundation of East Central Illinois and Champaign County United Way, received a $250,000 grant from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. 

The money will be distributed to 17 local organizations that are helping those in our community who have been most affected by the pandemic: 


$43,000 to 7 organizations to support regional food pantry services and food for homebound seniors.

General Assistance

$104,000 to 6 organizations to provide emergency financial aid to people, with a focus on communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Housing & Shelter

$103,000 to 4 organizations to provide socially-distanced emergency shelter and mortgage assistance.

You can find out more about the fund, and donate, here

Image from Community Foundation of East Central Illinois Facebook page. 


El Paraiso is opening in Broadway Food Hall Thursday

Broadway Food Hall is adding another food option beginning Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. El Paraiso, a Latin American restaurant, will be open for business from Wednesday through Saturday going forward.

They are not currently doing online ordering, but you can call 312-971-7149 or walk in to place your order. There is no menu posted yet, but you can check out their Facebook page to get an idea of what they will be offering. 

Photo from Broadway Food Hall Facebook page. 


CU Woodshop is permanently closing

Sad news has been released by CU Woodshop Supply, stating that they will be permanently closing. Here's the statement from their website:

CU Woodshop Supply will be Closing its Business

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CU Woodshop Supply, Inc, has been closed to the public since April 1, 2020.  We are sorry to report that we will not open again for normal business but will soon close permanently.

We do still have a lot of inventory, including used tools and machinery in our DreamShop.  Once it is safe to temporarily open the store again, we will have a liquidation sale.  Advance announcements will be sent via email and will be posted on our website when we have projected dates for the sale.

If you recently placed an order with us, that order will be honored as soon as possible if we can get delivery from our suppliers.  Many deliveries have been delayed.  If we cannot fill your order, we will refund any payments made. If you have a CU Woodshop Gift Certificate, please hold onto it until our liquidation sale.  Those who have paid for a class that was cancelled will soon receive refunds.

As our store is currently closed, we cannot answer the telephone or return phone calls.  We will try to respond to email sent to as best we can.  Please bear with us during these difficult times.  Please do not contact us regarding the liquidation sale as we have no details at this time.

Thank you to all our customers and friends who have supported our local woodworking store for these past 10 years.  It has been our pleasure and our privilege to serve you.  We are sorry to say goodbye to the many friends we have made in the woodworking community in East Central Illinois and beyond.


Dennis Coleman

President, CU Woodshop Supply, Inc.

Top image from CU Woodshop's Facebook page.


Smile Politely seeking Arts writers

Arts in C-U look a little different right now, but there is still a scene to dig into. Whether it's visual or performance art, literature or film, C-U has always nurtured a vibrant arts community, and this is your opportunity to be a part of it. 

We're looking for some writers for this particular section, and in order for this to really work, you must have at least a mild grasp what's happening locally, and preferably a grasp on art as a whole as well. In these days where in-person shows and performances are on hold, our arts sections is taking the time to focus on virtual events, individual artists and performers, literature, and more. 

If this sounds like something you're interested in, fire an email off to


Champaign County ReStore will open June 2nd

Champaign County ReStore will be opening for limited hours beginning Tuesday, June 2nd. They are planning to be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Here's what they had to say on their Facebook page:

These are only temporary hours and we ask that you please be patient with us during these hours as we are still working with a very limited staff. Masks will be mandatory for all staff and customers while inside. Our drop-off & pickup procedures will stay the same, at this time we cannot help load/unload items. Hand sanitizer will be available at the front door, donation door, and front counter. A handwashing sink is available on the second floor. Frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized often and carts/shopping baskets will be sanitized after each use. Several signs have been hung to remind customers of social distancing and our checkout line will be marked with 6ft indicators.

Photo from Champaign County ReStore Facebook page. 


Here is an update from Mike Ross, Director of Krannert Center

The future of events at Krannert Center is up in the air, as the University of Illinois continues to examine what the next year is going to look like. Director Mike Ross had this to say:

Dear friends,

In any normal year, we would be announcing the upcoming season at Krannert Center with great excitement, looking forward to performances by local, national, and international visiting artists on the Marquee series; by the Departments of Dance, Theatre, and the School of Music including Lyric Theatre; Sinfonia da Camera; Champaign-Urbana Symphony; PYGMALION; and Champaign Urbana Ballet. However, in this anything-but-normal year, we simply do not yet know what form of gathering will be possible at the Center this fall and into the spring. We do know that the safety of our community—including the national and international touring artists with whom we partner—is paramount, and we await further guidance from the university and state while we simultaneously prepare scenarios that can be put to use when the time is right.

In recent weeks, our staff has helped students transition to a new way of learning and living. We have shared with the community resources that can provide solace, connection, and inspiration while we are separated. We have engaged with our campus and community partners to learn more about how current circumstances are affecting their goals and dreams and how we might assist. And we have marked with gratitude the closing of our 50th-anniversary celebration, looking with hope to the future.

At the same time, our artist partners—the individuals and ensembles from around the world and from within our community that the Center presents on its stages and supports through commissioning and research activities—have faced a dramatic upending of their work and their livelihoods. The invigorating, life-sustaining connection between artists and audiences that occurs through live performance lies at the heart of our field, and during this time of separation, all parties are suffering. We are grateful for the many artists working creatively to reach out through digital media during this time of extreme challenge, and our staff is vigorously at work to partner with them in those efforts. But while that way of connecting can be done effectively and with meaning, it cannot replace the fullness and richness of shared, in-person experience.

Because of the many uncertainties surrounding the coming months, we have not yet announced the events we have planned for the 2020-21 season—a work of curation more than two years in the making—nor have we put tickets for those events on sale. We expect to receive important guidance from campus leadership in the next several weeks, and our intention is to share information about the season with you in the latter part of June. While we will share with you our original intentions for the season, all performance plans remain contingent on pandemic-related conditions and continued campus guidance. We will not place tickets on sale until safe gathering procedures are established.

The artists who have committed themselves to perform at Krannert Center next season are our friends, our colleagues, and our inspiration. And though it is possible their performances might not actually take place as planned, we are eager to honor and support them—as well as the students, faculty, staff, and community partners involved in planning and bringing a season to realization—and do all we can to connect you with them through acknowledgment of their intended roles in the 2020-21 season and through other means.

I thank you sincerely for your steadfast and impassioned support of Krannert Center. You are in our hearts, and I know that together we will get through this and come out even stronger on the other side.

Top photo by Patrick Singer. 


The City of Champaign is working on outdoor dining options

As our region moves in to Phase 3 of the governor's Restore Illinois plan on May 29th, which gives bars and restaurants the option to provide outdoor seating, the City of Champaign is working through some options for making this possible. Here is what they are developing, per their press release:

First, the City will coordinate with those establishments that can provide outdoor dining via the City’s current Outdoor Café Program, located primarily in downtown, to determine how seating can be provided in compliance with the state’s new guidelines. In cases where the typical outdoor café layouts cannot be accommodated, the City is committed to working with business owners to find alternative solutions.

Second, planning is underway to create three “Downtown Picnic Parks” on portions of closed streets where customers will be able to enjoy carryout from local restaurants. This is being developed in collaboration with the Champaign Park District and would involve closing some minor streets in the downtown area.

Third, plans are being developed to allow private parking lots at restaurants citywide to be used for outdoor dining where available and as allowed under the state’s pending guidelines.

The City also plans to maintain the popular Curbside Pickup Program which has served restaurants well in Champaign since March and will continue for the foreseeable future.

“The City is working very quickly to finalize plans so our local restaurants can reopen safely using outdoor dining spaces,” said Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen.  “We’re committed to finding innovative new ways to support our restaurant community and provide opportunities for the reopening in a safe and responsible way that is consistent with the state’s guidelines.”

Prior to the Governor’s announcement, the City of Champaign was already preparing plans for the reopening of restaurants, but Wednesday’s announcement accelerated that process. City staff are actively working to complete those plans now, but some clarification regarding the Governor’s announcement is needed in order to finalize those plans. That additional guidance is expected to be released by the state in the near future, after which the details of the City’s plans will be finalized so that Champaign’s bars and restaurants will be able to take advantage of the new outdoor dining provisions beginning Friday, May 29.

Top photo by Anna Longworth.


Register now to attend the Managing Grief and Loss Virtual Summit this Saturday

As the nation continues to reel from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I reached out to Sharva Hampton Campbell, host of this weekend’s Managing Grief and Loss Summit and author of the U.G.L.Y Project, volume I and II to find out about the summit, happening Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Sharva is employed as the Student Affairs Coordinator at the UIUC School of Social Work. She is also a serial author and entrepreneur who offers counseling and life coaching services, empowerment retreats, and book co-authoring opportunities.

Smile Politely: Why did you decide to host this Managing Grief and Loss Virtual Summit?

Sharva Hampton-Campbell: COVID-19 has impacted our lives in so many unimaginable ways. The severity of grief experienced by many ranges from the loss of autonomy to the death of a loved one.

I decided to host the summit to provide an opportunity for anyone who has experienced some form of loss to hear the stories of triumph from 10 women who have walked in similar shoes. We want to collectively validate and encourage everyone in their journey of healing.

Many are experiencing grief and loss. Everyone experiences grief differently, and it may look different from person to person. Therefore, our journey to wholeness will not look the same as someone else's. The grieving process has stages, but no timeline.

SP: Tell me a bit about the U.G.L.Y. Project? How does the second volume differ from the first volume?

Hampton-Campbell: The U.G.L.Y. Project was created to provide women an opportunity to tell their story of triumph and victory over life situations and circumstances that were harmful to their emotional well-being. The project is grounded in acknowledging our relationship with God and Him being the source of our healing.

Nine of us shared stories of infertility, abuse, rape, molestation, failed relationships, battles with negative self-images, and attempted suicide. We believe the rawness of our stories empowers and inspires women to begin their journey of healing and moving forward with strength and triumph

The first volume focused on giving women the courage to start the process of revealing their truths.

The second volume provides a glimpse into the lives of ten women during the darkest hours of their lives.  Our faith was tested, and spirits were broken, but through the power of prayer, we found our way through the difficult times.

SP: What will people experience by participating in this summit?

Hampton-Campbell: We want them to experience a sense of community and know they are not alone. Also, interwoven throughout our presentations will be the acknowledgment of our faith and the power of prayer and strength given by reading God's word.

SP: What do you hope to achieve with this summit?

Hampton-Campbell: I hope that our stories will inspire others to keep the faith and know that God has not forsaken them. He is the source of strength and endurance during their time of need.

For more information on the Managing Grief and Loss Summit, including how to register, check out the Facebook event page.