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U of I Community Credit Union announced 2017 scholarship winners

If you need any more convincing that the University of Illinois' Community Credit Union is a positive force in Champaign-Urbana (and beyond), today, they've released the list of area students who will receive $1,000 scholarships for in-state schools.

To get the full run-down, check out the press release below:

University of Illinois Community Credit Union Announces 2017 Orange & Blue Scholarship Recipients

CHAMPAIGN, IL — Each year, U of I Community Credit Union awards seven college-bound high school seniors a scholarship up to $1,000 based on the Illinois college of their choice. The Orange & Blue Scholarship Program is designed to benefit students who are U of I Community Credit Union members and will be attending the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and other Illinois colleges and universities.

Scholarship applications are reviewed by a team of volunteers at the U of I Community Credit Union and are given a score based on the information and documents submitted. Applicants are asked various questions including their favorite activities throughout high school, and any honors or awards they have received. They are also required to submit two letters of recommendation and an essay relating to the benefits of credit unions.

Giving back to the community is something UICCU feels very passionate about” UICCU Director of Marketing, explained. “We are dedicated to helping support students in our community financially so they can attend college and continue a higher education.”

The 2017 Orange & Blue Scholarship winners have been announced and were recognized at the Allerton Park Concert Series on Friday, August 4th.

UICCU is proud to announce the 2017 Orange & Blue Scholarship recipients:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

·         Jarrett Brunner – Mahomet-Seymour High School

·         Madeline Bolser – Covington High School

·         Kevin Hinders – High School of Saint Thomas More

·         Leah Roberts – Champaign Central High School

·         Alexandra Trauth – Centennial High School


·         Adam Manaster – Champaign Central High School

Augustana College

·         Ashley Bosch – Heritage High School

Details about the scholarship are available online at The scholarships are designed to benefit students attending the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and other Illinois colleges and universities.


Jonathan Ebel of Urbana announces run for Rodney Davis’ House seat

Since Carol Ammons announced that she would no longer seek Rodney Davis' seat in IL-13, there has not been a candidate from Champaign County who has thrown their hat into the 2018 race. Today, that changed with an announcement from Jonathan Ebel of Urbana.

Ebel, who is a Navy veteran and a professor at the University of Illinois, is the fifth Democrat from IL-13 to announce a run against Rodney "Hot Rod" Davis.

For more information, check out Ebel's campaign Facebook page here, and read The News-Gazette's profile on him here.


Demo begins to bring new splash pad to Hessel Park

Demolition of the old splash pad, play structure, sandbox, and restroom house has begun at Hessel Park in Champaign. 

The newer play structures remain open at the park. At least one portapotty has been added for guests' temporary use during construction.

According to CPD's website:

Phase 2 — completion goal by winter 2017. Construction set to begin in fall 2017

This phase will consist of constructing a new splash pad where the current playground and splash pad are located. The goal of the new splash pad is to be compatible with the recently created Douglass Park Splash Pad. This way features and functionality can be interchanged seasonally keeping the experience fresh and new for the kids.


C-U Immigration Forum accepting nominations for Welcome Awards

The C-U Immigration Forum is preparing for its 4th Annual Welcome Awards to recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed to the success of immigrants in Champaign County. The awards ceremony is part of Welcome Week, which will take place September 15-24. Here are the specifics:

The Champaign-Urbana Immigration Forum is hosting the 4th Annual Welcome Awards! This year we are excited to announce a new collaboration with the cities of Champaign and Urbana. As part of this new partnership, the Champaign-Urbana International Humanitarian Awards (CUIHA) will now be included in the Immigrant Welcome Award Ceremony.

The CU Immigration Forum is now accepting your nominations in consideration of the individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions, taken risks, and have provided leadership for the well-being and success of immigrants in Champaign County. To view the award categories and to nominate, please fill this short form using the following link: The CU Immigration Forum will accept your nominations through September 1, 2017.

The award recipients will be officially recognized at the 4th Annual Welcome Awards Ceremony and Celebration from 2pm-4pm on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the Muslim American Society Center. Event goers can expect food and fun for the whole family as we recognize and celebrate the individuals and organizations that have created a welcoming atmosphere for immigrants in Champaign County, Illinois.  For more information about the event including past award recipients, visit:

This event is part of Welcoming Week (September 15-24), a national week of events that works to bring communities bring together, immigrants and U.S.-born residents in a spirit of unity and to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone. For more information about Welcoming Week, visit Welcoming America's website at:


HUM announce tour dates for October

The almighty HUM have announced a few tour dates that are relatively close to Champaign-Urbana — though nothing super close by. However, any time the band announces dates, it is pretty noteworthy considering they tour very little nowadays.

They played a few shows last year, as well as CobraFest in July — check out some dates below.


The Green Children musical coming to Parkland Theatre in September

Back in June, the Ludlow Theatre Group called for auditions for The Green Children, their upcoming musical at Parkland College Theatre. Here's some more general information about the musical, below:
Between September 13 and 17, the Ludlow Theatre Group is staging a new musical play, The Green Children, at the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre at Parkland College.
The play is based on my children's book, which is recipient of the Literary Classics 2017 Enchanted Page Award winner for best children's storybook.
The Green Children is based on a 12th-century English legend, which has been turned into a Celtic Wizard of Oz. The show includes twelve songs (the tunes are all traditional Celtic airs), a Riverdance-type reel (performed by the Isle of Erin Irish dancers who will be dressed as gnomes, brownies, and hobgoblins; the leader of the troupe, Erika Paige Smith, is the current Irish dance world champion for her age group), enchantments supplied by Andy Dallas, a great cast (the principal singers are all products of the Lyric Theatre program at the university), and a great story of friendship, courage, suspense, and love.
The September 14th show at 7 p.m. is a benefit for Cunningham Children's Home. All tickets are $10 and half of that will be donated to the Home.

Big Grove hosting Copper Cane Wine tasting this Wednesday, August 23rd

Big Grove his hosting a wine tasting this week on Wednesday, August 23rd with Copper Cane Winery from 6-8 p.m. Check out the Facebook event, as well as some information about the tasting below.

Copper Cane Winery

  • 15 different wines available to taste for $15
  • Special additional wines by the glass available
  • Food pairing available from Raul Parada, Chef Du Cuisine
  • Special deals for wine to take home from BGT
  • Rollout of BGT wine club, which features many wines available no where else in C-U for take home at great prices.

Copper Cane is a 1st class American Winery owned by the Wagner Family. Highlighted by the Belle Glos Pinot Noirs.

Big Grove regularly pours bubbly, Rose, Pinot, and Zinfandel from Copper Cane. Additionally Cabernet and Chardonnay will be available to sample.

Contact for more information.


Neoga Blacksmith releases Chronontonius, donating proceeds to Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization

Neoga Blacksmith has released their brand new record, Chronontoniusand have announced they are donating their proceeds from the record for the next two weeks to HERO: The Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization. You can listen to the new album below and see their post:


Meadowbrook Park to gain two new statues on Tuesday

This coming Tuesday, two new statues will make their way to Urbana's Meadowbrook Park, one of the best places for statuary in Champaign-Urbana.

For the full scoop, check out this press release from the Urbana Park District:

“Surge” and “Transformation” on their way to Urbana

Two new sculptures will arrive at the Wandell Sculpture Garden in Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park on Tuesday, August 22. While each Peoria-based artist is bringing their own individual works to Urbana, the two have collaborated on sculpture before, including a bronze figure displayed at Bradley University and statues for the VFW memorial in Chillicothe, Illinois.

“Transformation” by artist Fisher Stolz is made of bronze and stainless steel.

“The sculpture invites you to experience both the exterior and the interior of the sculpture. A passageway invites the viewer inside. The work was originally created for a yearlong exhibition of sculpture in Chicago parks,” Stolz said.

“Surge” by artist Jaci Willis is constructed of stainless steel and glass.

Willis explained, “Surge was conceived thinking about Lake Michigan and its waves. This, in turn, developed the idealism of a relationship and how the closeness ebbs and flows with the environment around it.”

Both artists will join Urbana Park District staff members to install the pieces beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The Wandell Sculpture Garden at Meadowbrook Park was dedicated in June 1999. The garden was named in honor of Celia and Willet Wandell, who owned a local plant nursery and established a trust to give trees to neighboring communities. Celia and Willet’s family saw the Urbana Park District’s plans for a sculpture garden in Urbana as a way to both honor their parents and support art in a natural setting.

A number of the garden’s sculptures are owned by the Urbana Park District as part of the permanent collection. Most of the exhibits are on a two-year loan from the artist and are available for purchase.