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MTD approves $25M contribution to The Yards project, which includes Illinois Terminal expansion

The board at MTD has approved the allocation of $25M towards the new development in Downtown Champaign, The Yards. The project has been built conceptualy over the last few years, which would potentially lead way to a Division I hockey team being housed here, as well as a variety of mixed-use components including a hotel, office space, residential, retail, and more.

The MTD board has approved the use of the $25M "conceptually" MTD Managing Director Karl Gnadt points out in the News-Gazette's report. MTD will be seeking out two major grants again in 2019, ones they did not receive this past year, which would provide the funds for this project allocation, ultimately. If they are unable to get those grants, the funds will come from their capital reserve, and will not create a tax increase in any way for the community.

This is a step forward for the development of the space, which is estimated to cost upwards of $200M, with an expected completion in 2023. You can see the renderings in more detail below, as well as in the Gazoo's report which hashes out more detail about the project.

Photos from MTD/The Yards development

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Get up to date on the latest Unit 4 building projects

Unit 4 has updated their website featuring all of the current building project information and timelines to make it a bit more user-friendly. If you haven't noticed just from driving around town, things are definitely rolling on construction at multiple schools, so it's a great time to check in on what's happening. 

From the press release:

“The Building Projects website was always intended to be a one-stop-shop for news and updates about the construction program but we frequently heard concerns that it was difficult to navigate,” said Board of Education President Chris Kloeppel.  “The website has been enhanced with a streamlined navigation system, a user-friendly homepage and a special section for road closures and service disruptions. We believe these changes will allow people to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.”

The site will still offer the opportunity to submit questions, as well as the option to sign up for email updates. 

The district has been consistently hosting info nights and open houses, and the next one is coming up May 8th at Edison Middle School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. There you can find out more about upcoming renovations. 

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Richard Powers wins Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his novel, The Overstory

University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Richard Powers has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his novel The Overstory. The New York Times bestseller was released last year to critical acclaim, and the announcement about the Pulitzer win came earlier today:

Just for kicks, check out this list we published back in 2009 for our local books of the decade, where Powers' The Echo Maker took the top spot.

Photos from Richard Powers' website

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Miga will be open for U of I graduation

Miga is not typically open on Sundays, but they will be making an exception for U of I graduation on May 12th. I imagine it could have the potential to fill up, so best make those reservations soon if you would like to do your celebrating with their tasty food and drinks. This is also Mother's Day, so maybe something to keep in mind if you'd like to take Mom out for a nice dinner. Reservation times are from 4 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Photo from Miga's Facebook page. It's their Galbi steak with kimchi and it's damn good. 

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Ninth Letter is accepting submissions for the 2019 Literary Awards

If you are a writer who would like to be considered, you have until April 26th to submit your fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. The prize is pretty awesome: The winner of each category will receive $1000 and publication in their Fall/Winter issue. 

There are, of course, specific guidelines for each catagory, which you can find here. The submission fee is $17 per catagory — so submitting to multiple catagories is a-ok, just know you'll be paying multiple fees. 

An important note, from the submission website:

"Current and former employees of Ninth Letter, current and former students and faculty of the creative writing program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and current and former students of our guests judges are not eligible to enter these contests."

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Three chances to check out what local art students are up to

If the official end of Boneyard Arts Festival has you wanting more art openings, this weekend offers two chances to check out what our local art students are up to.  There's a lot of young talent in this town, so make your way out Krannert Art Museum and Parkland College's Giertz Gallery and see for yourself. 

Opening Night // 2019 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition
Saturday, April 13th, 5 to 7 p.m.
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign
Free and open to the public
This show will be up through April 25th
Photo from KAM Facebook page
 

51st Annual Juried Student Art and Design Exhibition
Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
Reception: April 11th, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
2400 W Bradley Ave, Champaign
Free and open the public
This show will be up through May 4th
Photo from Giertz Gallery Facebook page

 

2019 School of Art + Design Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition
Krannert Art Museum
May 4th through May 12th
500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign
Free and open to the public
Photo from KAM Website

 


 

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Share your health and wellness thoughts with Urbana Park District

Urbana Park District is looking for 60 volunteers to participate in focus groups related to the health and wellness programming they offer. The sign-up indicates that you will be asked for input on:

  • Your own meaning of health and wellness
  • How the park district can better serve these needs for everyone
  • Components of a potential health and wellness facility
  • Path and trail needs in Urbana

You time and opinions will be rewarded! All participants will receive $20 Meijer gift card and some Urbana Park District swag. Also there will be snacks.

Have some opinions to offer? You can sign up in time frame that works for you here.

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U of I alum sets Jeopardy! single day winnings record by earning $110K

Just looking back, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've posted about Jeopardy! and its connection to our community three times before this SPlog post here. Twice in 2016, and another time in 2018. U of I alum James Holzhauer becomes my fourth post (though there could be one I'm missing, this is starting to get a little crazy), as the math major set a single day winnings record in the famed game show by raking in $110,914. And he's not done yet: His four-day earnings thus far total $244,365. Bananas.

Top photo from LAS' tweet

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UIUC played a pretty major role in this black hole image

Surely you've seen the image today — the first image we've ever seen of an actual black hole. Pretty awesome in itself, but even more awesome is the fact that a research group from University of Illinois made a significant contribution to making it happen. Event Horizon Telescope, a network of telescopes, and an international group of collaborators are responsible for capturing the image, and our very own physics department is a part of that.

From the Illinois Physics press release:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor of Physics and Astronomy Charles Gammie, a member of the EHT Science Council Board, co-led the theory working group and served as co-coordinator of Paper V, focused on the theoretical interpretation of the EHT data.

You can read more about their contribution and all of the science-y details here.

Photo from the EHT Collaboration

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Hank’s Table to open where V. Picasso recently closed

V. Picasso announced in March they would be closing and reopening as something new in the near future, and tonight they posted this update on their Facebook page. It appears as though the new restaurant opening in VP's previous space will be called Hank's Table (presumably named after owner Traci Lipps' late husband Hank).

There's no other information about the restaurant at this time or when it is opening, though they do mention hamburgers and fried chicken as hashtags on this post.

Hank's Table
122 N Neil St
Champaign, Illinois