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C-U named one of Midwest Living's "Best Midwest Food Towns"

Midwest Living has named Champaign-Urbana one of their finalist in the "Best Midwest Food Towns" — and now, voting continues to see who will take the crown. Per a release by Visit Champaign County, you have until May 31st to cast your vote at

From the press release:

Champaign-Urbana Named a Best Midwest Food Town

Champaign, IL – The monthly magazine, Midwest Living, just announced a curated list of the twelve most delicious food towns in the Midwest which includes Champaign-Urbana. As part of their Greatest Midwest Town’s contest series, readers will vote from May 1–31 on the best food town to be featured in their September/October issue.

“We are honored to be chosen as a finalist for the Greatest Midwest Food Town by Midwest Living,” exclaims Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing for Visit Champaign County. “Our food scene in Champaign County is unrivaled for a city this size in the Midwest. From fresh, farm-to-table selections to diverse, international cuisine, Champaign County has something for everyone at every price range.”

Voting is available every day during the month of May at, and Visit Champaign County is encouraging all to show their pride in the community.

“Being named the best Midwest Food Town would be a tremendous boost to culinary tourism,” explains Reifsteck. “Food is now one of the top reasons why people travel, so showcasing our tasty, local offerings is only going to continue to brand Champaign County as a destination and further generate economic impact.”

Visit Champaign County recently held their first Champaign County Area Restaurant Week this past January, featuring 18 participants boasting special menus to bring in new customers. The event was very popular, with Yoder’s Kitchen, a participant in Arthur, giving out over 1,000 slices of free pie as part of the promotion.

Additional towns in the contest include: Bloomington, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa; Lawrence, Kansas; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; Springfield, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Fargo, North Dakota; Toledo, Ohio; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Madison, Wisconsin.

About Midwest Living


Midwest Living is the leading lifestyle media brand that celebrates the good life in the Midwest through the pillars of home, food and travel. The publication distributes six publications annually, reaching 3.7 million readers with over 187,000 followers on Facebook. Midwest Living is a publication under the Meredith Corporation, a publicly held media and marketing services company founded upon serving their customers and committed to building value for their shareholders. Their cornerstone is knowledge of the home, family, food and lifestyle markets. 


The People’s Agenda is hosting three “progressive summer” events

The People's Agenda, a progressive local political organizing group, will be offering three "101" classes this summer for those who are interested in getting more involved in politics, but don't know how it all works or how to jump in and make an impact. Trainings will be held at the Independent Media Center, and no sign up is needed. Here is the description from their Facebook event page:

Time to build up our organizing strength to have a powerful impact this fall. Let’s make this a Progressive Summer!

Join us for all three trainings for maximum readiness, or for just one - we promise we’ll make these trainings political-action-muscle building and power packed! All of the workshops will be beginner-friendly yet full of material for the more politically confident as well.

Government 101 - June 8th, 5-8pm @ the IMC
You can’t win the game if you don’t know the rules. This the workshop to be at to learn about municipal, state and federal government structures; how a bills becomes a law, where you can interact with legislators and legislation to have the most impact on the process; and what the responsibilities are of the different elected positions.

Voter Registration 101 - July 13th, 5-8pm @ the IMC
This is how we win! There are more Democrats and Independents than Republicans, more progressives than conservatives, so why do we keep losing? Because our team doesn’t get out and vote - be a part of the solution and learn how to change that at this workshop. We’ll cover the technical aspects of how to register to vote and strategies to organize a voter registration drive as well as the way to organize a get out the vote campaigns that impact elections!

Precinct Committeeperson 101 - August 10th, 5-8 @ the IMC
What the heck is a precinct committeeperson? It is the most important and invisible position in politics and we’re going to teach you all about it. Precinct Committeepersons are responsible for making sure their party voters in their precinct are informed on candidates/issues and they lead efforts to get folks to the polls. A party that has active and engaged precinct committeepeople can dramatically impact the direction of elections and politics. Come learn about what they do and how easy it is to run or support those progressives that will run for these secretly powerful positions in the next election!

Catalyze, a tech networking event by Research Park, happening tonight

From the press release:

Research Park presents Catalyze

Catalyze aims to connect those interested in the tech field with local companies

CHAMPAIGN:  In this day and age, talent is king when it comes to the technology industry, and Champaign-Urbana is lucky to have a lot of it. In an effort to continue the maturation and growth of the tech workforce in the Champaign-Urbana area, the Research Park presents Catalyze, an event designed to build networks and enable tech talent to connect with employers. The event will take place on Thursday, May 18 from 5-7 p.m. in the EnterpriseWorks Atrium, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign. 

While not a career fair, Catalyze aims to connect professionals in an informal environment. Attendees are encouraged to come to enjoy stimulating conversation and build new relationships with those in the CU professional community, while simultaneously learning more about possible job opportunities and career options in the ever-growing tech field.

Notable employers scheduled to be at Catalyze include  Syngenta, Agrible, Gartner, Huawei and Turn, as well as startups companies that are located in the park, and looking to expand their professional networks at well.

For a detailed description of these companies, please visit the Research Park website. 

Anyone in the area who is looking to expand their network should come out to Catalyze and bring their resumes and business cards. Those interested in coming do not need to RVSP or pre-register to attend. The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation is a co-sponsor of the event. 


U of I study links higher mass transit use rates with lower risk of obesity

I was perusing Reddit yesterday, as one does, when I noticed a familiar study at the top of r/Science, the main science subreddit on the site. The link, which led to a study about mass transit use, came right here from our own back yard: the University of Illinois.

In the study, Dr. Sheldon Jacobson (a professor in Computer Science at the U of I) states that he has linked higher mass transit use with lower obesity rates, saying:

As local communities seek to allocate public funds to projects that will provide the most benefit to their residents, our research suggests that investing in convenient and affordable public transit systems may improve public health by reducing obesity, thereby providing more value than had been previously thought.

So, in celebration, why not take the bus to work today? CUMTD has a robust system that can get you pretty much anywhere in town.

While you're riding, you can read the full news release from the U of I, which can be found here.

​Photo by L. Brian Stauffer


Illini Union announces Summer Quad Cinema Series lineup

Now that summertime Champaign-Urbana is in full swing, campus can become a little vacant at times. To combat that, the Illini Union will be showing a ton of free movies outside on the quad all summer long. Plus, the films are popular ones from a wide variety of genres.

To get the full schedule and watch trailers, click over to the Union's website.

May 18
Get Out

May 25
Power Rangers

June 8
Beauty and the Beast

June 15

June 22
Zookeeper's Wife

July 6
The Fate of the Furious

July 13
The Circle

July 20
Everything, Everything

August 17
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Photo by the University of Illinois


University of Illinois fraternities mandate preventative sexual assault training

Normally, I would be the first person to lambaste Champaign-Urbana's Fraternity/Sorority culture, but today, an instance of good news worth reporting on has come out of the U of I's Interfraternity Council.

In what may (or may not be) a response to a massive investigation by The Daily Illini last week, the University of Illinois' Interfraternity Council is now mandating what they call "bystander prevention" training for all 42 fraternities on campus. Second-year members will now have to take this training in addition to the two sexual-assault-prevention programs that all U of I students have to take already.

In a college town with a greek community as vast and powerful as the U of I's, more education can hardly be a problem - especially when the University seems to have problems reporting sexual assault. It'll take a while to see if any change does indeed come, but this is a step in the right direction for the U of I's greek system, the U of I, and Champaign-Urbana as a whole.


Urbana Park District hosting free Roots Walk next Friday, May 19th

If you've ever wanted to take a walk in the woods and be accompanied by the sounds of live folk and americana music, you're going to want to set aside next Friday night for Urbana Park District's Roots Walk.

The walk, which lasts from 6 - 8 pm at Urbana's Crystal Lake Park, will feature a plethora of local musicians scattered throughout the park at various positions and will be just in time for sunset.

For more information, check out UPD's website here, and read what they had to say below:

Listen to live, local roots, folk and Americana music while strolling past the mature trees of our oldest park. This sunset event brought to you by The Urbana Park District and the C-U Folk and Roots Festival will have a selection of soloists and small combos scattered along the walks of Crystal Lake Park.


Grass Roots Revival (Traditional Bluegrass, Old-Time)

Rainbow Flag (Folk/Soul)

John Coppess (Country/Folk/Cowboy)

Sam Payne & Cody Jensen (Roots/Americana)

John McMahon & Alyssa Gambill (Traditional Americana)

Strings Attached (Bluegrass/Traditional Gospel)

Reverend Robert (Blues)

Parking is available at the Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center; the musicians will be centered around the North Woods Pavilion. In the case of inclement weather, the event moves inside to the Anita Purves Nature Center.


Sakanaya announces graduation weekend specials starting tonight

One of Campustown's best sushi spots, Sakanaya, has just announced some pretty cool specials for graduation weekend, kicking off tonight and run throughout the weekend.

The specials will be as follows:

1 - If you come to Sakanaya with Graduates, you all will get 15% off on 5/10(Wed) Late Night & 5/11(Thur) Late Night.

2 - We will be open until 1:00am (Kitchen closes at 12:30am) from 5/10(Wed) to 5/13(Sat)

3 - You can enjoy Sakanaya all day long on 5/12(Fri) & 5/13(Sat) (NO BREAK TIME)

For the full scoop, check out their Facebook post below:


Japan House hosting Gallery Days this Wednesday through Sunday

Starting in just two short days (and to celebrate the end of the semester), Japan House at the University of Illinois will be hosting their annual Garden Days celebration, which lasts from Wednesday, May 10th until Sunday, May 14th. 

Garden Days allow time for drop-in visits to view collections or experience their famed tea ceremonies. Japan House will be open from 11 am to 4 pm during this time, and everything but the tea ceremony is absolutely free, even the demonstrations.

For more info, check out the Facebook Event here and read its description below:

Join us for our third annual Gallery Days, running Wednesday, May 10, 2017 through Sunday, May 14, 2017, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm each day at Japan House. You'll have a chance to view items from the Japan House collections in a gallery setting. You will see examples of kimonos, tea bowls from the collection of Shozo Sato, and scrolls done by Professor Sato. Check our Eventbrite ticket page at to make a reservation for tea ceremonies. If there's not a tea ceremony going on you'll have a chance to order a bowl of matcha tea 'cafe style.'

In addition, Professor Sato will give a free calligraphy demonstration at 1:00 on Saturday, May 13, and Professor Kimiko Gunji will give a free presentation on the kimono on Sunday, May 14, at 1:00 pm.