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Milo Eifler on returning this fall: Schools “are showing blatant disregard for student athletes”

University of Illinois linebacker Milo Eifler has stepped out to say something about returning to the playing field (and campus) this fall amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Eifler took to Twitter to state his belief that "schools around the country are showing blatant disregard for student athletes", as returning to the playing field will cause more infections and death.  Just last week, we wrote about how returning to on-campus instruction in the fall is a mistake.

See the tweets below, and head over to the thread to see responses from other players as well:

UPDATE: It apperas Elfie took down the second tweet, but here's a screenshot:

Top photo from Fighting Illini Football's website.

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I’m hungry for a cheesecake jar from Sugga Shaii Sweets

Have you heard of a cheesecake cup? I was today years old when I heard of a cheesecake cup. Now, I want one from Sugga Shaii Sweets. Take a look at her site and look at all the delicious options: brownies, cupcakes, cookies, chocolate covered Oreos, Sugga cake jars, and more.

Sugga Shaii Sweets is at the Champaign Farmers' Market on Tuesdays.

Photo from Sugga Shaii Sweets Facebook page.

Here's a little bit more about Sugga Shaii Sweets and the pastry chef behind the sweet treats:

My name is Shaii Smith, and I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee. In 2018, I officially start Sugga Shaii Sweets offering my Southern-style sweets and seasonal delights that are simply scrumptious. At Sugga Shaii Sweets, we sell milk chocolate turtles, white chocolate turtles, and a variety of cupcake jars. We are able to bake goods for specific dietary restrictions including gluten free and sugar free alternatives.

 

Top image from Sugga Shaii Sweets website.

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17th Street BBQ sauces are now at Cheese & Crackers

Cheese & Crackers is now offering 17th Street BBQ sauces. What's 17th Street BBQ? It's a nationally acclaimed barbecue restaurant in Murphysboro, Illinois owned by champion pitmaster Mike Mills.

In the world of barbecue, champion pitmaster Mike Mills is affectionately known as “The Legend.” He presides over the pits at his two nationally acclaimed 17th Street Barbecue barbecue restaurants in Southern Illinois.

In the early 1990s, he was co-captain of the Apple City Barbecue team, one of the most celebrated teams ever on the circuit. He is a four-time World Champion and three-time Grand World Champion at Memphis in May, otherwise known as the Super Bowl of Swine. He is also the 1992 Grand Champion of the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest and he won the Jack Daniel’s Sauce Contest that year as well.

Mike is the barbecue guru at and a partner in Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City. He was a founding partner in Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas. His book, Peace, Love, and Barbecue was nominated for a 2006 James Beard Foundation award and received the 2006 National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence. In October 2008 he was honored with the Pioneer of Barbecue award at the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest. Mike was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2010.

Cheese & Crackers
1715 W Kirby Ave
Champaign
T - Su 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
M 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Top image from Cheese & Cracker's Fish List email.

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Common Ground’s Board of Directors issue statement of solidarity

From the email blast:
 
FROM THE BOARD
 
The Board of Directors of Common Ground Food Co-op stands in solidarity with those in our community and across the US and the world who are protesting the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, and calling for an end to police violence against Black people. We stand with them in opposing structural racism and white supremacy throughout our society, and this means taking a hard look at ourselves and the co-op we care so much about.
 
The cooperative movement is often said to have begun in 1844 with the Rochdale Pioneers, a group of English mill workers who came together to provide better-quality food for themselves and their families at prices they could afford. Black-owned cooperatives, starting with mutual aid societies in the 19th century which evolved into food co-ops, credit unions, and agricultural co-ops in the 20th, have a long history in this country. Black leaders and activists like W.E.B. DuBois, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Ella Baker consistently advocated for co-operation to help Black Americans capture the fruits of their labor and build wealth in the teeth of vicious economic exploitation throughout the United States. We know of two attempts to establish Black-owned grocery co-ops on North First Street, one in the early 20th century and one in the 1960s, as Champaign's Black citizens sought tools to fight back against the segregation in the North End that inflicts economic, political and physical damage on them to this very day. Unfortunately, we have only bits and pieces of what was once here - a brief article in the Urbana Courier, a listing in a directory. Common Ground is the only consumer co-operative in Champaign County, but we were certainly not the first, and we need to learn more about our history.
 
Common Ground Food Co-op was established in 1974 out of a desire for a better, more equitable, and healthier food system. Seeking an alternative to buying from multinational food corporations, our founders chose to organize Common Ground as a cooperative, where people unite together to meet their common needs through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise. However, our commitment to local food production and ethical business practices does not exempt us from the reality of segregation in this society. It is hard for a business to pursue multiple Ends at once, but we have to learn how to actively break down the barriers of race and class.
 
Why is our co-op, like many food co-ops across the country, so white? On our doors we say “Everyone welcome,” but are we really doing all we can--as owners, as board directors, as employers--to ensure that that’s the case? How can we make sure everyone in our community has access to healthy, sustainably produced food? We pride ourselves on being a community grocery store, but too many of our Black neighbors don’t think of this as their store.
 
Our board is committing itself to making our co-op more racially inclusive. We invite you to join with us in doing the following:
 
Learning about anti-racism: http://antiracismforbeginners.com/
 
Supporting Black businesses in our community: http://buyblackchambana.com/business-directory/
 
Taking action and donating: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Sincerely,

Common Ground Board of Directors
board@commonground.coop

Top image by Megan Flowers.

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Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus tweets about new HUM album

Stephen Malkmus, mastermind of the legendary indie rock outfit Pavement, had a listen to the new HUM record Inlet, which was surprise-released yesterday. He keeps his thoughts short and sweet, and its awesome to see the record making its rounds in the music world:

Top image from Twitter

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U of I announces fall semester plans for “modified on-campus instruction”

From the U of I Massmail:

Modified on-campus instruction for Fall 2020 semester
June 18, 2020 3:14 PM

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

As you know, our university leadership has been consulting with faculty, staff, students, the Academic Senate, community members and with local and state health officials to evaluate our options for delivery of Fall 2020 instruction.

All faculty, staff and students will be receiving more detailed information this week about what we know right now. We have posted a new list of some frequently asked questions with answers on the COVID-19 website.

As a public land-grant university, it is our obligation to provide accessible and equitable research, creative expression and educational experiences for people from across the state and around the globe. We come together here to challenge and debate the known, confront and conquer the unknown, advance the frontier of knowledge and improve the human condition. Our success hinges upon the vibrant learning communities that constitute the bedrock of residential universities like ours. All of us, together, share in all the good that our university makes possible. Its classrooms, libraries, rare book and manuscript collections, laboratories, studios, research institutes, performing arts spaces, gathering spaces and museums enable and inspire the face-to-face engagement and debate. This fosters the free and daring inquiry and the rich empathy and candor our world needs to deal with its current challenges and to change and to progress beyond them. The events of the past months make the importance for such conversations, engagement and experiences even more urgent.

The university is committed to doing all we can to maximize the safety of all members of our community. A commitment to the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty will be foundational to any decisions we make and all actions that we take. That is a commitment that also extends to the broader Urbana-Champaign community that supports us.

The university has been working diligently on ways to continue to fulfill our missions as we look to the Fall 2020 semester. In conjunction with public health officials, we have worked with our own experts, faculty and staff to develop plans for fall that prioritize health and safety and allow us to resume some level of in-person instruction and educational activity. Our working groups continue to make considerable progress on all fronts. Earlier this month, the COVID-19 Academics Affairs Team shared their report with the most likely scenarios and recommendations for Fall 2020 instruction. The feedback to the report was robust, diverse and candid. It provided the team with additional things to consider and concerns to address.

Based upon these ongoing efforts, and with considerable thought and broad consultation, we have decided that we will resume on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 semester in a manner modified to address the ongoing pandemic concerns. This semester will consist of a blend of in-person and remote instruction. Along with a successful transition of our region of Illinois into Phase IV of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, resuming on-campus instruction is predicated upon our ability to provide adequate COVID-19 testing for our entire community of faculty, staff and students, coupled with a comprehensive plan that looks after the vulnerable and aims at mitigating and containing any outbreaks. The COVID-19 SHIELD Team is advancing this plan, and they will be providing specific information about the plan in the weeks ahead.

In order for this return to in-person instruction to succeed, everyone in our university community will be required to follow guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD). This includes practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings (for those who are able), checking symptoms and adequate hygiene such as frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizer.

We cannot overstate that our own personal behavior will determine in a large part our access to all the good that our campus offers. It is up to each of us to take care of one another. In the weeks ahead, as we prepare to resume on-campus operations in the fall, we count on the unfaltering vigilance of everyone in our community. We still have a lot of work to do to get ready.

Thank you for your patience and thank you in advance for doing your part to keep everyone in our university community safe. We will continue to keep you informed about progression of our plans to reopen our campus in a safe manner.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Jones
Chancellor

Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

From the U of I System Massmail:

 
Fall Semester Plans
June 18, 2020 2:57 PM
 
Dear students, faculty and staff:
 
We are very pleased to announce that on-campus educational activities will resume this fall at the University of Illinois System’s three universities, with a hybrid mixture of in-person and online classes. Of course, our collective decision assumes that Illinois stays on track to meet Phase 4 requirements established by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan that allow reopening of classrooms.
 
Plans to restore in-person instruction were developed through weeks of exhaustive review that brought together literally hundreds of key stakeholders and considered every available option, from a full return to traditional instruction to remaining fully online.
 
Throughout, this work was guided by two, intertwined core principles – promoting the safety of our campus communities while maintaining the academic excellence that is synonymous with our best-in-class universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. In the process, faculty, staff, administrative leaders and students drew upon the insights of our own healthcare and education experts, as well as best practices of peer institutions and guidance from state and local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
 
The result is a thoughtful, science-based approach that will bring our universities back to life, with a campus experience that will look somewhat different. But the life-changing benefits will be the same – academic programs that lift students to the careers of their dreams, research that drives discovery and progress, and a healthcare enterprise that provides both patient care and innovation.
 
A system-wide coordination committee assisted groups at each of the three universities that have worked over the past few weeks to develop detailed plans for reopening. Each university will be providing details of their unique, campus-based plans within the next few weeks, including starting dates and calendars for their fall semesters. But here is a summary of elements that will be common to all:
 
Instruction 
  • Classes will be a mixture of in-person and remote instruction to provide the physical distancing that inhibits spread of the virus.
  • In-person courses and classroom schedules will be adjusted appropriately to ensure physical distancing and safer traffic flow.
  • Accommodations will be made where possible for students and faculty in vulnerable and at-risk groups, and for students who cannot come to campus due to travel restrictions or other considerations.
  • Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Reusable, washable masks will be provided to all students and required in all classrooms, and hand sanitizer will be widely available in all buildings.
  • Training for faculty and instructors is being provided over the summer to sustain high-quality online and distance instruction with state-of-the-art technologies and virtual modalities.
University housing/dining 
  • Residence hall occupancy will be limited to two students per room.
  • Outside visitors will not be allowed in residence halls.
  • Quarantine areas will be created to accommodate students who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms.
  • Dining halls will largely provide packaged meals for carryout, and in-person dining will be limited.
  • Common areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly, and hand sanitizer will be available.
  • Use of these common areas will be limited, and physical distancing will be observed.

Campus life

  • The size of gatherings will be based on standards under the state reopening guidelines in force this fall and beyond.
  • Use of auxiliary facilities such as recreational centers will be limited to preserve safety.
  • Outside visitors to campus will be asked to follow physical distancing and wear masks in public places.
Research 
  • Research activities will continue a ramp-up that began over the summer.
  • As in classrooms, masks will be required and other safety measures will be followed.
  • Research will continue to support treatments, vaccines and other measures related to COVID-19.
Employees 
  • Most faculty and staff will continue a phased-in return to work that began in June and will be completed by the start of the fall semester, though some will continue to work from home to reduce campus density.
  • Flexible work-from-home guidelines will be developed for the benefit of vulnerable employees and those with family-related considerations. Work areas will be cleaned regularly, and hand sanitizer will be provided.
  • Masks will be required in publicly shared spaces and reusable masks will be provided to all employees.
  • We will continue engagement with our labor unions to discuss the impact of these plans.
Testing and notification
 
  • Our scientists are piloting cutting-edge testing procedures for the COVID-19 virus that are accurate, cost-effective and scalable to the whole university community and provide same-day results.
  • We are partnering closely with local public health authorities to notify individuals at risk for infection and mitigate spread, through a combination of manual and rapid app-based approaches.
  • All app-based software will protect individual privacy so that positive test results are shared only with the user, and no location data will be required, collected or shared with third parties.
  • Local public health departments will be provided test results based on required local, state and federal regulations.

General safety

  • Training will be required for all students and employees to ensure compliance with physical distancing and other COVID-related safety measures.
  • Hand sanitizer or disposable wipes will be available at building entrances, elevator lobbies and in common and high-traffic areas.
  • High-touch surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons will be disinfected multiple times daily.
  • Flu shots will be strongly encouraged for all students, faculty and staff to lessen the possibility of dual outbreaks when traditional flu season begins.
The pandemic is still evolving, so our plans will be flexible and nimble. We will monitor campus safety and the latest guidance on the virus, and will adjust plans as needed to protect the well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the communities we call home.
 
Our plans for fall could not have been developed without you, and we are deeply grateful to everyone who shared their time and talents to guide us. And we know that you will now help lead the way again, modeling the safety protocols that are essential to make our plans a success.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a test unlike any in our 150-year history. But thanks to your commitment and creativity, we have done more than just answer challenges to our operations. You are supporting the leading-edge medical treatments and scholarship that are helping the state manage the crisis and move beyond it. You are helping show the life-changing power of our universities – in real-time – that will write new chapters in our long legacy of excellence.
 
Be safe, enjoy your summer and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.
 
Sincerely, Tim Killeen, President
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Robert J. Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michael D. Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Susan J. Koch, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield
Karen M. Whitney, Interim Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield

Top image by Anna Longworth.

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Espresso Royale’s C-U locations will remain open despite regional closings

Despite the announcement made on Espresso Royale's main website today stating the coffee shop's locations will be closing, the locations for Espresso in Champaign-Urbana will remain open and transition to new ownership.

The Espresso locations outside of Champaign-Urbana will indeed close, but here is a statement from General Manager Doug McCarver about the news:

Don’t believe the hype! Espresso Royale lives on! COVID-19 has forced the Michigan company that briefly owned Espresso Royale, LLC, to exit the coffee business. The Master Roaster, Ken, who is a UI alum, and got his start as a barista at the Espresso Royale at 1117 W. Oregon street, and a small group of people that have been slinging coffee in CU for Espresso Royale since it was called ERC, (Espresso Royale Caffe, with two F’s!!!) have opened a new roasting company and re-opened the Champaign-Urbana cafes that we all have known and loved for years. The new companies are called M-36 Coffee Roasters, and Espresso Royale CU (or you can call it ERC-U for short).

We will still be roasting, blending, bagging, and serving the Espresso Royale Coffees, drinks, pastries and service that you have grown to love. We currently have our Drive Thru on Neil Street with walk up ordering and new expanded patio seating, and our Location at the Village at the Crossing with online ordering ahead and patio seating, both open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The Urbana Flagship store should be opening within the next few weeks. We are so happy to be able to continue the Espresso Royale tradition in CU!

Top image from Espresso Royale Facebook page.

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Buy Black Chambana shared a list of carryout options for local black-owned businesses

Buy Black Chambana has shared a link to black-owned businesses with dining options.

Buy Black Chambana is a community organization that empowers and creates space for all people to celebrate and honor black culture, support black-owned businesses, and uplift the community. Check out the delicious options available for takeout and delivery.

On Buy Black Chambana's website, it says: 

When you support a black business, you help close the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, foster job creation, celebrate black culture, and hold other companies accountable.

Follow the organization on Facebook for more updates.

 

Top image from Buy Black Chambana's website. 

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

Tim

Photo by Anna Longworth.

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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.