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Common Ground Food Co-op now stocking Smoking Goose meats; special sandwich

For those of you who enjoy a good and varied meat now and then, Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana is now stocking various meats from Smoking Goose Meatery in Indianapolis.

Right now, they're offering a special Pork Andouille sausage, because Mardi Gras is right around the corner. In March, they'll be offering Corned Beef, and a special Reuben sandwich which utilizes the aforementioned Corned Beef. Both sandwiches are served on Great Harvest bread.

For a description of the upcoming specials, here's what CGFC had to say:

The Andouille: smoked pork sausage: allspice, chili, mace, mustard.

Corned beef: Whole, pasture-raised beef briskets are spice brined under black peppercorns, fresh bay leaves, coriander, juniper berries, mustard seeds, cinnamon, garlic, and four leaf clovers.


Check out a bunch of tiny Angus Youngs in the new Single Player video

Local pop punk act Single Player released a new video via Punknews today that comes with a healthy breakfast of rock and roll. The video for the single “AC/DC Changed My Life” features Single Player frontman Sean Neumann having quite the time trying to eat his morning cereal as he is constantly interrupted by a handful of mischievous little Angus Youngs. Neumann played all the miniature incarnations of the AC/DC frontman himself, showcasing his ability to rock out in any form/size. The video fits well with the track’s upbeat tempo and lighthearted humor, and is in theme with Single Player’s breezy approach to punk music.

“AC/DC Changed My Life” is being released ahead of Single Player’s new EP, At The Buzzer, due out this Friday on Rat King Records. Stream the video below, and preorder the album here.


Baxter’s offers half-price apps all day Wednesday

Who said that happy hour has to be only one hour? Baxter's American Grille offers half-priced appetizers all day every Wednesday (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.):

Appetizers on the menu range in regular price from $9 to $12. Tuna tartare for $5.50? That might usually be a red flag, but not on Wednesday! It also makes paying full price for drinks not so bad.
Top photo by Brittany Busboom. 

Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen issues statement over Executive Order on immigration

Champaign's Mayor, Deborah Frank Feinen, issued a statement at last night's City Council meeting, to allow citizens to know that she, and the entire city, remain committed to fostering a welcome community. Read the full statement below:

Champaign Remains Committed to Fostering a Welcoming Community for All

During the February 21, 2017, City Council meeting, Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen made the following comments:

“Over the last several weeks, a number of residents have reached out to my fellow City Council Members and me with concerns about the President’s Executive Orders pertaining to refugee immigration and federal immigration enforcement.  While information about how these Orders might impact our local community remain uncertain, we recognize that during times like this, it is important for our residents to hear from their local officials.

“I want to reassure our residents that the City of Champaign remains committed to fostering a friendly and welcoming community for all who choose to live here.  We are proud of our strong, diverse, and inclusive community – one that works together to improve the quality of life and promote equal opportunities for all.  We encourage our residents to continue to foster the type of community we all want to live in; a community free of fear and intimidation.  We applaud those who embrace our community’s diversity and show unconditional respect for one another.  Now more than ever is the time for our residents to extend a neighborly hand and share reassuring words of encouragement to those facing adversity.

“The City’s Community Relations Office will partner with the C-U Immigration Forum and state human rights organizations to collaboratively support our local immigrant community.  The City will participate in public forums and outreach events to educate our residents about immigrant rights and what to do if you’ve been discriminated against.

“The City of Champaign remains committed to ensuring an individual’s human rights are upheld and protected.  The City has a strong Human Rights Ordinance which ensures our residents are treated in a fair and equitable manner, regardless of religion or national origin.  Anyone who feels they’ve been discriminated against is encouraged to contact the City’s Community Relations Office at 217-403-8830.  We want everyone who lives, works, and plays in Champaign to be successful - to know they are welcome here - and to feel at home.”


Blue Waters Supercomputer hosting Open House March 11th

Did you know that the world's largest supercomputer on a university campus is right here at the University of Illinois? It may look like row upon row of refrigerators but the Blue Waters supercomputer puts out some of the world's hottest science: gravitational waves; breakthroughs that may lead to cures for cancer, HIV, Ebola; improvements in severe thunderstorm and tornado forecasting; earthquake forecasting and structural resiliency; solar storms; black holes; even political redistricting.

Come see this marvel of Champaign-Urbana up close and personal during an open house on Saturday, March 11th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the National Petascale Computing Facility, 1725 S. Oak St., Champaign (one block west of State Farm Center at the corner of Oak & St. Mary’s Road). Park free across Oak St. in Lot E-14 (from there you can catch the free shuttle buses to Engineering Open House).


Illini basketball preview: Northwestern

Illinois vs. Northwestern
7 pm
Big Ten Network

Illinois is on a winning streak! A road game winning streak, that is. After beating Northwestern in Evanston and then picking up a win in Iowa City on Saturday, the Illini leapfrogged Ohio State and pulled even with Indiana at 12th in the Big Ten -- just as everyone expected back in November.

Adding to the weirdness of this season, the Illini game notes for this evening's game highlights the contributions of freshmen and sophomores, specifically noting "UI underclassmen accounting for an average of 113.3 minutes played over the last four games." On a team with two sixth-year seniors and three regular old seniors...alright then. 

As for the Wildcats, well it was pretty shocking when Illinois beat them on Feb. 7. Northwestern is looking more and more like a lock for its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and has bona fide studs on its roster, which makes the Illinois loss a bad loss for the Cats. How does that affect this evening's game? It means Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law go supernova for revenge, or Illinois finds a way to gut out another one. Honestly, I'd lean toward the former, especially with Scottie Lindsey back in the lineup for NU. But, I thought Illinois had no chance two weeks ago, so here we are. 

My prediction: Josh Whitman continues to try and secure alumni support for a new coach while schmoozing in the VIP area.


40 North’s pUNkTITLED fundraiser taking place February 24th

From the press release:

40 North to Host Punk-themed Fundraiser
40 North’s UNTITLED is back to benefit the arts

Champaign County – 40 North | 88 West, the Champaign County Arts Council is thrilled to announce UNTITLED, a one-of-a-kind, premier late-night fundraiser on February 24th at the Orpheum Theatre. Celebrating the arts of Champaign County and 40 North’s mission of cultivating creativity, this engaging and interactive evening will bring together art lovers, artists, supporters, and the general public for a night of artful entertainment. As the sole 40 North fundraising event of the year, the proceeds from the night will benefit 40 North and its programs including the Boneyard Arts Festival, ACE Awards, the Eric Show, Friday Night Live, Sky Gallery, MTD ART, and more.

Guests of this late-night punk-themed event can expect special performances from guest DJs including Jason Dunavan, Justin Scofield, Surfabilly Freakout, Nico Huade, Greg Jaeger, and Olivia Winston! They will indulge in punk rock snacks including mohawk skewers and a nacho bar, complimentary cocktail bar, and specialty coffee drinks, all from Michaels’ Catering. An interactive, custom screen-printed t-shirt sale from Weiskamp Screen Printing will be on hand for guests to select from unique designs to support art and creativity in Champaign County. Additional fundraising opportunities include a mobile escape room by CU Adventures in Time and Space, an original art sale featuring local artists, interactive mural, and a Whiskey-Wine Wall raffle! You can also bid on amazing silent auction items including Ebertfest passes, Disney World passes, Chicago overnight package, Ellnora tickets, local craft beer package, Pygmalion passes, Virginia Theatre movie passes, and much much more!

“Now more than ever the arts are critical to the health and quality of life in this community,” states Kelly White, Executive Director of 40 North. “The arts spark pride, create vibrancy, and showcase this area’s unique and exceptional personality. We created this event to be engaging, interactive, and accessible so the community as a whole can embrace and celebrate the importance of fostering creativity in Champaign County. It’s an ideal and impactful way for everyone to show their support while celebrating the art that lives here.”

Sponsors of 40 North UNTITLED include Michaels’ Catering, Mike & Connie Hosier, Brent Droege, Reifsteck Reid Architects, Busey, JSM Commercial, Matt Difanis Team, and the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum.

Anyone looking to attend the event can purchase tickets by visiting or by contacting 40 North at 217-351-9841.Tickets in advance are $45 per person, $80 per couple, or can be purchased day-of at the door for $50 per person.


About 40 North | 88 West
With the mission of cultivating creativity in Champaign County, 40 North | 88 West is dedicated to fueling the growth and well-being of our creative community by nurturing its arts, culture, and education. Through information, advocacy and collaboration, 40 North empowers artists, arts organizations, businesses and the community at large. For more information on 40 North,


Cities of Champaign and Urbana hosting MCORE pre-construction open house on Wednesday

Earlier this month, we reported on a $44 million road-improvement project (MCORE) for Campustown was announced by the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, C-U Mass Transit District and the University of Illinois.

This week, you will be able to ask specific questions on the project at an open house meeting in Campustown.

The open house will take place from 3-7 p.m. this Wednesday, and will be hosted at the project's field office at 24 E. Green St., Champaign, Unit 19. For more information, check out the press release below:

(Projects 1, 2, and 3)

Champaign – A pre-construction open house for Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) projects 1, 2, and 3 will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the project field office located at 24 East Green Street, Unit 19 in Champaign. Construction will begin in March 2017, weather permitting.

The open house will feature construction plans and exhibits illustrating the improvements for the first phase of MCORE. Project representatives from Duce Construction and the MCORE partner agencies will be on-hand to discuss the current construction plans for the project and answer any questions. 

This phase of the MCORE project will improve access for all modes of transportation along Green Street between Wright Street and Lincoln Avenue (Project 1) in Urbana; Green Street between Neil Street and Fourth Street (Project 2), White Street between Second Street and Wright Street, and Wright Street between White Street and Springfield Avenue (Project 3) in Champaign. 

The MCORE Project is a transformative $44 Million project to improve mobility in the core of the community.  Project partners include the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The scale of this infrastructure improvement project will have significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic impacts, including detours and street and sidewalk closures during construction. Access to businesses and buildings will be maintained throughout the project. 

Additional information on the MCORE Project can be found at


Gun Play returns to the Station Theatre tomorrow

This season, the Station Theatre has been hosting a series of dramatic play readings on certain Monday evenings, all centered around the timely and relevant topic of guns in America. Seasoned director and Celebration Company board member Latrelle Bright is responsible for the concept and production of this series, which highlights different aspects and perspectives surrounding the issue. 

Tomorrow, The Gun Play Series presents two more short plays, staged under the direction of Mathew Green, Celebration Company member and Smile Politely alum. 

It's Only Fair by David Dannenfelser

Featuring: Evan Seggebruch, David Butler, Prince F. Robertson and Cara Maurizi

Map of Chicago by Sally Parsons

Featuring: Prince F. Robertson and Cara Maurizi


$7 at 7 p.m. -- The Station Theatre, 223 N. Broadway Ave, Urbana, IL. Tickets available at the door, cash only. 


Illini basketball preview: Iowa

Illinois at Iowa
1 p.m.
Big Ten Network

Illinois has been off all week, I'm sure you noticed. Anyway, here's some good news:

Honestly, if you're not laughing at John Groce's spin these days, what are you laughing at? There's not much left to say about the Illini this year, other than speculate on the team's future. This isn't that kind of article, so here's some info on Iowa.

First, Illinois has beaten Iowa this year. You might not remember the 76-64 win on January 25, because winning seems like something that doesn't happen anymore, but it's a fact. In that game Iowa's stud, Peter Jok, was playing hurt. It showed, as he only had 10 rather anonymous points and 2 rebounds. He sat out the next two games for the Hawkeyes and has come back to be almost his old self, with 12, 28, and 13 points in their last three games. 

Beyond Jok the Hawkeyes are a ragtag bunch, but they've managed a topsy-turvy Big Ten season much better than the Illini. At 6-7 in conference, Iowa is only a win from being in the top half of the standings, though their 14-12 record (same as Illinois) is more indicative of where they'll be playing in the postseason (the NIT with a bunch of other Big Ten teams). Fran McCaffrey has extracted value from his bench this season, getting big wins over Iowa State and Purdue. I'd expect something similar when Illinois comes to town.

My prediction suggestion: Go for a hike and enjoy the nice weather rather than watch this game.