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For some reason, Dr. Tom Pliura is posting alleged COVID-19 test results to Facebook

Dr. Tom Pliura has entered the local news cycle lately after he, an independent physician, acquired 8,000 COVID-19 tests to administer to those who wanted to get tested in the community. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and city leadership have asked him to postpone his plan. Naturally, there's a lot to be concerned about with testing taking place in a parking lot at a church, rather than inside a medical facility. Especially during a stay at home order in place designed to stop the spread of the virus further, and ultimately, attempt to flatten the curve.

This led to Dr. Pliura filing a lawsuit against Julie Pryde and CUPHD, as The News-Gazette reports:

The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Pryde — individually and in her capacity as the public health district’s administrator — from stopping Pliura’s plans to offer public COVID-19 testing.

This might not be something we'd normally post about, but this seems pretty dangerous, not to mention remarkably irresponsible for a doctor to post results from tests to an open network for all to see. Sure, the names of the patients have been removed, but this is causing quite a stir as you might expect. I've used the term "alleged" in the title because these could be fake test results he's posting in order to build a case as to why he should be able to adminster tests.

Dr. Pilura is posting these alleged results (he's currently administering tests in Campustown, The News-Gazette reportsinto Spotted in Chambana, for some reason:

IMAGE: Screenshot of a Facebook post from Tom Pliura, featuring images from COVID-19 tests adminstered.

In addition, he's been sharing the same results on his own personal Facebook page, posts which he's made public for all to see:

IMAGE: Screenshot of a Facebook post from Tom Pliura, featuring images from COVID-19 tests adminstered.
Screenshot from Dr. Pilura's Facebook page.

IMAGE: Screenshot of a Facebook post from Tom Pliura, featuring images from COVID-19 tests adminstered.
Screenshot from Dr. Pilura's Facebook page.

Top photo is a screenshot from Facebook.


Ramona Sullivan wins democratic primary race for Circuit Judge

Ramona Sullivan has won the democratic primary race for Circuit Judge in Champaign County after it was too close to call back on March 18th. The closest contender was Ruth Wyman, who conceeded the race to Sullivan just a few days ago. Sullivan will run against Cheralyn Kesler of Savoy in November in the general election.

Top photo from Ramona Sullivan's Facebook page.


The U of I Horticulture Club is hosting an online flower show

This weekend was supposed to be Mom's Weekend at the University of Illinois, and Mom's Weekend typically features a flower show at the stock pavillion. With the world being canceled, they've moved the show online and will be selling perennials that can be picked up on May 7th and 8th. 

They will post the sale link on their Facebook event page tomorrow at 9 a.m. Contact if you have questions. 

Photo from Facebook event page.


c-u pARTners brings local artists and businesses together for creative crisis relief

c-u pARTners is a powerful example of what our community does best: collaborate to find creative solutions. This new hub facilitates partnerships between local artists and local business that produce unique products and packages that mutually benefit those involved. In a time when small businesses and self-employed artists are among the hardest hit, this creative collab is more than making lemonade out of lemons, it is providing emotional and financial support to the folks whose talent and expertise make this community great. 

Whether you want to show your support by shopping, or joining as a business or artist, you can find out more on the website or get updates from Facebook

Stay turned to the arts section where we'll be following the progress of this inspiring initiative. 

Top image: Blue background with yellow silhouette of parts of the downtown Urbana and downtown Champaign skylines, with text about the partnership name and mission overlaid in white text. Image from c-u pARTners Facebook page


Polyvinyl and a few of their artists nominated for five A2IM Libera Awards

Polyvinyl Record Company and a few artists on the label — Jay Som, Julia Jacklin, and American Football — have been nominated in the 2020 A2IM Libera Awards, Billboard reports this morning. The C-U hometown label is nominated as a part of Indie Week, which they elaborated on a bit more in the article:

Indie Week, an international conference for the independent music industry, takes place for four days every summer in New York City, culminating in the Libera Awards, which honor accomplishments in the independent music sector.

Even though the conference is now taking place virtually, it's nice to see this crew and some acts they work with get this recognition. Credit goes to Polyvinyl's Janelle Abad for pointing this out on Twitter. Here are the categories the label and a few of their artists are nominated for (designated in bold):

Label of the Year (Large) (sponsored by ADA)

  • Warp Records
  • Jagjaguwar
  • Domino Recording Co
  • Polyvinyl Record Co.
  • Partisan Records

Best Punk/Emo Album

  • Amyl and The Sniffers - Amyl and The Sniffers (ATO Records)
  • The Menzingers - Hello Exile (Epitaph Records)
  • Empath - Active Listening: Night On Earth (Fat Possum Records / Get Better Records)
  • American Football - American Football (LP3) (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
  • Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason (Epitaph Records)

Breakthrough Artist/Release (sponsored by Ingrooves)

  • Sudan Archives - Athena (Stones Throw Records)
  • Black Pumas (ATO Records)
  • Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
  • Orville Peck (Sub Pop Records)
  • Julia Jacklin (Polyvinyl Record Co. (US))

Best Indie Rock Album

  • Crumb - Jinx (Crumb Records)
  • (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar (Domino)
  • Jay Som - Anak Ko (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
  • Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising (Sub Pop Records)
  • Charly Bliss - Young Enough (Barsuk Records)

Best Folk/Bluegrass Album

  • Bedouine - Bird Songs of a KillJoy (Spacebomb Records)
  • Patty Griffin - Patty Griffin (Thirty Tigers)
  • Julia Jacklin - Crushing (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
  • Jake Xerxes Fussell - Out of Sight (Paradise of Bachelors)
  • Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer)

Photo from Polyvinyl Records' Facebook page.


Support or get support from Arts for Illinois

Arts for Illinois is "a collaboration between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, private philanthropy and you to support the arts community during the COVID-19 crisis."

You can donate to the program, which offers grants to arts organizations and individuals, or apply for support from the program. You can also submit your work to be shared by Arts for Illinois.

Donate and/or apply for funding here.

Top image screenshot from the Arts for Illinois website.

Link / Photo

Cheese survival kits and goat aprons: Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery’s online store is open

Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery has an online store now. You can order your favorite cheeses and support a local farm and creamery. I am eyeing their Stay-At-Home Gourmet Survival Kit ($38.50) which includes two kinds of cheese, heritage-breed pork salami from D&M Farms in Breese, Illinois, house-made jam, and crackers. They have a trio of fresh cevres ($24) as well in addition to their Grazing Dinner Package ($29.95) which includes your choice of hard cheese from Greenville, Illinois, house-made jam, pecans from Carlyle, Illinois' Voss Orchard, salumi from Madison, Wisconsin, and Central Illinois' Bakehouse's par-baked demi-baguette.

They are also selling a super cute goat apron and a tea towel as well.

For your online Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery order, you can pick up your order at the farm during set times or have it shipped to you. 


Top image from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery's facebook page.


Virtual poetry write and share runs April 2nd through 16th

In honor of National Poetry Month, Haiku from Home, a virtual poetry write and share program, invites local poets of all ages and experience to participate via a new Facebook event page.

This is a great opportunity to explore a new literary form and to connect with others in our community.  Keep checking back to the event page to enjoy new entries during this two-week event. 

Haiku from Home is sponsored by Urbana Arts and Culture Program, KOOP Adventure Play,, Museum of the Grand Prairie, CU Poetry, and Urbana Poet Laureate Will Reger.

Top image: Close-up photo of hand writing in journal on desk with event information overlaid and event sponsors along the bottom. Image from Facebook event page


Don’t dump things at ReStore while they are closed, people

Habitat for Humanity's ReStore on University Avenue is closed for the duration of this statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

While it is sad to see, it appears that some community members need reminding that it is not cool to leave things at their doorstep while they are closed. ReStore posted this on their Facebook page, reminding everyone that dumping items for them to deal with is not permitted. They don't have the staff to alleviate this issue, and certainly someone might think they are helping ReStore by donating their items, this is not helpful as the store has to pay to have this stuff removed now.

Here's their post, and we are here to remind you of the value of a place like Habitat for Humanity, so please respect their business:

Top photo from Habitat for Humanity ReStore's Facebook page.


These free art therapy exercises might help us cope with COVID-19-related emotions

Kudos to the Champaign Park District for sharing a great resource that harnesses the healing power of art to get us through these challenging times. Check out the 100 free art therapy exercises and draw/color/collage your way into some much needed release and relief from all the emotions triggered by isolation, instabliity, and illness. 

Top image: Background image of various colors of paint splotches with the words "100 art therapy exercises" centered over it. Image from Intuitive Creativity website.


Read this essay by a Champaigner currently living in Iran

In this new COVID-19 pandemic world, I'm finding it hard to get away from screens and news feeds. There's an onslaught of terrible news from everywhere. Globally we are all doing much of the same, mostly, which is (hopefully) staying at home.

But what happens when you aren't home, or your home is split between two very different places? A woman and her family from Champaign are currently stuck in Iran. She and her family had tickets to return to the United States, but they were cancelled.

She recently wrote an essay and published it on Medium. Give it a read to a sense of what it's like to live in Iran right now, where — spoliers — people are not hoarding toilet paper.

As things continue to get worse here, I'm going to carry this with me:

The coronavirus doesn’t distinguish between rich or poor, race or creed, or geography. We all rely on each other in this modern system we have built. By taking care of one another, we may be able to better weather this storm. And as I see it, working together is our best bet for survival and resilience.

Top image screenshot from Google Maps.


Here are the ways you can help C-U’s immigrant community during this crisis

The massive stimulus package passed this weekend, which will hopefully bring some relief to people across the county. However, immigrants do not stand to benefit from all of the relief efforts; those without legal status will not recieve any stimulus checks.

How can you help immigrant communities here in C-U? The New American Welcome Center compiled a resource guide specific to the needs of immigrants in Champaign County. According to the NAWC, "it's meant both to guide organizations who work with immigrants along with immigrant allies and advocates who are looking for ways to stay engaged."

You can view the document here.

If you're an immigrant in need of relief, you can apply to the NAWC Immigrant Relief Fund here.

Follow the New American Welcome Center on Facebook for updates.

Top image from NAWC on Facebook.