University of Illinois

University of Illinois

Japan House Holiday Sale on Thursday to feature gift ideas

URBANA – The Japan House Holiday Sale will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Dec. 11 and 18.

Tours of the cultural and teaching facility will be available and gifts and artwork will be offered for purchase, including a commemorative Japan House 10th anniversary wool blanket woven by Pendleton Mills and designed by artist Laurie Jacobi, original artwork, books and calendars by Japanese artist Zenkyu Niwa, Japan House tea, and Japan House 10th anniversary commemorative book and note cards.

Holiday comedy closes Charleston Alley Theatre's 18th season

CHARLESTON – The Charleston Alley Theatre will close its 18th season with Christopher Durang's holiday comedy "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge." The play opens Friday.

"Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge" is a playful, cracked look at the perennial Dickens Christmas classic about Ebenezer Scrooge and his discovering the true meaning of Christmas through the visitation of Three Ghosts.

Area police respond to dozens of accidents

Slick roads, streets, highways and interstates kept state and city police, sheriff's deputies and tow-truck crews busy all day Monday and into the night, responding to accidents and pulling vehicles out of ditches throughout East Central Illinois, according to area law enforcement officials.

From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Illinois State Police in Pesotum handled more than 45 accidents on the three local interstates, but the majority were on Interstates 57 and 74, according to Master Sgt. Mike Garza.

UI flash index: No growth, decline in economy in November

URBANA – The University of Illinois flash index – a barometer of the Illinois economy – has fallen to 100, the dividing point between economic growth and decline.

UI economist J. Fred Giertz, who compiles the index, said there's no signal the downward spiral will end soon.

'Map Light' fuses theater, dance into 'performance novel'

URBANA – The University of Illinois Department of Theatre and Dance will present three performances of the original, jazz-influenced process piece "Map Light" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the Studio Theatre at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The public performances are the culmination of semester-long work with students led by guest artist Laurie Carlos, an actress in the original production of "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf."

Web site offers comprehensive look at apartments for rent

CHAMPAIGN – Kevin Chang has developed a new way to find apartments on the Web, using University of Illinois research into how to conduct "deeper" Web searches.

The result is Cazoodle, a Web site that provides comprehensive listings of apartments in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas – including Champaign-Urbana.

Friendly fun precedes the IHSA football championships

CHAMPAIGN – As the music of heavily teased big-hair rock bands of the 1980s provided pre-game, adrenaline-pumping entertainment (think Bon Jovi's "You give love a bad name"), Robert Simmons prodded hot dogs and flipped pork burgers.

By 10 a.m., the shrimp was blackened and the "Iron Horse Cooking Club" from Casey was ready to start dishing out food for the throngs of football fans expected to start arriving throughout Friday morning.

MTD board approves 7.5 percent increase in tax levy

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit district unanimously approved a 7.5 percent increase in its tax levy Wednesday.

The increase would cost up to $12 more for the owner of a $150,000 house, said MTD Managing Director Bill Volk during discussions about the increase, as long as the value of the house doesn't go up.

Former UI coach accused of setting up video camera in locker

URBANA – The Champaign County state's attorney has filed a felony charge against a former University of Illinois gymnastics coach for videotaping a gymnast in a locker room on campus without the man's knowledge.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz filed a charge of unauthorized videotaping against Jon Valdez, 40, of the 1900 block of Newport Drive, Urbana, on Tuesday. A summons was issued ordering Valdez to go to court Dec. 12 to be arraigned on a charge of unauthorized videotaping.

Illini football fans in prime seats enjoy suite eats at stadium

CHAMPAIGN – "Grapes, someone wants grapes."

Don Block's walkie-talkie is squawking at him. It's about 90 minutes before kickoff at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium on the last home game of the season. With more than 2,000 people to feed, the director of dining services for the UI Housing Division is on the move. From the stadium's new second-floor kitchen, he'll make several trips up to the west-side luxury seating areas to assure both the food and the service meet fans' expectations.

"Do we even have grapes today?" asks a food employee, who snatches a moldy blackberry off a fresh fruit tray that's being served as part of a pregame breakfast.

What fans eat at the 85-year-old stadium depends on where they sit. Most buy their sandwiches, popcorn and soft drinks from concession stands positioned through the stadium.

But fans who have spent thousands of dollars to sit in the stadium's new luxury areas have much different food and drink choices.