Chicagoscapes, Larry Kanfer

Larry Kanfer’s new book “Chicagoscapes” will be the feature of a show at his gallery starting next week.

Larry Kanfer is one of Champaign Urbana’s great artists.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 and promptly opened his gallery which for many years was in Round Barn Center. The Larry Kanfer Gallery is now at  2503 S. Neil St.  in Champaign.

Larry’s photography comes from around the world, but in his six books, there are many that were shot in the Champaign Urbana area.

Now Kanfer has a new book, “Chicagoscapes” and it is the feature of an upcoming show at his gallery. According to 40 North, this new collection of photos carries the grit, sophistication, and friendliness of the Windy City.

The show runs September 17-27 with a launch and book signing at 5p on the 18th.

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Top Places to Walk, Jog, or Run in Champaign Urbana

Running spot in Champaign Urbana
Colbert Park in Savoy has a great hill for training as well as gravel trails for conditioning for trail running–and there is a water source and restroom!

Chambanamoms recently published a very good list of walking trails around Champaign Urbana–great resource.

When it comes to running spots in CU, there are several and they vary a great deal.

Here is an overview of seven top running and jogging places in the Champaign Urbana area:

-Lake of the Woods near Mahomet- good asphalt trail, 6 miles, shaded for most, nice scenery.

-Meadowbrook Park, Urbana- more of a walking spot and it is cement, but nice prairie area. Near the U of I.

Colbert Park, Savoy– Great hill and gravel paths all around–and drinking water and bathrooms. A bit windswept and near the University of Illinois

-Centennial Track- open almost all the time just west of Centennial High Schoool

Illinois Marathon Route and Stone Creek Drive Trail- decent street route through the Champaign Urbana area. Part of the route goes along Stone Creek Drive which has a great bike run trail.

-U of I Cross Country Trail- Near the Japanese Garden—nice grass trail with a hill

-Kickapoo State Parkand Middle Fork near Oakwood- Good trails both at the park and at the natural area to the north


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Carle Park Urbana

There are many fine parks dotted across the Champaign Urbana area. They offer great walking spots (Meadowbrook Urbana), swimming (Centennial Champaign), events (Westside Champaign with its Taste of Champaign Urbana this weekend) and many more.

But one of the grandest, best shaded, most tranquil, and oldest of them all is Carle Park in Urbana.

Carle Park features a tree walk guiding you to some of the areas grandest trees, sculpture- even a Laredo Taft, and lots of shade.

Here are some pics:

Lincoln statue at Carle Park
This Laredo Taft sculpture of Lincoln is a Champaign Urbana treasure.
Laredo Taft in Urbana.
Laredo Taft was one of the CU area artists years ago.
Urbana Park District.
The tranquility of Carle Park Urbana is unmatched.
M. M. Treewalk in Carle Park
The tree walk in Carle Park.
Trees in Carel Park Urbana
Sidewalks are few under the trees at Carle Park.
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Rabbits Eating Your Champaign Garden?

U of i extension
This little critter ate my kale, lettuce and about anything he wanted until he met a Havahart trap.

We all love wildlife.

But when it comes to the little bunnies eating our Central Illinois gardens that we all slave over to produce some greenery for our tables, love becomes a non-issue. We want rid of those “silly wabbits”!

Recently one had some prize kale and young lettuce that disappeared over a period of a few days due to a growing young eastern cottontail in Champaign.

The University of Illinois Extension gives some passive approaches to the issue of these garden bandits. They suggest plants they don’t like and other forms of environmental modification. Usually the way we feel though is that we would like to take more direct means.

One of the best solutions is to use the time honored “Havahart” trap. These can be had for $40-50 and the off brands (pictured above) will run half of that–and they obviously work!

You may ask “What kind of bait did one use to catch the furry little guy?” Did I use his favorite lettuce? Or some rabbit food?

The best bait seems to be some apple juice, apple sauce, and a little carrot-gets them every time


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Champaign County Fair

The Champaign County Fair opens today with a full schedule and some new features. The stage has been revamped and the ever popular “beer tent” has experienced a makeover.

The Champaign County Fair sprawls across the fairgrounds in Urbana–just behind Carle.

There will be the good ole demo derby, livestock shows, horse races, queens on display, Democrats and Republicans, and lots of cotton candy.

One highlight this year on the main stage is “Blackjack Billy”–Friday night.

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Uncork Urbana Wine Festival

Wine Urbana
The first ever wine festival in downtown Urbana is unveiled tomorrow!

Saturday June 14, 2014 is the premier of a new local festival in Champaign Urbana–and it gets rolling tomorrow in downtown Urbana. The Urbana Business Association is sponsoring the Uncork Urbana Wine Festival and it will likely become one of the most popular local summer events.

Here are some details:

  • It runs 1-9pm in downtown Urbana–in the Busey parking lot
  • Admission is only $10–you have to be 21– and includes a commemorative tasting glass and 5 tasting tickets. You can buy additional tasting tickets.
  • You can buy additional wine or beer –and all from local wineries and breweries
  • Entertainment will go on all afternoon into the evening
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Tennis Camps at U of I

U of I Tennis
The U of I Nike Tennis camps will be at the Atkins Center on the U of I campus. Photo from the Fighting Illini site.

University of Illinois Tennis

One true strength of the Fighting Illini sports programs is the tennis teams–both mens and womens. Over the past 20-30 years there have been some excellent coaches and players through Champaign Urbana and we have been treated to some high level local tennis. The NCAA regionals were even hosted here two years ago

Local Tennis Camps

Now your child can benefit from this UIUC resource by taking in the Nike Tennis Camps at the University of Illinois. There are both Junior overnight as well as day camps and the location at the U of I Atkins Tennis Center is so convenient. The director is U of I women’s tennis coach, Michelle Dasso and her skilled camp team.

All skill levels are welcome and there is even a section for high school tennis players.

There are two sessions coming up soon. One on June 22-26 and the other July 20-24.

Register at or call 11-800-NIKE CAMP.


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Letter From Birdland

Letter From Birdland
Letter From Birdland

This lovely little Champaign area blog is written locally–well in Birdland a few miles away by a woman with an eye and a heart for quiet moments on important things. Things that get lost in the clutter and noise of life.

Recent Letter From Birdland blogs are on milkweed–you know we need them in order for the monarch butterflies to survive.

Another was reprinted in the News Gazette and featured the Indianapolis Cultural Trail–didn’t even know it existed.

Mary Lucille Hays is the aiuthor of this fine site and periodically does writing workshops.

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Illiniois Marathon Today

Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon route
Watch for these signs to alert you to Illinois Marathon runners today.

Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon

Today is the day as 21,000 runners take to the streets of Champaign Urbana for the running of one our area’s biggest events. Tons of info is available on the race website and you can even watch updates on local TV WCIA. it is called “The Extra Mile“.

If you are new to race day here are some pointers:

  • If you want to watch downtown Champaign is a good spot or just go to Memorial Stadium on the U of I campus
  • Watch out in traffic and relax. Look for a Illinois Marathon map and avoid those areas
  • Make a note to volunteer next year. The marathon site has an interactive map so you can volunteer in or near your neighborhood.

Illinois Marathon Results

There are two sites for race results. One is at the race site and the other is Illinois Marathon specific.

Have a great race day and enjoy the run!

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New Micro-Urban Video

Envisioning Our Micro-Urban Future

Champaign Urbana is "micro-urban" and we have a vision!
Champaign Urbana is “micro-urban” and we have a vision!

Yesterday at Busey Bank’s annual seminar, Phyllis Wise introduced this crisp new video on the vision for Champaign Urbana. Coming on the heels of the micro-urban video that introduced the concept, this one is more concrete and describes many of the plans and ideas that we will see take shape here in the years to come.

The New Micro-Urban Video

So here it is –from the people at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts:

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