Go crazy, folks…go crazy!

Champaign Urbana is generally known as a Cardinal’s town- not so much the Cubs or Sox. So today is one of great hope and expectation for many around this little corner of “Cardinal Nation“.

Many local eyes will be on FOX tonight to catch the last and deciding game of the World Series.

David Freese did it in game 6 last night...photo from mlb.com

So what is the history of the Cardinals having fans across central Illinois – and for that matter across other states as well? Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and many states across the midwest and south are populated with aging Cards fans.

The answer is in radio. KMOX was historically the anchor station of the Redbirds and they blasted every game of the season across the nation with a powerful signal from St Louis. Jack Buck’s raspy holler (and for a time Harey Carey’s as well) proclaimed the hardball feats of some pretty famous players- including The Wizard. The result was a whole generation of fans who followed some pretty good teams.

Locally the source became WDWS- this changed only two years ago or so when DWS was forced to choose between the Illini and the  Cards. Now all Cards games are on Connect FM, 95.3 and 93.5.

And where does that “go crazy” come from? Just click on it and you will hear Jack Buck (father of Joe) one of the most famous voices in the history of baseball.

Welcome News for the Real Estate Market

The Obama administration is moving to rectify the refinance situation that is hampering many from taking advantage of low interest rates. Crain’s New York Business.com explains that for homeowners who are current on payments and have federally backed loans there will be some help.

Caps will be place on the amount of margin between loans and value and costs for the refinance will be lowered.

The announcement will be made in Las Vegas- welcome news for Sin City, hit hard by the housing slump. And welcome news for the rest of us as well.

Here are some details from Crain’s: The housing program Mr. Obama will announce Monday will be implemented by the independent Federal Housing Finance Agency. At its core, the initiative will relax eligibility standards for a federal refinancing program, allowing those who owe more on their house than it is worth to take advantage of loans with lower interest rates.

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20111024/REAL_ESTATE/111029956#ixzz1biEKKRo4

The Old Vic…Finally Too Old

The News Gazette ran this article a few days ago about the closing of a real treasure in CU…sad to see it go.

"I'm getting old" Vic Pella, 82.

The Old Vic Art Gallery, a downtown Champaign landmark for over two decades, will close.

“I’m getting old,” said owner Vic Pella, who is 82. Running the gallery became “too much of a struggle at my age.”

The Urbana resident said he built a shed in his backyard and plans to do some art restoration there.

Pella and the late Susan Evans opened the Old Vic Art Gallery, 11 E. University Ave., in 1985. (Evans named it after the Old Vic Theatre in London.) Evans died in 2009.

Prior to the Old Vic, Pella opened his own gallery, the Moon Gallery, on Green Street in Urbana in 1972.

Pella is an Army veteran who earned his master’s in fine arts from the University of Illinois, worked as an art director at WCIA Channel 3 and, with two other men, co-founded the underground newspaper The Walrus.

After Evans died, Pella initially thought of turning the space into an artists’ cooperative.

“This is a nice place, but nobody comes here any more,” he said, adding he has noticed a drop in foot traffic since the University Avenue construction project started.”

Bicycling in Champaign Urbana

The League of Illinois Bicyclists has released its evaluation of local roadways and their suitability for bicycle traffic. The result was that we are not doing to badly in proving for these two wheelers.

Champaign Urbana bike paths could be better the report says. But over all we scored a 52.1 of 100- not bad.

There are more and more of these bike lanes around CU. (Photo by Rick Langois)










Champaign (as reported by the News Gazette) budgets $95,000 every other year to add bike lanes to streets. City planner Mishuano Woggon says that with so many other funds being cut, it is good to see this one staying constant.

Urbana has a master bike plan and has many streets that ranked quite well in the study. Look for both sides of Wright to make strides- no pedals forward in the improvement of bike ways in the next few years.

Like watching a pet rock?

That is an expression that has been used on the real estate market many times in the last three years.  I thought people had forgotten about pet rocks. That link on pet rocks is for the convenience of those under forty.

But no, this expression seems to be perfect for what is happening in real estate now. They were mentioned again today by a prominent real estate analyst to describe this listless home market.

What it means for you depends on if you are a real estate buyer, a real estate keeper, a real estate seller, or a real estate builder.

Real estate buyer:

You are in the driver’s seat. If you have good credit and some cash, you can buy quality at a good price. Find an excellent buyer’s agent and have fun.

Real estate keeper:

You may want to sell your home but it is worth less than you paid. Be patient. This may take a while. In the meantime, keep the home up and things will turn around.

Real estate seller:

You have to be realistic. Price it right, be ready to bargain, and you will have to be patient. If the right buyer comes along, you might be able to sell the home on contract.

Real estate builder:

Hang up your hammer and get a job at Wal-Mart.

Right here, right now!

OW is the time to make a move and take advantage of what our current market has to offer.  Home ownership has never been more affordable in the Champaign-Urbana area, and following are some reasons why:

1.)    Selection – Did you know there are over 2,000 homes on the market according to our Champaign County Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service System, and homes continue to come on the market every day?  There are many options to choose from that will meet the needs you are looking for in a new home.

2.)    Motivated Sellers – Sellers who must sell in this market need to be smart and aggressive in their pricing.  Sellers know they have to price it right, and as a result, homes in our area are selling on average within 95-97% of list price to sales price.

3.)    Affordability – Interest rates are still holding low.  You can get a 30 year fixed loan for a little under 4%.  Eventually, those rates will go back up, and for every percentage the interest rate increases, you lose about 10% of your buying power.  With rates where they are, you are definitely able to buy more home now.

4.)    Financing Options – There are still loans out there that require no or low down payments.  There are also down payment assistance funds available for those that qualify.  Be sure to meet with a lender to find out what options would work best for you, and to get a clearer sense of how much it would actually cost you

Meadowbrook Jazz Walk

What a cool event!

The Meadowbrook Jazz Walk is one of those great Champaign Urbana events that is sure to grow in popularity.

Gettin down at Meadowbrook.

Crowds from the Urbana-Champaign community filled the footpaths of the Wendell Sculpture Garden for the 2010 Meadowbrook Jazz Walk on Friday evening, Sept. 10. The event (sponsored by Clark-Lindsey) featured 11 jazz performance groups scattered along the Sculpture Garden’s sidewalk.

There was Morgan Powell, Ernie Hoffman, George Turner- all kinds of local jazz talent on hand to fill the prairies with tunes- wonderful.

Some visitors wandered the paths to sample multiple artists, while others paused to enjoy a particular performance in detail. As the setting sun dropped low in the west, the paper bag candle lamps lining the sidewalks led the crowds gently away from the exhibits and out into the warm September night.

This is what makes Champaign Urbana such a great place to live.

Accordian club in CU…oh yeah!

Wonderful, a wonderful!

There is now an accordian club in Champign Urbana– I have been waiting for this!

Meeting place is the Independent Media Center at the old Post Office beside Lincoln Square Village in Urbana, Wednesdays 6-7:30.

Plans are to get some pieces together for the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival in November.

That festival is coming up Nov 4th and 5th in downtown Urbana.

Turn on the bubble machine.

Food Trucks in CU

Food trucks have emerged the last 20 years or so from the blasse to the gourmet. Food Network shows like The Great Food Truck Race have fueled a resurgence of these mobile restaurants. Now if you are on campus at The University of Illinois, you can sample some of these vendor goodies – even gourmet coffee.

Candide is located at 1121 W Windsor in Champaign.

Christine Des Garennes had a little feature last Sunday in the News Gazette about the new “Candide Roasteries” truck. Look along Matthews street, just off the U of I Quad near the Foreign Lingo building.

This sounds like a great addition to the daily coffee and sweets scene on campus. They feature a full line of fresh coffees, lattes, etc as well as breads from Sweet Indulgence Bakery and Great Harvest Bread Company.

I say…bring on more food trucks!


Redwolves and Jackrabbits- Redux

Paul Klee (left) with Loren and Jim.

Jim and Loren get these calls on weeks like this from neanderthal Fightin Illini fans who go on way too long about  how great this team is going to be based on two victories over rather weak opponents. I mean rather weak like Tboro junior high rather weak.

“This offense is going to exciting”. “These guys can block”. “They are really showing me something new”.

Tate bites his tongue…swills some coffee. Sighs in the mic.

Sorry. But the only new thing I am seeing is that it is easier to whoop up on minor teams from nowhere Arkansas and everywhere South Dakota- or was it North- than the likes of Rutgers and Missouri.

Speaking of the Tigers, who WERE ranked before being beaten by the team we face this week…the idea was to bag Mizzoo get some teams in here that we can score over 50 points on. But here comes one next Saturday that may be a bit of a problem.

And also speaking of piling up wins at the first of the season, in my humble opinion, I am fairly sure our piling days are done. We may add a few marginal wins here and there, but my prediction (you heard it for the 400th time and you heard it here) that you will be able to count the victories of this group of boys on one hand, thumb included perhaps.

Sand or no sand, I predict the Devils from Arizona will “tear up the pea patch”. Big time.

6p, next Saturday, Arizona State, in the house the Red built.