Monday, November 28, 2011

UIS international students get taste of American Thanksgiving

Zhao Yue, an exchange student from Harbin, China, got his first taste of an American Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

The 22-year-old University of Illinois Springfield student was a guest at Tom and Tracy Knox’s home on Lake Springfield. The couple has been inviting exchange students to their home since 2004. Zhao was one of three international students who sat down with the family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

“I’ve never tried this food before. It’s amazing,” Zhao said. “I liked the turkey. The combination of turkey and gravy was awesome.”

In addition to food, the international students got a crash course in the origins of the first Thanksgiving.

The international students were featured in an November 25, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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UIS home against Findlay on Monday

The University of Findlay men’s basketball team is ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Division II poll. But the Oilers are beatable.

Illinois Springfield (1-3) plays host to Findlay (3-1) in a non-conference game at 7:45 p.m. today at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS hopes to follow in the footsteps of Malone, which ended the Oilers’ 71-game home win streak Nov. 15 with a 74-71 victory.

Senior forward Michael Fakuade is off to a hot start for the Stars. He leads the Great Lakes Valley Conference in rebounds (13.3 per game) and blocked shots (4 per game), and he’s averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game. The Stars’ other top scorers are junior guard Kyle Gupton (12.5 points) and senior guard Lester Hart (10.5).

The game was previewed in an November 28, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tamara Browning: 'Snapshots' offers hands-on experience

Visitors to artist Shane Harris' “Snapshots” interactive installation at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Visual Arts Gallery get a chance to play with objects.

From the small-scale sculptural pieces lining the walls of the gallery, visitors are encouraged to “select a couple pieces that catch your eye, and arrange your pieces on one of the bases on a pedestal,” according to a “Snapshots” instructions card.

Pedestals arranged on the floor of the gallery are encased in various materials and range in colors from turquoise to black.

“Please take a picture with your camera phone and send me the photo at or tag me on Facebook!” the instructions continue.

“If you don’t have a camera phone, you can still play! Just ask the Gallery Attendant to use our camera! I will print the photos I receive and post them in the gallery for the remainder of the show!”

“Snapshots” will be displayed through Dec. 1 at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Room 201 in the Health and Sciences Building. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The exhibit was featured in an November 24, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

After a 'thin' year, CWLP tries to plan ahead

City Water, Light and Power made money generating electricity during the past year, but just barely, Springfield’s top municipal utility official told the Citizens Club last week.

What might happen in the future is tough to predict, panel members said.

Natural gas is a wild card, according to Karl McDermott, Ameren Distinguished Professor of Business and Government at University of Illinois Springfield. A controversial method of extracting gas from rock by injecting water and chemicals into the earth could prove a boon to gas-fired power plants that are now more expensive to operate than coal-fired plants.

“We will have a ton of it (gas), and the price will come down, if the technology is allowed to come to fruition,” McDermott said.

McDermott's comments were featured in an November 23, 2011, article in the Illinois Times.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More people order out for Thanksgiving dinner

Keith Burton, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois Springfield, said he thinks people are re-evaluating how to spend the holiday.

“I think it’s a reflection of the growing mindfulness of the time-versus-money tradeoff,” Burton said. “We’re seeing more and more folks choosing to place value on time over money.”

His family made a similar choice recently.

Every Nov. 24, the extended family treks to Wisconsin where the potluck meal always had been crowned with his grandmother’s turkey. Four years ago, the centerpiece was swapped with store-bought fried chicken.

“There were some folks who kind of huffed. It pretty much split along the lines of who liked fried chicken,” Burton said. “Now, it’s become ‘the thing.’ I’d be disappointed if (fried chicken) was missing.

Burton's comments were featured in an November 22, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Ritual sacrifices: Holiday customs subject to change

For almost a decade, Ollie Rogers worked hard to keep her late mother's Thanksgiving tradition alive by cooking an elaborate feast for her family.

But this year, she's over it.

"I'm not going to be in the kitchen at all," said Rogers, 44, who has happily turned the stove and saucepans over to her 22-year-old daughter. "I'm going to have my feet up and I'm just going to watch."

Her daughter, Ashley Price, is an avid cook who began experimenting in the kitchen while she was a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield. These days, she voluntarily cooks dinner every night for her brothers and stepfather while her mother works.

"Food always brings the people and family together. It keeps the heritage and family alive," said Price, who added that she'll insist that the family keep its other tradition of playing board games after dinner.

Price was featured in an November 22, 2011, article in the Chicago Tribune.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Men's Basketball: UIS earns first win of season

Despite an 0-2 start, the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars had no doubt they were better than their record suggested.

UIS proved it Saturday in the men’s basketball home opener. The Stars notched an 82-74 non-conference victory over the Lincoln University Blue Tigers at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

“It was a total team effort,” UIS junior forward Chigozie Umeadi said. “We realized we had to pull together and it was a must win. We started out 0-2. We had to get a ‘W’.”

Defense was the name of the game at practice throughout the week for the Stars (1-2), yet the versatility of their offense was on display against the Blue Tigers (0-3).

The win was featured in an November 20, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Music Notes: UIS music showcase set Friday

The University of Illinois Springfield’s chorus, chamber ensemble and band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Sangamon Auditorium.

UIS Music’s Fall Showcase Concert features music from around the world.

The chorus is to perform Christopher Tin’s “Baba Yetu,” the chamber ensemble will perform Sooon Hee Newbold’s “Egyptian Legacy” and Jeremy Woolstenhulme’s “The Creation of Stonehenge,” and the band will perform Eric Whitacre’s “October” and Vasilij Agapkin’s “A Slavic Farewell.”

Admission is free but donations will be accepted on behalf of the UIS Music Student Merit Award.

The concert was spotlighted in an November 17, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Woodlawn golfer will continue career at Illinois Springfield

Nick Tannahill recently completed a success golf season for the Woodlawn Cardinals that ended at the 1A state finals.

Tannahill’s golf career won’t end with high school as he recently announced his commitment to the University of Illinois Springfield. Tannahill said the Division II school was a draw because of both athletics and academics.

“It had a really nice business degree, and that’s what I’m really after,” Tannahill said. “It also had a really nice golf program as well. They play at some really nice courses, and that will be a lot of fun playing there.”

The senior became the first Woodlawn golfer in school history to advance to the state finals. In the two-day event, he tied for 15th. He shot an 82 in his first round and improved by four strokes on the second day to finish with a 160.

Tannahill was featured in an November 15, 2011, article in the Mt. Vernon Register-News.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Deeds: UIS students grateful for help with food drive

On Oct. 31, more than 125 University of Illinois Springfield students took part in the Trick or Treat for Canned Goods Food Drive service project. Students went door-to-door collecting food for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

I would like to thank the community for its participation in our efforts. Each year, the students return to campus, telling stories of welcoming and generous community members. In addition, some students share stories of how they were even offered hot chocolate and candy! Without the support of the community, we would not be able to put on this event year after year.

This year, the students collected more than 7,500 pounds of food.

UIS and its students are proud to be part of the community and look forward to many more collaborations. Thank you again for all of your giving!

— Brittany Elder, AmeriCorps VISTA, University of Illinois Springfield

The "Good Deeds" letter was published in an November 12, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Good Deeds: Thanking UIS Athletic Department

I would like to thank the University of Illinois Springfield coaches, all the players and athletic staff for writing me an inspiration book and supporting me while I have been sick.

I want to especially thank coach Marne Fauser for putting together a basket for my trip to Children’s Hospital. All the coaches put together a wonderful basket with things I love and it really helped me get through the last couple of days there.

Your support has meant a lot to me and my family. I think the UIS athletic department and players are the best around!

— Joelie Bennett, Chatham

Bennett's comments were featured in a "Good Deeds" letter submitted to The State Journal-Register and published on November 12, 2011.

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Don't forget your manners when attending work-related parties

Many companies and businesses plan at least some type of corporate seasonal or holiday party as a way to bring employees together and show support and appreciation for their staff.

At the University of Illinois Springfield, a campus-wide holiday gathering is held either on a Monday or Friday afternoon at the end of the fall semester to allow both staff and faculty to attend.

“In an effort to create a community within our campus community, we think it’s important for the campus culture to gather together,” said Joan Sestak, director of community relations who sits on the party planning committee each year. “It gives us the ability to interact with colleagues we may not see every day and share a little holiday spirit and talk about what’s going on in everybody’s lives.”

Whether a fall picnic or big holiday bash, in the office or out of the office, during office hours or on the weekend, when it comes to a company social gathering, as a guest you always should remember it is just that: a company event.

Sestak's comments were featured in an November 12, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Women's basketball: UIS holds off Lakers

The University of Illinois Springfield took a 29-point halftime lead and hung on for a 73-64 victory over the Lake Superior State Lakers.

UIS was outscored 42-22 in the second half. The Prairie Stars’ Bailey Beale and Megan Bergerud scored 22 and 21 points, respectively.

Beale pulled down six rebounds and sank four of nine 3-point attempts. Ashley Coffey came up with 11 points, 10 rebounds and four steals for UIS (1-1).

The win was featured in an November 13, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

UIS Men's Basketball: Prairie Stars healthy for opener

For the first time since the season officially began, every player on the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball roster practiced this week.

That allowed Prairie Stars coach Ben Wierzba an opportunity to get a good look at the Stars and prepare the team for tonight’s season opener against Northwood University at the Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge in Midland, Mich.

The Stars, who have been dealing with a series of minor injuries, enter the matchup having dropped exhibition contests to a pair of NCAA Division I programs. Southern Illinois-Carbondale handed UIS a 79-56 loss and Evansville knocked off the Stars 74-61.

UIS hopes to replicate the success it experienced last season at the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge. The Stars scored one-point victories over both Lake Superior State and Northwood. There will be a rematch between UIS and Lake Superior State at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The men's team was featured in an November 11, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Senators' Ramirez to sign with Stars

Springfield High senior Becca Ramirez’s dream of playing college golf has come true.

She will sign a letter of intent to play for the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars today. UIS is the only school Ramirez considered.

Ramirez was one of the Senators’ top golfers. She placed 58th at the Class AA State Tournament in October. She placed third at the Lady Dragon Classic, was fourth at the Railside Shootout and finished sixth at the Central State Eight Conference Tournament. She claimed medalist honors along with a teammate at the Girls Ryder Cup Tournament and was medalist in multiple nine-hole matches this fall.

Ramirez was featured in an November 10, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Voters care more about abuse of power than sex scandals

Political scandals are, in a sense, like car crashes: They attract our attention because they bring out our morbid curiosity. Will this be the end of a big-time politician’s career? Or will the voters simply shrug?

Newly published research suggests the answer depends upon the type of misbehavior that has been uncovered. It finds that while sex scandals tend to get the most media coverage, they have the least impact on voters’ views.

“On average, financial scandals are worse than moral ones, and abuses of power amplify the negative effects,” said University of Illinois Springfield political scientist Michael G. Miller. “Perhaps we’ve been so conditioned to sex scandals that people just brush them off.

“Whereas the ‘steward of the public trust’ idea — which is raised by scandals involving tax fraud, or misappropriation of the people’s money — has a much bigger impact in terms of voting behavior.”

Miller is co-author of a paper titled “Are Financial or Moral Scandals Worse? It Depends,” published in the October issue of the journal PS: Political Science and Politics.

Miller was featured in an November 7, 2011, article by Miller-McCune Magazine.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Springfield native Rebecca Skloot chronicles woman's immortal life

Rebecca Skloot, aged 16 and sitting in a classroom at Portland Community College, has no idea she’s about to have one of the pivotal moments in her life.

“Donald Defler, a gnomish balding man, paced at the front of the lecture hall and flipped on an overhead projector,” Skloot would write years later.

After a few confusing minutes lecturing about cellular biology, Defler wrote a name on the chalkboard in large letters: HENRIETTA LACKS.

Lacks, he explained, was a woman who died from cervical cancer in 1951. Scientists had taken a sample of her cancer cells and with them made a breakthrough. Where decades of work had failed to get human cells to grow in a lab, suddenly Henrietta’s cells were growing endlessly.

Since then, the cells have played a crucial role in medicine, from the polio vaccine to modern cancer research.

More than 20 years after that biology class, Skloot would chronicle the strange tale of the cells — and the family the cell “donor” left behind — in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

The book has become a sensation: More than 1 million copies have been sold. It was named one of the best books of 2010 by many critics and newspapers. Oprah Winfrey is making it into a movie.

And after a decade toiling in relative obscurity, Skloot has become a sensation, too.

The author will talk about her book during a free lecture Wednesday night at Sangamon Auditorium, on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield.

It’s a homecoming for Skloot: she was born in Springfield and spent the first 10 years of her life here.

Skloot was featured in an November 6, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Film on Aldo Leopold to be shown at UIS Tuesday

A new feature film about the life, writings and legacy of Aldo Leopold — considered the father of the modern conservation movement — will be screened at the University of Illinois Springfield on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Leopold is best known for “A Sand County Almanac,” a collection of essays published in 1949, shortly after his death. His writings have inspired generations of conservationists, environmentalists and others with an affinity for the natural world.

The book has sold more than 2 million copies and has been translated into 10 languages.

The film, “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,” is being presented free of charge and will be shown in Brookens Auditorium at 7 p.m.

The screening was featured in an November 7, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Volleyball: Prairie Stars win finale

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars ended the season with a 25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory over the Maryville Saints in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match Saturday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Sam Krilich led UIS with 18 kills and Kellee Mahaffay added 12. The Stars finished 5-25 overall and 2-16 in the GLVC. Emily Fox had 21 assists for UIS.

The win was featured in an November 6, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Illini Basketball: No game yet against UIS

When Southern Illinois-Carbondale defeated the University of Illinois Springfield 79-56 Sunday, Bruce Weber took notice but still wants the Prairie Stars program to mature before he schedules an exhibition against UIS.

“My thought was to let them get established and get the talent they feel that’s competitive at the Division II level,’’ Weber said. “We can look at them over the next couple of years.’’

Weber's comments were featured in an November 5, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Music Notes: WUIS-FM to hold sale

Local public radio station WUIS-FM (91.9) will host a music sale this weekend.

Used CDs, LPs, 45s, 78s and cassettes — and audio equipment and musical instruments — have been donated for the sale.

Most vinyl records will cost $1, and CDs will cost $2, though collectibles might be priced higher. Admission costs $5, and proceeds benefit the station. Only cash or checks will be accepted.

Existing donors can get in from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday; the sale is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It will be in the WUIS Studios, near parking lot B on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield.

For more information, call 206-9847.

The sale was featured in an November 3, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Former student donates $500,000 in honor of UIS professor

A former student and University of Illinois Springfield employee has donated a half-million dollars to establish a named professorship in honor of her former English professor.

The professorship — the university’s first from a graduate honoring a former professor — is the Judith E. Everson Professorship in English. Everson taught at the university for 31 years and was a charter faculty member at UIS’ predecessor, Sangamon State University.

Everson’s former student, Cheryl Peck, who served as director of public relations at UIS from 1992 to 2009, donated $500,000 to establish the endowment fund.

“I first met Judy Everson in a class, ‘Literature Between the Wars,’” Peck said. “I was immediately inspired by her energy and enthusiasm and how she skillfully involved the students in discussions about literature.”

Peck said she went back to college in midlife during the 1980s.

“That was the beginning of a personal transformation that lasted several years,” she said. “She gave me confidence in my ability to succeed academically. I was inspired to make a major career change from journalism to higher education and established a lifelong friendship with Judy now that we’re both retired.”

The professorship was featured in an November 2, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UIS women's basketball team searches for winning formula

The word chemistry is used frequently by University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Marne Fauser when discussing this season’s group of players.

“Chemistry is very important to me and I think that’s what we have,’’ Fauser said. “I think the returners had good chemistry. Our newcomers have some great people to look up to, so I’m excited about their chemistry as well.’’

The foundation the Stars laid last season en route to an 8-18 overall record and a 3-15 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark remains. Five of their top six players are back from a team that won three of the last five games.

UIS’ only notable loss is Paulina Pogorzelski, the sole key senior on last season’s roster. She led the team in rebounding at 7 per game and averaged 9.9 points.

Fauser has paired the five returning players with seven newcomers. But building chemistry didn’t begin in the preseason. It started in the offseason with senior guard Cristina Nevins organizing a group of seven players for a summer league at Gold’s Gym.

The team was featured in an November 1, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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