The central Illinois community of Peoria has approved a memorial to singer Dan Fogelberg.
The songwriter _ whose hits "Leader of the Band'' and "Same Old Lang Syne'' helped define the soft-rock era _ was a Peoria native whose music career was nurtured in Champaign-Urbana as a University of Illinois student. He died in 2007 at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.
The city council this week unanimously approved plans to place the memorial at Peoria's Riverfront Park. The man leading the push for the memorial, Hugh Higgins, says he's thrilled by the decision.
Higgins supports a memorial featuring a boulder etched with the lyrics of one of Fogelberg's songs. The project will be paid for by donations. Higgins estimates the cost at around $10,000.
Film Critic Roger Ebert's name will have a prominent place in the University of Illinois College of Media.
The Sun-Times columnist has announced a one million dollar grant to establish the Roger Ebert Program for Film Studies.
The dean of the U of I's College of Media says it'll be the foundation for a media and cinema studies department on the Urbana campus. Ron Yates says the department will give students a chance to learn skills in an evolving industry, like screenwriting and film criticism.
It could help pay for several things: workshops, symposia, seminars, research efforts that might be done in films," Yates said. "It will enhance the program as it begins to take off."
Yates hopes total donations for the program will reach five million dollars.
Ebert announced the grant during the first night of his Ebertfest film festival in Champaign - Yates says Ebertfest offices would be housed under the new College of Media program.
The operator of Boardman's Art Theatre in Champaign is apparently looking to relocate as the building's owner looks for either a new tenant, or to sell the facility for another use.
Owner David Kraft says the rent of 4 dollars a square foot he's charging isn't near the market rate... and he can't afford to charge that little when factoring in expenses like real estate tax, water, trash, and sewer rates. Kraft says he's made operator Greg Boardman an offer of just under 9-dollars a square foot.
"If he won't pay that and no one will pay that, then I think everybody needs to look and determine if there's demand for this, if there's sufficient interest," Kraft said. "If no one is willing to pay near market rent, then maybe we do have to look at different ideas."
Kraft suggests there may not be room for a movie theater anymore when considering what other downtown businesses are paying for first floor retail space. He's looking to sell the Church Street building for just over $1 million.
Kraft says he's drawn interest for other theater operators, but nothing concrete.
Boardman's lease on the Church Street location expires in December. He couldn't be reached for comment, but the co-owner of a building across the street... Bill Capel... confirms Boardman toured his facility last month. That building houses the old Rialto Theater. Capel says any talk of moving Boardman's there would include extensive talk about renovations.
Fast-growing video game manufacturer Volition, based in Champaign, pays recent college graduates - who are also experienced gamers - to test their games. Testing is a first, full-time job for many of the graduates. They are looking for flaws before the games hit the market. AM 580's Jeff Bossert reports for NPR's Morning Edition.
Come Labor Day, Central Illinois will be one sonic experience richer. The Allerton Music Barn Festival will kick off for the first time in Monticello August 31. The festival will feature a wide range of musical genres, from American classical and Latin jazz to zydeco to Balinese gamelan. University of Illinois School of Music director Karl Kramer has been working toward this new music event since he came to Urbana Champaign five years ago. AM 580's Michael Koliska talked to him.
Takei is best known as Mr. Sulu from the series "Star Trek." But besides his newly-revived acting career (he has a new generation of fans for his role in the NBC series "Heroes" and appearances on the Howard Stern radio show), Takei has been politically active as a human rights activist. Takei grew up during the Second World War, and at the age of 5 he and his family were sent to a Japanese-American internment camp. Takei spoke with AM 580's Michael Koliska during a recent appearance on the UI campus.