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Brief Notes

INSIDE ILLINOIS, Aug. 4, 2011        [ Email | Share ]

N THIS ISSUE: Agronomy Day features Aboretum tours |  Donate to annual Dump and Run | Retirement seminars set for traditiona, portable plans | Seismographs placed in Midwest | Series examines questions about education |


Agronomy Day features Arboretum tours

Guided tours of the Arboretum’s 60 acres of manicured gardens and tranquil landscape will be offered during the 2011 UI Agronomy Day on Aug. 18.

The event is sponsored by the department of crop sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“It’s close, it’s free and, we love visitors,” said Diane Anderson, horticulturalist and Arboretum grounds supervisor and trials manager. “We also have golf carts available for those who need assistance.”

Located just south of Florida Avenue off Lincoln Avenue in Urbana, the Arboretum features several gardens, acres of lawn, groves of trees, serene ponds and miles of running paths.

Tours during Agronomy Day will begin at 8 and 10 a.m. at the Agronomy Seed House located on the north side of West Hazelwood Drive almost two blocks west of Lincoln Avenue.

For more information on Agronomy Day activities, visit

University YMCA

Donate to annual Dump and Run

Donations for the University YMCA’s annual Dump and Run will be accepted Aug. 10-13 with the sale scheduled Aug. 20-21, both at the UI Stock Pavilion.

This year’s event marks the 10th year for the event, which is designed to reduce trash volume and give students an inexpensive option for purchasing household items for the fall semester.

Collection times are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 10, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 12 and 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 13.

“Most residents are just happy to see the University Y keeping perfectly good stuff out of garbage bins,” said Jenni Kotting, University YMCA communications director. 

Items not accepted include construction materials, car seats, non-working electronics, large exercise equipment and mattresses.

The sale will be 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20 and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 21. Admission is $2, free for international students. Sunday’s sale includes a $3 bag sale, half-price furniture and a “free sale” from 2:30-4 p.m.

To volunteer for Dump and Run go to Volunteers get to shop first at a pre-sale.

For more information, go to



Traditional, portable plan seminars set

The State Universities Retirement System is offering four Retirement Education Seminars at its Champaign office, 1901 Fox Drive. These popular one-day seminars for members enrolled in the traditional and portable plans are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, Oct. 4, Oct. 26 and Nov. 15. 

Topics include Social Security, insurance, quality of life after retirement and explanations of the traditional and portable plans.

Enrollment is $25 per member and $10 for a non-member guest. Lunch will be provided.  To register, contact Karen Maggio at 217-378-8813 or

This event is not approved as excused time; therefore, vacation leave will need to be used in accordance with university policy.


Seismographs placed in Midwest

Researchers from the UI department of geology and the Illinois State Geological Survey are working with colleagues from Indiana University, Purdue University and the Indiana Geological Survey to place dozens of seismographs in a swath that covers the Ozark Plateau in Missouri, the southern Illinois Basin and foothills of the Appalachians in Kentucky.

This is the first project of its kind and is expected to provide new insight into the structure and behavior of continental interiors.

The $1.3 million, four-year project is part of the National Science Foundation’s EarthScope program, an immense effort that gradually is covering the nation with a grid of seismometers and other devices that should lead to a better understanding of the evolution and dynamics of Earth.

“For most of the summer, we have had survey crews working throughout our study region, identifying specific sites for placing instruments, and securing permission from landowners,” said Tim Larson, a geophysicist with the ISGS, a unit of the UI Prairie Research Institute. “We are now beginning the installation of the seismographs and have begun to collect the first data.”

UI geology professor Stephen Marshak, the director of the School of Earth, Society and the Environment at Illinois, said instruments will record not only local earthquakes, “including ones that are extremely small and could not be felt by people, but also vibrations that have passed through the interior of Earth from large earthquakes happening anywhere on the planet. The distribution of local earthquakes may help identify faults or breaks in the crust that had not been known before.  And measurements of vibrations passing through the interior will allow researchers to create a 3-D model of the planet’s interior.  In effect, we will be able to produce a CAT scan of the upper 200 km of Earth beneath the Midwest.  This information will help us to understand why, for example, Illinois overlies a deep, sediment-filled basin.”



Examining questions about education

A series on WILL-AM (580) in August looks at some of the big debates in the field of American education: Whose responsibility is it to provide public education? How should it be funded?  Who should determine a public school’s curriculum? Should teachers be held accountable for student achievement?  

Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley, a Champaign-Urbana educator who has taught at every level from nursery school through college, is producer and host of the four-part series, “Examining Education,” to be broadcast Saturdays at 6 p.m. beginning Aug. 6.

“The series looks at some of these issues and tries to put them in a broad context,” she said.

Part one of the series (Aug. 6) features James Anderson, a UI professor of educational policy studies, and Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute, who debate the best way to achieve a quality education for all children. Anderson believes it’s the state’s responsibility and Coulson thinks a more efficient path to universal literacy is through the marketplace.

In part two (Aug. 13), Ralph Martire, executive director of the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, analyzes school funding problems in Illinois and offers solutions. Other experts discuss the pros and cons of privatizing public education.

Part three (Aug. 20) features Judy Wiegand, director of Secondary Curriculum and Staff Development for the Champaign School District, explaining the factors that shape the actual curriculum of the district’s schools. Other guests will include nationally known educational experts.

Part four (Aug. 27) covers teacher accountability. One of the guests will be Thomas Kane, a Harvard professor who is project director of a Gates Foundation study exploring the effectiveness of value-added assessment of teachers.

For a full list of experts and more information about the series and guests, visit



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