Jake Blues John BelushiOn this day, January 24, in 1949, the famous comedian, actor and musician John Belushi was born in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Belushi grew up with his Albanian American parents before he started his own successful comedy troupe called “The West Compass Trio.” Belushi would go on to perform at The Second City comedy club in Chicago and would eventually go on to be one of the seven original cast members for the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Read more ...

sherill milnesOn this day in 1935, the famous American operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes was born in Downers Grove, Illinois. Milnes was born into a life of dairy farming, where he grew with extraordinary musical talent, learning to play the piano, violin, viola, double bass, clarinet, and tuba alongside his singing abilities. Sherrill was once found on a tractor practicing an operatic laugh and singing to the cows on his parents’ farm.

Sherrill continued his love of music by studying music education at Drake and Northwestern University, serving as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus during his time.
Milnes started his career in 1960 at the Opera Company of Boston and quickly became known for his talent, performing in Milan and at the Statue of Liberty in New York for the 100th anniversary. Sherrill Milnes performed for the last time at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, New York on March 22, 1997 concluding his 32 year career of singing in 653 different performances.

Read more ...

degreeCommunity Colleges across the state have and continue to create opportunities for Illinoisans of all ages at an affordable price. These schools, including online programs can play a vital role in preparing students to take to next step in their lives and education.

 A list released by SR Education Group names the top ranked online community colleges available in Illinois. Students across the state can earn an associate degree or certificate completely online from any of the 19 community colleges. According to SR Education Group and Guide to Online Schools, the community colleges listed below are the best online programs available in 2019.

Read more ...

Frances WillardOne hundred years ago this week, Illinois became the first state in the nation to ratify the 19th Amendment, and one Illinois woman played a key role in its success.

Although the amendment was named after Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, an activist from Evanston, provided major contributions in the fight for women’s suffrage by linking women’s political empowerment to the temperance movement.  

Born in upstate New York, Willard moved to the Midwest with her family and settled in Evanston where she attended North Western Female College and began studying to become a teacher.

In 1871, she became the first president of Evanston College for Women, which later merged with Northwestern University where she became the dean of women.

After working at Northwestern, Willard co-founded and led the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which is still headquartered in Evanston to this day. There, she advocated for giving women access to the ballot to stop their husbands from wasting money from the weekly pay check to drink.

Her argument was convincing for many women who decided to join the movement and the two causes gained steam simultaneously as anti-alcohol legislators realized that by allowing women the right to vote, they could more easily achieve their goal of prohibition.

Willard did not live to see her goals of temperance and women’s suffrage become a reality, but her work was critical to the success of both causes and was instrumental to the ratification of two amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Each state is entitled to the placement of two statues in the U.S. Capitol, and in 1905, Illinois honored Willard by commissioning a statue of her to be placed there.

corn 1908474 960 720March 14 is National Ag Day, an opportunity for Illinois farmers to celebrate and take pride in their craft. Ag Day is celebrated by associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and across the country. Illinois is home to more than 72,000 farms, covering nearly 27 million acres of land – about 75 percent of the state’s land area. The leading producer of soybeans, corn, and swine, Illinois’ climate and varied soil types also enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, fruits and vegetables.

Read more ...