Short Film imageA little bit of Hollywood can be found in Illinois at the annual Elgin Short Film Festival! Every September since 2009 Elgin, Illinois has been host to a number of talented young film makers from around the country and world. The event begins with a red carpet reception featuring interviews with filmmakers, followed by a film screening. At this year’s 2022 Film Festival, six short films were screened. The films are all 20 minutes or less, and contain two categories: animated and live action. Three films of each category had been pre-chosen for the event, and the winners of each category are selected by the judges and audience members in attendance.

This event celebrates the arts and cultivates the creative talents of people around Illinois. First place prizes receive $1,000. The very first winner in 2009 was an Illinois resident from Chicago. David Priego won with his short film “House of Cards”, which received a great rating of 8.5/10 on IMDb. The film is about a divorcing family who, in the war over the division of their material items, only realize the importance of family when tragedy strikes.

The film festival takes place at the Hemmens Cultural Center. The center is named after Hattle Pease Hemmens, who left over a million dollars after her death in 1957 to establish a non-profit Community Auditorium in the city of Elgin. The short film festival brings glitz, glamour and charm to the City of Elgin. Friends, families and film lovers are all welcome to attend the event, and every year the festival has been growing in notoriety. Hollywood has come to Illinois, and it can be found in the enchanting city of Elgin! Find out more about the event at the city of Elgin’s website here.

istockphoto 1272508891 612x612September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time to raise awareness of the disease and its effects worldwide. An Illinois scientist may have discovered a new way to restore memory loss from the disease. The University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine conducted a study led by Professor Orly Lazarov, which focused on boosting the production of neurons in the brain cells of mice.  This new research may lead to the possibilities of advancing the current state of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The hippocampus is the area of the brain that allows individuals to remember things, such as where they have placed their keys. The research conducted at UIC focused on mice with a mutation of Alzheimer’s that impacts the hippocampus area of the brain. Through neurogenesis process, scientists focused on deleting a gene called Bax, by boosting new neurons into cells. These new neurons prompted the memory in mice showing significant improvement in the mice’s function, performance, and ability to remember.  The mice showed enhancements in spatial recognition, which is a skill that helps distinguish spatial relations, such as knowing how to drive home. The contextual memory of the mice also advanced, which is the ability to memorize specific emotions, people and places.

This month, many people raise worldwide awareness to the fact that over 50 million individuals suffer from Dementia, with 50-60% of them suffering from Alzheimer’s. In the state of Illinois alone, Alzheimer’s is growing into a public health crisis, with over 230,000 people aged 65 and older living with the disease. While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, this study conducted in Illinois brings great hope on treating and focusing on the diseases cause,  opening the possibilities for new ways to better treat Alzheimer’s. To learn more about this study read here.

NationalDogDayAug. 26 is National Dog Day! Be sure to give your four-legged furry friend some extra love today.

Colleen Paige, a pet and family lifestyle advocate established National Dog Day in 2004. This day is recognized to celebrate dogs of all breeds around the world as well as to honor dogs that keep us safe and bring us comfort. Another important aspect of this day is to bring awareness of how many dogs are currently in shelters. With increasing numbers of pups present in shelters, it is essential for individuals to consider adopting to allow these animals a safe, loving home and to make room for dogs that need to be taken into rescue centers.

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Springfield Park District - Robin Roberts StadiumThe Robin Roberts Stadium at Lanphier Park in Springfield was voted Best Collegiate Summer League Stadium last week by Ballpark Digest.

Robin Roberts Stadium went head-to-head with Newport, Rhode Island's Cardines Field in the final round of voting, where the Springfield stadium took the cake with more than three quarters of the vote.

The 2022 Best of the Ballparks contest is based on criteria like the stadium's history, geographic factors, editors' personal evaluations of the ballparks, and performance in prior fan contests.

The near century-old stadium on Springfield's north side first opened for use in 1925 under the name Reservoir Park, when the team was named 'The Springfield Senators'. The Senators played in Springfield for a number of years, ultimately retiring in 1951, leaving the Capital City without a professional baseball team until 1978, when the Springfield Redbirds came to town.

In the 1970s, the park was renamed to Robin Roberts Stadium after baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, a graduate of Lanphier High School in Springfield who played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1950 to 1955. 

The current league was founded as the Springfield Sliders in 2008 and has been the Stadium's longest tenant. They began playing again in 2022 after a change in ownership in 2021 - now under the name 'Springfield Lucky Horseshoes'. The new name is a nod to a local favorite, the famed Horseshoe Sandwich.

Learn more about the Robin Roberts Stadium on the Springfield Park District's website here.

sunflowers and blue sky 1447690774kv4Mid-July is here – making it the perfect time to see sunflowers during their peak. If you’re a sunflower lover, there are plenty of places in Illinois to explore the beautiful, yellow seasonal flower:

All of these sunflower fields are worth the drive to other parts of our beautiful state. Make sure to go visit one or more of these locations while sunflowers are in full bloom!