Wall headshotsmMicah Wall is an artist based in Edwardsville who specializes in woodworking and personalized craftsmanship. He founded his own business called Unnatural Resources and prides himself in working with his hands and tools to bring beauty into our everyday lives and spaces.

Coming from a long line of craftsmen, the spirit to create and design is something he considers part of his DNA. He specializes in bringing others’ visions to reality and bringinging out the natural beauty in his materials.

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As Feb. 2 quickly approaches, residents of one Illinois town are preparing to celebrate a holiday that has made the town internationally famous.Groundhog day movie 1992 location 2007 03 18 IMG 4245

Woodstock, located 51 miles northwest of Chicago, was the filming location of the movie “Groundhog Day.” Although the film is set in Pennsylvania, director Harold Ramis loved the quintessentially American feel of the Woodstock town square and surrounding neighborhoods.

The lead role of the film would even be played by an Illinois native, Bill Murray, who was born in Evanston and raised in Wilmette.

Since the filming in 1992, Woodstock has held celebrations every Groundhog Day to commemorate both the holiday and the film that was described by the American Film Institute as the “eighth best fantasy genre film” in history.

Different events happening in Woodstock on Groundhog Day include a dinner dance, free screenings of the movie and walking tours showcasing town landmarks seen in the film. For a full schedule of events, you can visit the Woodstock Groundhog Days Committee website.

inthenews internetInternet access is an invaluable resource. Without it many of our students are unprepared for the future that awaits them in college classrooms, professional careers and everyday life. In decades prior, access to online information was not as widespread or important as it is now.

The EducationSuperHighway 2016 State of States Annual Report found that 83 percent of Illinois School districts representing 1,099,120 students met connectivity goals. The progress made last year tops the 71 percent of school districts with acceptable internet in 2015. The schools and libraries universal service support program, also known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries  get affordable broadband.

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Loyola University ChicagoOne of the hardest things for many members of the military when re-acclimating to civilian life is to start or go back into schooling. Some even have been out of school for decades when they decide to return to finish a degree or start a new one. Many schools throughout Illinois are taking steps to make that transition easier.

Victory Media is an organization that has been working with schools and employers throughout the country to make the transition from military life to civilian life much easier. Recently, they announced their list of the top military friendly schools throughout the country.

Victory Media used multiple metrics to determine who the best of the best were. Some metrics for schools include student veteran retention, graduation, job placement and loan repayment. Schools were recognized for the support services they provide to veteran students throughout their degrees.

Nearly 40 Illinois schools were awarded the honor of being military friendly. Loyola University in Chicago was awarded the highest honor by being declared a top 10 graduate school for how military friendly it was.

If schools were within 20 percent of the top 10 scores, they received a gold medal. The following Illinois schools were gold medal recipients: Illinois State University, Richard J. Daley College, Robert Morris University Illinois and Western Illinois University.

For the complete list of military friendly schools, click here.

Chris DevinsChris Devins is an artist/urban planner who creates outdoor art exhibits designed to attract tourists and increase community pride. One of his many projects is the Bronzeville Legends Initiative, which is designed to transform the community with a public art installation that reaffirms its identity. Recently, Devins has been working to create a large outdoor mural of First Lady Michelle Obama that will be installed at Chicago’s Bouchet School, a South Side school the first lady attended as a child.

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