Treehopper Species named after Lady Gaga

Champaign, Ill. – The Beyonce Horsefly, the John Lennon Airport and now the Lady Gaga Treehopper. The act of naming things after celebrities is far from a new phenomenon, so when the University of Illinois graduate student Brendan Morris discovered a new species of treehopper, he knew just the way to get the new into headlines.

The reasoning behind the name was more than just for the headline though, as he told the U of I News Bureau, “If there is going to be a Lady Gaga bug, it’s going to be a treehopper, because they’ve hot these crazy horns, they have this wacky crazy horns, they have this wacky fashion sense about them,” Morris said. The species even communicate via “singing” to each other by vibrating plant stems, adding more credence to the naming. 

Treehoppers come in all shapes and sizes and are some of the most diverse-looking bugs in the animal kingdom. A type of thorn bug, many might be more familiar with its relatives the cicadas and leafhoppers. 

Kaikaia gaga was announced to the scientific world by Morris and his co-author Christopher Dietrich in the journal Zootaxa. It distinguished itself not only as a new species but a new genus. The species different leg hairs, “face”, and genitalia set it apart from any other treehopper currently known Morris explained. 

These unique features allude to more questions than answers and open the door to more research. Specifically, the genitalia appeared more in line with treehoppers from other regions such as the Caribbean, and more genetic research is necessary to determine what if any connections K. Gaga might have to other species. 

Such questions may take some time to answer though as the current specimen of K. Gaga revealed no DNA and to find living specimens would likely require a trip to Nicaragua, where the original specimen was found. 

The paper, “An unusual new genus and species of centrotine treehopper (Hemiptera: Membracidae: Centrotinae) from Nicaragua” can be found online at the University of Illinois’s News Bureau. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

Coronavirus affects University spring break

Urbana, Ill. – Over the last few weeks, fears of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak have grown both internationally and on campus.  While no cases are being reported in the Champaign-Urbana community, the University is still taking precautions to preemptively prevent the spread and impact of the virus.

A number of previously-planned international and domestic spring break immersion trips have been cancelled.  According to the University of Illinois News Bureau, all international spring break programs have been cancelled, such as the College of Businesses trip to South America, and certain domestic programs, such as the Advertising Department’s trip to Seattle, have also been cancelled.

The University is advising that all students studying in a country with a Level 3 advisory—meaning that all nonessential travel should be avoided—should return home of leave to accommodations in another region, and the offer to end their international program is being extended to all students abroad as well regardless of their country of stay.  Protocol states that students returning from these regions are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.

Both at home and abroad, some schools are cancelling instruction all together.  The University of Washington in Seattle and Stanford University have cancelled all in-person classes on campus as it moves its instruction online for the duration of their quarter.  Both schools have reported staff members have tested positive with the disease.

Ohio has declared a state of emergency after three people in the state tested positive for the disease, and six others have been quarantined due to contact with the patients.  In Illinois, the number of confirmed cases is still at seven and no deaths have occurred.

In a report from CNN on Monday, the number of reported cases in China seems to be dropping as compared with the previous weeks.  Businesses and schools are beginning to reopen, including more than 100 Chinese high schools.

More information from the University can be found at covid19.illinois.edu.  We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

The Unofficial Show

I always make it a point to stay consistent with any running gags I have. Last year during our show on Unofficial Weekend, I remember wearing a green tie covered in Shamrocks, so I literally scoured my closet and even went back home one weekend to find it. Because it’s all about consistency!

But that’s besides the point. Last year’s show I was still a relative newcomer anchoring alongside one of our anchors who graduated last year, Addi Ippensen. There’s a segment I did where I was interacting with some of the rescued wildlife on campus (a turtle and a hawk if I remember it correctly), but in that segment, which was for the most part unscripted, I really felt frozen, entirely cautious to how I’d present myself to our audience.

Needless to say, one year, and birthday later, I felt like we put together the best show we’ve ever had on GMI. I fully expect to continue this trend of getting better and better as a whole each show, and over the last full episodes I’ve seen more than enough evidence of that.

This was the first episode of our season where we’ll be seeing a host of new and old faces getting their first shine in the anchor’s seat. I remember how nerve-racking it was for my first time. Luckily for my co-anchor last week, Blake Landa, it wasn’t his first rodeo being on air, even though myself and UI7 News Correspondent Jose Zepeda jumped at any gaffe for a quick “rookie mistake!” joke.

The best part about GMI is our ability to have fun during the show, and I think last episode is another big example of just that. Now that our ‘new’ crew has finally gotten accustomed to each other, our expectations and have developed some real chemistry, it felt like we just didn’t miss a beat.

Also, last but not least, I can’t help but say I was really impressed with how the show turned out because one of our producers, Liam Dwyer, actually produced the entire 30-minute UI7 News Broadcast the night prior. As somebody who’s not had to produce back-to-back shows with such a quick turnover, and considering how seamless the show actually looked, major props!

 

My First UI7 Newsdesk

 Good Morning Illini is a show where I’m sitting in the anchor seat most of the time. It’s something I love doing of course, being in front of that camera with all smiles for a 30 minutes.

            But last week, instead of 30 minutes, I just had about three, give or take. Whether it was Orri Benatar, Erica Finke or Jose Zepeda, every time in our A-Block, it comes the time for me to throw it over to our UI7 News Correspondent. However last week, instead of throwing it over to one of them, my fellow anchors threw it to me for my first UI7 Newsdesk.

            Newsdesk is different from GMI, and after doing it I really have an appreciation for the type of hours I recall seeing each of them spending producing their own segment. While it was a new experience for me on GMI, I was at least familiar with the elements that go into it, thanks to previously providing content for UI7 Newsbreaks and news updates.

            What was probably the hardest thing to do was actually producing this content for me.  It’s not the best kept secret that my editing/behind the scenes skills aren’t the sharpest (I’m striving to be like you Maddie Rice!) but I feel like I was able to work through the stress it was causing me the night before the show. But, getting fully immersed back into everything that was going on around the Champaign area was a refreshing experience!

            In the segment I talk about a growing issue in the Illini Student Government over the passing of a resolution demanding that the University divests its business with three companies involved with the defense spending of Israel. The Students for Justice in Palestine, who’ve been pushing for such a resolution for years, were disappointed when the Student Body President Connor Josellis vetoed the resolution. However, the whole resolution may be nullified this Wednesday by the Student Judiciary Branch because of reported voting issues during the resolution that student senators had with their iClickers.

            It was a politically charged Newsdesk, and my next story dealt with the announcement that the University’s chapter of Turning Point USA will be hosting Ann Coulter to speak at Greg Hall’s auditorium, the home to all media students and anyone who takes Journalism 200. Along with the speech Coulter will have a meet and greet with the attending students.

            I wrapped up my story with a bill introduced to the Illinois State Government, banning the use of Native Americans or their likeness as a mascot until they meet specific, layered, school-wide mandatory education and training on indigenous culture and traditions, as well as written consent from a Native Tribe and the State Government to renew the right to use said mascot every calendar year.

            Doing Newsdesk was a nice change of pace. Since on GMI my major focus is letting my personality come to the forefront, but for news desk I got to go back to talking about hard news, which is something I don’t really get to do as in depth when I’m doing a normal GMI segment.

Remembering University alumnus, Jack Welch

Welch in 2012.

A former alumnus of the University of Illinois has passed away.

Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric has passed away at the age of 84 in his Manhattan, New York home. The cause of death was renal failure, according to his wife, Suzy Welch.

Welch first earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He declined several offers to work at several different companies in order to attend the University of Illinois as a graduate student. He graduated in 1960 with a masters and Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

Welch immediately began to work at General Electric after graduating, starting as a chemical engineer in 1960. In 1972, he became vice president of the company, and by 1979, he had become chairman.

Welch rose to global fame when he became the CEO of GE during the Reagan Administration. At the time, corporate giants were trying their hardest to earn back some of the cash had been lost in the ‘70s, and the Reagan administration was implementing tax cuts to help start-up business again.

Welch took advantage of this and he went on to make GE one of the most successful companies of the 20th century, raising the value of GE from $12 billion to $410 billion. Revenue also went from $1.5 billion to $15 billion.

His methodology of conducting business was somewhat controversial. He famously earned the nickname Neutron Jack from slashing the GE workforce. About 112,000 people lost their jobs between 1980 and 1985. Welch had stated they were fired due to productive reasons and saw it as a necessary pain in order to make the company more productive again.

Moreover, Welch was seen as an “inside outsider”, as he saw the rise of Japanese corporations taking over the American appliance market. Even though he had already been with the company for 20 years prior to becoming CEO, Welch’s first measure was to reform the entire company.

Welch retired from being CEO in 2000. In 2006, Welch gave his name to Sacred Heart University’s College of Business, which became known as the John F. Welch College of Business. He also began to teach a class at the MIT School of Management. He also created the Jack Welch Management Institute which has become one of the top online MBA programs in the country.

Welch is survived by his wife, Suzy Welch, as well as children, four stepchildren and 10 grandchildren.

Ebertfest 2020

“The Cotton Club: Encore” and “There’s Something About Mary” to Headline

Although the University’s Cotton Club event was last week, it appears that the University just can’t get enough of the popular event, because it was recently announced that the film The Cotton Club: Encore will be headlining this year’s Ebertfest.

Courtesy Orion Pictures

Cotton Club 1984

The Cotton Club: Encore is based on the real Cotton Club, a popular nightclub located in Harlem, New York that was in operation from 1923 to 1940. It was known to feature some of the most popular black entertainers of the era, such as Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller.

The Cotton Club: Encore is itself based on the original 1984 release of the film. The Encore version came about because director Francis Coppola found an old Betamax copy of his original cut of the film, which was 25 minutes longer than the theatrical release. He decided to restore the cut, and release it as Encore in 2017.

After the film opens up Ebertfest on April 15, screenwriter William Kennedy will partake in a Q and A, and will be joined by Kathryn Bostic, who will perform popular jazz pieces of the era.

Courtesy: Twentieth Century Fox

There’s Something About Mary 1998

Joining Encore is the 1998 film There’s Something About Mary, which will be closing Ebertfest on April 18. The film is about a Miami doctor having to deal with a love pentagon (there are four men trying to pursue a relationship with her).

Like Encore, There’s Something About Mary will feature a Q and A panel with screenwriters Bobby Farrelly and John Strauss, after the screening of the film.

The films will be showcased at the Virginia Theater located in downtown Champaign, while the panels and other events will be at the Hyatt Palace and throughout the University.

The remaining set of films is scheduled to be announced at a later date.

All of the films are being picked by the late Roger Ebert’s wife, Chaz Ebert, along with festival director Nate Kohn. They are based on lists Ebert had made for the first 15 Ebertfests.

If you are interested in attending this year’s Ebertfest is offering University students with special passes for $100. There is a limited quantity, however, as only 1,000 will be sold, so hurry up! The passes could be purchased can be purchased through the Ebertfest website, the Virginia Theatre website or the theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063.

Working it out … for our February 14th Premiere

By Kenneth R. Erdey

Photos by Dan Gerardi

When you prepare students for any production, there are many ways you could go. Each semester, I’ve tried to find the best way to prepare them for another premiere of Good Morning, Illini. Each semester we get a new crew. We start from scratch on how to shoot, edit and present.This year we also have added a class to give a better performance on camera. Some may say I could put them in the studio and run them through cameras, teleprompter and maybe even switcher. No, at GMI, we like to think out of the box. Previous semesters I have taken them bowling and then asked them to go to an escape room. Both were challenging and made for a great experience. This semester, I decided the best way to get us started in the on-camera performance class was to work it out. Literally.

Michael Giesler is my personal trainer. He is the owner and operator of Elite Fitness Athletic Training and coaching in Champaign. I asked if he would be open to letting me bring in my class for a workout. I am so thankful he did, as this was one of our best class shoots ever. Not only did my J199 – Content Producing students learn to shoot movement and activity. I was given the chance to see GMI talent shine.

Jared Farmer has been a GMI anchor for the past year. He is great in interviews and has brought us some of the best comedic moments to GMI. On this day he was dreaming of when the metal chains would bend simply because he pulled a Thano’s snap. Patience Jared. You are inevitable.

Our resident gear head Jose Zepeda gave up the motorized vehicle for a sled that requires a push start. Jose will be offering these skills and more as he ventures into his second GMI class. Maybe I can find him a motor next time.

 

Kenya Williams and Andrea Cannon, thought team work was the best way to approach this. Throughout the morning we all learned how to count to eight, repeatedly. Because of them I now can guarantee how many crayons are in my crayola 8 pack.

GMI wasn’t the only team on hand. Illini Sports Night Corespondents Nathan Dehaan and Blake Landa were practicing their sport reporter’s smiles. Sideline reporting requires a good smile sometimes. Right now, Illinois sports have a lot to smile about. Be sure to follow these guys at Illinois Sports Night.

   

In the end, this class needs to develop two things. One, provide a workshop feel for our new crew to understand how field shoots work. This exercise allows mentoring and coaching. Plus, offer the chance of constructive criticism and failure with assurance of a “safety rope.” In my opinion as a career photojournalist, the best way to be a photographer is to go out and do it. Then get as much as you can to tell a great story. This experience absolutely accomplished that.

My second goal for this project is to create a bond in their team which will translate to their show. Watching them all work together yesterday, the simple answer is, that goal was met as well.

Maddie Rice is taking over as full executive producer of GMI. I am stepping back to the adviser role. I want her to challenge the show and really set it on a course for years to come. GMI premieres on February 14th @ 10 AM. As always we hope you make it a Good Morning, Illini.

Make it Good Morning, Illini

by Kenneth R. Erdey

The new season of Good Morning Illini is off and running. This morning, Executive producer Maddie Rice, and the new season producers got a chance to meet the new crew. Unlike our beginning, GMI is now a full fledged class. Our J199 students are learning how to create content. Shooting, editing and learning how to be a member of our staff.

Our J480 students will be covering stories on campus. Finding Illini making a difference and covering any topic campus is talking about.

J460 are the producers for the show. This year, they are Connor Ciecko, Tim Gilmore and Liam Dwyer. Connor and Liam were both members of Fall’s edition of GMI. Connor developed our popular “Where’s Connor” segment. Liam was added as our anchor. This is the first semester of GMI for Tim, but he has already brought a lot of energy to the show. Today the three of them showed the crew how to use our cameras. Shooting techniques and strategies.

Be sure to check out their stories on our Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube page and follow us on Instagram.  Look for he crews introduction story on February 14th at 10 am.

Make it a Good Morning, Illini!