News

Amanjeev / Flickr via Creative Commons

Karen in Normal bid farewell to a massive old maple tree on the west end of her house.  Now that all remains is a stump, she wants to select something new.

Miller Park Zoo

Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington may be one of the smaller accredited zoos in the nation. It's a leader, however, when it comes to preserving several species of animals that are threatened or endangered.

The zoo currently is helping some 20 species survive, including the snow leopard, the red wolf, and San Clemente Island goat. It is a breeder for about 50 kinds of animals to insure they don't become endangered. Among them are: the sumatran tiger, tammar wallaby, the red-ruffed lemur and the kookaburra, a long-bill bird.

Henhouse Prowlers

The Chicago based bluegrass quartet Henhouse Prowlers is now a teenager. Founding member and banjo player Ben Wright said despite the title of their latest album, he's not surprised the group is "Still On That Ride" 13 years later.

"When you start something like a band," said Wright. "You don't think too much about the future, because so many bands come and go."

Coliseum Naming Rights Sold for $850,000

Jun 22, 2017
Kae Mason / WGLT

The Coliseum in Bloomington will now be called the Grossinger Motors Arena. Facility manager VenuWorks has sold Grossinger Motors naming rights for the stadium. The $175,000  per year contract will last five years. Company owner Caroline Grossinger said she's excited.

"You know, investing in a facility is an enormous investment, but when we did that we did that with the thought that we're here to stay. We're here to build that community and the overall communities around us," said Grossinger.

Jon Sandage

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage is running for re-election. Sandage cited achievements in increasing drug enforcement efforts as a reason he hopes people will vote for him again.

"We have dedicated another detective to our detective division and started running narcotics cases out of our detective division. We have also added a K-9 unit to the patrol division and we are working a lot more drug interdiction details," said Sandage.

David Wilson / Flickr

The Bloomington Normal area edged under 4-percent unemployment last month. That's according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Economists suggest the lowest possible level of unemployment is about that 3.8-percent mark.

Compared to a year ago, the twin cities had 900 more jobs in May.

Wonder Woman Wows

Jun 22, 2017
JD Hancock / Flickr via Creative Commons

It's about time!  That's the feeling of many Wonder Woman fans as the DC legend finally gets her own blockbuster movie.

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the largest denominations in the country, voted recently to denounce white supremacy and the alt-right movement, but not without controversy.

Muppetmindset / wordpress.com

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on Sesame Street? Paul Rudolph doesn't have to guess. He works there.

Rudolph, who grew up in Normal, is the vocal music director of the show. As such, he wears many hats—composing, arranging and recording many of those catchy tunes that stick in the minds of children and not a few adults. He recently won his second Emmy for music editing on the show.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Occasionally I like to drop in on local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  This week I stopped by Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal, where owner Jared Alcorn was playing an album a little out of left field for the a store named after a Fugazzi album.

Kennedy Slams Rauner For Intentional Damage To State

Jun 20, 2017
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

One of the Democratic Candidates for Governor is accusing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of purposefully wrecking Illinois.

Speaking recently in Normal, Chris Kennedy said Governor Rauner intentionally used the budget deadlock to target social services.

Dog sittind down with mouth open as seen through a cage.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Wish Bone Canine Rescue organization is turning the former Tri-Lakes banquet hall into no-kill shelter to save more dogs and to make their time in shelter care less stressful until they are adopted.  During a tour of the current location at 1303 South Morrissey Drive, a big thunderstorm hits and Queenie, a large pit bull mix paces in an area known as "the condo," the largest cage area that has a window.

Normal Council Okays Underpass Option

Jun 19, 2017
Farr Associates/Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council has approved an underpass option between Uptown and Uptown South. 

Council member Kevin McCarthy said he supports the construction of the underpass. He said he hopes the project will allow a safe way for people to cross the railroad tracks.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A solid majority on the Bloomington City Council favors creating a citizen review board for police complaints.

There's less certainty about one provision community groups are pushing. Alderman Joni Painter said during a council work session it is an absolute no go for her.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council has given a clear signal to the Library Board as it considers a new or expanded library; stay in the current location. 

Loren Root

An injured shoulder derailed country-rocker Joe Stamm from his dream of playing college football. A star quarterback at Metamora High School in the mid 2000's, Stamm signed with Northern Illinois University after initially committing to Illinois State University during the Denver Johnson era.
 

PHOTOS: WBRP Bike Co-op Opens

Jun 18, 2017
Staff / WGLT

The community's first bike co-op is open. The West Bloomington Revitalization Project Bike Co-op,  is a welcoming space where people can learn about building, maintaining and safely riding bicycles. The co-op will offer bikes for sale at affordable prices and people can also volunteer, with hours counting toward bike ownership. The co-op is located at 724 Washington St. and shares space with the WBRP's Tool Library. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

A section of the University Galleries is aglow with the latest works of Dennis French.

Two men in formal wear with one holding a plaque.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart joked as he received the McLean County History Museum's History Makers Award, "We all at some time in our life hope that at our funeral somebody will have something nice to say.  So, I appreciate the fact that I am here tonight ."[to hear nice comments.]

Each year the McLean County Museum of History Board selects the History Makers who are recognized for outstanding, lifelong contributions of time and talents that have helped make McLean County a better place to live.

This year's History Makers include:

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

The Town of Normal Council is expected to sign off on an option for pedestrians and people on bikes to traverse railroad tracks bisecting Uptown.

Judith Valente / GLT News

Speaking at Bloomington High School, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said Bloomington-Normal schools stand to lose about $500,000  in Medicaid funds under the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A slew of high ranking Democrats showed up in Bloomington Normal for a letter carriers union convention at the Uptown Marriot. They included the Senate President John Cullerton, Senator Dick Durbin, and businessman and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy.
     
Kennedy is taking aim at the state property tax system saying it's 'legalized extortion' when politically elected assessors elevate assessments and politically connected lawyers appeal them. Kennedy said this is not just a problem in Chicago, but everywhere in the state.

WGLT

District 87 Schools in Bloomington have loaned the area vocational education program close to a quarter million dollars.

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said it's a shame that's necessary because of the state budget deadlock. Reilly also said District 87's interest rates are climbing because the state bonds are near junk status.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Editors note: This article is part of a series of interviews with newly elected council members in Bloomington and Normal. Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy was interviewed May 25. 

A new downtown task force is setting priorities. The group has three more meetings before an initial report is due on Aug. 31. 

Peter Vogel / Flickr via Creative Commons

Here's a nasty relative of the tick that you don't want in your yard: the spider mite. It's hard to fight a battle against something you can barely see!

Judith Valente / WGLT

Bloomington police, community groups and the City Council have hammered out a draft ordinance for a new citizen-led police oversight board.

Bloomington Planning Commission Signs Off On Bike Lanes

Jun 15, 2017
Bike BloNo

The Bloomington Planning Commission supports bike lanes along Washington Street. Residents testified on both sides of the amendment to the Bloomington bike plan during a public hearing.

Images from performers who'll appear at the BCPA during the 2017-2018 season.
Image courtsey of the city of Bloomington

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts’ new season was booked under a mandate from City Manager David Hales to generate more money as the center faces a half-million dollar deficit.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The 2017 GLT Summer Concert is history. We hope you had a great time! We did! Performers include Edward David Anderson's Black Dirt Revival band, Los Texmaniacs, and Thornetta Davis.

Peter Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

At the first-ever Illinois Shakespeare Festival -- back when it wasn't even called that yet -- the plays were staged on the tennis courts at Ewing Manor in Bloomington.  Forty years later and the acclaimed festival has its own spiffy theater at Ewing and a great reputation as a local cultural gem.

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