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City of Bloomington

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has welcomed two bundles of furry cuteness. Parks and Recreation Director Jay Tetzloff said the baby otter pups were born about a month ago.

Their eyes are now open, but Tetzloff said they do not yet know how to swim.

Woman with mic in red Black Lives Matter shirt
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Two key members of the Minority and Police Partnership are reacting differently to Bloomington police pedestrian stop data analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Illinois Wesleyan University Professor Julie Prandi.

Black Lives Matter

Editor's Note: This post includes updated information, 

 The case of a 10-year-old handcuffed by Bloomington police, whose photograph caused controversy on social media, has been resolved for the time being. 

A spokesman for Black Lives Matter said an agreement was reached which allows the 10-year-old to  complete the sentence of community service he received in connection with a 2016 charge of destruction of government property.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Long Range Transportation survey conducted by the McLean County Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC)  late last year is providing direction for the organization's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The eventual blueprint will help guide transportation planning in the county for the next two decades.

Tyler Zoller

The line "I just want to make music and friends/Been that way since I was 12 years old" is from "Music and Friends" off Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band's recent "So Delicious" album. Hearing the words fed back to Josh"Reverend" Peyton elicits a smile from the trio's founder.

Staff / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board has completed the hire of an Interim Director.

Former Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for Andrew Johnson until a permanent replacement can be chosen.

Staff / WGLT

Normal Town Council candidates said they find the idea of combining the Bloomington and Normal Public libraries an intriguing one.

At a GLT candidates forum held at ISU's University Galleries, candidate Chemberly Cummings embraced a question about merging library services rather than building a new library in Uptown South in Normal and an expansion in downtown Bloomington.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has signed off on a labor agreement with jail guards.

It's a two year contract that expires at the end of this year. County Administrator Bill Wasson said they will head right back into negotiations.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A Facebook group called "Bloomington Deserves Better Than Kevin Lower" is attacking the Mayoral candidate for a three year old response to an alleged racist post on a page titled the Marcus Garvey Society.

On the page was a comment suggesting that "if African Americans really wanted to escape racism, it might be time for them to move to the land of the ancestors."

Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council

The 11th annual One Voice contingent of McLean County elected officials, business, social service and education leaders is preparing to head to Washington DC.

Wikimedia Commons

Former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón will address climate change at the Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series at Illinois Wesleyan University March 23.  His lecture is titled “Better Growth or Better Climate: Do We Need to Choose?”

Staff / WGLT

The Normal town council has altered some public comment rules and retained others.  Following an Illinois Attorney General's Office ruling that a 45 day wait between comments violated the Open Meetings Act, council agreed to waive any wait time. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss is joining a growing field of Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in 2018.

During a stop in Normal Monday night, the former University of Chicago math professor called for a movement of ordinary people to take on money and "the machine."

Black Lives Matter

Note: This post has been revised to reflect new developments.

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who was handcuffed by Bloomington police and photographed in an image that went viral on social media last week is speaking out about the incident.

Anntionnetta Simmons said her son suffers from attention deficit disorder. He was charged last week in West Bloomington with disorderly conduct. His mother said the charge is the result of a misunderstanding.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

An online auction of equipment formerly part of the Mitsubishi manufacturing plant is being organized by Maynard's Industries for Rivian Automotive.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Illinois State University Creative Writing Program and Department of English present @Salon 2017, which marks the centennial of the birth of poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

Project Love The Ladies

What does a poor woman do when it's that time of the month? It's a difficult question when most available cash goes to putting food on the table.

There is an answer for some in Bloomington Normal. It's called Project Love the Ladies.

David Wilson / Flickr

Nearly 6,000 people were out of work in Bloomington-Normal in January and looking for a job.

The state Department of Employment Security reported unemployment rates increased in most major metro areas in the state including the Twin Cities.

Caterpillar Hires Big Name Legal Help

Mar 17, 2017
IPR

Caterpillar Inc. is hiring a former U.S. attorney general to help it sort out matters that sparked a federal raid on its headquarters in central Illinois.

William P. Barr will serve as outside counsel to the large equipment manufacturer.

He'll help Caterpillar review and address issues relating to Caterpillar SARL, a Swiss parts subsidiary, and tax-saving practices.    

Issues with Caterpillar SARL have dogged the company for eight years, sparking a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits, and proposed taxes and penalties totaling $2 billion.

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will consider a new public comment policy to replace one the Illinois Attorney General has called illegal.

The Town currently prevents members of the public from addressing the council more than once every 45 days.

The Public Access Counselor for the Attorney General's Office said that violates the Open Meetings Act.

Staff / WGLT

Department store options continue to shrink in Bloomington-Normal.

J.C. Penney is closing its store at Eastland Mall in Bloomington.

United Soybean Board / Flickr via Creative Commons

Now's the time to start growing potatoes in your garden.  But don't limit yourself to the usual potato suspects.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The future of cooperation between Bloomington and Normal was among the topics discussed Thursday at the WGLT-League of Women Voters Candidate Forum featuring hopefuls from Wards 3 and 9.

With the Bloomington city council agreeing to dissolve the Metro Zone agreement with Normal, and the resulting exchanges between the two mayors including the words "disingenuous" and "untrustworthy," how the two governing bodies move forward is a matter of concern for the community.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois People's Action and local faith leaders are calling for the Bloomington and Normal councils to keep families together. 

IPA held a news conference at Bloomington's Unitarian Universalist Church Thursday focusing on a welcoming ordinance for the Twin Cities. 

Staff / WGLT

A Pontiac Correctional Center Officer says mainstreaming prisoners who belong in solitary confinement has created an extremely violent atmosphere inside the prison.

According to prison worker union data, there were 247 inmate assaults on staff at Pontiac during 2016.

Community Players

Perhaps the most familiar opening notes of any American show come from composer Leonard Bernstein’s classic score for the musical, West Side Story.

With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show premiered on Broadway in  1957  and followed the rivalry between ethnic New York teens and young immigrant Puerto Ricans.

The show's opening lines, "Hey brown boy, this is our street ... swim back to where you came from," demonstrate perhaps just how little we’ve progressed as a nation since then.

Jon Norton / WGLT

With Deafheaaven set to bring its black metal/shoegaze sound to the Castle Theater in Bloomington March 18, their last two albums are getting heavy play on the turntable at Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal.

Erik Bush at GLT studios
Ryan Denham / WGLT

There is now only one contested race for Unit 5 school board in the April 4 election.

Erik Bush of north Normal withdrew his candidacy Wednesday, citing personal reasons. That means his opponent, incumbent Joseph Cleary of Normal, is now uncontested for one of three 4-year positions open on the board.

The Chateau / Facebook

The City of Bloomington has allowed the Chateau Hotel to reopen about a week after shutting it down for non-functional fire alarms.

JohnD / Yelp

  

As Saint Patrick's Day approaches, a watering hole in Uptown Normal has made a list of the top Irish pubs in the nation.

Foursquare reports Maggie Miley's Irish Pub came in at 19 on the top 25 based on users likes, saves, tip sentiment, and its "proprietary hotness" score. Maggie Miley's owner Tyler Holloway said he's pleased.

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