A new app is in the works for Connect Transit. The bus system has been using DoubleMap for the last four years, but will switch to another app. General Manager Andrew Johnson said the goal is to have it ready by mid-August when new routes and schedules are put in place.

GLT News in Review -- May 28, 2016

May 29, 2016
Ralph Weisheit

Continuing coverage of how the state budget impasse is affecting social service agencies, new bus routes for Bloomington-Normal are approved, and how discipline may change at Unit Five schools, and more. It's our regular recap of the week's news in 5 minutes.

A 22-year old man from Heyworth has drowned as part of a dirt bike crash. McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis said Andrew Johnson sustained a blunt force head injury during a dirt bike crash in a wooded area north of 510 North Buchanan in Heyworth late Saturday afternoon. Davis said the crash likely rendered him unconscious when he entered the water. the case remains under investigation by the Coroner's office and the Mclean County Sheriff's Department.

An Incident To Remember

May 28, 2016

On Memorial Day weekend in 1970 an estimated 60,000 mostly hippies and college age students invaded the village of Heyworth, Illinois.  They descended on this small McLean County town to attend a rock festival named "Incident at Kickapoo Creek."  Canned Heat, Country Joe & the Fish, and the Butterfield Blues Band, all who had played Woodstock nine months prior, were there.  B.B. King was there, as was Ted Nugent, and Michael McDonald. There was even wild speculation that the Beatles might re-unite that weekend at the festival.

Russ Sanderlin / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Penguin Project of McLean County takes on a classic of children's literature for their spring show.

Summer Slevin

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip and for one Illinois State University alum, it's time to shine with her name. You might remember GLT covering Summer Slevin's road trip across the U.S. last year, but she leaves for her second trip this Sunday.

Her last journey covering 21 states and 10 national parks was focused on nature and meeting new people. This time, she is hitting the road for a completely different reason.

James Nevin

A former track physician at the Indianapolis 500 race said drivers get the very best care possible in the event of crashes. In spite of 230 mile per hour speeds, Advocate BroMenn Vice President of Medical Management Jim Nevin said having board certified emergency physicians at track side and ambulances ready to roll mean there is a significant response advantage that people in ordinary car crashes don't have.

Adam Greig / Flickr via Creative Commons

The need to dig comes to every gardener.  But when it comes to wielding a shovel, are we doing it right?

Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan senior Max Leonard has won the national championship in the discus at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Charlie Schlenker

The McLean County Republican Party has slated Scott Murphy in the District Two County Board race. urphy is already serving on the board after he was appointed following the resignation of Matt Sorensen.

Procurement Compromise Advances In General Assembly

May 26, 2016
Flickr user Justin Brocke

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says the state needs to change how it purchases products and services as part of a budget deal. But Senate Republicans say a compromise that passed out of committee Wednesday needs more work.

Rauner administration officials say they oppose the legislation even though they say they like parts of the measure, like streamlining processes and allowing cooperative purchasing. But they want certain exemptions from purchasing rules for agencies like the Capital Development Board.

Jessica Vandrick / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A federal study says small fish can be trapped in water currents created by commercial barges and pulled through electric barriers designed to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says tests show that fish swimming near barges can remain caught between them for substantial distances. In one trial, live fish were transported more than nine miles along the Illinois River. They went through a shipping lock and the barriers 37 miles from Lake Michigan at Chicago.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner won't say what he'll do with a spending plan approved by House Democrats.  But he did decry it as wildly out-of-balance.

It's not Rauner's to deal with, yet -- the measure still has to be taken up by the Senate. But this much is clear already: Rauner won't sign the $40 billion budget into law. His office says he'll veto it. But he doesn't have to veto all of it.  The governor can selectively use his veto pen.

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

Bloomington-Normal's start-up food co-op Green Top Grocery has set a construction timeline.

Expect to see earth-moving equipment on the site at 921 E. Washington Street in Bloomington beginning in July. General Manager Michael Pennington says most of the work then will be installing underground utilities with the bulk of construction occurring late in the year.

Normal Fire Department

A possible lightning strike caused a house fire in the Savannah Green subdivision in Normal Thursday morning.

The fire department says an official cause will have to wait for the investigation, but most of the damage to the home in the 1300 block of Oglethorpe Avenue was to the roof and attic.

Firefighters estimate damage at more than 60,000 dollars. There were no injuries from the two alarm fire that began during a thunderstorm about 7:30 a.m.

Monaghan Photography

Corey Dennison listened to a lot of music growing up in Chattanooga TN and various other southern burgs.  But he said everything changed once he heard Howlin' Wolf's "London Sessions" album.

"Right then and there is when I said 'whoa ... I gotta have this.'"


The 10th season of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts features a mix of Broadway, vintage pop, and comedy.  

"Unelectable You" cashes in on election year fever with a comedy review that skews and skewers both left and right.  Comedian Louie Anderson, who stars in the FX series "Baskets", brings his stand-up show to the BCPA.  Broadway is represented with "Annie," "Elf" and "Bye-Bye Birdie."  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History has raided Lincoln'-related collections and archives for a new exhibit that explores Lincoln's life in central Illinois.

"Abraham Lincoln in McLean County" reveals Lincoln's deep local connections and how they influenced the man who would one day guide the nation.  "We examine recollections and reminisces of Lincoln to provide  a more complete portrait of Lincoln as a man and as a leader," said Museum Librarian Bill Kemp. "We take time to really look at stories local folk told of Lincoln to paint a more three dimensional portrait of the man."

Ralph Weisheit

The Unit 5 School Board has agreed to borrow 3.5 million dollars to buy school buses instead of rent them. Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman says Unit 5 is currently running 154 buses. 61 of those are rented. 


School Districts are reviewing their disciplinary codes this summer to prepare for the effect of a new law going into effect with the new school year in the fall.


Many businesses are figuring out how much new federal rules on overtime pay will cost them starting in December. The effect on Illinois State University could be in the two million dollar range.

Flickr user Justin Brocke

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats, who are set to go it alone on a new state budget.

Marci Pritts

Jeff and Marci Pritts will spend the next year with their family in an RV they've named "Someday."

"There's one overwhelming response I think that we get and we have  kind of brought that into our trip a little bit," said Marci. "People often say 'I'd love to do that someday.' For that reason we named the RV 'Someday.' It's kind of a statement that that today can be someday. Just do it."

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

You wouldn't have to be sick, to take a sick day under legislation approved Tuesday by the Illinois House.      

Staff / WGLT

New routes and schedules for buses in the Twin Cities were approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The changes include more frequent service, Sunday service, and more transfer locations. General Manager Andrew Johnson said, as a result of the changes, the yearly operating costs will go up to $14.5 million, which is about $3 million higher than current operating costs.

Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents.  

Several months ago the Bloomington based social service agency Providing Access To Help kept its doors open and made payroll after much searching and stress about searching for a loan. 


Even in an normal year - getting an Illinois state budget approved is complicated. But this is no normal year. And lawmakers have just a week left to get it all done.

Given that lawmakers never approved a budget last year, they now  have not one, but two state spending plans to finish up. A budget for last year, and a budget for next year. That means figuring out where to make cuts, and maybe where and how much to raise taxes.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear energy workers are in Springfield Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to save two of Exelon's Illinois plants.

The energy behemoth says unless legislators pass a law by the end of this month, it will shut down the plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Jeff Bartz, who's from Colona, says that would lead to a loss of thousands of jobs, and wipe out a big part of the regional tax base. Bartz says nuclear power has advantages.

Pet Adoption Bill Leads To Dispute

May 24, 2016
Luke McCoy / Flickr

A bill that would've required universities in Illinois to offer healthy cats and dogs to rescue organizations after animal testing has provoked a dispute between its Democratic sponsor and the University of Illinois.

Emily Sullivan / Flickr

Former U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan has been named to the board of directors for the museum that ``Star Wars'' director George Lucas hopes to build along Chicago's lakefront.  

Duncan's appointment will begin June 1. Duncan was in charge of Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2009. Duncan also worked at Ariel Investments where Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is president.  
 Lucas said he's ``honored'' Duncan will work with the museum, calling Duncan ``well-suited for the museum's educational and cultural mission.''