Michael Hill / WGLT

Religious leaders in the Twin Cities are reaching out to LGBT individuals to let them know that Bloomington and Normal offer open places for spiritual growth. Representatives from Christian, Unitarian Universalist and Jewish faiths gathered at a panel discussion to give their perspectives on the importance of welcoming all people into their faiths.

Richard Gillin / Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its first major ruling in an abortion case in nine years. And ISU Political Scientist Meghan Leonard said five of the justices did not buy any of the argument from the state of Texas that a law regulating abortion clinics was intended to safeguard public health.

McLean County Health Department

The last several weeks have involved a great deal of public turmoil involving a strained relationship between the County Health Department and its Board of Health and the County Board. Investigative efforts by the Bloomington Pantagraph turned up thousands of e-mails among health board members, and Health Department Director Walt Howe with some members of the board scheming to elect their slate of officers friendly to Howe's position.

An early morning fire in Bloomington caused 125,000 dollars damage to a home on North Lee Street. One adult and five children escaped without injury about 1:40 a.m. Monday from the home in the 14-hundred block of North Lee.

Red Cross workers say they are helping the residents. Firefighters say they called in backup from Normal and an extra crew from Bloomington to help put out the flames. The fire began in the kitchen, but investigators have not yet determined the cause of the flames.

Creative Commons

Authorities in McLean County have found five malnourished horses, and one has been euthanized. Sheriff Jon Sandage says a neighbor tipped off deputies to the horses.

Creative Commons

Some $2 billion in road construction projects will be shut down July 1 in Illinois without a state budget agreement. An Associated Press analysis of Illinois Department of Transportation data shows that collectively work on the 19 largest projects is less than halfway done in terms of money spent.

Clinton Stumps In Chicago

11 hours ago
Creative Commons

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wasted no time attacking her Republican rival Donald Trump during a speech in Chicago this afternoon at McCormick Place.

Clinton spoke before the Women’s Luncheon for the Rainbow Push Coalition.

WIU To Furlough Again

11 hours ago
Adam Moss / Creative Commons

Some Western Illinois University employees will have to take more unpaid days off as the school tries to cope with a drastic decrease in state aid.

This spring, Western imposed furloughs on non-negotiated staff earning more-than 40-thousand dollars. They had to take those days off between April and June.

Jerrod Campbell

Two months ago, NPR's Morning Edition challenged listeners to reinvent its theme music. Submissions since then have spanned genres, including ambient, dubstep, reggae, waltz, jazz, and blues. Illinois State University School of Music Professor Mark Grizzard recently took up the challenge.  

Gemma Billings / Flickr

VenuWorks may manage the U.S. Cellular Coliseum for up to 5 years if a contract is approved by Bloomington Aldermen Monday. The company entered into a 90 day agreement with the city in April in an effort to make sure VenuWorks was a good fit.

Jesse Faber

It's our regular recap of the week's top local news stories. This week:

  • A tornado ripped through Pontiac during severe weather on Wednesday.
  • The budget impasse in Springfield continues to create problems in Illinois.
  • Bloomington Council rejects video gaming license fees, but continues moving forward with 'complete streets.'


Catch up on these stories and more in just five minutes.


Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Faculty members from Heartland Community College are showing their work in a new exhibition currently up at the Joe McCauley Gallery.

Kevin Melger / Flickr

No gardener likes to see the nasty earwig move in. He's like the worst house guest ever --  he's a voracious eater, invites all his friends, and sports a nasty set of pincers.

Children's Discovery Museum

The Children's Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal has a new exhibit that combines the desire for faraway places with a staycation.  "Hello From Japan" opens Friday evening and gives visitors a chance to experience Japanese culture in an interactive exhibit that reveals the two sides of Japanese culture.

Eshan Singh

19-year-old Normal Community High grad Eshan Singh has been an active participant in community issues.  In 2015, he and more than 100 students walked out of class to protest the initial implementation of the PARCC exam in Unit-5 schools.   Singh has now turned his attention to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. This American of Indian descent said he recently spent a semester in Ghana during his "gap year" of college to discover the roots of what he characterizes as "Black Beauty" and "Black Power" in America.  That experience turned into a movie he titled "Blackness: A Beauty."

"I came to Africa with the idea that I could learn about the power of blackness in Africa.  But in the film I quickly discovered that wasn't true."


Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis said the Democratic protest in the US House was a "publicity stunt." The nearly 26 hour sit-in by House Democrats ended earlier today, but the group vows to come back after a congressional recess "more determined than ever before."

Bena K. Jaffe / Flickr

As a result of a lack of state funding, PATH in Bloomington is ending its programs that help older adults stay independent.

Executive Director Karen Zangerle said its hard to get rid of the programs, which are the first line of defense for people 60 or over.

Joan Brehm

MIKE McCURDY: This is Sound Ideas. I’m MM, in the studio with Kevin Bersett, editor of ISU’s Redbird Scholar Magazine and the Ask An Expert column in the Redbird Scholar magazine. Thanks for joining us on Sound Ideas.

Jesse Faber

Damage assessment and cleanup has begun in Pontiac after a tornado tore through the west and south parts of town Wednesday night. Mayor Robert Russell said the tornado clipped about two blocks of residential housing on the south end of the city, causing some injuries in a mobile home park.

"The good news is that nobody critical. Some broken bones and maybe a broken hip and some cuts and bruises, but if you saw the devastation that went through, we're very very fortunate," said the Mayor.

MarylandGovPics / Flickr

The massacre at the Orlando nightclub earlier this month lit the spark of another furious debate over gun control.

Illinois State University Assistant Professor of Politics and Government Kerri Milita has worked in Florida and is familiar with gun laws there and the constitutional issues surrounding it. During an appearance on Sound Ideas, Milita said Florida is known as the "Gunshine State," a moniker residents proudly tout.

DSC04776 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The mass shooter in Orlando not only killed 49 people, he struck at the heart of a place that for many in the gay community means so much more than just a watering  hole or hang out.

NOAA Archive / Creative Commons

Editor's Note: This story has been updated

At least one tornado struck Pontiac, Illinois Wednesday night causing heavy damage and at least three injuries. Information is still being collected by fire and law enforcement officials, though some reports indicate children were among those injured when a mobile home was destroyed. The Fire Department said overnight "some injuries appeared to be somewhat serious."

A prominent Illinois imam said young American Muslims who are attracted to radical groups might be motivated by a mentality of "two-fold inferiority."

Imam Rizwan Ali of the Islamic Center of Naperville said it is a mentality found in a variety of immigrant families.

"Immigrants from different backgrounds have a concept of something called two-fold inferiority. They are not assimilated with their current host country and their (former) country," the imam said.

Judith Valente

At 8:30 last Saturday evening, Zahra Abdulrehman and her sister Hibah were about to break the Ramadan fast. They hadn't taken any food during this holy season of fasting for Muslims since 3:30 that morning. Before them were plates of spicy chicken, rice, yogurt, mango, watermelon and dates.

Judith Valente / WGLT

An unprecedented encounter took place in Bloomington last week in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub.

When St. John's Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil for those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub, about a dozen members of the local Islamic community came to pay their respects. For many of the Muslims, it was their first time in a Christian Church.

There to greet them was Dave Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Among the Muslim visitors was Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal. 

Mike Militich

The mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub has provoked an outpouring of responses from religious groups. While many denominations in the U.S. embrace gay rights, others remain hostile to LGBTQ issues, grounding their beliefs in the holy writings they use.

Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Illinois Wesleyan University Chaplain Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger called on denominations that have been vocal in their opposition to homosexuals to turn down the rhetoric. Nelson Winger said even denominations that support LGBTQ rights may be unintentionally fostering an anti-gay bias by "engaging in silence."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Generation has taken the first step in closing the nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Town of Normal

Van Leer's Broadview Mansion in Normal has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The property has been owned by the Immanuel Bible Foundation since 1949.

BN Economic Development Council

The Bloomington-Normal economy continues to show signs of strength, but there are also areas of concern.

WGLT's Willis Kern finds out more in this interview with Aimee Ingalls of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. This is in advance of Thursday's quarterly "BN By the Numbers" presentation, which will be held during the noon hour Thursday July 23 at ISU's Bone Student Center.