Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

Charlie Schlenker

News Director

GLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Another special meeting Monday on a proposed Bloomington police citizen review board drew more than 100 people who gave, at times, heated input to aldermen.

Five Bloomington City Council members delayed a scheduled vote on Monday to hear more from Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

Staff / WGLT

After a fierce battle over bicycle lanes for Washington Street, the final chapter in the process Monday was anticlimactic.

Opponents scarcely showed up, and the Bloomington City Council gave unanimous approval, 9-0.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan
Courtesy / betsydirksenlondrigan.com

There is another entry into the Democratic race for Congress in the 13th District.

Chief Heffner talks to aldermen
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council likely won’t be voting on the proposed police civilian review board Monday as planned, after aldermen asked the police chief to share more information about current practices.

Larry Dietz speaks to crowd
Lyndsie Schlink / Illinois State University

The president of Illinois State University said Thursday's passage of a state budget is a welcome relief. Larry Dietz said more work remains to be done, but at least there is a way forward.

"It makes life a lot easier in terms of the planning. Frankly we have felt that nobody cares much about education because there has been no scheme and no plan to fund it," said Dietz.

Train in Uptown Normal
WGLT

The biggest threat to Amtrak passenger rail service is probably a proposal in Congress to eliminate long-distance routes, according to Normal’s mayor.

Ron Blemler standing on bridge
Courtesy / Town of Normal

The mayor of Normal is praising a former Parks and Recreation director for his deep impact on the town.

Normal Council Mulls Lawsuit Over Fire Trucks

Jul 6, 2017
Town Of Normal

The Normal Town Council voted Wednesday to move ahead with a potential lawsuit against a fire truck maker.

Mayor Chris Koos said Pierce Manufacturing's trucks have a 50-year warranty but suffer from corrosion.

Bruce Rauner speaks at event
G-Jun Yam / The Associated Press

The speaker of the Illinois House has scheduled a vote for Thursday to override the governor's veto of the budget package.

Pat Peterson / WGLT

Democrats plan to mount a challenge next year to Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael. Nikita Richards has announced she is running as a progressive.

Connect Transit

Connect Transit expects up to a 7 percent increase in use of its Connect Mobility service next month. That's because the YWCA is shutting down its Medivan program.

The YWCA made that choice because state funding was unreliable and the program was on pace to operate at a $120,000 per year deficit.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Staff / WGLT

In the wake of another spring legislative session that failed to produce a state budget, two ratings agencies have downgraded state universities including ISU.

Standard and Poor's recently chose not to downgrade ISU, but S and P has a rule that no public university can be more than three grades above the rating for its host state. And so when S and P downgraded Illinois, last week it also gave a technical downgrade to ISU to A minus.

Bloomington Police Department

State Police have arrested a man from Fort Wayne, Indiana in connection with a bank robbery in Bloomington.

City police said a man took money from a PNC Bank on West Market Street about 11:23 a.m. Wednesday.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Congressman Rodney Davis was not hurt during the shooting of five people at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Davis plays catcher on the team.

Crosswinds Flying Club

50 years is a long time for any institution to be around, let alone one that has high expenses and requirements for sustained expertise. But, the Crosswinds Flying Club is celebrating that half century mark this weekend at the Central Illinois Regional Airport.

Unit Five Questions Proposed Low Income Housing Location

Jun 13, 2017
Google

Unit Five Schools has helped postpone a decision on a low-income housing development in southwest Bloomington. The city council is asking for a financial impact study.

Ralph Weisheit

A Special Olympics Illinois athlete has died.

Special Olympics Illinois President and CEO Dave Breen said the athlete suffered a medical emergency during a Summer Games swimming competition.

Staff / WGLT

The Illinois Attorney General has ruled the City of Bloomington violated the Open Meetings Act. Mayor Tari Renner said the city is likely to appeal the ruling.

Bloomington Police Department

The man accused of stabbing a Peoria woman to death in a Bloomington motel last month now faces new charges.

Police say 32-year old Kyle Brestan was arrested again at the McLean County Jail on seven counts of the manufacture and possession of child pornography.

Graham Beard / Wikimedia Commons

The McLean County Health Department says there are five new confirmed cases of mumps in the area.

Those are cases the health department believes do not connect to a cluster of cases at Illinois State University in March.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Another shooting in Bloomington, and another leg wound. Police don't believe the wound locations in each of the four shootings since April 28th is significant. 

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