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.

Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors and the UAW Local at the plant in Normal have extended their collective bargaining agreement another couple days. The contract had been set to expire at Midnight on the 29th, but will now run through October 1st. The two sides are negotiating even as Mitsubishi prepares to end production at the plant in November. It is the second extension. The original contract expired at the end of August. The company is seeking a buyer for the facility in hopes of salvaging about 1,200 jobs there.

MacArthur Foundation

An Illinois Wesleyan University graduate is among this year's MacArthur "genius" award recipients. One of the $625,000 fellowships goes to Juan Salgado. He's a community organizer in Chicago who runs the Instituto del Progreso Latino. That group tries to boost English language skills for Latinos to make upward mobility easier, particularly in healthcare and manufacturing. Salgado says urban development to him means growing human talent, not bricks and mortar.

A McLean County Jury has convicted a 19-year old Bloomington man of murder in the kicking and beating death of a homeless man. Anthony Davis-Dickson will be sentenced to up to life in prison for the death of Ronald Smith in White Oak Park on Bloomington's west side. State's Attorney Jason Chambers says the extended term is possible because of the wanton cruelty and callous nature of the crime.

Excitement is still building as the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. continues with a mass in Philadelphia tomorrow. GLT's Judy Valente is on the way to Philadelphia with a group of Catholics from Central Illinois. The trip began with the rising of the moon over Roanoke, Illinois. Valente tells us they are tired and excited after traveling all night. There are ten in a van for twelve and she says they saw the sun rise in Pennsylvania this morning.

Experimental fiction is emerging from the thickets of post modernism. ISU English Professor Chris Breu has a new book out addressing this shift, Insistence of the Material. In this conversation with GLT's Charlie Schlenker, Breu argues for the value of attending to the material world and how that physical world sets limits on social and individual life.

As the Normal Sesquicentennial celebration kicks off, GLT begins a series of interviews with the people who are offering lectures as part of Normal 150 events. Today, the topic is the early years of Normal. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with retired ISU Historian Paul Holsinger and asks why Normal was a good place for settlement in the first place. Holsinger says the answer was not obvious.

John Alltop / Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home was a fixture in Normal for 110 years. As the community celebrates its 150th anniversary, Ruthie Cobb chats with Charlie Schlenker about the orphanage. She's says the home had a singular statewide impact as well as a local one.

GLT aired Charlie's feature on a book put out by the ISSCS Historical Society in 2007.

 

William Wesen / Wikimedia Commons

In  the development of Normal, transportation has been a key theme. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker is interviewing all of the lecturers for the "Normal 150" celebration.  Terry Ryburn and Mike Matejka share their thoughts on why Normal developed the way it did.

Esther Bubley / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

As the Town of Normal observes its sesquicentennial, there are things in its history that should be recognized but not celebrated. In our continuing series of "Normal 150" interviews, GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with a retired ISU historian about racial segregation. Mark Wyman says the division of whites and blacks in Normal was similar to other cities in Illinois.

 

The head of the effort to rescue use of the Mitsubishi Plant says there have been some nibbles on a buyer. Kyle Ham heads both the Economic Development Council for Bloomington Normal and the Mitsubishi Task Force.

"I am personally aware of automakers that are looking at the facility and have begun to do the due diligence process."

Ham says the plant has not been on the market that long and possible buyers have a lot of work to do.

Some have argued the Bloomington Budget Task Force process was a charade to give Aldermen political cover to make unpleasant choices in higher taxes and budget cuts. But, Task Force Chair David Sage says there are two valuable things the task force provided, first an honest assessment from established leaders about the choices before the city.

Police in Normal say they have arrested a Bloomington man for selling cocaine. 50 year old Troy Randle Senior was taken into custody. Detectives say they also seized more than $2,700 in cash, 46 grams of crack cocaine, three grams of powder cocaine, and a Lexus four door vehicle.
 

Walt Willey web site

Western legend Wild Bill Hickock was born in Troy Grove, Illinois about an hour and twenty minutes north of Bloomington-Normal. Actor Walt Willey grew up in nearby Ottawa, Illinois before making his career on the soap opera All My Children. Willey learned of the central Illinois connection to Hickok only later in life, and was entranced by James Butler Hickok when he was looking for a one man show to do.

The head of the Bloomington Library Board says the library will create six new bookmobile stops west of Veterans Parkway. The move partly addresses a flap caused by a lack of west side bookmobile service.

"The staff is concerned about any population feeling that they are not being given the services they are entitled to."

Carol Koos says to start they will be using locations of several discontinued stops that were shut down for lack of use.   

A resolution asking the Public Building Commission to proceed with McLean County jail renovation and expansion served as a skirmishing point for the mental health service debate. Board member Chuck Erickson voted for measure, but expressed reservations, saying mental illness is not a legitimate reason to expand the jail, protecting the public is.

Erickson, who is also the chair of the County Republican Party, says he fears some are trying to hijack the initiative into more than it really ought to be.

The proposed new budget for McLean County government is 4% higher than last year. County Administrator Bill Wasson says the increase of 3.7 million dollars will go to several areas including the jail renovation and expansion, the Towanda Barnes road widening effort, new phones for the ETSB, and courtroom audio system replacement.

The budget includes a 1.5% pay increase. Four jobs will be cut including one sheriff's deputy, and staff in the state's attorneys and child protection service offices because of state grant cuts.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

In a month and a half, the new Illinois Wesleyan University President will take office. Eric Jensen is the current Provost at Hamline University in Saint Paul Minnesota. Just after the announcement of the presidency happened at IWU, Charlie Schlenker talked with Jensen about his vision of higher education, hopes for IWU in Bloomington and why he wanted the job.

There's an effort to broaden a program designed to help take the sting out of court cases involving custody and divorce. WGLT's Willis Kern has more with two officials who oversee a team of specially-trained mediators.  

The 11th judicial circuit includes Ford, Livingston, Logan and Woodford counties in addition to McLean. The family court mediation program is in its second year.

WGLT

The next president of Illinois Wesleyan University will be Eric Jensen. Jensen is currently the the Provost of Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Hamline has nearly 5,000 students in its liberal arts, business, and education programs. It also has a law school. Jensen has also taught economics and overseen a policy program at William and Mary, the nation's second oldest University.

A federal judge has given lawyers for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert more time to file pre-trial motions in his hush-money case. Attorneys for the Illinois Republican and federal prosecutors filed a joint motion Thursday asking for a two-week extension of Monday's filing deadline.

The two sides say they've been discussing issues Hastert's lawyers may raise. They say the extension may give them time to address those issues so the motions won't be necessary. U. S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin granted the motion Friday without comment.

Schock Appears

Sep 11, 2015

Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has made a rare public appearance since resigning from his congressional seat earlier this year amid an intensifying spending scandal.  
 

Crain's Chicago Business reports the Republican attended a Navy Seal Foundation fundraiser Wednesday at a Chicago hotel with other high-profile guests. His appearance came on the eve of a special election to replace him, won by Republican State Senator Darin LaHood.  

Illinois Wesleyan University is getting set to name its next President. The school in Bloomington has announced a news conference Monday to unveil the selection to replace Richard Wilson. The search has been ongoing since Wilson announced in December of last year that he would retire when a successor was named.

The Normal 1-5-0 celebration continues with stories and dramatic presentations this weekend. GLT continues its coverage of the Sesquicentennial here on Sound Ideas. Voices from the Past is presented by the Illinois Voices Theater, which also does the Cemetery Walk for the McLean County Museum of History every year. The show happens three times on Sunday at the Normal Theater. Charlie Schlenker talks with John Kirk and Judy Brown about dramatic moments from the history of Normal including a sketch about the Dillon Stables.

District 87

Population loss, economic activity, property values are all elements of the Bloomington Normal community that will change with the looming closure of the Mitsubishi Auto Plant. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with District 87 School Superintendent Barry Reilly about how he is assessing those variables.

Hear Bloomington Schools Superintendent Barry Reilly talk about the implementation of the high speed wi-fi initiative for low income children in District 87.

Astronomers are still nearly giddy with the revelations coming from the ten year mission to Pluto. Linda French of IWU is one of them. She knows most of the team on the New Horizons mission. French tells GLT's Charlie Schlenker she has been blown away by the latest discoveries. Linda French speaks at the McLean County Museum of History tomorrow at noon.

Two lottery winners have filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery, which stopped paying out large prizes because there's no state budget. The lawsuit by Rhonda Rasche and Danny Chasteen seeks class action status. Rasche is awaiting a $50,000 payout. Chasteen won $250,000. Last month the state comptroller's office said that without a budget for the July 1 fiscal year, there wasn't authority to write checks over $25,000 and payments would be delayed. The lawsuit says the lottery still pays wages and seeks a court order to stop ticket sales until Illinois pays.

American Institute Of Architects

Buildings shape society as much as society shapes buildings. The American Institute of Architects is out with a new version of its Guide to Chicago. Of course, that's a huge topic. It's hard to cover Chicago comprehensively. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker asks editor Laurie McGovern Peterson about curatorial decisions in looking at the architecture of the Windy City.

6:06 PM Newscast

May 27, 2015

An evening summary of news events in Bloomington-Normal May 27, 2015 as delivered by WGLT's Charlie Schlenker

Pages