Colleen Reynolds | WGLT

Colleen Reynolds

Correspondent

Colleen has spent most of her adult life working the streets and beats of Bloomington-Normal for WJBC-AM where she won numerous reporting awards for hard news, feature writing, and breaking news coverage.

Reynolds was twice named the Associated Press’ Best Downstate Radio Reporter in Illinois. She was recently nominated for an Outstanding Communicator Award from the Bloomington-Normal Chapter of the American Women in Communications, a distinction she also received in 2013. Her love of dining out also prompted her to write a weekly food blog called “Food for Thought” at WJBC. Reynolds and interim GLT General Manager R.C. McBride were part of the team at WJBC awarded the NAB’s Marconi Award for National Radio Station of the year in 2005 and 2009, when McBride served as program director there.

Reynolds is also Director of Alumni Relations-Donor Engagement for Heartland Community College. She was hired by the College in 2008 to create Heartland’s first-ever Alumni Relations program and to improve the College’s outreach in the community.

 

Ways to Connect

Pavement is dug out by man operating a large endloader.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Area car repair shops have been in high gear this summer, in part, because of many of 240 miles of residential streets in Bloomington are in such bad shape. Many rate a three on a 10-scale with 10 as the best.

Road closed sign
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

If you think the condition of Bloomington city streets is going to improve any time soon, you would be wrong.

Guy with camera and people sitting on bar stools at Six Strings local nightclub.
Jennifer Feaman

A one-time pastor from a church in Towanda felt called to a new mission a decade ago. Kevin Mounce left the flickering lights of liturgical candles for the bright lights of Hollywood to pursue his dream of making movies.

Several people at outdoor table eating a meal in Cuba.
Photo courtesy of Linda Stockton via Facebook

Former State Senator and Treasurer Dan Rutherford says his travel business to Cuba won’t be hurt by President Trump’s plans to reverse Obama-era easing of restrictions on travel and trade.  But,  Rutherford thinks the president’s policy is a mistake.

Dog sittind down with mouth open as seen through a cage.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Wish Bone Canine Rescue organization is turning the former Tri-Lakes banquet hall into no-kill shelter to save more dogs and to make their time in shelter care less stressful until they are adopted.  During a tour of the current location at 1303 South Morrissey Drive, a big thunderstorm hits and Queenie, a large pit bull mix paces in an area known as "the condo," the largest cage area that has a window.

Two men in formal wear with one holding a plaque.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart joked as he received the McLean County History Museum's History Makers Award, "We all at some time in our life hope that at our funeral somebody will have something nice to say.  So, I appreciate the fact that I am here tonight ."[to hear nice comments.]

Each year the McLean County Museum of History Board selects the History Makers who are recognized for outstanding, lifelong contributions of time and talents that have helped make McLean County a better place to live.

This year's History Makers include:

Images from performers who'll appear at the BCPA during the 2017-2018 season.
Image courtsey of the city of Bloomington

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts’ new season was booked under a mandate from City Manager David Hales to generate more money as the center faces a half-million dollar deficit.

Squad car with lights flashing blocking entrance to the 500 block of north Center in downtown Bloomington.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

It's been six months since the city of Bloomington came up with a plan to address safety concerns for bar patrons and police officers trying to handle as many as 1,600 people pouring into the streets on busy weekends.  The solution appears to be having the desired effect but so far, it comes with a price tag of $80,000 because police officers used for the additional downtown detail are considered "hire backs," and not part of the regular schedule, therefore they are paid time-and-a-half.

Czarek Sokolowski / AP

While some middle and high school students will be spending their summer vacations at the pool, the beach or visiting amusement parks,  nearly 20 students who are part of the McLean County Diversity Project will be learning first-hand about the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Flowers outline left side of the exterior front of the Bloomington Center for the Perfoming Arts Building
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The man who has spent the past month learning about past management of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts says the 1,200 seat theater and basement-level meeting space sits empty far too often.

"I get no pleasure out of an auditorium of 1,200 sitting there empty and knowing that 1,200 could have something in it and that 'something' could be producing revenue for the city," said Carl St. Clair, a former VenuWorks executive who was lured out of retirement with a four-month, $30,000 contract to serve as interim director of the BCPA.

Eight women who won Women of Distinction Awards for 2017 on stage at Marriott Hotel.
Photo Courtesy of Barb Adelman / Elan Studios

Nearly 700 people were in attendance to celebrate the eight  women named Women of Distinction at this year's YWCA of McLean County event.  This year saw the most nominations in the 28 year history of the local event.  Fourty-eight women were nominated in eight categories, including a new category created to recognize a woman who has made an outstanding contribution in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).  State Farm Vice President of systems Ashlee Pettit received the first-time award for her oversight of State Farm’s internet and mobile solutions.

Former mayor with theater director and Actor & Alum Gary Cole
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Illinois State University Alumnus Actor Gary Cole '77 has an IMDB profile that’s longer than a gang member’s rap sheet so you might be surprised he is often asked by random people if he’s famous because they recognize him from somewhere. Cole is among the busiest actors in the business. He’s currently on six TV shows and he has at least two movies coming out this year. 

Woman at church podium holding a photo of children in each hand.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly took to the podium at First United Methodist Church in Normal last night and joked the budget situation must be really bad because he's now meeting regularly with other superintendents and local college presidents.  "I don't remember that ever happening in my 27 years in education ... that presidents of universities and community colleges all get together in a room to have these discussions.  That tells you how serious it is," he told a community gathering organized to share stories and pray for the victims of the state budget impasse.  

Woman holding board with four peices of school memorabilia.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

A school building that stood out on the barren landscape of Normal when it was constructed as part of the Works Progress Administration will be celebrated as Unit Five marks the building's 80th anniversary.

Architect's drawing of a park and railroad tracks south of Uptown Station in Normal.
Drawing courtesy of Ratio Architects

A little more than two years after the town of Normal included a nearly $13 million underpass in its Uptown 2.0 plan based on community feedback,  a consultant hired to look at the feasibility is also recommending a wide underpass and park as the safest and best option for accessibility and economic development.

Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner Kersee at the Illinois Wesleyan University Shirk Center
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

A six-time Olympic medal winner told attendees at last night's Women's Health Night  they can overcome obstacles because she was able to achieve her dreams despite losing her mother at age 18 and being diagnosed with severe asthma.

Security checkpoint at airport with two travelers in line.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

If you're planning your summer vacation, you might want to make a stop next month at the Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA). The airport is launching a pop-up enrollment center for the government's TSA Pre-Check pre-screening security program, which is now available at 180 airports across the country.

Two young men and one is handcuffing another
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Following a year that saw increased tensions in Bloomington-Normal between police and minorities, an event designed to help community members experience what police officers encounter every day did not appear to attract any more interest than past years. But, the third annual Behind the Badge event at Horton Field House at Illinois State University seemed to leave a lasting impression for those who attended.  The event was sponsored by police agencies, Illinois State University and the Minority and Police Partnership (MAPP).

Staff / WGLT

The new contract manager for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts will start his job next week with a looming deadline of less than two months to get the fall season’s acts signed plus a nearly half-million dollar projected budget deficit.

Chris Koos watches results
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

When all the votes to be counted Tuesday were in, Normal Mayor Chris Koos held a slim seven-vote lead over challenger Marc Tiritilli.

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.

Cristian Jaramillio / WGLT

With the city of Bloomington and town of Normal embroiled in a dispute over the west-side Metro Zone, some say the sport of soccer may help thaw relations, similar to how ping-pong helped U. S. and Soviet leaders bridge differences in the early 1970s.

Vote Today sign on a sidewalk
Ken Chui

There will be two candidates left for Bloomington Mayor by the time polls close in today's primary election. 

Incumbent Mayor Tari Renner is being opposed by current council members Diana Hauman and Kevin Lower, as well as retired fire-fighter Robert Fike, and former talk-radio host Ian Bayne.

Bloomington Election Commission Executive Director Paul Shannon said there were just over 5,800 total voters by 4 p.m. 

Ralph Weisheit

Bloomington and Normal are headed for a showdown over a 30 year old agreement that shares tax revenue from the west side of town.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

By the end of the year, 21 soccer fields on airport-owned land along Ireland Grove Road will be off limits due to FAA regulations and so the debate is ramping up about whether to seize the opportunity and go big, as in a multi-sport complex in one location, or to update existing fields and green space at schools and parks to fill the void. 

Staff

 A new issue could be emerging in the primary election for the city of Bloomington and Town of Normal as the pressure mounts to find a replacement for soccer fields along Ireland Grove Road which host youth soccer leagues and Bloomington High School students.

Man using an e-cigarette with vapor swirling around his face.
Courtesy of patrisyu/Shutterstock

The city of Bloomington has banned the use of e-cigarettes in public buildings and two organizations want other governments to do the same. E-cigarettes have been around for almost a decade, but in the past few years their popularity has soared, making them the-most used tobacco product among middle-school and high-school aged young people.

Logo with three women cheek against cheek and details about the Women's March on Washington D.C. Jan. 1
Courtesy of Instagram

Voters upset with the election of Donald Trump have been finding ways to direct their anger either through Facebook pages, personal blogs, even filing petitions for local offices.  A big display will come the day after President-elect Trump is sworn in with the Women’s March on Washington, aimed at making sure the new administration knows women's rights are human rights.

Former UAW President Ralph Timan
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Mitsubishi Workers have not been taking great advantage of education workshops on workforce issues since layoffs of about a thousand workers at the plant in Normal last year.  But, Ralph Timan, who for nine years was president of the UAW local representing workers, thinks more would jump on re-training for specific skills needed by new, start-up Rivian  to produce an electric vehicle with self-driving capability,  if the company buys the now-closed Mitsubishi plant.

Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner agreed to a few changes requested during a standing-room-only, Black Lives Matter forum aimed at holding police accountable for strategies it says have unfairly targeted blacks and left some residents fearful to even drive the city streets. 

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