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

Mother of slain woman holding flowers surrounded by three people holding signs of support
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

The candles flickered at a vigil at Bloomington's Franklin Park on Thursday night, just blocks from the McLean Street home where 30-year-old Nicole Elbert was killed—allegedly by her husband— as she tried to leave last week. She had planned to go to Neville House, a local domestic violence shelter.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The environment, including climate change, along with maintaining and expanding healthcare coverage were among the top issues for attendees at Tuesday's GLT Candidates Forum for the five Democrats looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis.

A mechanical gadget sitting on a desk that is about the size of a desktop printer.  It is a mass spectrometer that can identify illegal drugs at crime scenes.
Photo courtesy of Illinois State University

Police officers face some scary, illicit drugs when responding to crime scenes, including synthetic painkillers where contact with even the smallest amount can be fatal. That was a concern, in hindsight, after emergency responders found an overdose victim in Bloomington who used heroin mixed with deadly carfentanyl, which can be easily absorbed on contact.

A room of constituents listen to a man and woman from Bloomington City Council at a town hall meeting.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Two Bloomington aldermen looking for feedback to close a nearly $3 million budget gap answered more questions than received input Tuesday about proposed staff options including privatizing solid waste collection.

An architect's drawing of a five-story building with green space and parking proposed for Uptown Normal.
Farnsworth Group

Normal Town Council members on Tuesday vowed to try to preserve three historic buildings as they consider plans for a five-story, $29 million structure with retail, offices, and apartments along Constitution Boulevard in Uptown Normal.

Photo courtesy of Rickielee Benecke

Rickielee Benecke tried to make the most out of her Christmas holiday by spending one-on-one time with each of her four grandchildren. It was the only way she could get through what would be an excruciatingly gut-wrenching holiday.

artsblooming.org

A retired VenuWorks executive who served as interim director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts said he was going to evaluate operations and look at whether the city should renovate the Creativity Center building that is also part of the downtown Cultural District. But there are no reports or recommendations on paper.

Man standing in front of a screen with sentences on a Power Point slide.
Courtesy of the Skokie Public Library

News literacy isn’t always taught in schools even though it’s becoming more important in the age of misinformation.

One man and four women standing against a wall posing for a photo.
Courtesy / Multicultural Leadership Program

Raegan Rinchiuso never thought of herself as someone who was particularly privileged, but she has been surprised by what she has learned about herself from reflective exercises, including a poverty simulation, that have been part of her experience as a member of the Multicultural Leadership Program's 2018 class.

Group of men and women who donated and received kidneys as part of  a donor chain.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Social media can be divisive. But Terri Thede of Normal says it can bring people together too, even strangers like those in the kidney donation chain she kicked off that will link her forever to the 72-year-old Vietnam veteran she met for the first time Wednesday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

McLean County could join the growing list of state and local governments suing big pharmaceutical companies for distribution practices that they say contributed to the opioid crisis.

Woman posed center with wounded soliders
Photo courtesy of Sharon McCauley

A Blue Star mom who has been a major player in State Farm’s Military Affinity Group (MAG) is using the eve of Veterans Day to announce she’s retiring in March from the company and group that has supported her son and so many other soldiers.

Facebook

Redevelopment to transform Bloomington-Normal into a diverse economy that thrives on business and visitors could take decades, but community leaders say their trip to Arkansas last month confirmed some local initiatives are on track.

Woman on ISU quad with building and trees in the background
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

“That was my choice, just get through it.”

That statement comes from Kim Wells, domestic violence and workplace safety crusader who for decades kept the secret that she too was sexually assaulted and of at all places, where she worked.

Drawn directional signs and a streetview mock-up.
Courtesy / KMA Design

The committee tasked with coming up with designs, sizes, and attractions to be featured on wayfinding signs in downtown Bloomington seems to have found its way with a new approach that'll seek more public input.

Front of a baseball/softball complex
Conway, Arkansas, Facebook page

Conway and Little Rock, Arkansas, might not be your idea of a vacation destination, but a group of local leaders are taking a trip there to see if they can steal some ideas.

Patrick Sison / AP

As Netflix is debuting a new documentary this week called "Heroin(e)" about three women battling the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis is waging her own one-woman crusade to help educate the community.

Courtesy

For many people fleeing mandatory evacuation areas in Florida, it was hard to know the right place to go.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Some unionized workers who felt left behind by economic changes voted for Donald Trump. In Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner just vetoed a minimum wage law. Despite that, the head of the Bloomington-Normal Trades and Labor Assembly says the state of labor is better than some might think.

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.

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