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

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. 

Two auto industry executives talk with two local leaders in Normal Council chambers.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

After agreeing that it is a low-risk, high reward proposition Normal council members last night unanimously approved an incentive package to lure a start-up electric car manufacturer to the former Mitsubishi plant.  Rivian is an automotive technology company developing vehicles and services to advance the shift to sustainable mobility which would include automation and car-sharing models.

House that is the site of a planned police substation.
City of Bloomington website

The group Black Lives Matter Bloomington-Normal is asking its members to call Bloomington aldermen this weekend to delay a vote on whether to open a police substation on West Jefferson Street. BLM leaders say the community has not been properly engaged and there is no consensus that a substation would be welcome.  

Smart Phone screen shot showing location of AED at a building location
Photo courtesy of Pulse Point website

The holidays are stressful but nothing is apparently more stressful than Christmas day. That's the day when researchers in the American Heart Association's publication Circulation say there are more deadly heart attacks than any other day of the year, followed by Dec. 26 and Jan. 1.  With that in mind, the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation is pushing area residents to download the free smart phone app Pulse Point.

A man and woman marching in parade holding a banner for Democratic Party
Courtesy of McLean County Democrats Facebook page

Leaders in the McLean County Democratic Party are gathering tonight for what they’re calling a re-organization meeting and they're putting out an open call for anyone interested.  They hope to capitalize on the anger and interest so many people have following Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election.

Stylist using curling iron on client's hair while she sitsin salon chair
Bobbie Vie / Flickr via Creative Commons

A new law taking effect in Illinois Jan. 1 will put hair stylists on the front lines to combat domestic violence. Illinois will be the first state in the nation to require hair stylists receive training to spot if their clients might be victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The law does not make salon workers mandatory reporters but encourages them to direct clients to resources.

A group of students and their teacher standing outside the Humanity Summit at Illinois Wesleyan University
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

As many as 75 community members, including high school and college students, teachers, social workers, retirees and activists pledged to fight oppression during a day-long Humanity Summit sponsored by the McLean County YWCA yesterday.

Election judges and a visitor to a table at Eastland Mall for early voting.
Courtesy of Bloomington Election Commission Facebook page

At least one local election official predicts voter turnout for the presidential election could hit a record 90 percent. Bloomington Election Commission Director Paul Shannon expects 8,000 city residents will vote early, almost twice that of the last election.

Justin Timberlake in a voting booth
Courtesy of Instagram

A prosecutor in Tennessee backed off a statement he made earlier in the day yesterday in which he said he was considering whether Justin Timberlake should be prosecuted for taking a selfie in a voting booth.  Tennessee last year made it a misdemeanor crime, punishable with a one-month jail sentence, to use a phone in a polling place for anything other than looking up information. 

Female professor wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirt
Nikita Richardson / NDR Communications

The Black Lives Solidarity Day at Illinois State University started with a campus visit from a Seattle educator a couple of weeks ago and it sparked an effort to join his initiative to raise awareness of the need for systemic changes to guarantee equality. 

Staff

One central Illinois state representative says he's confident Connect Transit will receive state funding appropriated to the bus system in time to avoid a shutdown of the bus fleet in January.

Republican Dan Brady of Bloomington spoke following a meeting this morning with Heartland Community College President Rob Widmer. Brady says he's puzzled as to why the $5 million appropriation hasn't been sent to Connect Transit.

Edith Castro Roldán, Oscar Manuel Luna Nieto / Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump declared during Sunday’s debate that remarks about sexually groping women were – as he put it – “just words” but at Illinois State University, there is a concerted effort to change the campus culture so students, faculty and staff chose their words more carefully.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Redbird Scholar Magazine

You’ve heard the expression, democracy can be messy.  Well, two Illinois State University professors would add part of the debris is left by politicians who often ignite fear and anger by using their fiery rhetoric on would-be voters. It’s a strategy as old as democracy because the seasoned researchers say it often works.

Group of 25 sits in a circle on the south side of downtown Bloomington courthouse.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Tears flowed around a Black Lives Matter talking circle in downtown Bloomington Wednesday night as some 25 residents, most of them white, gathered in response to the most recent fatal police shootings of black men --  Keith Scott, a father of seven in Charlotte and Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa.

Don Palma / Palace Events

The 150 year-old Duncan Manor just outside of Towanda near Route 66 will host a Handmade and Vintage Market this Labor Day weekend and the couple which owns the historic landmark wants to be able to host many more events in the future. 

Wounded Iraqi War Vet Shilo Harris
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

You are not alone.  That’s the message severely wounded Iraqi War Veteran Shilo Harris is taking on the road as part of a nation-wide tour to promote the book “Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell To Become The Man I Was Meant To Be.” During his stop in Bloomington last week, Harris spoke with WGLT’s Colleen Reynolds.

Two religious leaders hold hands on sanctuary
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Leaders from five area religious denominations came together last night for what is becoming a hallmark of Bloomington-Normal’s Not In Our Town efforts -- a bringing together of all faiths and even those questioning their faith. This time it was for prayer service, including a reading of names and moment of silence for victims and the families of shooting victims in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana.

The Reverend Frank McSwain from Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Bloomington delivered a fiery message in which he called racism a moral issue.

Ralliers with signs
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

It was a march, a rally and a celebration rolled into one as some of the original founders and many new to the cause marked the 20th anniversary of Bloomington-Normal’s Not in Our Town movement in downtown Bloomington last night.

National Not In Our Town leader Patrice O'Neill said Bloomington-Normal has presented a model for community unity.

Chef shows off stuffed tomatoes
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

The local foods movement has come a long way in a short time with a bigger network of suppliers, making it easier for restaurants to source food within a 100-mile radius.  Now in its ninth year, a local flavors farm-to-fork series kicks off this month at The Garlic Press,  an Uptown Normal restaurant that was on the forefront of keeping it local.

Lee Milner / Illinois News Broadcasters Association

A state senator says the biggest scandal in Illinois and across the country isn’t getting much attention and he’s not sure why.

Sam McCann, R-Plainview, says the rise of super PACs (political action committees) since the U. S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is killing democracy and will discourage people from running for public office.

Feed My Starving Children

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but in the case of a group of Illinois State University students, a picture is worth a million meals.  

Jonathon Malone will be graduating and moving on to a job at State Farm but he’ll continue working on a class project even after he has his diploma in hand.

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