Politics and Government

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

The Town of Normal Council is expected to sign off on an option for pedestrians and people on bikes to traverse railroad tracks bisecting Uptown.

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.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

There's continuing forward momentum  in Bloomington-Normal toward creating a multi-sports complex. The idea could make good economic sense according to Town of Normal City Manager Mark Peterson. However, Peterson said he wouldn't use the term "public-private partnership" to describe the effort.

Judith Valente / GLT News

As part of their Social Work in Action class, a group of Illinois Wesleyan University students began interviewing people who have been arrested in McLean County.  

Ralph Weisheit

Editors note: This is the first of a series of interviews with newly elected council members in Bloomington and Normal. 

There are a "ton of details to work out," but a Bloomington Alderman is standing by campaign statements about a shared sales tax agreement between Bloomington and Normal. 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

(This story has been edited to include comments from Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner and McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers.) 

What is it like to currently file a complaint of officer misconduct with the Bloomington Police Department?

Sophie Charles and Henry Dick, a couple from West Bloomington, did just that. They said they came away from the experience dissatisfied with the results and reluctant to approach the police in the future.

Sait Serkan Gurbuz / AP Photo

When asked to characterize the political savviness of the Trump-Pence administration, an ISU political scientist shot back during Sound Ideas with "there is no political savviness."

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington City Council members have signaled possible approval for a transportation commission. A final decision will come later this month.

A commission would give residents a bigger voice in traffic issues by creating or reviewing proposals, holding public hearings and discussing transportation issues with staff and the council.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Progressives in Bloomington-Normal met outside of Congressman Rodney Davis' office Monday afternoon to protest his vote to approve the GOP healthcare repeal, or AHCA.

Many were shocked when the Taylorville Republican came outside to talk with them.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Construction is finally underway for the highly anticipated McLean County Jail expansion. 

The McLean County Board held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $39 million project Monday morning. 

The three-story addition will have a first floor area for visitors and space on the second floor for inmates with mental health concerns.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen will consider initiating the rezoning process for several properties on the city's west side during Monday night's meeting.

The properties are single-family homes and a mixed use development with second floor apartments near the intersection of W. Washington and Allin Street.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

If you drove through Bloomington-Normal this week, you undoubtedly saw a large number of American flags in front of houses and on the side of roads.

Hundreds of people visited Eastview Christian Church Saturday morning to pay respects to the family of Army Ranger and Sergeant Josh Rodgers. 

Rodgers was killed from small-arms fire in Afghanistan last week. The 2013 Normal Community High School graduate and another soldier who died in the same battle were members of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Staff / WGLT

While the Town of Normal has narrowed choices to connect Uptown Normal with future development south of the railroad tracks, construction of an underpass could still be years out. 

Cristian Jaramillo

Newly elected and reelected Bloomington aldermen and mayor were officially seated after taking the oath of office, officiated by City Clerk Cherry Lawson. Those sworn in were elected in the April 4 municipal election. 

Henri Huet / AP

As an expert in international affairs, Harvard University Professor Fredrik Logevall considers it crucial to study the Vietnam War, a complicated and controversial part of American history. 

Logevall was a child living in Canada when the United States pulled its combat forces from Vietnam in 1973.  He has since written widely about the war and shared his insights recently at Illinois State University as a guest of the History Department.

Julian Westerhout

The City of Bloomington will investigate repairing a 100-year-old section of Monroe Street with brick instead of paving it over. 

The Council agreed unanimously Monday night to direct staff to design, plan, and bid the repair of brick or replacing the street with new brick.  The move likely saved the 800 block of Monroe from being paved over with asphalt. 

GLT News

At a public forum last December sponsored by Black Lives Matter, several residents of the Bloomington's west side complained that their neighborhood is under a police microscope, with officers making unfair stops and arrests.

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner says  he sends additional patrols to areas of the city that have a higher rate of incidents. 

The practice is a  common one known as "hot spot policing."  It is used by departments across America in cities both large and small to address high crime areas. But does hot spot policing work?

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The longest serving Town of Normal council member says he was deeply troubled by the recent municipal election.

During a news conference at Uptown Station Wednesday morning, Councilman Jeff Fritzen said he believes Normal mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli's campaign  was damaging to what many had worked on within the community.

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There's and old joke that goes like this: a prison guard asks an inmate what he's in for. "Talking," the inmate replies.

Law Professor James Duane says it's no laughing matter.  He's the author of the book "You Have The Right To Remain Innocent" and is featured in a video titled "Don't Talk to the Cops" that's garnered thousands of views on You Tube.

Duane says innocent people sometimes get convicted based on information they provide to police in an effort to be cooperative.

Koos and Tiritilli
Cristian Jaramillio / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos is looking ahead to the next four years with continued vigor toward redevelopment. He won a fourth term after a count of absentee ballots on Tuesday widened his win margin to 11 votes.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Residents in the Town of Normal will see a slight hike in their water bill next month. 

The council approved a two percent increase for the water rate in a 4-3 vote Monday night with council members Kevin McCarthy, Scott Preston, and Kathleen Lorenz voting "no." 

Staff

Longtime central Illinois State Representative Dan Brady says he's not ready to announce if he'll run for re-election next year.

During a Sound Ideas interview, the Bloomington Republican Brady acknowledged there's a renewed interest in running for office among progressives in the state. But he says that has nothing to do with whether he'll seek a tenth term in Springfield.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Normal Town Council may approve the buildout of second floor space in One Uptown on the Circle during their meeting tonight.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The First Female Prime Minister of Norway says every country should have equal opportunity for men or women to become leaders. 

Speaking during an Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series Master Class at Illinois State University, Dr. Gro Brundtland said she knew as a young girl that she lived in a good democratic country, but it wasn't dealing on equal terms for men and women.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

One of the many Democratic candidates for governor says he is the only person that can win over Bruce Rauner.

Bob Daiber is the Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools. During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, Daiber said he wants to improve many areas the current administration has failed at. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

State Senator Andy Manar says everyone could benefit if Illinois has great equity among school districts. 

During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, the Bunker Hill Democrat said the state is harming individuals today by having the least equitable state in the country.

Staff / WGLT

A proposed east-side Bloomington sewer project is contrasting the issue of suburban sprawl with the city's own 2015 comprehensive plan, which focuses on infill development.

Staff / WGLT

Residents on the southwest side of Bloomington will have to drive slower on a section of Fox Creek Road.

The City Council has approved lowering the speed limit on Fox Creek to 30 miles per hour from West Oakland Avenue to Stonehedges Court.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Thirteen mail in ballots for Town of Normal races have already arrived at the McLean County Clerk's office the day after the election out of a total of thirty four remaining requested mail in ballots.

Sol and Taunia pose at WGLT studios
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Some new faces will be joining the Unit 5 and District 87 school boards after Tuesday’s election.

In Normal-based Unit 5, longtime district volunteer and parent Taunia Leffler defeated newcomer Sol Roberts-Lieb in its only contested school board race.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me and helped with my campaign,” Leffler, a State Farm employee, posted on her Facebook page. “I'm so excited to represent Unit 5. It was a pleasure running this race for the benefit of our kids and community.”

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