Politics and Government

Normal water tower
Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal is planning for the future...the year 2040 to be exact. A committee of community members presented the Normal 2040 Plan to the Town Council Monday night.

Committee members said the plan will work as a blueprint to improve the community and residents' lives. 

McLean County Government

Editor's note: Kimberly Pfeifer did not respond to repeated requests by GLT News for an interview.

McLean County Board candidate Dave Selzer says he agrees with the county's move into mental health services.

James Matthew Anderson poses at WGLT studio
Ryan Denham

Every day for the past few months, a presidential candidate has visited Bloomington-Normal. But don’t be surprised if you missed the motorcade.

His name is James Matthew “Matt” Anderson of Mahomet, who commutes every day to Bloomington where he works as an attorney. Anderson is a registered write-in candidate for president in McLean County, an easier-than-it-sounds decision he made as a disgruntled voter.

YouTube

An Illinois Wesleyan political science department survey of some likely Bloomington voters shows an unusually high number--20 percent--remain undecided about who to vote for president.

Students in Tari Renner's Elections and Research Methods and Statistics classes polled 421 likely Bloomington voters over three days last week. IWU student Robert Perez served as the lead research assistant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has apologized for mocking Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth's immigrant background and her family's history of military service.

In a Twitter post Friday, Kirk says: "Sincere apologies to an American hero, Tammy Duckworth, and gratitude for her family's service."

At a U.S. Senate debate Thursday in Springfield, Duckworth spoke of how her family has "served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution." Kirk responded that he had "forgotten (that her) parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."

Emma Shores/WGLT

Traffic stops in Normal have increased dramatically since the police department began a policy requiring officers to have a minimum off two contacts with citizens during each shift.

Police made 19,637 traffic stops last year compared to 12,961 in 2014 -- an increase of 51 percent.

That amounts to an additional 21 stops a day, according to Illinois State University Criminal Justice Professor Michael Gizzi, who analyzed the traffic stop data.

Fruin Not Running For Re-election

Oct 24, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Jim Fruin recieved a standing ovation following his announcement that he will retire from representing Ward 9. Fruin made the announcement at Monday's council meeting. He said he'll finish up his term that ends in April.

Downtown TIF Up For A Vote

Oct 23, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A Tax Increment Financing District in downtown Bloomington could receive approval from the city council Monday.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump's unwillingness to answer a question about accepting the results of the election, during last night's debate, may not be a big deal. Illinois State University professors Tom McClure and Erik Rankin discussed the debate on Sound Ideas.

Renner Re-establishing Cuban Sister Cities

Oct 19, 2016
Tari Renner

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner flew south last week to reconnect with Caibarien, Cuba and Remedios, Cuba, which were originally established as Sister Cities to Bloomington and Normal in the early 2000s.  

No City Funding For Creativity Center

Oct 18, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A proposal to phase-in upgrades to the Creativity Center is receiving support from the Bloomington City Council. However, Aldermen want to use privately-raised money to pay for the project.

Alderman Amelia Buragas said she supports a resolution that says the council supports the Activity Center and will engage in a public-private partnership, but it doesn't commit city funds to it.

Michael Hill / WGLT

  

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner agrees with some council members who say that the city should focus on older neighborhoods before newer parts of town when it comes to sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure. Aldermen met Monday to discuss the five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Some Bloomington Aldermen want to work on improving sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure in the older parts of town before moving on to newer parts.

Creativity Center Could See $5.2 Million Update

Oct 16, 2016
City of Bloomington

Bloomington Alderman will discuss a plan to use mostly private funds to renovate the Creativity Center, north of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, during a committee meeting Monday.

Staff / WGLT

Buses may run on diesel fuel, but it takes money to fill the tank. Late cash transfers from the State of Illinois could mean Connect Transit will have to park its buses and suspend service at the end of the year.

Bill B/Flickr

Republican candidates for local offices are struggling with how to respond to their party's presidential candidate's treatment of women. 

Darron Birgenheier, Flickr

Millions of women have taken to Twitter in recent days to describe their experiences of unwanted sexual advances after Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump's boasted that he used his celebrity status to grope and kiss beautiful young women.

Farnsworth Group

The Law and Justice Center is expanding to increase support for people with mental health issues. The Bloomington City Council approved an agreement allowing city property to be used for the expansion. 

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Political Scientists from ISU have different reactions to Donald Trump's debate comment that if he were President, Hillary Clinton would be in jail. Erik Rankin spoke during GLT's Sound Ideas.

Retro Arcade Bar Could Open In Mid-November

Oct 10, 2016
Kari Sullivan / Flickr

8 Bit Beercade, which currently has a location in Peoria, plans to open in mid-November pending the approval of a liquor license by the Bloomington City Council.

Ralph Weisheit

The Mayor of Normal says the City Manager met almost all of his goals last year. And the ones Mark Peterson did not achieve had to do with government mandates getting in the way. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos said Peterson is at the top of his game.

Judith Valente

Democrat Hillary Clinton was elected president Tuesday -- at Normal Community High School, that is.

The student body voted in a mock election sponsored by the McLean County League of Women Voters. The League is attempting to encourage 18-year-old first time voters to register before the election. 

The students chose Clinton over Republican challenger Donald Trump by 44 percent to 39 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson received about 10 percent of the vote.

Lyndsie Schlink

For the first time in U.S. history, a woman tops the ticket of a major U.S. political party.

Illinois State University Associate Professor of History Dr. Kyle Ciani said that is a big deal.

"I think it's important for the nation, I think it's important historically" said Ciani.  "I think it's also very important in juxtaposition to who the Republican candidate is."

Underpass Study Will Be A 'Public, Dynamic Process'

Oct 3, 2016
Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council approved an engineering study that will examine the proposed underpass at Uptown Station more closely. The study will cost the town over $1.4 million and take about two years. City Manager Mark Peterson said people will be able to be actively involved in the study.

Two-year Underpass Study Could Move Forward

Oct 2, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Normal Town Council members will consider a $1.4 million engineering study for the proposed underpass at Uptown Station. Funding for the study was approved as part of the town's budget for this year.

Bloomington Election Heating Up

Oct 1, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Kevin Lower officially announced his bid for mayor at an event at Illinois Wesleyan University this morning. During his speech, Lower said Bloomington can improve.

Feldkamp Not Backing Down From Liquor Commission

Sep 27, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Liquor Commission Member Sue Feldkamp addressed the city council Monday night in an effort to encourage a five-member commission over a one-member commission and to refuse to resign from her post. Feldkamp said she was told she could serve as long as she wanted.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Morning and afternoon traffic jams on southbound Towanda-Barnes Road at Ireland Grove Road in Bloomington could soon be a thing of the past following the approval of a right-turn lane by the city council. Alderman Diana Hauman said the improvement will make the road more usable.

"I've been there, at various times, using that intersection, and it can be cumbersome. You wait for a while to get through the lights."

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day and several local organizations are working to spread the word about registration opportunities. YWCA McLean County will lead the effort with Not In Our Town, League of Women Voters, NAACP, and many other organizations and volunteers to hold registration drives throughout the community. 

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council will consider renewing and updating an electric utility contract originally passed in 1965. If approved, Corn Belt Electric Cooperative would continue providing service in the community for an additional 20 years.

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