Politics and Government

Charlie Schlenker

After a speech to school superintendents at the regional alternative school in Bloomington, Governor Bruce Rauner told one of them "hang on, it's going to get rocky." Rauner was referring to the lack of authorized school funding, something he used in the speech to blast House Speaker Mike Madigan. Rauner several times remarked he refused to bail out Chicago Schools

Town of Normal

Two properties in a historic Normal neighborhood are being converted back to single family homes. The houses were previously rented by university students, and there were numerous noise complaints from surrounding neighbors.

Creative Commons

New court documents provide a window into how the Independent Maps Coalition is trying to fend off a legal challenge. A lawsuit scuttled a similar redistricting effort two years ago.

Brian Mackey / IPR

More than a dozen school superintendents have written a letter to Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner accusing him of playing politics with education funding. 

Staff

The question of the moment among some political observers is does the rise of Donald Trump signal a new fascism in development. For an Illinois Wesleyan University political scientist the answer is no. Kathleen Montgomery tells GLT’s Charlie Schlenker Fascism is a full ideology that Donald Trump does not have. 

Town of Normal

Two houses located in the Old North Normal Historic District could see renovations in the coming years. The Town of Normal purchased them last year in a move to convert them from multi-family homes to single family homes. Two buyers who each plan to purchase one of the buildings and surrounding land agree to take steps to prevent multiple families from living on the properties.

Daniel Schwen / Flickr via Creative Commons

The economic impact of the potential closure of the Clinton Nuclear plant begins now, not in a year when the plant actually shuts down. Plant Spokesman Brett Nauman says the announcement also means the end of infrastructure improvements and outside work, which involves a significant workforce in the community.

Justin Brocke / Flickr

The Illinois legislature has sent the governor legislation amending the state law that decides when doctors can object to caring for a patient based on moral principle.

WGLT

More than 12 years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast, a fraud case involving State Farm Insurance will go before the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices have agreed to hear arguments in the Bloomington-based company's appeal of 758,000 dollars in damages.

Staff / WGLT

Some drivers might think a street with curbs, a center line, and plenty of room for traffic is a complete street. But a specific policy adopted by more 730 agencies across the U.S. involves much more.

Both Bloomington and Normal could have such a policy in place this summer that would change how the two communities view a street's uses and users.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said he is really disappointed lawmakers have failed to approve a budget for the second consecutive year. The spring session of the General Assembly ended Tuesday night without any viable spending plan. Dietz said this has been bad news for eleven months.

Jim Browne / WGLT

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is spending Wednesday and Thursday taking his budget message on the road.  The legislature finished its spring session Tuesday evening without sending him a spending plan. 

Ralph Weisheit

An ad-hoc committee of elected officials from the Town of Normal and the City of Bloomington is still working on developing a sales tax sharing agreement.

Jacob DeGeal

The Democratic Party in McLean County has slated a couple County Board candidates for the November election. Jessielee Hinshaw will face GOP incumbent George Wendt in the southwest side district 3. That district tends to favor Republicans.

Hinshaw lives on a farm and works for the Illinois Network for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Hinshaw says in a party news release she wants to focus on transportation infrastructure, government transparency, and mental health services. Hinshaw says the Illinois Policy Institute ranks McLean County low in government transparency.

Connect Transit Launching New App

May 29, 2016
Staff

A new app is in the works for Connect Transit. The bus system has been using DoubleMap for the last four years, but will switch to another app. General Manager Andrew Johnson said the goal is to have it ready by mid-August when new routes and schedules are put in place.

A 22-year-old man from Heyworth has drowned as part of a dirt bike crash. McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis said Andrew Johnson sustained a blunt force head injury during a dirt bike crash in a wooded area north of 510 North Buchanan in Heyworth late Saturday afternoon. Davis said the crash likely rendered him unconscious when he entered the water. The case remains under investigation by the coroner's office and the McLean County Sheriff's Department.

Charlie Schlenker

The McLean County Republican Party has slated Scott Murphy in the District Two County Board race. urphy is already serving on the board after he was appointed following the resignation of Matt Sorensen.

Normal Fire Department

A possible lightning strike caused a house fire in the Savannah Green subdivision in Normal Thursday morning.

The fire department says an official cause will have to wait for the investigation, but most of the damage to the home in the 1300 block of Oglethorpe Avenue was to the roof and attic.

Firefighters estimate damage at more than 60,000 dollars. There were no injuries from the two alarm fire that began during a thunderstorm about 7:30 a.m.

Ralph Weisheit

The Unit 5 School Board has agreed to borrow 3.5 million dollars to buy school buses instead of rent them. Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman says Unit 5 is currently running 154 buses. 61 of those are rented. 

Justin Brocke / Flickr

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats, who are set to go it alone on a new state budget.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

You wouldn't have to be sick, to take a sick day under legislation approved Tuesday by the Illinois House.      

Transit Board Approves Routes, Schedule Changes

May 24, 2016
Staff / WGLT

New routes and schedules for buses in the Twin Cities were approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The changes include more frequent service, Sunday service, and more transfer locations. General Manager Andrew Johnson said, as a result of the changes, the yearly operating costs will go up to $14.5 million, which is about $3 million higher than current operating costs.

PATH

Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents.  

Several months ago the Bloomington based social service agency Providing Access To Help kept its doors open and made payroll after much searching and stress about searching for a loan. 

Melissa Schoper / WGLT

  The majority of Bloomington Fire Department calls are for emergency medical services. Fire Chief Brian Mohr told aldermen in his annual report that when they are called for a fire, they arrive in six minutes 72 percent of the time. 

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

After a decade of lawsuits, Unit Five has settled the final case involving a victim of convicted child molester Jon Andrew White. White was a Unit Five teacher, who later got a job in Urbana schools and continued molesting students.

Creative Commons

The Illinois Secretary of State's office says a plan to issue driver's licenses and state identification cards in Illinois that are more secure won't require additional state funding. 

Kelly Taylor / Creative Commons

A plan allowing automatic voter registration in Illinois is advancing through the Legislature despite concerns from the leading state election authority that would have to implement it. 

Creative Commons

Illinois' top political leaders remain divided.  As of Tuesday there will be only eight days left for them to reach a budget deal.

Bloomington Council To Hear Traffic Light Options

May 22, 2016
Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council will consider looking into improving traffic flow throughout the city. One system helps emergency vehicles, snow plows, and city buses get a green light to make traffic easier to navigate. Another would help vehicles move through Bloomington more efficiently after events or during heavy traffic.

Connect Transit To Vote On Route Changes After Delay

May 22, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board of Trustees will vote on proposed route and schedule changes for the Twin Cities after taking an additional three weeks to consider the proposal. Trustee Jennifer McDade, who moved to table the plan at the last meeting, said they've made progress since three weeks ago.

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