Politics and Government

WGLT

The final draft of a police citizen review board may leave advocates on both sides of the issue feeling like they have lost something.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Heartland Community College now knows what the state will give to operate in the current fiscal year, but questions remain about the cost-shifting of employee pensions.

Staff / WGLT

Some members of Bloomington's Downtown Task Force expressed support Tuesday for installing new parking meters in the central business district, as the committee worked to prioritize suggestions for downtown improvements.

Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy said Bloomington and Normal are the only major cities in Illinois he has seen that do not have parking meters.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Board members disagreed Tuesday on how to fund a job supporting behavioral health services.

Photos: Demolition Begins at ISSCS Administration Building

Jul 18, 2017
Ruthie Cobb

A crew from Stark Excavating has begun tearing down the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's School Administration Building.

Above is a slideshow of photos from the progress of the demolition. The photos were taken from the north end of the structure.

Artist Nick Africano became involved in the property in 1986. Thirty years later, Africano said he believes the teardown will improve the neighborhood and property values.

Normal Council Approves Insurance Changes

Jul 18, 2017
Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has approved a new insurance package for workers.

The plan approved Monday will remove a $50 deductible and increase benefits. Deputy City Manager Pam Reece said it will encourage employees to participate in the town wellness program. 

"We just don't want employees to become complacent. So it made sense to us to bump up the wellness incentive. Really, if you look at it, it applies as a penalty. Because, if you don't participate, then you pay more towards your insurance," said Reece.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Bloomington residents are providing scores of ideas to improve the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts programs. 

Howard Daughenbaugh of Bloomington said during a public input session Thursday that the city needs to invest in multicultural organizations. He said meetings like Thursday's should appeal to diverse residents. 

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Central Illinois lawmakers are viewing the newly passed budget as a temporary solution to the state's long-term issues.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five grade school enrollment will go down in Bloomington-Normal and high school enrollment will rise for the next few years.

That's according to a new demographic study presented to Unit Five school board members Wednesday night.

Staff / WGLT

After a fierce battle over bicycle lanes for Washington Street, the final chapter in the process Monday was anticlimactic.

Opponents scarcely showed up, and the Bloomington City Council gave unanimous approval, 9-0.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan
Courtesy / betsydirksenlondrigan.com

There is another entry into the Democratic race for Congress in the 13th District.

Pat Peterson / WGLT

Democrats plan to mount a challenge next year to Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael. Nikita Richards has announced she is running as a progressive.

Kennedy Slams Rauner For Intentional Damage To State

Jun 20, 2017
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

One of the Democratic Candidates for Governor is accusing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of purposefully wrecking Illinois.

Speaking recently in Normal, Chris Kennedy said Governor Rauner intentionally used the budget deadlock to target social services.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A slew of high ranking Democrats showed up in Bloomington Normal for a letter carriers union convention at the Uptown Marriot. They included the Senate President John Cullerton, Senator Dick Durbin, and businessman and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy.
     
Kennedy is taking aim at the state property tax system saying it's 'legalized extortion' when politically elected assessors elevate assessments and politically connected lawyers appeal them. Kennedy said this is not just a problem in Chicago, but everywhere in the state.

Staff / WGLT

In the wake of another spring legislative session that failed to produce a state budget, two ratings agencies have downgraded state universities including ISU.

Standard and Poor's recently chose not to downgrade ISU, but S and P has a rule that no public university can be more than three grades above the rating for its host state. And so when S and P downgraded Illinois, last week it also gave a technical downgrade to ISU to A minus.

Katherine Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

A new Pontiac Rail Station has opened to Amtrak service. State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said this is the latest of several station improvements on the Chicago to Saint Louis Corridor that will improve performance on the high speed rail corridor.   

“After years of construction along one of the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, the benefits are beginning to show with beautiful new stations in our state’s great communities,” Secretary Blankenhorn said.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

There's another candidate in the Democratic race for Congress in the 13th District. He is Ben Webb, an English and Drama teacher at University High School in Normal. Webb said he has been frustrated at the lack of listening done by the current Congressman, Republican Rodney Davis, and believes he brings a different approach.

Webb said he sees a lack of attention to scientists, experts, and scholars in politics.

Merlin Mather

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis said the U.S. can still be a climate change leader without the Paris accords.

Critics of the idea of pulling out of the accords on limiting global emissions say they U.S. needs to be engaged with the international community on the issue.

NCHS teacher Patrick Lawler

A group of Normal Community High School students has tried their hands at breaking the budget deadlock.

A group led by Social Studies teacher Patrick Lawler drove to Springfield to meet with General Assembly members.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A potential multi-sports complex on Bloomington-Normal's west side could top $50 million in public-private investment.

In an interview  for GLT's Sound Ideas, Katie Kim of the Kim Group, a developer working with landowner Dave Stark on a multi-use sports complex in Bloomington-Normal, said she continues to meet with stakeholders.

Merlin Mather

Urbana State Representative Carol Ammons received a warm welcome in Normal from members of the Indivisible 13 group. She held a listening session at the Normal Public Library.

Ammons is a Democrat who has formed an exploratory committee to run for Congress.

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."

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Another in the rolling series of healthcare protests has happened in Bloomington.

Progressives held a "die-in" outside the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Isabella Rodriguez / WGLT

The first day of a discovery recount for the Normal mayoral race revealed no dramatic change in the result.

Candidate Marc Tiritilli had requested a recount of a quarter of the precincts in the town after losing to incumbent Chris Koos by 11 votes. 6,336 voters went to the polls in the Mayoral race April 4, 2017.

David Stillman / Flickr

A nonpartisan research group said Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago said unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

The group has published an 86-page report outlining where it thinks Illinois ought to go.

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.

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.

Home Is The Hero

May 5, 2017
Facebook

Hundreds of people gathered at the Central Illinois Regional Airport to welcome home the body of Army Ranger and Sergeant Josh Rodgers.

Rodgers was killed in Afghanistan last week. An honor guard escorted the casket from the aircraft that landed at the old section of the airport grounds.

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