Thursday, November 30, 2017

Land Of Lincoln Credit Union New Hires

Land of Lincoln Credit Union (LLCU) announces the appointment of Andrew Young as the Chief Lending Officer (CLO).

Before joining LLCU, Young was serving as the Assistant Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer for First Mid-Illinois Bank (FMIB-headquartered in Mattoon, IL) working out of the Decatur office.

Young brings extensive experience in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending, commercial loan credit analysis, business development, service quality assurance management, and personnel management.

Young holds a Bachelor of Science Accounting Degree from Millikin University and an AAS degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Lakeland College.

Land of Lincoln Credit Union (LLCU) also announces the appointment of Corey Conroy as the Business Development Manager.

Corey holds a Bachelor of Arts Sociology Degree from Millikin University and brings over 10 years of business development and sales experience. Prior to joining LLCU, Conroy was an Account Executive at the Herald & Review and most recently, a Financial Associate for Thrivent Financial.

In her role as Business Development Manager, she will work exclusively with Premier Partners at LLCU, bringing them financial literacy information and exclusive partnership offerings.

In addition, she will work with local retail business to create customized finance programs at point-of-sale, which will grant retail customers the added convenience of financing options in-store.

CMS: 95,000 Illinoisans Have Signed Up For Obamacare

More than 95-thousand-people have signed up for health insurance coverage next year through the Affordable Care Act.  New numbers released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday show 95-thousand-434 Illinois residents have signed up across the state.  People who want to sign up have until December 15th to do so in order for healthcare coverage to start on January 1st.
Connect Transit, will tear down its old headquarters on Oakland Ave. in downtown Bloomington by the end of January. Officials are hoping this will pave the way for the site to be sold. The city of Bloominngton appears interested in the property to perhaps expand city facilities and build on the site.

Santa's Station to Open This Weekend in Normal

Santa’s Station Grand Opening in Uptown Normal is just around the corner. Santa will be making his grand entrance Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 12:30. Santa’s Station is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit various non-profit organizations. Grand Opening donations will be given to Special Olympics.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Campaign to Curb Panhandling in Bloomington

Instead of giving your money to a panhandler, downtown Bloomington merchants are urging you to put that change in collection boxes at their businesses. It's part of the Change to Make a Change initiative. Donations to the campaign will be distributed among local service providers which include PATH and the Salvation Army.

Mayor Renner to Hold 3 Town Hall Style Meetings

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner is hosting three town hall meetings in December to hear from city residents on a variety of topics. Renner tells WMBD TV his primary goal is to hear from and engage with Bloomington constituents. The first meeting will be on Tuesday, December 5, at the YWCA. The second meeting on Tuesday, December 12, at the BCPA. And the third meeting on Wednesday, December 20, at Miller Park Pavilion. All town hall meetings are from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

BPD Investigating 4 Cases of Shots Fired in Recent Days

Bloomington police are investigating 4 incidents of shots being fired over the past few days. but don’t think the shootings are related. The latest was  Monday evening when a woman says two black male suspects shot toward her car near the intersection of Oakland Ave. and Euclid Ave. The woman says she heard several gun shots and saw the men flee. Police say they didn't see any damage to the woman's vehicle. They did find several shell casings in the area.  Police ask that if you know something, you'll say something to them.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Bloomington-Normal May Require Recycling

Everyone in Bloomington-Normal may soon have to recycle. City leaders are considering an addition to their 20-year solid waste master plan that would include a recycling mandate. About 80-percent of people in Bloomington and nearly 65-percent of people in Normal already recycle. Advocates say they want to focus on college students and other people who live in apartments and don't have curbside recycling options.

Bloomington a Welcoming City

People in Bloomington are urging city leaders to make the community a welcoming place for (illegal) immigrants. Dozens of advocates filled the  council chambers to capacity Monday to encourage the council to pass a Welcoming City Ordinance. The ordinance would prohibit city police from cooperating with the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency without a judicial warrant. Mayor Renner supports the proposal. The council will hold a special meeting in December to discuss a possible ordinance.

Stuff the Bus for Children's Home + Aid

Stuff the Bus kicked off their 15th annual donation drive in the Twin Cities Monday. The Children's Home + Aid, and the Crisis Nursery partnered with Paul Davis Restoration, Connect Transit, and Great Plains Media---including CITIES 92.9 to gather donations.

They are collecting diapers, new clothes, toys, non-perishable foods, and any other items used by children from newborn to 6-years-old. Anything collected during the drive will go toward restocking the pantries at the Children's Home + Aid, and Crisis Nursery.

The goal is to fill the pantries for an entire year.

Connect Transit will park a bus at various locations throughout Bloomington-Normal and challenge the community to “stuff the bus” full of items for the Crisis Nursery.

Dates & Locations (10am – 8pm daily)

Monday, November 27
Walmart – Greenbriar Dr., Normal, IL 61761

Tuesday, November 28
Walmart – 2225 W. Market St., Bloomington, IL 60175

Wednesday, November 29
Kroger – 1550 E. College Ave., Normal, IL 61761

Thursday, November 30
Kroger – 1550 E. College Ave., Normal, IL 61761

Friday, December 1
Walmart – Greenbriar Dr., Normal, IL 61761

Saturday, December 2
Walmart – 2225 W. Market St., Bloomington, IL 60175


We rely on 180 volunteers throughout the week to help us stuff the bus! Volunteers will greet and thank shoppers, hand out flyers and arrange items in the bus. Six volunteers are needed for each two-hour time slot. Bring your family, friends or colleagues!
Click here to sign up as a volunteer by Wednesday, November 22, 2017.


Your monetary donation will allow us to purchase items needed for the Crisis Nursery on your behalf.
Additional Drop-Off Options
If you are unable to make it to a Stuff the Bus location during operating hours, donations will be accepted at Children’s Home + Aid (403 S. State St., Bloomington, IL) or Connect Transit (351 Wylie Dr., Normal, IL).

Most Needed Items

Baby Formula, especially Enfamil
Diapers – all sizes, especailly sizes 3-5 and Pull-Ups
Baby Wipes
Clothing & Socks – boy/girl, sizes newborn – 6T
Underwear – boy/girl, sizes 3T-5T
Gift Cards


If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Stuff the Bus, please contact Jeannie Higdon at 309.834.5258.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Coroner: No Foul Play in Drowning Death of Man Found in Kickapoo Creek

The 53-year-old man found in Kickapoo Creek on Saturday died from drowning, according to the McLean County Coroner's preliminary autopsy results. Thomas Wingett from Heyworth was identified on Sunday, after his body was found in the creek Saturday afternoon. It happened near Downs. Police do not suspect foul play. The incident is still under investigation

Helicopter Makes Hard Landing

The Woodford County Sheriff's Department is investigating an incident involving a helicopter near Comlara Park on Sunday. The McLean County Sheriff's Department says the helicopter's pilot was having issues during his flight, and made a hard landing east of Comlara Park. The pilot appears to be okay. It was initially thought that the helicopter crashed inside Comlara Park.

Two Arrested After Driving Into PNC Building

Normal Police arrested two suspects at about 1:30 Sunday afternoon after the car they were driving hit the PNC Bank Building on Sheppard Road near Veterans Parkway. The charges they face include DUI; resisting, obstructing, disarming an officer; in-state warrant; and damage to private property. More to come.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Two Fatal Crashes

A pair of fatal crashes claiming two lives in Central Illinois. In Logan County, a 22-year-old woman died after her car was hit by a wrong-way driver on I-55 Wednesday night. In Ford County, a 43-year-old woman died after her car went off the road and rolled several times, throwing her out of the car early Wednesday morning.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Rutherford Dropped

The sexual harassment lawsuit against former state Treasurer, Dan Rutherford, has been dismissed in federal court. The investigation began when a former employee, Edmund Michalowski, said he was sexually harassed while Rutherford was campaigning for governor in 2014. The harassment suit was filed in February, Rutherford then lost a 4-way Republican nomination to current Governor Bruce Rauner.

Thanksgiving Day Fire

A stove fire caused minor damage to an apartment Thanksgiving morning but thankfully, no one was hurt. It happened at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday in a first-floor apartment in a two-story house in the 500 block of East Jackson Street. Bloomigotn fire officials tell us it started on the stove and spread to the wall behind the stove. In the end, the damaged space “looked livable” and the residents turned down assistance from Red Cross.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

OSF, Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL Reach Agreement

If you receive insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, you will be able to continue getting care at OSF Healthcare Hospitals.  OSF says the two entities have reached and agreement so you can have uninterrupted access to treatment.

Indicted Former Bloomington Coliseum Leaders Sue For Unpaid Fees

The indicted former managers of Bloomington's city-owned coliseum are suing, to get money they say they're owed. Local prosecutors indicted five former managers back in September for stealing at least a million dollars. Yesterday the former managers sued for 67 thousand-dollars they say they're still owed for suites and sponsorships at the coliseum.

Governor Rauner: No Guarantee Illinois Will Get Another State Budget

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is telling investors that there is no guarantee the state will get a new budget anytime soon. The governor included a line in this month's offer to bond buyers that the state's fiscal future is anything but certain. The presentation said there can 'be no assurances' that a budget will be enacted in future fiscal years.

McLean Co Taxes Remain Steady

The tax rate in McLean County is expected to stay the same, after a last minute adjustment. That means homeowners shouldn't see a property tax hike from the county next year. Originally, the board was considering a slight increase. Instead, the county will dip into reserve money to make up the difference. The board also approved its $95 million budget for 2018.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ten-Pound Rock Tossed Onto Vehicle from I-55 Overpass Near Atlanta, IL

The Illinois State Police are investigating after a bowling ball sized rock was thrown at a vehicle from an overpass early Monday. The motorist's vehicle suffered major damage after the 10 pound rock passed through the roof of the vehicle in the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 near mile post 140 in Logan County, just outside Atlanta, Ill.  The rock barely missed the driver and passenger.  The state police are asking for anyone with information on this incident to cal (217) 786-6677.

Bloomington City Council Roundup

The Bloomington City Council is looking at ways to increase its efficiency and productivity. At Monday's Committee of the Whole Meeting, Alderman David Sage backed away from his original proposal, to limit the mayor's power to put items on the council agenda. Instead, Sage said he wants to hear ideas from the rest of the council about how to best stick to a specific plan of action that has support from the majority, how to handle amendments to the plan with majority council support, and the how to make sure that council decisions stand.

Normal City Council Roundup

The Normal City Council approved a new comprehensive plan which lays out the town's highest priorities for development through 2040, officials will track progress with specific metrics, perhaps in an annual report. According to Town Planner Mercy Davison, there are more than 30 metrics that are very specific to things like, 'How walkable is the neighborhood?' 'How transit-friendly is it?' and 'What kind of housing diversity do you have?' ... so the council can actually measure with some real numbers

Illinois To Remain In Voter Crosscheck System

Illinois is sticking with the voter crosscheck system, despite questions about security, and concerns about politics. The Illinois State Board of Elections yesterday approved a plan to stay in the multi-state voter information database as a way to get a more complete picture of who is registered to vote in all of Illinois' neighboring states. Advocates, and a few Democratic state lawmakers, say voter crosscheck is vulnerable to hackers, and they fear it may also be used for political purposes to keep voters away from the polls.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Report: Lesser Charge Filed in VenuWorks Theft Case

Curtis Webb, the former director of operations for the Coliseum  was charged with a new count of theft Monday as part of plea negotiations on a second felony theft charge related to money he allegedly stole while working for VenuWorks. The Pantagraph reports the newly-filed theft count is a Class 3 felony, a step below the initial charge of theft of government property. Webb could receive a sentence ranging from probation to two to five years in prison if he pleads guilty to the new, lesser charge. Investigation show that a lesser amount than was initially thought was allegedly taken.

Bloomington-Normal To Get New Bus Stop Shelters

Some of the folks who ride the bus in Bloomington-Normal are about to get a better bus stop. Managers at Connect Transit said on Friday that they plan to install three new bus stops before the end of the year. Crews will pour new concrete, add new plexiglass plates, and better brand the stops. Connect Transit says it chose the three stops because they are some of the system's busiest.

University of Illinois Student Among New Rhodes Scholars

A University of Illinois student is among the latest Rhodes scholars. U of I senior Thomas Dowling found out yesterday that he is among the 32 Rhodes scholars this year. Dowling is studying political science and history at the U of I.  He plans to get a Masters of Public Policy while studying as part of the program at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom next year.

Decatur Police Look For Answers After Deadly Shooting

Investigators in Decatur aren't saying if the wounded man they found Saturday night has anything to do with the dead man they found just a little bit earlier. Decatur Police aren't offering many details about Saturday's deadly shooting. Detectives say they found Todd Feldkamp from Effingham shot to death in the backyard of a home Saturday night. They say officers also found another man from Effingham who'd been shot a few blocks away. Police say he's expected to live.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Normal Township Slows Tax Breaks For Ag Firm

There's a slight hiccup in the drive to give a Canadian firm hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to open a manufacturing hub in Normal. Normal Township leaders yesterday voted to wait till next week to decide if they'll give up their property tax haul from the facility that Brandt Industries wants to turn into its new plant. Unit 5 schools and the McLean County board have already voted to give up their tax claims for nine years to lure Brandt, and as many 300 jobs, to the community.

Jobs Numbers

Illinois' unemployment rate decreased to 4.9% in October and nonfarm payrolls increased by 3,400 jobs over the month. October's monthly payroll drop kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs, since the beginning of the year, the 3-month trend shows an increase of 1,900 average monthly job gains from May to October

Caterpillar Looks To Build Utility Vehicles

Illinois' big yellow engine maker is looking to make something a bit smaller.  Caterpillar yesterday announced plans to get into the utility vehicle market.  The first model looks like a heavy duty golf cart that can carry up to one thousand pounds.  Cat hopes to get the vehicles to dealers by next year.  The new utility vehicles will be made in Minnesota as part of a deal between Cat and Textron Specialized Vehicles.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Normal Township Proceeds Slowly on Brandt Tax Break Issue

Normal Township board members voted 3-1 on Thursday to meet again next week on a tax abatement plan for the Brandt Group of Companies, a Canadian agriculture manufacturer considering occupying the soon-to-be-vacated Kongskilde factory at 19500 N. 1425 East Road in rural Hudson.

McLean County Man Arrested on Charges of Child Porn

A McLean County man faces charges for child pornography. Normal Police arrested 52 year old Theodore Nystrom for possession of child pornography. Nystrom's arrest comes after an investigation found numerous electronic storage devices at his home in the 2000 block of North Midway in Normal. On them authorities discovered illegal images and videos. Nystrom is being held at the McLean County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Normal Library Gets a Grant

The Normal Public Library is celebrating a new grant. The American Library Association's grant is used to promote computer science and computational thinking. The Normal Public Library will use the $25,000 to teach young people how to code. The library plans to work closely with local entities to give the students opportunities for learning and growth.

Illinois Board Of Elections To Look At Database Next Week

Illinois' election managers say they'll decide next week what to do about the Trump Administration's request for voter information. The Illinois State Board of Elections yesterday said it will review questions about security regarding the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program at its meeting next week. A number of lawmakers and advocates say they fear the program is vulnerable to hackers or will be used to suppress voters.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

McLean Co Approves Tax Breaks for Brandt

The McLean County board joins Unit 5 in giving a Canadian manufacturing company tax breaks to open a new plant in the community. Brandt Industries is looking to buy a manufacturing plant, that will soon be vacant, just north of Normal. The company is planning to bring  300 to 500 good-paying jobs to the area over the next seven years. Several council members did raise concerns that the deal was sprung upon them at the last minute. The tax breaks will cost the county about $70,000 over the next decade. More smaller taxing bodies will vote on the deal in the coming weeks. Normal Township votes Thursday morning.

New Restaurant in Bloomington Awaits a Liquor License

A restaurant featuring menu that boasts 50% vegetarian and vegan offerings is planned for the former Main Street Grill site in downtown Bloomington. Nightshop, as it is called, could be open by the end of the year if the City Council approves a liquor license later this month. Christopher Golwitzer and Matthew Spears told the Bloomington Liquor Commission this week they also intend to host live entertainment, mostly in the form of music on a local level, regional level, national and international level.

Lincoln, Logan County Chamber Pausing Operations

The Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce is taking a break, though no one is sure that the group will ever resume operations.  Chamber CEO Cathy Wilhite said this week that financial troubles forced them to lay off their entire staff and close up shop.  Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman says he hopes the Chamber can recover, particularly to once again host the annual Lincoln Balloon Festival which was the Chamber's signature event.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Canadian Ag Equipment Giant One Step Closer to Moving to McLean County

McLean County is one step closer to seeing an agriculture equipment company from Canada moving into the community. The Unit 5 School Board approved a tax abatement plan with Brandt Industries in a special meeting Monday night. The school board voted 5-2 to give Brandt Industries tax breaks to move into the former Kongskilde manufacturing plant, between Normal and Hudson. However, the vote was reluctant. Part of those breaks means Unit 5 will lose property tax revenue. The school district collects about $80,000 a year from that property.

Bloomington City Council Rejects VenuWorks Offer to Run BCPA

The Bloomington City Council voted unanimously Monday to reject VenuWork's offer to take over operation of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.  It's going to stay with the the city's parks, recreation and cultural arts department, for now. VenuWorks had offered to run the BCPA for an additional flat fee of 3 thousand dollars a month.

Illinois Senate Names New Sex Harassment Task Force Members

The Illinois Senate isn't wasting time in naming members to its new sexual harassment task force. Both Democrats and Republicans yesterday named lawmakers to the new Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention. There are seven Democrats and five Republicans, three other victim advocates are also getting a seat on the new task force at the Capitol

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ag Manufacturer Wants Tax Breaks To Locate In Normal

Local leaders in Normal are once again being asked to give-up tax dollars to land a new business. Brandt Industries late last week said it wants to open a new manufacturing hub just north of the town. There's a promise of anywhere between 300 and 500 jobs. But in order to land the manufacturing center, the local schools and local governments are being asked to give-up nine years worth of property taxes.

Parents of Missing Chinese U of I Student Returning Home

The parents of a Chinese scholar allegedly abducted and killed in Illinois had hoped to stay in the United States until the remains of their daughter were found. But after months of agony, they are ready to return to China, where they will wait for answers half a world away. Twenty-six-year-old Yingying Zhang (ying ying zahng), a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, disappeared June 9. A former graduate student has been charged with kidnapping and killing her. Zhang's body has not been found.

Illinois Governor, First Lady Want Holiday Cards For Troops

Illinois' governor and first lady are trying to brighten the holiday for some Illinois service members. Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana yesterday announced a holiday card drive for the troops. The state's first couple says anyone can send a card and they'll make sure that it gets to a solider serving across the globe. If you want to send a card, send it to the USO Cards for Heroes in Chicago by November 20th.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bloomington Post Office to be Renamed After Sgt. Rogers and so is Part of of a Highway

The U.S. Post Office on Towanda Avenue will be renamed after fallen U.S. Army Ranger and Bloomington native Sergeant Joshua Rodgers thanks to Congressman Darin LaHood introducing  H.R. 4326 to the U.S. House of Representatives in the nation's capitol.

Earlier this week, State Representative Dan Brady sponsored a House Joint Resolution in Springfield honoring Rogers which designates part of Veterans Parkway in the Cities of Bloomington and Normal as the "Army Ranger Sergeant Joshua P. Rodgers Memorial Highway.

On April 27, 2017, U.S. Army Sergeant Joshua P. Rodgers was killed in action supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan. The Bloomington native was 22 years old.

U Of I Student Government Okays New Mascot Search

Student leaders at the University of Illinois want to look for a new mascot.  The school's student government approved a resolution Wednesday night that asks for a new mascot search.  The U of I has been without a mascot since the university retired Chief Illiniwek in 2007.

Community Bus Project

Connect Transit continues to get the Community Bus in working order. Several local officials gathered Thursday to help Connect Transit decide on the most logical and convenient locations for the bus to stop for voter registration. The Community Bus is one of Connect Transit's retired buses, turned into a traveling, transferable, bus. It can be whatever the community needs, at the time.The Community Bus should be ready in the next couple weeks.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Rep Dan Brady Sponsors Resolution Honoring The Late Sgt Joshua Rogers

State Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) sponsored a House Joint Resolution honoring a fallen soldier which was adopted Wednesday on the last day of the House Veto Session.
The resolution  designates Veterans Parkway in the Cities of Bloomington and Normal from the intersection of Interstate 74 to intersection of Interstate 55 as the "Army Ranger Sergeant Joshua P. Rodgers Memorial Highway".  Sgt. Rogers died April 27, 2017, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while engaged in dismounted operations.

Outback to Eastland Mall

Outback Steakhouse is relocating to Bloomington's Eastland Mall. Project leaders announced the restaurant's move at Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting. The restaurant will be built in the parking lot of the former Macy's, at the intersection of Empire and Veteran's Parkway. If the council approves the plan, project leaders expect to start construction in the spring and have the restaurant open before next Thanksgiving.

Illinois House Approves Limited Property Tax Freeze

State representatives in Springfield can say they voted to freeze property taxes, but the plan is a long way from becoming law.  The Illinois House yesterday approved a limited, two-year freeze for homeowners in Cook County and the collar counties.  Downstate communities would have to vote to freeze their property taxes.  But the Illinois Senate may not call the plan, and it could die from inaction in Springfield.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

OSF Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield Update

There is an update on the ongoing contract dispute between OSF Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield.....WEEK TV reports OSF Healthcare is continuing to negotiate with Blue Cross Blue Shield to keep the hospital system in network after January 1.This comes after the announcement last month that Blue Cross was dropping most OSF Healthcare hospitals after the first of the year. If negotiations fail, OSF said physicians and other providers employed by OSF will remain in-network after the end of 2017. Physician office visits will still be covered in network.  However, inpatient and outpatient services, surgeries, lab work and outsourced therapy services will no longer be in network if the two entities cannot come to an agreement by year's end.