Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More Charges Again Piano Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors

More alleged victims have come forward to accuse a Bloomington piano teacher of sexually abusing them as Bloomington police continue interviewing other potential victims.Aaron Parlier was handed three more indictments charging him with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two minors. Parlier now faces a total of 13 charges involving three alleged victims.

Coroner Releases Cause of Death of Man Found Dead in Parking Ramp

A McLean County Coroner's report says 48-year-old Miguel Orellana of Bloomington died from head injuries suffered from apparently falling down stairs at the Market Street parking deck early Monday. Police discovered his body just past 6 a.m. Monday. The incident remains under investigation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

TSA Pre-Check Temporary Enrollment Center Event at Central Illinois Regional Airport

Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal invites you to enroll in the popular TSA Pre✓® expedited screening program March 5-9, 2018. The enrollment event hours are 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. each day in Conference Room 1 on the second level of the terminal building at 3201 CIRA Drive, Bloomington. TSA Pre✓® is an expedited screening program that enables identified low-risk air travelers to enjoy a smart and more efficient screening experience. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, light outerwear or belts.

Bloomington Trash Fees Hiked, Service Reduced

If you live in Bloomington, you will pay more to have your trash hauled and you will see a reduction in bulky waste pickup as part of a plan approved Monday to close a $1.1 million annual deficit in the solid waste disposal program. The City Council voted 6-3 to levy a $4 increase for the two larger trash carts, effective May 1st, but the $16 per month fee for the 35-gallon cart remains unchanged.  Beginning May 1, 2019, the per-cart monthly fee will increase 3 percent a year for every cart size.

Bloomington-Normal Bus Managers Still Want Downtown Hub

Bus managers in Bloomington-Normal aren't giving up hope on a downtown Bloomington hub. Connect Transit leaders last night said that they are looking for a new site, after city leaders in Bloomington scuttled the idea of a combo library/bus station earlier this month. Connect Transit GM Isaac Thorne told city leaders last night that he'd rather that they tell him where to build, so they can all avoid another site selection that ends-up nowhere.

Justice Kennedy Slams Illinois For State Support Of Union Dues

One of the nation's Supreme Court justices says he cannot believe the state of Illinois is defending the public sector unions that are draining state resources and demanding ever-higher pensions, paychecks and perks.  Justice Anthony Kennedy yesterday blasted assistant Illinois Attorney General David Franklin for defending AFSCME in its attempt to continue to force all state workers to pay a fee to the union, which Kennedy says supports the union's political action.  Kennedy said that by siding with the union, the state is siding with higher wages, massive government, increasing bonded indebtedness and increasing taxes.  The sharp questions came during oral arguments in the Janus case, which could undue union fees and protections for public sector jobs across Illinois and the rest of the country.

Monday, February 26, 2018

BPD Officers Discover Dead Body in Parking Ramp

Bloomington Police Department are searching for answers after officers on patrol discovered a man's body in the Market Street parking deck, 202 W. Market just after 6 a.m. Monday. Officers on patrol found the body of an adult male and the McLean County Coroner pronounced the man dead at 6:45 a.m. The name of the man is being withheld pending family notification. Police said there is no indication the death is suspicious in nature. A forensic pathologist will make a final determination. Anyone with information is asked to contact BPD.

Illinois Gas Prices Dip

There's good news for drivers. says gas prices in Illinois are down from a week ago. The average price for a gallon of unleaded in the state is two-dollars and 51-cents. The lowest price in the state is two-dollars and 17-cents a gallon in Effingham.

Flood Report Predicts Weaker Flood Season

Despite the high water on some rivers around Illinois, forecasters say this spring flood season shouldn't be that bad. The National Weather Service released its 2018 Spring Flood Outlook last week. Forecasters say there wasn't enough rain or snow last fall and this winter, so there won't be much water coming down the Mississippi River. The report goes on to say that many parts of Illinois are still too dry, so farm fields and ponds will be able to absorb any rain that does fall or water that comes down the river.

Bloomington City Council Special Session: Bus Transfer Site

The Bloomington city council members will meet in special session  to discuss a possible downtown location for a Transit Connect bus transfer station. Connect Transit last week received a $250,000 grant from IDOT for a feasibility study and plan for a transfer station. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Normal: We're Working On Fixing the Potholes

The Town of Normal says it is diligently working to fill those troublesome potholes. Town officials say they have received lots of calls asking how to report damage to roads. With recent weather making roads worse, the public works crews have been filling potholes with cold patch fills. It's a temporary fix until they can permanently fill them in the spring. If you want to report a pothole in Normal, fill out the public works form on the towns official website.

Governor Rauner Says Illinois Still Sliding Into Abyss

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state is still sliding into the economic abyss.  The governor delivered his message to a group of farmers and agriculture industry insiders in Bloomington yesterday.  Rauner said Illinois is still struggling with high taxes, particularly high property taxes.  But the governor didn't have any new ideas as to how to lower those tax burdens except for his campaign answer to "fight for change" in Springfield.

U Of I Chief Game Brings Out Supporters, Protesters

It wasn't just chief supporters at the University of Illinois' last men's basketball game. Several protesters turned out at last night's game to voice their opposition to the retired school mascot. Supporters say they want to honor the chief, but there are plenty of people on campus who say he's racist. The U of I shelved the chief back in 2007.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Packers' Rodgers to Headline American Red Cross Evening of the Stars Event

 Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback who led the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl victory in 2011 will headline the American Red Cross Evening of Stars that will begin at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in uptown Normal. Tickets are $150 and are available beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday at or by calling the Red Cross at 309-662-0500. Evening of Stars, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Red Cross in the Bloomington-Normal area, funds Red Cross disaster response, preparedness training, support for military families and collection of blood and blood products.

Bloomington Fire Investigators May Never Know Fire's Cause

Fire investigators in Bloomington say they may never know what started a fire earlier this month that left a dozen people homeless. Bloomington Fire Department spokesman Stuart Blade said there is just too much damage at the apartment building on the city's east side to get to the cause of the fire. Seven families lost their homes in the fire. City attorneys in Bloomington say the apartment building had a history of troubles, and the owners were cited nearly 800 times for everything from chipped paint to missing smoke detectors.

Illinois Lawmakers Moving Toward Marijuana Ballot Question

A question about legal marijuana in Illinois is a step closer to the November ballot.  A Senate panel yesterday approved the non-binding question.  Voters could have their say if they'd like to see the state legalize recreational marijuana for people 21-years-old and older.  The non-binding question next heads to the full Senate for a vote.

Jeanne Ives Blasts Governor Over Latest Legionnaires' Case

The conservative running for governor in Illinois is furious that veterans in the state are still fighting Legionnaires' disease.  Jeanne Ives yesterday told reporters that the state needs to move people out of the veterans home in Quincy immediately.  The first outbreak at the home was nearly three years ago.  A fourth veteran at the Quincy home was confirmed to be sick with Legionnaires' this week.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Invenergy Wind Farm Approved

Another local wind farm gets the green light. The McLean County Board voted 10-8 to let Chicago-based alternative energy company Invenergy build its proposed McLean County Wind Energy Center near Chenoa and Lexington.  The board also voted 10-8 against an amendment that would have added requirements to get paid objective, third-party assessments of the issues of sound of the turbines, where they should be placed, whether they'll impede business and how they'll affect local creeks and wildlife.

Bloomington Apartment Owner To Answer Code Violation Questions After Fire

City leaders in Bloomington will likely have a lot of questions for a pair of local apartment owners cited almost 800 times on a building that caught fire this month. Owner Wayne Pelhank and contract-for-deed purchaser Ed Duran are facing a hearing next week to answer for the 527 pending code violations at their apartment on Bloomington's east side. No one was hurt in the fire, but a dozen families were left homeless.

Corn Belt Power Outage

As of approximately 3:25 am, approximately 2,109 Corn Belt Energy customers are currently without power in the following areas: Anchor, Arrowsmith, Bellflower, Bloomington, Chenoa, Colfax, Cooksville, Downs, Ellsworth, Fairbury, Farmer City, Foosland, Gridley, Hudson, LeRoy, Lexington, Saybrook, and Towanda. The cause of these outages is an upstream transmission issue impacting four of our substations.  Corn Belt Energy crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bloomington Aldermen Hold Off on Raising Fees and Taxes...For Now

They are not going to do it--for now. Most of Bloomington's aldermen are not interested in levying a video gambling machine fee and raising the city utility tax to replace the O'Neil Park pool. Furthermore, they don't want to raise your fuel taxes to increase street repair work. But that's not to say that they oppose a scaled back verion of the replacement of the pool or a slightly smaller raise in your fuel taxes.

Normal Approves Proposed Study for Sports Complex

Normal could get a new sports facility in the next few years. The town council  voted unanimously to approve a resolution Monday night that would fund a feasibility study. The study would reveal whether or not Normal is capable of bringing a multi-sport facility to the area, and evaluate its proposed economic impact. Council officials and some community members believe the complex would bring in more people to stay in hotels, eat local food, and provide more jobs, resulting in a boost in the economy.

Fire in Heyworth Destroys a Home

Fire officials in Heyworth are calling it a total loss. A blaze destroyed a home  at 14897 E. 300 North Road. A dryer malfunction is suspected as the cause of that fire. No one was injured.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Normal to Consider a $47K Study for Outdoor Sports Complex

The Normal City Council will consider Monday a contract with Florida-based Sports Facilities Advisory for a proposed $47,000 study over the next three months to look a potential Twin City outdoor s
ports complex

Bloomington City Council Special Session

A special session of the Bloomington city council tonight at 5:30 features Fire Chief Mohr updating the council on emergency response times and the council being asked to provide direction on some Downtown Task Force recommendations minus the one to move the library to the Market Street parking ramp site.

Bloomington City Council to Consider Raising Fees, Taxes

Things could get a little more expensive in Bloomington. The City Council Monday will be to look at the possibility of levying a video gambling machine fee and raise the city utility tax to replace the O'Neil Park pool along with raising your fuel taxes to increase street repair work.

Friday, February 16, 2018

O'Brien Heroes

Members of the O'Brien Auto Team are being recognized for their acts of heroism.  On Thursday, three of them were recognized with hero awards. When 20-year-old Jordan Turner collapsed in cardiac arrest on the job about 4 months ago, Romy Williams and Cathy Napoline jumped in and did the only thing they knew how. The three administered CPR and mouth-to-mouth until paramedics arrived with an AED. Turner has since returned to work. The dealership is partnering with the American Red Cross, to get over 75% of their staff CPR certified, and get an AED put in each Bloomington-Normal location.

Illinois School Leaders Worry About Impact of Cost Shift

Local school leaders across the state say Governor Bruce Rauner's budget could undo any progress from the state's new school funding formula. The governor on Wednesday proposed a cost shift that would have local schools pay more for their pension costs as the centerpiece of his new spending plan. But local superintendents say those costs would erase any new money that their schools are supposed to see from the new funding formula.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Decatur Woman Stabbed, Cut with and Knife and Struck in the Head with Frozen Fish

Decatur police say a dispute over groceries between two Decatur women ended with one of the women being stabbed and cut with a butcher knife and hit in the head with a packet of frozen fish. According to a sworn police affidavit, the trouble began Sunday afternoon between the women ages 26 and 25 when 25-year-old wanted to move out, and they fought over what groceries she might take. The Pantagraph reports, again–according to the affidavit, this lead the 26-year-old to stab her in the stomach with the knife, and hit her and smacking her in the back of the head with the frozen fish. The 26-year-old was arrested on preliminary charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and domestic battery.

Three Students, Drivers Hurt In Bloomington-Normal School Bus Wreck

The Illinois State Police are not saying how a school bus in Bloomington-Normal ended up on its side, and sending three students to the hospital. The wreck happened yesterday after school on a county road between Bloomington and Downs.

Troopers say in addition to three students, they took the bus' drivers to the hospital.

"For the bus sliding off into, and turning on its side, we could have had many more injuries, and perhaps even a level of severe injuries," said Dr. Mark Daniel, Unit 5 Superintendent.

Unit 5 schools, which operate the bus, say their preliminary investigation suggests that the bus driver was not at fault.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rauner Budget Facing Billion-Plus In New Spending Pressures

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is going to need to find a bit more than a billion-and-a-half new dollars to make ends meet in his new budget.  The governor is set to deliver his budget address today at noon.  In addition to the lingering eight-and-a-half-billion-dollars in unpaid bills, the governor is going to have to find 350-million for new school funding, 500-million more for pensions and over 750-million-dollars to make the debt payment on a series of old state loans for next year.  No one is saying how the governor hopes to find the new money.

No Charges For Peoria Teacher Accused Of Sex With Student

Prosecutors in Peoria say they aren't filing charges yet against a local high school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student. Richwoods High School teacher Phillip Earhart walked out of jail yesterday without being charged. Peoria County States' Attorney Jerry Brady said that doesn't mean charges won't be filed. Earhart is on paid leave while police and Peoria school leaders look into the allegations against him.

McDonald's Worker Fired After Cursing At State Trooper

A Bloomington-Normal drive-thru worker is out of a job after yelling at an Illinois State trooper.  The local McDonald's managers fired a young woman Monday after they say they learned that she cursed at the trooper over the weekend.  Owner Jack Millan said he apologized to the trooper and reminded his staff of what is and what is not acceptable behavior.  Millan says he's always supported law enforcement and that the one former employee doesn't represent his entire staff.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bloomington Solid Waste Recommendations

Bloomington leaders are looking at changes to the city's residential solid waste program. The public works department had three potential resolutions. Looking at having a private company take over the program, changing solid waste fees, and changing solid waste service levels, like eliminating free bulk item pick up. Having a private company take over solid waste services was a non-starter with staff. The city council voted on a recommendation, combining motions 2 and 3, so staff can come back with a resolved hybrid motion.

Group Still Pursuing Welcoming City Status for Bloomington

A determined group of  about 100 local residents supporting protection for immigrants regardless of their legal status say they will keep fighting for Bloomington to pass a welcoming-city ordinance. A special meeting to discuss the ordinance Monday night was canceled last week at the request of five aldermen. Those aldermen said the ordinance would be redundant because it covers the same territory as the state's Trust Act.

Illinois Also Wants Citizenship Question Dropped From 2020 Census

Illinois' attorney general is joining 18 others in asking 2020 census officials not to ask about citizenship.  The group made the request yesterday in a letter to the commerce department, which runs the census.  The attorneys general worry that by asking if people are in this country legally, census takers may not get full participation and may not count everyone who is living in the United States.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bloomington Fire Injures Firefighter, Guts Apartment Complex

A dozen people are homeless and a firefighter is recovering after an apartment fire in Bloomington.  It happened Saturday afternoon on the city's east side.  Investigators say they don't know yet what started the fire, but crews say twelve apartments had to be emptied because of the fire, smoke and water damage.

Illinois Governor To Deliver Budget Address This Week

Illinois taxpayers are going to get a look at what the governor wants to spend this week. Governor Bruce Rauner is set to deliver his budget address on Wednesday. There are several lingering questions about Illinois' finances this year, including nearly nine billion-dollars in unpaid bills, how much money Illinois actually has to spend, and whether the politics of this fall's race for governor will mean that lawmakers punt on crafting a balanced budget this spring.

March Court Date For Suspect In Putnam County Killing

The suspect in the killing of a Putnam County teenage won't be in court for another couple of weeks. Prosecutors last week agreed to push back Richard Henderson's preliminary hearing til March. Henderson is the prime suspect in the death of Diamond Bradley, who disappeared last month. But so far Henderson is only being charged with concealing Bradley's dead body.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Accidental Gunshot Incident

Police in Normal are calling a shooting at a local shooting range an accident. Investigators say the man accidentally shot himself while at one of the indoor ranges at C.I. Shooting Sports. Police say the man suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Drug Bust

24-year-old Ransom Carr of Bloomington man is behind bars following his arrest for selling illegal narcotics. Carr faces charges for manufacture/delivery of cocaine and marijuana.

McLean Co Chamber of Commerce Get 5-Star Award

Job well done! The McLean County Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a five-star accreditation by the US Chamber of Commerce--its highest level of nation-wide accreditation. It puts the McLean county Chamber of Commerce among 111 out of more that 7,000 chambers nationally to receive this accreditation. The award recognizes chamber’s with quality programs, clear organizational procedures, and effective communication by meeting minimum operation and program standards in the areas of governance, program development, government affairs, and technology.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bloomington Police Says Murder Suspect Confessed

Bloomington Police say a murder suspect there says he killed his wife because of what she was doing on her cell phone. Investigators told a judge in McLean County yesterday that Monroe Elbert admitted to stabbing his wife to death after they fought on Monday. Prosecutors are pushing ahead with murder charges, Elbert is due back in court next week.

Dad Returns Taken Infant to BPD

A two-week old baby girl who was taken without permission from her mother Wednesday morning has been found safe.  Bloomington Police tell us the child’s father, Darien Davis, brought the baby to the Bloomington Police Department Wednesday afternoon after becoming aware of a social media post from the department about the abduction.  An investigation found that Davis took the infant and announced plans to leave the state. Police said he did not possess any child care supplies or food for the baby girl.  No word yet on what, if any, charges Davis might face.


Area firefighters were kept busy Wednesday with a couple of blazes--one in Bloomington and one in Normal. The Bloomington fire, at 1301 Alexander Road started just before 1p.m. in a multi-unit garage before destroying  that building and spreading to a nearby two-story house.At least two vehicles also were destroyed in the fire. 13 units from Bloomington Township, Bloomington, Heyworth and Downs fire departments were at the scene.  Meanwhile, Normal firefighters were called about 1:30 p.m. to The Lodge on Willow where smoke was coming from a third-floor window. Heat activated the sprinkler system there and put that fire out according to NFD adding that he fire was “contained to the room of origin,” but the apartment “had significant water damage. The cause of both blazes are under investigation.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bloomington Murder Suspect Accused Of Child Abuse As Well

Prosecutors say the Bloomington man charged with killing his wife is also facing charges for allegedly abusing a child.  The McLean County States' Attorney's Office says Monroe Elbert is due before a judge today to answer for the stabbing death of his wife earlier this week.  Elbert is also facing charges from an October case where investigators say he broke the leg of a child in his home.  Police are blaming the murder on domestic violence, but are not saying what led to the stabbing.

More Charges Likely For Suspect In Bureau County Teen's Death

The suspect in a Bureau County teen's death is only facing charges of hiding her body. For now. Prosecutors yesterday said they expect to file new charges against 26-year-old Richard Henderson for the stabbing death of 16-year-old Diamond Bradley late last month. Bureau County's sheriff says Henderson admitted to meeting Bradley online, then meeting her in person the day she disappeared. Henderson is being held without bond in the LaSalle County Jail.

Ballot Challenge Is Delaying Early Voting In Illinois

Voters in Illinois are going to have to wait a tiny bit longer to cast an early ballot for the March primary. The Illinois State Board of Elections yesterday told local election officials that early voting will now begin February 21st, the same day that grace period registration is set to start.  Early voting was supposed to start tomorrow.  The state board says it is waiting for a court to decide if Democratic candidate for attorney general Scott Drury will make the March ballot.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Late Starts

Olympia schools have a one hour delayed start this morning.....Cornerstone Christian Academy has a one hour delayed start this morning.

Bloomington Police Investigate Domestic Violence-Related Death

Investigators in Bloomington hope an autopsy will give them more answers into the death of a local woman that they are blaming on domestic violence.  Officers arrested a man at a home just east of the city's downtown yesterday afternoon.  They are not saying how the woman died or who the suspect is.