Friday, March 30, 2018

Governor Rauner Wants Road Building Plan, Not Sure On Funding

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'd love to build new roads in the state. But he's less sure about how to pay for it. The governor told reporters in Springfield yesterday that he fully supports a capital plan to build new roads and bridges, but he won't raise taxes to pay for the work. Instead the governor says finding some efficiencies in state government could produce the money. The governor's comments came a day after a new report said Illinois' crumbling and congested roads cost drivers in the state 16 billion-dollars a year.

Illinois' Prepaid 2018 Taxes Will be Deductible

Good news for Illinois taxpayers who prepaid their 2018 taxes. The Treasury Department yesterday announced that homeowners who paid their 2018 property taxes before the end of the year will be able to claim a full deduction. The new federal tax reform package last year capped how much in state and local taxes that taxpayers can claim. In some parts of Illinois, particularly the Chicago suburbs, the changes threatened to cost some homeowners thousands of dollars.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Piano Teacher Faces More Sex Charges

Aaron Parlier, a Pekin man who worked as a local piano teacher, now faces 38 sex charges. This includes13 charges related to three former students filed in February. The Pantagraph reports 24 new indictments returned by a McLean County grand jury Wednesday includes 14 child pornography counts involving five children, a single count of criminal sexual abuse and nine counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of one child.

Report: Illinois' Bad Roads Cost Drivers Over 16 Billion

The price tag for Illinois' congested and crumbling roads is almost 16-and-a-half billion dollars a year. A new report from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the TRIP research group, released yesterday, said about a third of Illinois' roads and a tenth of the state's bridges are in poor condition. The cost to drivers comes from wasted time and wasted fuel, as well as car crashes and repairs due to poor roads.

Illinois Top 200 List Focuses On Twinkies, Skyscrapers

Illinois' latest bicentennial best-of list has voters choosing between barbed wire, mail order shopping, skyscrapers, and Twinkies. This week's Top 200 list is all about Illinois' best inventions and innovations. Chris Wills with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says Illinois is known for some inventions, like John Deere's steel plow and Motorola's first cell phone. But he said some people will be surprised to learn that Twinkies are an Illinois product. Or that modern pinball owes its popularity to shops in Chicago which helped the game go mainstream. You can vote at through tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Central Illinois Student To Get 250 Thousand Dollars In Bus Beating Case

A former student at a central Illinois school is getting a quarter-of-a-million dollars after a jury in Chicago said his school bus driver let him get beaten-up. The student was 13 back in 2014 when El Paso-Gridley School District bus driver James Roberts was caught on video allowing other students to beat the young man. A jury in Chicago this month found that Roberts violated the teen's civil rights and ordered a 250 thousand-dollar payment. Lawyers for the teen say the school initially ignored complaints, and brushed off reports that Roberts egged-on other attacks. El Paso-Gridley Superintendent Brian Kurz yesterday said Roberts' actions 'reprehensible.'

Former ISU Student Suing Over Sex-Based Suspension

Illinois State University is the latest school in the country to face a lawsuit over how it handled a complaint about sex between two students.  A former male student sued the school yesterday, claiming the university violated his rights when it suspended him and banned him from campus after a female classmate said he sexually assaulted her.  The student says he was punished before there was ever a hearing.  He was later cleared and no charges were ever filed.  The lawsuit asks for a million dollars.

Influenza B Earns CDC Warning

Flu season isn't over just yet. The CDC this week issued a warning about the rise of Influenza B cases. Illinois' flu season has dropped significantly since its peak at the end of December. The Illinois Department of Public Health does not track individual flu cases, but the state's latest flu report does show 39 new ICU admissions from the flu during the second week of March.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fees to Cover Budget Gap in Bloomington

If you live in Bloomington, you can expect to see fee increases for building plan reviews and inspections, new business registration fees and more aggressive collection of unpaid parking tickets. Aldermen voted Monday night to have the city staff proceed with three revenue-generating proposals to help close the last part of a $2.9 million deficit for the $208 million budget that will take effect May 1.

Normal Gets New Electric Aggregation Program Supplier

The Town of Normal announces that MidAmerican Energy Services will be the town's Electric Aggregation Program supplier. The new 24 month agreement with MidAmerican Energy,takes effect in July, locks in a rate of 4.98 cents per kilowatt hour and provides an option for residents to select a "green option" at a rate of 5.07 cents per kilowatt hour. All eligible Ameren residential and small business customers will receive an “opt out” letter from MidAmerican Energy before to April 17th. If you do not want to participate in the program you must notify MidAmerican.

Congressman Rodney Davis Applauds Marchers, Points To Gun Control Measures

One central Illinois congressman says they're already working to make sure the next school shooting doesn't happen.  Congressman Rodney Davis yesterday said he's happy to see so many young people becoming politically engaged.  Davis said the people who marched in the weekend March for Our Lives sent a message.  But Davis said Congress is already working on gun control.  He says last week's government funding plan includes a provision to close down some background check loopholes.

Monday, March 26, 2018

University Of Illinois Sues Over Chief Shirt

The latest dust-up over The Chief has the University of Illinois going to court. The school is suing a suburban Chicago man over his t-shirt design that has a an image of The Chief with his hands raised, and says 'Make Illinois Great Again' on the back. The university says the image is protected, but the designer Ted O'Malley says the U of I simply doesn't like the debate over The Chief. The school ended the mascot in 2007, but there's been a steady effort from alumni and fans to resurrect him ever since.

Loyola Rambles To Final Four

Loyola is in it to win it. The Ramblers continued their Cinderella season on Saturday by beating Kansas State 78-62, and earning a Final Four birth. Loyola started the NCAA Tournament ranked as an eleventh seed, they are the fourth eleventh seed to ever reach the Final Four. Loyola will face Michigan in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday.

Governor Rauner Calls Democrat Pritzker A 'Tax Cheat'

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner isn't wasting time, or words, in his race for reelection. The governor used a campaign stop in southern Illinois on Friday to call his Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker, a 'tax cheat.' It's a reference to off-shore accounts in Pritzker's name that came to light during the primary election. The governor also said that Pritzker is part of the Madigan machine that's ruined Illinois for years.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Today: Snow, possibly mixed with rain, freezing rain, and sleet before 3pm, then rain, possibly mixed with snow and freezing rain between 3pm and 4pm, then snow, possibly mixed with rain after 4pm. Some thunder is also possible. High near 34. Breezy, with an east wind around 24 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Tonight: Rain and snow before 11pm, then a chance of snow between 11pm and 1am. Low around 25. Blustery, with an east northeast wind 15 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.



The City of Bloomington has issued a Snow Route parking ban starting at 11:00 AM on Saturday, March 24, 2018 due to active snowfall in our area. The parking ban will be in effect until Sunday, March 25, 2018 7:00 AM.  Even if your street is not designated as a snow route, we are encouraging all residents to park off the street; keeping the streets free from parked cars will allow our plow drivers a more efficient and safer snow removal operation.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Clinton County High School Student Killed in Crash

A Clinton High School student was killed in a single-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon at about 4:30 near Wapella. DeWitt County Coroner Randy J. Rice says his office and the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Department are investigating, Rice said, but no other details were released. Rice confirmed the victim was a student, but he declined to release the name until relatives are notified.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Canadian Auto Group Buys Grossinger, Keeps Name on Local Dealership & Arena

AutoCanada is buying the 95-year old Grossinger Auto Group including the dealership in Normal. AutoCanada will also keep the Grossinger name on the city-owned arena in Bloomington. AutoCanada has agreed to pay $86 million for the Normal location and eight other dealerships in and around Chicago. The deal marks the first time AutoCanada will expand into the U.S. market

Illinois' Governor's Race Will be Expensive

Get ready to see a lot more campaign commercials in the race for Illinois governor. NBC 5 Chicago reported yesterday that ad executives expect J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner to spend 150 million-dollars on campaign ads alone. The two spent almost 50 million on ads for the primary election. The station talked with the ad-trackers at Advertising Analytics who say the spring 2018 primary in Illinois is the most expensive, non-presidential primary in the nation's history.

Bloomington Police Review Board Update

Members of Bloomington’s Public Safety Community Relations Board are waiting for their first case to review. The board met Wednesday night to update the public on its progress in the first of four quarterly public meetings scheduled for this year. The panel of private citizens was created by the City Council in July to advise the police chief and city manager on police-related issues and complaints. So far, no cases have been presented.

Grundy County Fire Leaves Two Dead

Investigators in Grundy County think a fire in the kitchen spread and gutted a home in Dwight. Two people died in the fire just after midnight yesterday, while two other people were able to make it out alive. The home's owner said the house is a total loss. Nearly a dozen local fire departments helped fight the fire. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Austin Bombing Suspect Kills Self with Explosive

The man suspected of being the serial bomber who killed two and terrorized Austin, Texas, for three harrowing weeks was killed in a dramatic confrontation with police overnight Wednesday, according to authorities. The suspect, identified by police early Wednesday as a 24-year old male, was killed in the motel he was traced to by authorities using surveillance footage from a Federal Express drop-off store and cell phone triangulation technology, according to The Austin American-Statesman.


Rauner, Pritzker Win Primaries In Illinois Governor's Race

The top two candidates for Illinois governor spent their primary election nights differently. Democrat J.B. Pritzker cruised to a win over a crowded field of other candidates. But Republican Bruce Rauner spent the night nursing a four percentage point lead over conservative challenger Jeanne Ives. Rauner says he's heard the message that Republican voters sent in the close race. Rauner and Pritzker will face off in November.

McLean County Approves Second Wind Farm

More wind turbines are coming to the farm fields of central Illinois. McLean County leaders yesterday approved a 58-turbine farm that's planned to go-in just south of Chenoa in the northern part of the county. Planners say they hope to generate 200 megawatts. Folks who live near the planned wind farm say they don't want any part of it, though. The project is the second wind farm that McLean County leaders have approved this year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Shooter Dead, 2 Injured After shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland

A gunman who shot and wounded two students at Great Mills High School in Maryland was killed Tuesday after engaging an armed school resource officer, an official said.
The shooter was the only fatality. A female student was critically injured and a male student was also shot but is in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said.

Shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland Injures at Least 3 People

At least three people were injured Tuesday morning in a shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland, police told Fox News. The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said the three victims were taken to the hospital but it was not clear how they were injured or the extent of the injuries. There were no fatalities immediately reported and no information on the shooter.


Voters To Decide Primary Races In Illinois

It's primary Election Day in Illinois, and voters have plenty of candidates to choose from. Polls are open till 7 p.m. Voters across the state will narrow the Republican and Democratic fields for governor, attorney general, and a few congressional races. Locally, voters will decide state rep and state senate seats, as well as countywide posts. The winners of today's races will face off, if necessary, in November.

Deere Chosen As Illinois' Second Most Historic Business

John Deere is one of Illinois' most historic businesses. It's just not the most historic. Voters in Illinois' Top 200 contest picked the state's big green tractor maker as Illinois' second most historic company. Archer Daniels Midland is the most historic. Caterpillar was voted the third most iconic. Voters filled out the rest of the top ten with McDonald's, Walgreens, Rand McNally, DeKalb Ag Research, Sears, State Farm, and Dairy Queen.

SIU Poll: Most Illinoisans Say Criminal Justice System Is Biased

Most people in Illinois say the state's criminal justice system is biased, but not folks downstate. A new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says 55 percent of people asked, say that the criminal justice system is biased against black people. The polls says 63 percent of people in and around Chicago saw a bias, but that fell to 42 percent when pollsters spoke with folks south of I-80. The poll also showed a racial and political split, with Democrats and minorities seeing more bias than Republicans and white voters.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Primary Election Day Is Tomorrow

It's the last full day of politicking in what's already been a jam-packed election season. Voters across the state will head to the polls tomorrow, looking to narrow the races for Illinois governor, attorney general, and some congressional seats. There are also a number of local primary contests that will essentially decide who will be sheriff, state representative, or county leaders.

Report: 2018 Race For Illinois Governor Close To Record Costs

The candidates running for Illinois governor are on pace to spend perhaps 100 million-dollars on TV ads alone. "The Chicago Tribune" reported yesterday that the Republicans and Democrats running for the state's highest office have spent 65 million on TV ads so far, and voters won't make their final choice til November. To put that 65 million in perspective, Governor Rauner spent 63 million-dollars on his entire campaign four years ago.

Taxi 2 Vote

Checker Cab of Bloomington is offering free transportation to voters in Bloomington and Normal Tuesday to and from your polling place from 6am to 7pm. Voters wanting to take advantage of the offer must call Checker Cab a 309-828-0123 to schedule your ride and you must mention "Taxi 2 Vote" to receive the free service

Friday, March 16, 2018

Jobs Report: More Working, Lower Unemployment

Most Illinois cities are seeing more people working and a lower unemployment rate. The Illinois Department of Employment Security yesterday released a city-by-city jobs report for the start of 2018. The Quad Cities, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and of course Chicago all added jobs over the past year. Springfield, Danville, and Carbondale all reported to the state that they lost jobs since last January.

Get Ready For Campaign Ad Flood

Chances are you're not going to be able to watch much TV or do much online this weekend without seeing a campaign commercial for an Illinois candidate. This is the final weekend before next week's primary, and political parties and candidates themselves are gearing-up. Governor Rauner, and the three top Democrats running for governor are all out with new commercials. But local candidates are also using this last weekend as their chance to get some air time. Don't worry if it all stops, at least for a bit, as of Wednesday.

Federal Prosecutors Say Laws, Not Congressional Rules Matter In Schock Case

Federal prosecutors want a judge to rely on the law, not rules written by congressmen for congressmen when dealing with former Congressman Aaron Schock. The Justice Department filed a response this week to Schock's lawyers who say prosecutors are beyond their scope in trying to charge Schock with a crime for how he reported campaign and congressional expenses. The feds say a court ruling based on a 1995 case, ironically dealing with another Illinois Congressman, is wrong.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Toys R Us to Close All Stores

Toys R Us has told all employees it plans to liquidate all U.S. operations after weak holiday sales. The Washington Post reports as many as 33,000 employees face layoffs after the chain failed to regain stable financial footing following a bankruptcy filing in September. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that employees were notified remaining outlets will be sold or closed. This includes the Toys R Us on Empire Street in Bloomington.

Federal Prosecutors Charge Four In Bombing Plots

Four central Illinois men are facing federal charges for a pair of bombing plots.  FBI agents arrested Michael Hari, Joe Morris, Michael McWhorter and Ellis Mack yesterday for an August 2017 bombing at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, and a planned bombing in November of that year at a women's clinic in Champaign.  Investigators say they got a tip about bomb-making materials and weapons at Hari's house.  The FBI says it was during their investigation into the guns that McWhorter admitted his role in the 2017 bombing.  Prosecutors say he said he wanted to scare Muslims out of the country.

Illinois To See Bicentennial Beer Cans Today

The first six packs of Illinois' bicentennial beer will soon be on store shelves. Governor Rauner and members of the state's Bicentennial Commission will debut the beer this afternoon in Springfield. The Bicentennial 1818 Craft Beer is being specially brewed for just this year, to celebrate the state's 200th birthday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

U.S. News And World Report Ranks Illinois Least Stable Statehouse

Illinois is once again at the top of the list of the bottom states in the country. U.S. News and Word Report last week came out with its list of the most and least financially stable states in the country. Illinois leads the worst list. The report looked at pension debt, balanced budgets, cash flow, and the state's credit rating. Republicans in Springfield say given Illinois' fiscal mess, it's not a surprise that the state is ranked dead last in fiscal stability.

Governor Rauner Kinda Clarifies Gun Control Wishes

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is being clear about just one piece of the gun control push at the Illinois Capitol. The governor yesterday told reporters in Chicago that he will sign a law to ban bump stocks. But the governor was less clear about other gun control measures that lawmakers are considering. He would only say that he wants 'bipartisan solutions' on the ideas of state-issued gun dealer licenses, a new law to raise the age to buy a rifle, and a ban on magazines that hold more than ten bullets.

Bloomingotn Public Works Looks for More Road Funds

Bloomington's Public Works Department is looking for more city funds to fix certain roads. The department is looking to decrease the wait time for southbound traffic turning right at the intersection of Towanda Barnes and Ireland Grove Road. Public Works was originally looking for $450,000 to fund the project, but at Monday nights city council meeting, the department director Jim Karch proposed they reduce the number to $370,000. City leaders approved that resolution.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Ideas from the Bloomington City Budget Workshop

The Bloomington City Council is looking for ways to trim a budget deficit and fund capital projects. Some are looking at the nearly $5 million the city donates to community needs and programs to close the gap. Ideas discussed Saturday during a budget workshop included fundraisers and community service programs that range from mental health services to the Route 66 visitors center.

Governor May Be Leaning Against Gun Dealer Law

Illinois may not get a new, tougher gun dealer law after all. Governor Rauner has been very quiet about his plans for a series of proposed gun control laws in Springfield. But on Friday the governor told reporters in the Quad Cities that he doesn't want to add 'redundant regulations' on small businesses in the state. Gun supporters say that may be a sign that Rauner won't sign a new plan to create state-based licensees for gun dealers in Illinois.

One Dead, Three Wounded In Champaign Shooting

One man is dead and three others are recovering after a shooting in Champaign.  Police say it happened early yesterday morning in the 700 block of North Hickory Street, on the city's near east side.  Champaign Police say 34-year-old Montrez Vonner died after being hit by a number of bullets.  They say the shooting started with an argument.  The three other victims are all expected to be okay.  Investigators are asking neighbors if they have any tips in the case

Friday, March 9, 2018


Kyle Ham, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, has resigned to take the position as vice president of client services for Core Construction in Morton, IL. Ham’s last day will be April 29. Zach Dietmeier with the E.D.C. tells Cities 92.9 that Mike O’Grady will serve as the interim CEO until the search for a new one is completed. Dietmeier adds that Ham actually submitted his resignation letter a week ago, but the E.D.C. board says it delayed releasing the news to avoid detracting from the annual One Voice lobbying trip to Washington.


South Korea announced Thursday night that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is extending an invitation to meet with President Trump. South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong also announced an upcoming meeting between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and the North Korean leader. The extraordinary and unexpected opening came through shuttle diplomacy by a South Korean delegation arriving in Washington Thursday.Trump heralded the development as a “major announcement” after speaking with the South Korean president. Kim has agreed to a suspend missile tests while the talks go on, and there was no insistence that the United States and South Korea suspend joint military exercises.


Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue (CISAR) announces it will close.  CISAR, a not-for-profit shelter and low-cost veterinary clinic at 29738 E. County Road 1400 North, has stopped taking animals and is making arrangements for the animals on hand, though no exact end date is set. The shelter specialized in animals that other shelters wouldn’t take, sometimes due to age or illness. The clinic will remain open.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Pekin City Hall was evacuated Thursday morning after a pipe bomb was found in a safe. Pekin Public Information Office Billie Ingles said police made a meth-related arrest and confiscated a safe from the suspect’s residence. When police opened the safe, a pipe bomb was found. The city hall building, which also contains the police station, was evacuated. The Peoria Police Bomb Squad arrived and sent a bomb robot has been in to retrieve the device. Members of the Peoria Bomb Squad successfully detonated the bomb. No on was injured

Student in Car Crash Dies

Normal Community West High School student. Olivia Sonetz, has died as a result of her injuries suffered in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday night.  The 17-year old from Bloomington was leaving softball practice when the crash occurred at 6:25 that evening  at the at the intersection of Mitsubishi Motorway, and Raab Road. She was initially taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, then to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The announcement of her death was made Thursday morning.