Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Resurfacing on Veterans Parkway Has Begun

Resurfacing of Veterans Parkway from Washington Street north to Clearwater in Bloomington is underway. Crews are working at night from 9am to 7am through November. The Illinois Department of Transportation's $3 million project includes the busy Veterans at Empire intersection.

New Lotto Game To Benefit Fallen Officers

Illinois is letting people back the blue and perhaps win some money at the same time. Governor Rauner yesterday announced a new scratch-off lottery ticket that will raise money for the families of fallen officers or officers injured in the line of duty. The new ticket will split some of the purchase price between the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Fund, the Police Memorial Committee Fund, and the Illinois State Police Memorial Fund.

Cat Posts Record Second Quarter Profit

The tariff tit-for-tat in Washington, DC doesn't seem to be slowing Caterpillar sales.  The heavy equipment maker yesterday posted a record second quarter profit based on strong sales in April, May, and June.  Cat officials are so confident about the company's strength that they raised their outlook for all of 2018.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Felony Charges After Fight, Wreck In Bloomington

Three women are facing felony charges after police say a fight led to a wreck in Bloomington. It happened very early Saturday morning on the city's west side. Police say the fight started as a disagreement over child support. Officers say the suspects managed to smash out a victim's car windows, then tried to smash the victim's car but missed and hit a building instead.

Suspect In U Of I Scholar's Death Ask For Presidential Info

The man facing charges for the death of a Chinese-born University of Illinois scholar wants to know if President Trump talked about his case. Brendt Christensen's lawyers on Friday asked to get any information they can from President Trump's Administration about Ying Ying Zhang's disappearance and whether the president spoke to Chinese officials about the case. Federal prosecutors are pushing charges against Christensen for Zhang's kidnapping and death, and his trial is set for April.

Grace Period for Bulk Waste Pickup Ends

The two-week grace period for bulk waste pickup in Bloomington end tomorrow. Starting Aug. 1, Public Works crews will collect bulk waste, sod, dirt, concrete, rock, and shingles at the curb. The City will charge $25 per bucket for bulk waste or $100 per bucket for sod, dirt, concrete, rock, and shingles.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Three-Month-Old Burned By Fireworks, Mom Charged

A three-month-old baby is recovering in a Springfield hospital after being burned by fireworks that went-off inside a car. Police in Bloomington say it happened just after midnight on Wednesday when Roman candles went off inside a car. Three adults were also treated for burns, then arrested on a host of charges including child endangerment. 

Governor Rauner Skipping Trump Visit To Metro East

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner won't be on the stage when President Trump arrives in the Metro East. The governor said earlier this week that he won't be in Granite City with the president later today. Rauner said he's already been to the area in the past week or so. The governor's opponent this fall, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, says Rauner is avoiding the president.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Farmers React to Trump Aid Package

The Trump Administration announced a $12 billion plan to provide emergency aid to farmers who are struggling under an escalating trade war with China and other trading partners. While the farmers and agriculture groups were grateful for the aid, they all pointed out this is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says the USDA announcement is substantial but says they cannot overstate the dire situation that farmers face because of lost export markets.

Uniformed Deputy Added to Court Screening Post

Sheriff Jon Sandage said Tuesday that the county has moved to a more uniformed presence at screening in response to a defendant's self-inflicted stab wound with a knife he smuggled into the courthouse. As a result, a McLean County deputy has been assigned to the screening station at the McLean County Law and Justice Center. 

Salvation Army Needs Your Help

The Salvation Army in Bloomington is used to helping others but now they are asking for help after one of their water heaters broke over the weekend. Since then the residents and staff have been air-drying clothes and reusing towels. The Salvation Army is expecting the repairs to exceed $20,000. They hope to have a temporary solution to the problem by the end of the week but they are asking for any donations from the public whether it be money or towels

Monday, July 23, 2018

Next Step Unclear For Bloomington-Normal Sports Complex

City leaders in Bloomington-Normal want to know more about a proposed 43 million-dollar sports complex, but no one seems to know what the next step will be. Consultants pitched the complex last week as a place to host soccer and baseball tournaments, but warned the fields would never pay for themselves. Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says he wants to figure out how to finance the proposal, while Bloomington Alderman Scott Black says he wants to know if voters would even support the project before moving ahead.

Democratic Congresswoman Wants Election Security Answers From Governor

A Democratic congresswoman is asking for answers about election security in Illinois. Congresswoman Robin Kelly last week asked Governor Rauner for a report on what the state has done to prevent another hack, like the one that targeted the Illinois State Board of Elections back in 2016. Kelly says Illinois has three serious security vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

Proposal to Reduce Female Prison Population

A proposal by reform advocates would cut the number of women locked up in Illinois prisons by as much as half. The Chicago Tribune reports that nearly 2,300 women are now serving time in Illinois. Reform advocates argue that the corrections system has largely ignored the needs of female inmates, many of whom suffered years of trauma, abuse or poverty before winding up behind bars.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bloomington Sex Offender Stabs Himself At Courthouse After Conviction

The sheriff in McLean County says he wants to know how a convicted sex offender smuggled a knife into court.  Deputies say 78-year-old Johnny Icard stabbed himself with the knife after a jury convicted him yesterday of predatory criminal sexual assault.  Prosecutors say Icard abused a six-year-old neighbor girl.  The sheriff says Icard should survive his wound, and is due to be sentenced in late August.

Two Illinois Congress Members Named To Farm Bill Committee

A pair of Illinois Congress members will help decide the next farm bill.  Republican Rodney Davis and Democrat Cheri Bustos yesterday said they've been named to the joint House and Senate Committee that will write the next law that deals with both farm subsidies and food and nutrition programs.  This is Davis' second time on the farm bill committee.

Senator Dick Durbin Wants Answers About President Trump's Helsinki Comments

Illinois' senior U.S. senator is joining nearly a half dozen other top Democrats in Washington, DC in demanding answers about what President Trump said at his meeting with Vladimir Putin.  Senator Dick Durbin and five other senators on Tuesday fired off a letter to the White House asking for a clarification about the comments and commitments the president made during the meeting in Helsinki.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bridgestone To Hire 30 In Bloomington-Normal, Invest 12 Million

They're hiring at the Bridgestone plant in Bloomington-Normal. The company yesterday announced that it is investing 12 million-dollars and adding 30 new jobs. Close to 400 people already work at the tire plant. Mike O'Grady, with the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council says Bridgestone qualified for some enterprise zone incentives, which could lead to a break on their state sales taxes.

Hy-Vee Recalls Pasta Salads After 20 People Get Sick

If you have pasta salad from Hy-Vee, you may want to toss it out. The grocery store chain yesterday announced that it is recalling Hy-Vee Spring Pasta Salad, and officials say it may be contaminated with salmonella. Hy-Vee says the salad was packaged between June 1st and July 13th. So far, 20 people in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa have gotten sick, but the pasta salad was sent to all of Hy-Vee's 244 grocery stores.

Fatal Stabbing

A 24-year old man is dead and a 22-year-old woman is jailed with no formal charges as of yet after a fatal stabbing that took place early Tuesday morning in 400 block of North Roosevelt in Bloomington. Dead is Quantez Brown--jailed is Leila Jackson. Both were aquaintances and police are not releasing much on the incident at this time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bridgestone is Hiring

More job opportunities are coming to the Twin Cities.The Bridgestone tire plant on Fort Jesse Road in Normal is adding 30 employees and $12 million in investment, according to a company announcement today. The plant currently employs about 400 people.

Bloomington and Normal Discuss Possible Sports Complex

It will likely work, but it will cost you.
At a special joint session of both the Bloomington and Normal city councils, Sports Facilities Advisory, a consulting group based in Florida,  said a new Bloomington-Normal sports complex could make money for the community, become a regional destination and provide a sense of place for the Twin Cities — but at a high price. A $43 million complex may be necessary to draw the kind of business needed to make such a facility sustainable.

Normal Streets Projects

Some streets in Normal are getting some badly needed attention. The town plans to resurface College Avenue from Beech Street to Blair Drive, Vernon Avenue from Linden Street to Grandview Drive and Broadway Avenue from Vernon to Phoenix Avenue this summer and fall. Those projects and the  reconstruction of the Glenn Avenue Bridge were approved Monday by the Normal City Council.

Governor Rauner Signs Two New Gun Control Laws

Illinois has two new gun laws. Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday signed a new law that creates a 72 hour waiting period for all gun purchases, and signed another that allows police or a family member to ask a judge to seize someone's guns if they are a threat to themselves or others. The governor also asked lawmakers to send him a ban on bump stocks, and scuttled a proposal that would have Illinois create state-issued gun dealer licenses.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Governor Rauner To Sign New Gun Law

It will soon be easier for a judge to take someone's gun away. Governor Rauner is due in Chicago later this morning (10:30 a.m.) to sign a new law that allows a family member or local law enforcement agency to ask a judge to issue an emergency order of protection to seize someone's guns. Lawmakers approved the plan last spring, they said the idea was to make sure people who are known to be a threat don't have access to a firearm. 

Bloomington Cancels Tax Incentive For Local Kroger Store

The city of Bloomington is canceling a tax sweetener to get a local Kroger store to move a few blocks. The Bloomington Pantagraph reported on Friday that the city voided a tax agreement with developers to build a new store in Bloomington, just a few blocks down from where Kroger is currently located in the town of Normal. The paper says city officials consider the project dead. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Thanks to you, our inaugural Seats for Soldier raised more than $7-thousand for Hope for the Warriors during a 36-hour live broadcast from the Corn Crib Thursday and Friday. Each donation was represented by a small American flag being place upright in a seat at the ballpark. More than 1400 seats were draped in red, white and blue. Seats for Soldiers was presented by Sam Leman Ford
With the indictment of 12 Russians in the ongoing 2016 election probe, Illinois gets at least some reassurance. State elections leaders had always suspected Russian interference. They now know it was a programming error that allowed Russian hackers in. Going forward, they'll use at least $6.6 million dollars in federal funds to put all 108 election groups statewide onto a new, secure computer platform; the Illinois Century Network.

Bloomington's Incentive Agreement for Kroger is Terminated

Bloomington city officials have pulled the plug on an economic incentive agreement for Kroger's planned new store on College Avenue on the northeast side. The Pantagraph reports that Kroger insists they will build a Marketplace-style store that has been on hold while the company analyzes how it would best fit into the chain's real estate plans.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

No Welcoming Ordinance

There will be no Welcoming City Ordinance in Bloomington after Mayor Tari Renner canceled the special meeting Monday morning citing no support on the council for the ordinance. Renner, instead, is asking that Police Chief Clay Wheeler develop and widely disseminate detailed policies and procedures regarding BPD interactions with ICE and wants these policies and procedures to speak  to the concerns of individuals who may fear reporting crimes.

The Fresh Market Closing

The Fresh Market is closing more than a dozen stores, including its location in Normal.  Liquidation sales are expected to begin today, but it's unclear when the closing date will be.  A company spokesman called the stores selected for closure "underperforming."

Local Lawmakers React To Supreme Court Nomination Pick

Local Democratic lawmakers are reacting to President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.  U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth says if Kavanaugh hopes to earn her support, he must "make it clear to the American public that he would be independent, not simply a rubber stamp for Donald Trump's whims."  Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin says Kavanaugh is a judge who "consistently favors big business and undermines protections for consumers, workers, women, and the environment."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Bloomington Welcoming City Special Mtg Canceled

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner canceled a special meeting to adopt a Welcoming City ordinance in the city, citing a lack of support on the City Council. Renner says that instead of adopting the proposed ordinance, he is recommending that the Chief of Police develop and widely disseminate detailed policies and procedures regarding BPD interactions with ICE. Renner also called upon faith and social justice organizations to educate citizens about the policies and procedures.

Report: Peoria 18th For Population Decline

A new report ranks Peoria as 18th in the nation for population decline.  The study was conducted by "24/7 Wall Street" and used information from the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program.  It showed the metro area has lost more than 14-thousand people since 2010.  That's a one-point-eight-percent decline.  

Durbin Concerned About Trump Shortlist Of SCOTUS Picks

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Senator Dick Durbin was commenting on the President's Supreme Court Nominee to be announced tonight. Durbin said Trump was picking from a list pre-cleared by an organization that ensures candidates can carry out a conservative agenda.  From a party standpoint, Durbin refused to say whether the entire Democratic caucus was united in blocking Trump's nominee.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Peoria Police Write 115 Fireworks Tickets

Peoria Police are trying to get people to understand the rules when it comes to fireworks. Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion yesterday said officers issued 115 tickets for illegal fireworks on Tuesday and Wednesday. Marion says he even went out on patrol to enforce the rules. The chief says Peoria has zero tolerance for illegal fireworks inside the city limits.

Governor Rauner Doubles Down On Opposition To Nazi Candidate

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is telling voters near Chicago to vote for anyone but a Nazi. The governor told a Champaign TV station this week that he cannot support former Nazi, and current candidate Arthur Jones in a race for Congress. But Rauner wouldn't go as far as to endorse the Democrat in the race. Republicans say they are looking for a write-in candidate that they can support instead.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bloomington To Vote On 'Welcoming Ordinance' On Monday

Bloomington city leaders could put a year-and-a-half of debate to bed on Monday.  The city's council is set to vote on a "welcoming ordinance" Monday evening.  Bloomington has been debating the ordinance that supporters say will make people in the country illegally feel safe.  Opponents say the ordinance would handcuff local police.

Illinois To Bake Once Again Under Heat Advisory

It's going to be another dangerously hot day across the state of Illinois today.  The National Weather Service is leaving a Heat Advisory in place for the entire state until about 8:00 tonight.  Forecasters say temperatures will be in the 90s, but the heat and humidity will make it feel closer to 105 degrees.  The Weather Service says your best bet to beat the heat is to drink plenty of water and stay inside.

Illinois Regional Superintendents Busy Getting Ready

School doesn't start for more than a month, but Illinois' regional superintendents of school are already busy. Mark Jontry is the head of Illinois' regional superintendents, he says they've met with over 25 hundred teachers and principals this summer to get ready for the next school year. Regional superintendents are in charge of teacher licensing and bus driver safety in the state of Illinois

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

All Of Illinois Under A Heat Advisory Today

Forecasters say hydration and moderation are the orders of the day as Illinois gets ready for another day of dangerous heat.  The National Weather Service is placing the entire state under a Heat Advisory through 8:00 tonight.  High temperatures across most of the state will be in the mid-90s, but the heat and humidity will make it feel more like 105 or 110 degrees. 

Bloominton's Welcoming-City Ordinance Set For a Vote on Monday

The Bloomington City Council could vote Monday on a welcoming-city ordinance. Mayor Tari Renner called a special meeting on Monday for the vote. The ordinance will govern how city and police interact with immigrants. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m., before the council's regular session at 7 p.m. at Bloomington City Hall.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

BPD: Suspect in Triple Homicide Identified

The Bloomington Police Department has identified a suspect in June’s triple homicide on Riley Drive as 21-year old Sydney “Mitch” T. Mays of Bloomington. Mays is considered armed and dangerous. He is 5’9″, 250 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo on his right arm with the name “Shavone.”  If you have any information,call the police.

BPD: Man Shot on Jefferson Street

Bloomington police responded to call of shots fired at 1:11 a.m. Tuesday to an apartment house at 607 W. Jefferson Street. One male was taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, with what police described as injuries that were not life-threatening. Police declined to comment further early Tuesday, noting the investigation was in its early stages.

Normal Adopts Mandatory Recycling Ordinance

All landlords in the town of Normal will soon have to have recycling bins. The town council last night adopted a plan to require recycling at all apartment buildings, mobile home parks, and student housing. Councilman R.C. McBride says the idea is expand the town's voluntary recycling program. Opponents say the mandate is heavy handed and doesn't take into account the cost that landlords and tenants will eventually pay.

ISP: Troopers Will Be Out In Force This Week

The Illinois State Police are warning drivers that they will be on the road this holiday week. State Police commanders yesterday said they are stepping-up patrols for the Fourth of July. Their warning is the same as always; slow down, buckle-up, and never drink and drive. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Illinois: Leave The Fireworks To The Pros

Leave the fireworks to the professionals this week. That's the advice from the Illinois State Fire Marshall and the state's Department of Natural Resources. The state put out the reminder last week that most fireworks are illegal in Illinois. DNR is in charge of fireworks permits in Illinois, and the department says just over 900 people in the entire state have those permits

FOP Backs Pritzker

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge (FOP) endorsed Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker for governor Friday. The Illinois FOP is the second largest in the nation, representing over 34,000 active and retired police officers. Illinois FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood said “Illinois needs a fresh start and J.B. is the man to do it.”

Normal to Discuss New Smoking Ordinance

On Monday, the Normal City Council will vote on a smoking ordinance that will extend the designated smoking areas from buildings. The council says the current distance does not meet the L.E.E.D (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and it’s with those benchmarks that the council is trying to align. Any business who does not comply with the new standards will be subject to a fine.