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Normal Approves Investment Policy with US Bank
BY KIM BEHRENS
The town of Normal is moving forward with an investment policy in hopes of making its money mean -- and make more.
Monday night, the council approved an agreement with US Bank for investment management services. Under the agreement, the bank will take $30 million from the town and place it in a mix of investments including low risk municipal cash bonds.
The financial priorities for the town are as follows: the money should be safe, easily accessible, and have a strong rate of return.
“We began working with US Bank last summer,” said Deputy City Manager Pam Reece. “As we made the transition we learned about its robust wealth management department.”
The plan will cost the town about $54,000, but leaders expect to see an annual increase in investment revenue about five times that amount across applicable funds.
With the approved plan, Normal hopes to continue gaining revenue, while keeping its money management costs the same.
Omnibus Vote Agenda
A. Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of May 4, 2015
B. Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of May 13, 2015
C. Resolution authorizing the sale of surplus public works vehicles to Schmidy’s Machinery of Clinton, IL in the amount of $105,000
D. Resolution to waive the formal bid process and authorize the purchase of a utility body service truck for the public works sewer division from Dennison Ford in the amount of $43,883.32
E. Resolution to accept bids and award a contract to Stark Excavating, Inc. in the amount of $44,637 for the Church Street sanitary sewer extension
F. Resolution to accept a proposal from Continental Resources, Inc. in the amount of $78,733.22 for a storage area network and professional services
McLean County Board Report
Matt Sorensen, Chairman
Recording Secretary: Judith A. LaCasse
No Meeting This Week
Jean Miller named dean of College of Fine Arts
Jean M. K. Miller will assume the position of dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University, effective July 1. Miller is currently the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.
Miller will replace James Major, who is retiring after serving as dean since 2007. For the month of June, John Walker, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts, will serve as interim dean.
Prior to her time at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Miller served as associate dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. She has held department chair positions at Towson University and Marshall University and faculty positions at East Tennessee State University. Miller received her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from California College of the Arts.
“Jean M. K. Miller has a proven track record as an outstanding educator, scholar, artist and leader,” said Illinois State University Provost Janet Krejci. “The College of Fine Arts will certainly benefit from her passion for the arts and her leadership experience. I’d like to thank the search committee for the time, expertise and care that went into the nationwide search for the dean of the College of Fine Arts.”
Bruegala XVI to be held Aug. 28 & 29 at the Corn Crib
Bruegala is a charity beer and wine festival run by the Bloomington-Normal Jaycees. The 16th annual Bruegala will be held on Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29 at the Corn Crib. The event currently offers over 300 beers, 50 wines, multiple food vendors, and music throughout the two-day event. In the past four years, more than 16,000 people have attended Bruegala and the event has raised over $160,000 for local charities. This money directly impacts the citizens of Bloomington-Normal and McLean County.
After much toil and debate, the Jaycees have announced that the charities that will receive the proceeds of Bruegala2015 are Community Healthcare Clinic, MarcFirst, Wishbone Canine Rescue, Heartland Head Start, Autism Mclean, and Bike BloNo.
Normal Rotary Club honors former sheriff
The Normal Rotary Club has presented the Jack Wilz Public Health and Safety Award to former McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery.
The award is named in honor of Jack Wilz, a longtime member of Normal Rotary and former district governor, who died last year. The award is presented annually to a person who has worked to promote health and safety in the community.
Emery was with the Sheriff’s Department for 33 years, the last eight of them as sheriff. During his tenure, he faced many tough issues such as jail over-crowding, housing mentally ill jail inmates and jobs for at-risk youth.
Emery thanked the club for the award. He said local government officials, service providers and private corporations worked together on these issues, especially the issue of housing mentally ill inmates. He predicted that McLean County will someday be a model in the U.S. for its leadership in addressing the mental health issue.
The Normal Rotary Club is a service organization that meets at noon Wednesdays at Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center.
NCHS Names Dr. John Fox Distinguished Alumnus
The Normal Community High School Alumni Foundation has selected Dr. John L. Fox, MD, as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2015. Recipients of this award must have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their respective professions and have made significant contributions to their community, region, state, or nation. Dr. Fox will be recognized at the NCHS Commencement on Saturday, May 23, at 2:00, at the Bloomington Coliseum. Friends and classmates of the honorees, as well as the public, are welcome to attend.
Dr. John L. Fox is a leader in the medical profession, having practiced medicine in hospital and clinical settings, worked with government health agencies, taught as a clinical professor, directed physicians’ groups, and administered medical affairs. Currently the Senior Medical Director and Associate Vice President of Medical Affairs for Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and covering 640,000 members, Dr. Fox is responsible for technology assessment and utilization and case management and is involved in new program development, including oncology medical home initiatives.
A 1979 graduate of NCHS, Dr. Fox went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from the University of Illinois in 1983 with double majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry. He then completed his Doctor of Medicine degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and later earned a Master of Science in Health Administration from the University of Wisconsin Department of Preventive Medicine. His post-graduate training included residency in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and for two years he was a fellow at the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin Division of Health. Simultaneously, he was also chief Medical Officer and Clinical Director of Rocky Boys Indian Health Service. In addition to being a practicing physician, Dr. Fox served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine for five years and since 2008 has been an Assistant Professor Medicine in Epidemiology at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. In 1997, Dr. Fox was tapped to serve as Associate Medical Director of Physicians Plus in Madison and two years later became Senior Medical Director of that organization.
Dr. Fox has published numerous technical papers in top journals in his field and has presented papers at venues such as the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the Greater Seattle Spine Society, and the Michigan Association for Health Plans. The topics of his research range from use of firearms in suicides to breast cancer mortality rates, hip fractures among the elderly, and end-of-life care.
While continuing to devote time and energy to his professional life, Dr. Fox has annually led one or two mission trips with his church to practice medicine in third world countries, especially in Honduras and Central America. The focus of these trips is on public health initiatives, such as clean water systems and infection prevention. Devoted to land conservancy here and abroad, Dr. Fox serves on the board of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and has been director and Governance Committee Chair. Dr. Fox became an Eagle Scout in his youth and continues to be an active part of and supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a scoutmaster, District Chairman, and member of the Board of Directors. In his volunteer service, Dr. Fox is also involved in “Making Choices Michigan,” a not-for-profit organization designed to alert citizens about and to guide them in making advanced care decisions about their own health and end-of-life choices.
Dr. Fox has been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a fellow and is frequently asked to deliver presentations at community and regional meetings. His genuine commitment to improving health and health care for all persons is noteworthy.
Dr. Fox is the son of Donald and Carol Fox of Bloomington.
Habitat for Humanity Makes Top 200 in State Farm Neighborhood Assist Competition
Voting ends on June 3rd
Habitat for Humanity of McLean County (HFHMC) has been selected as one of the Top 200 concepts in the 2015 State Farm Neighborhood Assist Competition, a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where $25,000 grants should be awarded.
The concept submitted by Habitat is called Acorns to Oaks. As an outlet to keep costs down, along with being eco-friendly, Habitat’s vision for Acorns to Oaks lies on the hope of being able to build cabinetry for their locally constructed houses. The affiliate strongly believes there is a benefit not only to their efforts but to the youth as well, to learn the skills and techniques required to do the trade of cabinetry. HFHMC has had an influx of retirees into the organization over the last few years, many with the abilities required to launch the potential program and act as mentors to youth involved in the program. Acorns to Oaks would present a learning experience for youth in the area considering the possibilities of the trades related to the construction industry and the planning that goes into those efforts.
Habitat will need to make the Top 40 in order for Acorns to Oaks to become a reality. Voting is currently open and ends on June 3rd. Individuals are able to vote 10 times per day via a link specific to Habitat’s cause: https://www.state-assist.com/cause/1502158/acorns-to-oaks-cabinetry
Habitat for Humanity of McLean County (HFHMC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. As a social service agency, homebuilder and mortgage lender, HFHMC partners with volunteers and families on a non-discriminatory basis to build simple, decent, affordable houses and sell them at cost through a no-interest loan. HFHMC serves families who live in sub-standard housing and are unable to qualify for other home buying programs, yet have the stability of income and credit history to demonstrate the ability to repay their Habitat mortgage, and who are willing to complete sweat equity demonstrating their commitment to the program. Habitat serves to be a hand up, not a hand out.
In May 21 2015
Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
The Spectator by Jim Bennett
Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Chimperscage - by Alan
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Plans in the Works to Make Bloomington-Normal a Place for Economic Success
BY KIM BEHRENS
Picture this: An area packed with jobs, culture, and diversity—topped off with a recession free future.
It might sound unheard of to some, but it’s an image the Town of Normal, City of Bloomington, and McLean County are working to achieve, and each has the paperwork to prove it.
Five separate organizations--The McLean County Chamber of Commerce, McLean County Regional Planning Commission, Economic Development Council, Central Illinois Regional Airport, and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have signed the dotted line in hopes of making this economic dream a reality.
“We have a memorandum of understanding between the five entities in order to move this initiative forward—so it’s not just a spit and a handshake, ‘Hey we should do that,’” said McLean County Chamber of Commerce President Charlie Moore. “This is very much a formal process we have taken to make sure the organizations are held accountable to do what we need to do to keep it moving.”
With the assistance of IO.INC, a consulting practice hired to offer economic strategies and solutions-- the goal is to elevate Bloomington-Normal’s presence, in hopes more people and companies will choose to call it home.
“It’s not just Bloomington competing with Normal, it’s competing with everyone from across the state,” said IO.INC President Dr. Ioanna Morfessis. “We’re researching where Bloomington-Normal is today, where it needs to be tomorrow, and how it gets there.”
The IO.INC team began working in the area last fall, speaking with everyone from top employers, to students, to new businesses—figuring out how Bloomington-Normal stacks up among other communities.
“So far, we’ve met with and interviewed 191 stakeholders,” said Morfessis. “The biggest and loudest opportunity we’ve found is a need to diversity the economic base. “As an example, each year one million college grads move across state lines. They’re going elsewhere for the kinds of jobs they want. Bloomington-Normal needs to develop firms that can produce those kinds of jobs that retain people.”
Target Bloomington-Normal job sectors identified by IO.INC include financial/insurance services, agriculture, entrepreneurship, information technology, and transportation logistics.
“If you look at the five industries Dr. Morfessis talked about, those might be ones that are most attractive for workforce availability, for retention, and for earning ability,” Moore explained. “Those are where the focus needs to go.”
Leaders say the main takeaway is diversifying the economic base.
“We need to build a place that welcomes diversity and has it,” added Morfessis. “It’s critical because companies are focused on attracting and keeping young talent, and young talent values diversity in all forms.”
IO.INC plans to continue its research through the summer, with a large scale community presentation in August. A date and venue have yet to be determined.
“We need everyone to understand what their role is, be aware, and be engaged, so when August comes we can take the recommendations from the industries and the workforces needed for the industries and figure out a way to get that done,” said Moore.
Opportunities to weigh in on the plan will be made available. Leaders are working to create an Executive Leadership team of public and private partners this summer, as well community taskforces to discuss moving Bloomington-Normal towards a prosperous future.
For more information about getting involved in the discussion, contact the McLean County Chamber of Commerce at 309.829.6344.
Central IL Figure Skating Club and Learn-to-Skate Skaters Annual Ice Show is Saturday, May 30th
On Saturday, May 30th come and take a trip around the world with the skaters of the Central Illinois Figure Skating Club and Learn-to-Skate skaters from the Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department as all of them performs at our annual ice show titled “Around the World We Go”. We guarantee that you will have the coolest seat in town!
It is so cool because you get to sit on a comfy chair on ice and watch our skaters up close as they perform to routines choreographed to music from around the world.
Skaters of all ages from 3 years to over 50 years old will be part of this ice show. Their skating levels range from beginners to national level. This ice show will take you on a journey through different countries and cultures of our exciting world with performances from nearly 75 skaters, with a number of the skaters joining in from the Learn-to-Skate program offered through the Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The Central Illinois Figure Skating Club encourages and supports skaters of all skating disciplines to become more active in the world of competitive and recreational figure skating. The majority of CIFSC skaters learned to skate from the ice skating program offered by the City of Bloomington’s Park and Recreation Department. CIFSC is the home club of skaters who are just starting to explore the world of figure skating and those who have become serious competitive figure skaters.
Alex Wellman, a proud member of CIFSC was the 2013 Midwestern sectional juvenile men’s champion and a National competitor. He will be performing in this show along with other accomplished skaters of CIFSC.
This year, we will have two guest skaters that have competed at the national level multiple time. Our guest skater Kyle Shropshire has competed at the national level five times as Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice level and currently skates with the Disney’s “Stars On Ice”! Our other guest skater Ryan Santee is four time Midwestern sectional competitor, two time Upper Great Lakes Regional Champion, and was the 2008 U.S. Juvenile men’s National Silver medalist!
Performances from all of these talented skaters guaranties that you will have a good time at our ice show! The production of “Around the World We Go” will take place at the Pepsi Ice Center on Saturday, May 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The ice rink is located at 210 S. Roosevelt St., Bloomington. Cost of the tickets are “on-ice” reserved seating (chairs on a special flooring over parts of the rink) at $10-$12, and “off-ice” (bleacher seating) seating at $8 and $1 discount for seniors 55 and older and children 12 and under. The on-ice seating will give you an up close vantage of all the exciting and entertaining performances. For ticket information visit www.ci-fsc.org.
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Normal Community Ironmen, Normal Community West Wildcats, Ridgeview Mustangs, University High School Pioneers, Central Catholic Saints, Lexington Minutemen, ElPaso Gridley Titans, Illinois State University Redbird, Illinois Wesleyan Titan, State Farm Holiday Classic, McLean County Tournament, HOI Conference, Heart of Illinois
Historic North Street
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Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Thur, May 21 - Sun, May 24
An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher. Starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray and Ted Knight. (R / 98 min.)
May issue of Best Look Magazine Available
Best Look Magazine is a quarterly sports and leisure magazine featuring sports, events, and people primarily from McLean County. Every story has a photo and every photo has a story. The magazine is published by Alan Look Photography. Please check it out at your convenience at http://bestlookmag.com.
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Traveling Vietnam Wall That Heals is coming to LeRoy July 23-26
Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Vietnam War Ending
Veterans and active members of America’s armed services travel great distances and make great sacrifices to preserve and protect freedom and liberty. These sacrifices should be honored and remembered. The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces during the Vietnam War and its walls bear the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in our Nation’s Capital, with more than four million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) built The Wall, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the Memorial.
“Taking The Wall That Heals on the road gives thousands more veterans and their family members an opportunity to see The Wall and honor those who have served and sacrificed so much,” said Jim Knotts, CEO of VVMF. “It helps veterans from all of America’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences.”
As part of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the City of LeRoy and the American Legion, Ruel Neal Post #79 announce the return of The Traveling Vietnam Wall That Heals, a 250-feet long chevron-shaped replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The reproduction contains all 53,253 names as inscribed on the original wall. It will be on exhibit 24 hours a day at Kiwanis Park in downtown LeRoy, July 23-26, 2015. The public is invited to view the wall free of charge. The opening ceremony begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 23rd. A candlelight closing ceremony will take place at approximately 9:00 pm on July 26.
Several historical military displays will also be on exhibit including: The Quilt of Tears, Through The Eyes Memorabilia, Simpkins Military History, and the Marseilles American Legion Medals. In addition, two 8’ submarine models will be on display: a WWII GATO Class diesel submarine, and a nuclear Fast Attack submarine.
“We are honored and humbled to host The Wall That Heals”, said Steve Vollmer, steering committee co-chair. “It is important for us to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in keeping our great country free.”
The wall will be escorted to the site by hundreds of area veterans, and volunteers via Interstate 74 on Tuesday, July 21st. For route details, check the event Facebook page: The Wall That Heals.
Volunteers will set up the wall and a breathtaking display of American Flags raised in memory or in honor of veterans with ties to the surrounding communities on July 22nd with the help of the LeRoy football team. For more information about the flags, contact Chuck Franklin at 309-962-9155.
Businesses, individuals, and veteran’s organizations across the state can get involved by donating time, services, and financial support. Please contact: Pam Wey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s Discovery Museum to Celebrate 529 Day on May 29th
The Town of Normal Children’s Discovery Museum is excited to celebrate 529 Day. On May 29, the first 529 Museum visitors will receive free admission courtesy of Bright Start College Savings.
“We are grateful for the generosity of Bright Start College Savings. They recognize the value of education and offer a 529 plan to help parents plan for their child’s future,” said Museum Manager Sheila Riley. “Likewise, we are committed to the children of today and their futures. We offer an environment that encourages social interaction, scientific inquiry, playful exploration and lifelong learning.”
The Bright Start College Savings Program is Illinois’ tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan, designed to help families and individuals nationwide save for future higher education expenses. Bright Start is administered by the Illinois State Treasurer and is qualified under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. To learn more visit www.brightstartsavings.com.
The Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29. For more information visit www.ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum.net
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