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Every Photo has a Story, every Story has a Photo
A publication by Alan Look Photography
McLean County's Sports and Leisure Magazine
Published Feb 15, May 15, Aug 15, Nov 15

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Pick up a copy of the current Normalite for Senior and Normal Township event listings.

by Steve Robinson

tary:  Judith A. LaCasse

No Meeting This Week

McLean County Board Report

Matt Sorensen, Chairman
Recording Secretary:  Judith A. LaCasse

No Meeting This Week

McPherson Theatre to Feature Midwestern Debut of ‘Blown Youth’
The Illinois Wesleyan University School of Theatre Arts will present the Midwest debut of Dipika Guha’s play Blown Youth. Performances will take place from Oct. 6-10 at 8 p.m., and a matinee performance Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. All performances will take place at the McPherson Theatre (2 Ames Plaza East, Bloomington).
Blown Youth offers a twist on the classic Shakespearian drama, Hamlet, by putting a woman at the center of the world. The main character, Celia, and her friends attempt to create a perfect community of young women, yet their utopian vision soon starts to fray as the women’s bonds of friendship unravel.
Professor of Theatre Arts Nancy Loitz will direct the production, and cast members include: Anna Sciaccotta (Celia), Brooke Teweles (Anne), Ogechi “Melissa” Iheakam (Jo), Cassondra Takas (Shia), Erica Werner (Ray), Elizabeth Ferris (Margaret) and Maggie Patchett (Audre).
Tickets are available at the McPherson Theatre Box Office at (309) 556-3232. General Admission tickets are $10 for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Tickets for Friday and Saturday cost $12. Admission for students and faculty with a school ID is $2 for all showings. For additional information, please contact the McPherson Box Office at (309) 556-3232 or visit the School of Theatre Arts website at

Community, History Museum action allows local students to attend Evergreen Cemetery Walk

An increasing number of local students will participate in the McLean County Museum of History’s annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk now that community supporters have ensured local teachers and students don’t have to cut this annual field trip from their classroom budgets
Since the Evergreen Cemetery Walk’s inception in 1995, modest student fees have helped the Museum offset costs for these educational field trips. While most of the program costs are funded from the Museum’s operating budget, the Museum also raises money through event sponsorships and ticket sales for the public performances that are held over two weekends every October. In 2013, the Museum’s Education Department started receiving feedback from local teachers that they might have to skip the popular field trip in the future due to budget constraints.
“Admission fees were becoming a barrier to learning,” Museum Executive Director Greg Koos explained. “The Museum’s board, members, and staff responded by committing to make the Evergreen Cemetery Walk a free educational program for students.”
That decision means all school children and chaperones who participate in a field trip to the 2015 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will do so free of charge. The move is made possible by the generosity of Museum members and the event sponsors, including Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, CEFCU, and The Copy Shop.
Local school districts responded to the news with record-breaking attendance of 2,000 students and a first-ever waiting list for performances.
“This is a wonderful example of how local businesses and community members help provide additional learning experiences that enhance what our teachers are already doing in the classroom,” Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said.
Field trips for students will run Oct. 5-8 and public performances are scheduled for Oct. 3-4 and Oct. 10-11 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. Tickets for the public shows are on sale now at the McLean County Museum of History, The Garlic Press, Casey’s Garden Shop, and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for Museum members, and $5 for children and students with I.D.  There is a $2 discount on any ticket purchased at least 24 hours before the performance (excluding child/student tickets).
Proceeds support free educational programs that annually serve more than 8,200 local students and senior citizens. Learn more about these programs and other work at the McLean County Museum of History at

History of Normal Lecture Series
Race Relations Took Different Turn At Times In Normal

by Steve Robinson
 Race relations in the years of Normal’s early formation was the subject of the fourth lecture sponsored by the Town as part of Normal’s 150th Anniversary. Dr. Mark Wyman, professor emeritus of History at Illinois State University painted a picture of how this community saw the subject, first through the mind of Town founder Jesse W. Fell through to nearly present day.
An objection to slavery and an answered prayer for Fell are tied together to answer, partially, the question of how race relations here were dealt with during the Town’s early years, according to Wyman. Fell support for Abraham Lincoln aided in Lincoln’s run for the Presidency, Wyman explained. Wyman added a letter from Fell to his brother explained Fell’s desire that God would answer their prayer for “this great nation to come out of its present troubles redeemed and purified by this great sin.” Wyman said Fell, however, did not spell out what “great sin” he was referring to.
“I do believe that our communities of Normal and Bloomington – and I must include Bloomington although it was a few miles away then – did not see rigid patterns of racial segregation setting in right after the Civil War,” Wyman explained to an audience of roughly 75 people who gathered for the fourth in a series of presentations giving perspective to a specific aspect of Normal history held in Normal Town Council Chambers at Uptown Station. “Blacks were voting; One was even elected to Countywide office. The local hotel accepted blacks, and there was even evidence they were eating in restaurants.” Wyman said he believed such a situation could be attributed to two parties: Fell, and the area newspaper at the time, the Bloomington Leader.
But all was not as routine for black children in the community, who were not permitted to attend public schools, including the “Model School,” the grade school operated by Illinois State Normal University. Wyman said local farmer Edwin Bakewell was a leader who condoned this practice, explaining Bakewell’s belief as “that colored children should not have all things in common with white.” Wyman said Bakewell told an audience of supporters once that to let black children into the local schools. “Bakewell said he would be sorry to have Normal pattern after Chicago, the very hotbed of superlative radicalism.”
When a vote was taken within the community to decide the matter of whether to let black children attend school in Normal in 1867, it passed by a 65-1 vote, Wyman said. In May that same year, a special election was held which finally decided the matter, again passing by a 92-2 count. Seven votes favored a special school for blacks, Wyman added.
Normal’s population in 1900 was reported was just under 4,000 with 253 blacks, roughly 6.7 percent of the population, while Bloomington had 23,000 residents, 600 of whom were black, or 2.6 percent of the population, Wyman said.
But it was not all tranquil for blacks in the 1920s, Wyman reported, as the Ku Klux Klan did operate in the area, their presence most heavily felt between 1922-1924. Other communities in the area reported Klan meetings, Wyman said, through the group’s state newspaper. Towanda, Lexington, East Peoria, and Urbana also had a noticeable Klan presence.
In terms of public accommodation, blacks found themselves restricted in a number of ways, Wyman said. Hotels were off limits to blacks by the end of the 1920s, Wyman said. Movie houses required blacks to sit in the back, Wyman said. Cafés did not allow blacks to sit and dine, forcing to take their purchases in a bag and leave, or if blacks insisted on staying, were required to sit in the back of the dining area.
In 1920s, Black students at ISNU, having been prohibited from attending school-sponsored functions, asked the University’s Student Activity Fund for aid in holding their own dance functions, Wyman said. Fell Hall, built on the ISNU campus in 1918, started out as a women’s dorm, which included one wing for blacks, Wyman explained. When the University leased a house on University St., it converted it into a male dormitory, Smith House, where 33 white students resided while black men had to rent rooms in private homes in town.
The “Chat-N-Chew” café was opened by a black proprietor in the 1930s Wyman added, the Chat-N-Chew’s aim was to give black students “somewhere to go hang out, as well as carrying grocery items.”  By the 1950s, Normal found itself at what was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, Wyman said, starting with a segregated eatery called The Pilgrim Café. It was located behind where today stands The Alamo II Bookstore. After a letter to the University student newspaper, The Vidette, was published in 1947 complained The Pilgrim Café did not serve blacks, picketing by both black and white students took place. Wyman said the owners of The Pilgrim Café responded saying they were just abiding by policies of restaurants in town at the time, and besides, the restaurant’s owners contended, ISNU operated a cafeteria open to all students,
Following WW II, many industries in the community hired both blacks and whites, Wyman said. It was an era that saw Jackie Robinson enter Major League Baseball and President Harry S. Truman end segregation in the military, after all, Wyman recounted. In 1950, the City of Bloomington formed a Human Relations Council, devoting much of its time to restaurant segregation, he added.
ISNU became Illinois State University formally in 1964 and “began to grow rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing in a sharp growth in the number of African American students and the hiring of black faculty,” Wyman said. It was change of a sort that caught Normal residents off-guard, Wyman said.
One of the few genuine failures for the community occurred during the era around World War I, Wyman said, when the notion of establishing an orphanage for black children who lost parents during battle failed to gain public support. Opposition to the idea including citizens presenting a petition opposing the idea to Normal Town Council members,
Barbershops in the community had been segregated before the Civil War, Wyman relayed. White barbers, he explained, did not accept black patrons for fear of losing their white clientele. In 1961, Charles Barton, then-vice president of the University NAACP chapter, decided to see what would happen if he walked in to get a cut. At one shop, Wyman said, Barton got a cut with no problem. But at a second shop, the proprietor told Barton he didn’t have the tools to do the job.
This news was relayed to then ISU President Robert Bone, Wyman said. According to Wyman, Burton reportedly explained, “President Bone and the Deans said if the merchants of the town didn’t cut all the students’ hair, then they weren’t going to get their hair cut either.” After that, Burton relayed Normal’s barber shops were no longer off limits to blacks.

Tickets On Sale For The Final Year Of Madrigal Dinner

The season is approaching to travel back in time and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Illinois State University Madrigal Singers along with a renaissance-style dinner December 11-13 in the Circus Room, Bone Student Center.
Over the years, the location, the format, and the food has changed, but the one constant has been the outstanding music provided by the elite group of Illinois State University’s choral performers, the Madrigal Singers. You won’t want to miss this highly accliamed, 20-voice ensemble take audiences through a story that will warm the heart with seasonal songs.
When: Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., dinner and performance begin at 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 13: doors open at 12:30 p.m., dinner and performance begin at 1 p.m.
Cost for the Madrigal Dinner is $30. Don’t miss the last opportunity to attend the longest-running university madrigal dinner currently in the country. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office or by calling (309) 438-2535.

Sound Of Illinois Chorus Wins Illinois Title, Trip To Nashville
Bloomington’s Sound of Illinois (SOI) chorus won the Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) Illinois District championship Saturday at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA), scoring best among a field of 10 choruses.
The 75-man chorus, led by Terry Ludwig, qualifies as the Illinois representative for competition next July in Nashville, ninth consecutive year SOI will have competed at the international level.  The chorus placed 12th in the world last July in Pittsburgh.
Twelve of the 23 competing quartets had SOI members:
After Hours, which placed eighth in BHS competition last summer, and Union Station, both qualifying for Nashville berths. 
Union Station, The Committee and South of Normal, which placed first through third in the contest for state champion.
Cruise Control, which won the state seniors title.
Boom! Shakalaka, which won the state collegiate quartet title.
All contest sessions were at the BCPA.  Convention headquarters was the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Normal.

Bloomington High Singers  Reunite For Performance
A group of 30 men, all members of Bloomington High School’s Barbershoppers during the 1970s, formed a reunion chorus that performed for the Illinois District convention of the Barbershop Harmony Society Saturday at the BCPA.  Singers came from Arizona, Texas, Michigan as well as Illinois.
Formed by BHS choral director Sam Anliker, who also led Bloomington’s Sound of Illinois (SOI) Chorus in the Seventies, the BHS Barbershoppers performed for school functions and traveled to several states, representating the school from 1971 to 1978. 
Anliker was unable to attend because of a conflict, but one of the group’s own stepped in to lead the singing.  Dwayne Cooper of Austin, Tex., sang with the BHS group beginning in 1976.  He directs his own chorus in New Braunsfel and holds the office of treasurer in the Barbershop Harmony Society (Nashville).
As an added feature, 10 members of the current BHS Barbershoppers joined their alumni for the final song.  Among those attending were Bob Bryant, principal in the 1970s, and Sam Anliker’s predecessor as choral music director, Mary Selk, and current choral director, Julie Sandy.  Bret Reinthaler, a member of SOI and former BHS Barbershopper, coordinated the reunion.

Suzy Bogguss to perform Christmas show at the Castle Dec. 4th
Spike Spakowski, Normalite’s ad guy, took a sick-day off to catch The Suzy Bogguss show at The Wild Rose Casino, in Clinton, Iowa on Friday, Sept 18. Spike said it was a terrific show and Suzy sang some of her many hits, including “Someday Soon,” “Hey, Cinderilla,” “Drive South,” as well as a couple numbers from her “Lucky” album of Merle Haggard written songs. She played to a capacity house.
After the show, Suzy told Spike that she was going to appear at The Castle Theater in Bloomington on Friday night, Dec. 4th, where she would sing her hit songs from her two Christmas albums. During her Wild Rose performance she also introduced her American Folk Song Book CD and beautifully sang “Shenandoah,” a song from that album. Fans are encouraged to visit Suzy’s website at

IWU Civic Orchestra to Perform Oct. 9
The Illinois Wesleyan Civic Orchestra will present its first concert of the academic year on Oct. 9 at Second Presbyterian Church, 313 N. East St., Bloomington. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
The program will feature selections including Symphony No. 8 Op. 88 by Dvorak, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Overture by Wagner and a Puccini aria, Mi chiamano Mimi from La bohème, featuring adjunct voice faculty member Ingrid Kammin as soloist. Kammin received her master’s and doctoral degrees in vocal performance and literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has maintained a private studio for voice instruction for several years.
Conducted by Lev Ivanov, the Illinois Wesleyan Civic Orchestra is a joint School of Music/community orchestra specializing in large orchestral literature. A visiting assistant professor of music, Ivanov also conducts the IWU Wind Ensemble. Born in the Ukraine, Ivanov earned a bachelor of music degree in performance and conducting from the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music. He later received his master’s degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate from Arizona State University. Ivanov has worked with a number of orchestras across Europe and the United States, and was one of five recognized in the International Conducting Competition in 2013.

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Bill Linneman
Rick’s Astrology

Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Prepare your soil before laying sod

The Spectator by Jim Bennett
A Pope Addresses Congress: Good Idea?

Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Polls and the Pope

Classic Colcalsure
Attention to Detail

Normal Town Council Report
Council Approves Tax Increase; Bloomington To Decide Sept. 14

Unit 5 School Board Report
2015-16 Budget Approved; Hope Reserves Hold

McLean County Board Report

by Steve Robinson

No Report This Week

Capitol Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
News from the Capitol


Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Statehouse Update

Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Great time in St. Louis

Chimperscage - by Alan Look

A New
Best Look Magazine

arrived August 15th!


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Mystery Photo, Legal Notices, Obituaries, Service Directory, School and Senior Information, and Classified advertisements

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Unit 5 School Board Report

by Steve Robinson

tary:  Judith A. LaCasse

2015-16 Budget Approved; Hope Reserves Hold

As expected, members of Normal-based Unit 5 School District Board unanimously approved a budget of over $95 million to work with for the 2015-16 school year at their Sept. 23 meeting held at district headquarters. The fiscal year expires for the district on June 30, 2016. Marty Hickman, Business Manager and Treasurer for the district, laid out the budget for the coming school year at the Board’s meeting at the end of August, and said, barring any changes, it would likely stay that way when Board members approved it at this meeting.
The budget had no changes by the time of this meeting, and, at a public hearing concerning the budget which took place as part of this meeting, no members of the public made any comments.
But there was still plenty to talk about among Board members considering a financial state of affairs that includes the State Legislature not passing a budget to keep the State running for the full fiscal year. Unit 5 anticipates taking in $96.3 million while spending $95.8 million in its education fund, the primary operating fund. That leaves the district with reserve cash totaling $513,000, according to Hickman. Hickman credited taxes from increased property values and general state aid payments for the increase
However, the district finds itself with a $2 million deficit in the transportation fund. The district has found itself with $9.9 million in costs against $7.9 million in revenue. Those numbers are despite any cuts made by the district. Hickman said. $1.2 million of that total is the fault of an accounting error, leaving an $800,000 “structural deficit.
 “There’s not a lot of reserves if an emergency occurs,” Hickman reminded Board members again at this session. “We have a balanced budget but we haven’t heard how the State plans to make payments to us come spring.” The payments Hickman was referring to are reimbursements normally made to the district’s transportation and special education coffers. Springfield has made the payments but they have arrived, in recent years, at almost the last minute as the existing fiscal year was coming to an end.
The district anticipates a 2 percent increase in revenue as a result of property taxes collected, Hickman told Board members.
“The question is, ‘how many State payments will we get?,’” pondered Board Member John Puzauskas. He reminded Board members the State, for the last few years, has managed to provide three of the four payments they should be providing the district, and doing it within the present fiscal year.
“All we can do is create a budget with the best information we have,” Hickman responded. He said there is always the possibility Springfield could, in Unit 5’s checking to see when they might receive a payment, “Could come back and say, ‘sorry…?’ Yes.”
“We’re working very hard to control what we can control,” Hickman told Board members. Schuster, who, along with Puzauskas, sits on the district’s Finance Committee, told Board members that committee “will be focused on the budget throughout the year, so there’ll be no surprises.”
In order to make sure the district’s budget is prepared for the 2016-17 school year, Puzauskas said, “We need to have significant changes in the transportation arena.”
“5 Essentials” Study Report Presented: Board members heard from Carmen Bergmann, director of elementary education for the district concerning the results from the 2015 “5 Essentials” Survey. For the third year in a row, district students and parents participated in the survey to get a glimpse of how those groups see the district in certain categories.
The survey is divided into five “Essentials”-Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Supportive Environment, Involved Families, and Ambitious Instruction. These five areas emerged as the essential components related to improvement in schools during a study completed by the University of Chicago Consortium.
In each of the five areas, a school or district can fall into one of five performance levels: Least Implementation, Less Implementation, Average Implementation, More Implementation, or Most Implementation. Also in her report to Board members, Bergmann relayed Unit 5 scored Average Implementation in Effective Leaders, Collaborative Leaders, Supportive Environment, and Involved Families; and scored More Implementation in Ambitious Instruction.
In a memo to Board members, Bergmann relayed finding Ambitious Instruction given a rating of “More Implementation” was a positive because the information came directly from data collected as a result of talking to students.
Also as part of the study, schools and districts receive an overall performance level, and depending on the category discussed can give an opinion ranging from one of 5 levels: Not yet; Partially; Moderately; Organized; or Well-Organized.
The results of the survey placed Unit 5 at the Organized performance level. Each Essential contains key indicators that contribute to the rating for that Essential. A common thread throughout Unit 5’s results was trust and collaboration. In Effective Leaders, the highest indicator mentioned was Teacher-Principal Trust. In Collaborative Teachers, the highest indicators included Collaborative Practices and Teacher-Teacher Trust. In Involved Families, the highest indicator was Teacher-Parent Trust. In Supportive Environment, the highest indicator was Student-Teacher Trust.

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Ecology Action Center schedules October 17
Household Hazardous Waste collection event
The Ecology Action Center’s public-private partnership for an upcoming Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event is making great progress. With 81% of the $180,000 goal met, the EAC decided to move forward with an October HHW event for McLean County residents.
The event will be held on Saturday, October 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mitsubishi Motors North America, located at 100 N. Mitsubishi Motorway in Normal. Participation will be limited to McLean County residents. Illinois regulations mandate that only residential HHW may be collected—no business or commercially generated wastes can be accepted.
In the past, state-sponsored HHW collections were a legal, safe, and reliable way of disposing of HHW in Illinois, but budget cuts resulted in the loss of state funding for five years. In 2012, the EAC decided that the community needed to take matters into its own hands. They developed a public-private partnership to cover the costs of holding a one-day collection. The unprecedented turnout at that event led local government partners to increase support for the 2015 collection. HHW collections are expensive; this year’s will cost $180,000. The City of Bloomington, Town of Normal, and McLean County have provided $140,000. Private donations and sponsorships have contributed an additional $5,000. Current sponsors and event partners include Home Sweet Home Ministries, Midwest Fiber, WGLT, McLean County Health Department, and McLean County Regional Planning Commission.
The Ecology Action Center needs support from private individuals to make this a success. Donations to the McLean County HHW Fund may be made online at or by sending a check to the Ecology Action Center at 202 W College Avenue, Normal, IL 61761. The EAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; contributions and sponsorships are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Fundraising efforts will continue through the date of the HHW collection.
More details including what materials can and cannot be accepted at this event are available at Volunteers are needed to help with traffic control at the event; signup is also available online.

Fall Lunch and Learn sessions to begin Sept. 10 at History Museum
Collaborative Solutions Institute, Illinois Wesleyan University and the McLean County Museum of History has announced the Lunch and Learn sessions for Fall 2015.
Sessions will be held in the Gov. Fifer Courtroom (2nd floor) of the McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main Street, Bloomington, Illinois. The sessions are held the second Thursday of each month over the lunch hour starting at 12:10 pm. Sessions are free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.

Oct. 8 - Common Sense Counseling: Julia Madden Bozarth, Clinical Counselor, Motivational Speaker, Collaborative Solutions Institute
Positive Communications Skills to practice in every relationship: workplace, parenting, friendships, couples, social settings, as well as common sense ‘boundaries’ to maintain your own sanity in a busy life.
Nov. 12 - Ask the Architect: Russel Francois, Architect, Francois Associates
To hire or not? When should you hire an architect? What is a custom house? What does an architect do? What does a contractor do? Who’s responsible for what? How to avoid conflicts with the architect/contractor/builder.
Dec. 10 - Making Poetry Matter: Poetry and the Archive in the Twenty-First Century: Joanne Diaz, Associate Professor of English, Illinois Wesleyan University
Archives provide poets with a way to capture the past and retool it for their own uses. Over the past twenty years in particular, a significant number of poets have turned to archives in order to exhume some of history’s most difficult narratives, focusing on race, gender, and violence as they have been central to the American experience. During this Lunch & Learn session, we will read and discuss selections from Martha Collins’ Blue Front in order to see how Collins uses the archive to create a poetics of engagement.”

HCE Units to study ABC’s of GMO’s
McLean County Home and Community Education (HCE) groups will be learning about the “ABC’s of GMO’s” during their October meetings. The Fact Find is on Putting Your Garden to Bed. Other programs and workshops:  Oct 12, 1-4 pm, Santa Towels, Extension Office Auditorium 1615 Commerce Parkway Bloomington RSVP/Fees by Oct  6, Edna 309-662-5520; Oct 15, 6 pm, International Night, Study of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Christ Lutheran Church, corner of Fort Jesse and Hershey Rd, Normal, Karen  309 826 9559; Oct 19, 9 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm,  Community Service Day - Making Christmas stockings for soldiers at the Farm Bureau Building, near Interstate Center, Karen 309 826 9559; Oct  24, 9:15 am -6 pm Fall trip to the Beef House, Covington, IN, lunch and theater, Linda 309-268-9991.
On Oct 27, 1-3 pm, a free program, “Making Your Dollars Stretch” will be presented by Pam Atkinson at Christ Lutheran Church, 311 Hershey Rd, Normal, Delilah 309 532 0314.
The public is most welcome at all meetings and programs. Individual units meet as follows:            
Eastsiders: 9a.m. Oct  2, Unity Center, 632 Orlando Avenue, Normal; Lesson Lynda Kobs, Fact Find Phyllis Cellini, Hostesses Olga Young, Mary Ellen Gottselig, Shirley Montgomery, Bobbi Meihofer; 309 310 9205
Normal: 9:15a.m. Oct 5; Evergreen Place, Gregory & Adelaide, Normal; program Bette Ohlenkamp; 309 452 6750
Downs: 9:30a.m. Oct 6, Downs Firehouse; brunch followed by meeting; Hostesses: Barb Anderson, Marie O’Brien, Sharon Roggy; Program, Sharon Roggy; 309 661 9251.
Dry Grove:  9:30a.m. Oct 8; Brunch at Denny’s in Normal followed by meeting; program, Judy Mohr; 309 452 7059.
Money Creek: 11:30a.m. Oct 12; Lexington Community Center; bag lunch followed by meeting, program Helen Leake; 309 365 4681
Towanda: 7p.m. Oct 12; Towanda Community Building; program/fact find, Clara Lehan; 309 663 4796
Dale:  9:30a.m. Oct 14; Dale Township Town Hall for carpool to Busy Corners Restaurant, 10a.m. meeting followed by lunch; 309 829 8975
Lexington: 2p.m. Oct 19; Lexington Community Center; lesson Nelda Parker, Fact Find Trish Morrison, Hostess Mary Lou Schuler; 309 365 8055
Night Owls: 6p.m., Oct 21; Pizza Ranch, dinner followed by meeting; program Kathryn, Karen, Louise; bring toiletries donations for Home Sweet Home Mission; 309 275-6723

Historian to speak on Lincoln, black Union soldiers during the Civil War on October 8th
Historian John David Smith, author of Soldiering for Freedom, will talk about Abraham Lincoln’s goals for African American recruits into the Union army during the Civil War at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 8, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.
The talk, titled “Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Black Union Troops,” is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation, the Illinois State University Foundation Fund, and the Department of History. The event is free and open to the public. To contact Smith, email Professor of History Alan Lessoff at
A prolific author, Smith has published 25 books, including An Old Creed for the New South: Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 (1985), The Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery (1988), Slavery, Race, and American History (1999), Black Judas: William Hannibal Thomas and The American Negro (2000), Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era (2002), Undaunted Radical: The Selected Writings and Speeches of Albion W. Tourgée (2010), Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops (2013), Soldiering for Freedom (2014), and We Ask Only for Even-Handed Justice (2014).
More information on Smith can be found here:
The talk is part of The Speaker Series of Illinois State University, which seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. More information on all speakers can be found on the Speaker Series website

Alan Look Photography Logo Alan Look Photography - Bloomington - Normal's Best Look in Sports Action Photography
Images from recent games are available for viewing and purchase

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

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Historic North Street

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coming next to the Historic
Normal Theater
All seats $7• Refreshments $1
Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Hotline: 454-9722

Thur - Sun, Oct 1-4 • 7 PM
MANHATTAN SHORT is an instantaneous celebration that occurs simultaneously across the globe allowing the audiences to select their favorites. Films are screened in Sydney, Mumbai, Moscow, Kathmandu, Vienna, Cape Town to cinemas in all fifty states of the United States and beyond -- The Judges of the Finalists’ Films are you. Audiences at each venue will be handed a voting card upon entry to each cinema and asked to vote for the ONE film they think should win. Votes are tallied by each cinema and sent through to MANHATTAN SHORT HQ. The over all winner is announced on Monday October 5.
ARSENIC & Old Lace
Tuesday, Oct. 6 • 7 PM
Frank Capra’s dark comedy in which a drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family. Unrated / 118 min
North By Northwest
Thursday, Oct. 8 • 7 PM
Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful masterpiece, in which a hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. Unrated / 136 min



issue of Best Look Magazine  Available
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Evergreen Cemetery Walk tickets now on sale 
Tickets for this season’s Evergreen Cemetery Walk are now on sale. The McLean County Museum of History and the Evergreen Cemetery along with the Illinois Voices Theatre are proud to present this outdoor history theatre program which takes place over two weekends; Saturday, October 3, Sunday, October 4, Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11.    
This is the twenty first season for this event which combines historical research by Museum volunteers and staff, professional costumed actors from Illinois Voices Theater
The Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk is one of the McLean County Museum of History’s most successful, well-attended and longest running public programs.
Weekend tours will be held at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Advanced ticket sales wry be available for purchase at the following locations: the McLean County Museum of History, the Garlic Press in Normal, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, and Casey’s Garden Shop in Bloomington. Tickets are $17 for the general public, $14 for Museum members, and $5 for children & students w/ID. A special $2.00 pre-sale discount is available for general and Museum member tickets if purchased at least 24 hours before the day of the performance. There is no discount available on children/student tickets.

Chief Del Thomas Fire Truck Parade to kick-off Fire Prevention Week Sunday, Oct. 4
MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) Division 41 would like to invite everyone to help us kick off Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10, with the annual Chief Del Thomas Fire Truck Parade.
The Parade will line up at Franklin Park, Bloomington at 12:00 pm. It will leave from the park at 1:30 pm and travel east on Locust St. to Towanda Ave., South on Towanda to Washington St., and then East on Washington St. to State Farm Corporate. At that time the trucks will be displayed until 3:00 pm.
There is no cost, and this is a great opportunity for anyone to get up close and to sit inside a fire truck. Come out and show your support for your local Fire Department.
Mr. Thomas was the former fire chief in Hudson. His son, Jeff Thomas, was recently named chief for the community and the tradition continues.
With National Fire Prevention Week occurring from October 4-10, the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) encourages Illinois residents to practice fire safety and prevention throughout the entire year.
The theme for 2015 FPW is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, which sponsors FPW, roughly half of home fire deaths result from overnight fires when most people are asleep. Smoke alarms alert residents of a fire so they can safely escape. Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by half.
“This year’s Fire Prevention Week message is a great reminder to homeowners that smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of a home,” says IFSA Executive Director Philip Zaleski. “And it’s important to make sure smoke alarms are tested monthly and have their batteries replaced twice each year to make sure they are functioning properly.”
Zaleski notes that a good reminder to change smoke alarm batteries is when homeowners change their clocks to “spring forward” an hour when Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins in the spring and “fall back” when it ends in the fall.
For information about smoke alarms and FPW, the IFSA recommends visiting

Less than one month from their 40th anniversary in Goodfield, Conklin’s Dinner Theatre is shutting down operations.
A storm that went through Goodfield on August 18, 2015 caused severe wind damage to the barn. On April 20, 2015 the insurance company insured the business as structurally sound without riders or restrictions. After examination by a forensic engineer assigned by the insurance company on August 26, 2015, the Barn was deemed un-repairable and the claim of storm damage was denied, leaving the theatre in extreme financial peril.
Previously announced plans to re-open temporarily in a new location have been cancelled due to the financial restrictions. Owner Mary Simon states “I was really hoping we could get open in the new location to tide us over, but with the insurance claim denied, we have no choice but to cease operations immediately.”
Members of the company spent weeks on the phones, cancelling reservations for performances and re-scheduling reservations in the planned temporary facility in hopes that the company could continue operations with the help of insurance money.  Since the insurance claim has been denied, and the proposed transfer isn’t possible, individual parties with reservations will not be called to be told of the closure of the company. Anyone seeking more information about the closure may call Conklin’s Box Office at (309) 965-2545
Simon states, “I am heartbroken to have to make this announcement. Our audiences have been so supportive through good times and bad and we are so appreciative of that, but there is no feasible way to continue at this point.”
The theatre played its last performance on August 16 with the show “Nana’s Naughty Knickers.”

Community Members Invited to Oct. 22nd Poverty Simulation
Members of the public are invited to participate in a Poverty Simulation sponsored by the Multicultural Leadership Program (MCLP) on Thursday, October 22 from 4:30-8:00 pm at the Western Avenue Community Center, 600 N. Western Avenue in Bloomington.
This powerful and unique role-playing experience enables participants age 16 and older to gain insight into the real-world obstacles of families who live in poverty and are struggling to meet their basic needs. Simulation attendees will include MCLP participants, their guests and community members from across Central Illinois.
Advance registration is required for this event and space is limited. To participate, register online by October 20 at There is no charge to attend, but participants are encouraged to bring a canned food donation. The members of the MCLP Class of 2016 do not need to register online. They should contact their program facilitators. Family members, guests and community members should use the above link to register for the event.
To volunteer at the Poverty Simulation, contact 4-H Youth Development Educator Carolyn Hansen at or 309-862-4041. Inquiries about this event should be directed to

ISU Homecoming 2015 celebration Oct. 19-25
Illinois State University will be celebrating Homecoming from October 19 to October 25. Events range from a carnival and basketball exhibition to tailgating for the 2 p.m. Redbird football kickoff Saturday, October 24, in Hancock Stadium.
A guide for following the events is available through the Illinois State University App. The app can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play Store. Once the app is installed, users can search for the Illinois State Homecoming Guide.
 Details of events are available online at All events are free and open to the public, unless a fee is noted.


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