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

by Steve Robinson

International Town/Gown Association Conference Attendees Address Council

Anyone familiar with Normal’s history won’t deny that, years ago, relations between the Town and its primary employer, Illinois State University, were not always steady. But history has shown the relationship between the two entities has taken time to nurture and develop the cooperative spirit local residents, University officials, and students have now become accustomed to experiencing. It’s a relationship other college towns could afford to learn from.
Representatives from both the Town and ISU recently attended an annual meeting of the International Town/Gown Association (ITGA), in Chicago earlier this month. Both the Town and ISU hold ITGA memberships. Representatives from 400 college towns and universities attended the three-day event.
Local representatives gave presentations at ITGA as well, including sessions on Planning for Town/Gown Success; Enhancing Neighborhood Livability Through Town/Gown Relations, and Large-Scale Parties: Can They Be Stopped.
Heather Wagner, communications manager for the Town, said Normal’s representatives even had a chance to talk about improvements made along Main Street.
Wagner told the Council Normal and ISU “have tried to impress upon students that they live in residential neighborhoods and what they do off campus is an extension of their University Code of Conduct.” ISU’s Code of Conduct provides rules and regulations for students and student organizations to abide by while they attend the University.
“College students do have a concern about their futures when the possibility of disciplinary action is concerned,” explained Harriett Steinbach, coordinator of leadership and community connections, part of ISU’s Office of the Dean of Students. Steinbach presented ITGA information along with Wagner to Council members.
“We want to help students understand they are citizens of the community who have a responsibility to their neighbors,” Steinbach added.
Wagner and Steinbach explained ISU is one of the few universities in the country which seems to take the attitude that activities of students living off-campus do need to be monitored because doing so is in the best interest of the University. The pair pointed to the Neighborhood Action Team (NAT), created by Normal Police Department in conjunction with the Town’s Legal and Inspection Departments. NAT works with residents in addressing neighborhood complaints.
“We will continue to plan events,” Wagner said.
“I’m very, very proud that our University is at the forefront of these issues,” stated Council member R. C. McBride, one of the ISU alums on the Council said, following the presentation.
“I think we’ve just scratched the surface for continuing the relationship between the Town and the University,” added City Manager Mark Peterson. “I feel we’re on the same page, moving in the right direction together.”
Peterson noted the first meeting of Normal’s Town/Gown Committee came in 1985, following the infamous “beer riot” in 1984.
Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included
• A resolution accepting the low bid and authorizing a contract with Springfield-based Henson-Robinson Company for the replacement of low slope roofing systems at the Normal Theater and Community Activity Center in the amount of $186,409 and approving an associated budget adjustment to provide for the higher than expected project cost as well as a 10% recommended contingency.
• A resolution to accept bids and award a contract to Bloomington-based Stark Excavating in the amount of $146,000 for the reconstruction of portions of the Pine Street right-of-way, and the parking lot for the 305 Pine Street property.
• A resolution rejecting bids for the “Normal Theater – House Lighting Upgrade Project.”
• A resolution to accept bids and award a contract to Stark Excavating, Inc. in the amount of $483,352.35 for the improvement of Virginia Ave. from University St. to Franklin Ave.
• An ordinance conditionally and partially approving the final plat of the Lipic Subdivision fifth addition by expedited process (103 W. Poplar St.).
• An ordinance amending parking restrictions in the 800 block of Broadway Ave.
• An ordinance establishing prevailing wage rates.
• An ordinance amending Section 25.16-3 of the municipal code of the Town of Normal regarding fees for Parks and Recreation programs.
•  An ordinance authorizing execution of a contract for the purchase of the property at 222 Keiser St. for $25,000 and authorizing the donation of that property to Habitat For Humanity of McLean County, Inc.

McLean County Board Report
????, Chairman
Recording Secretary:  Judith A. LaCasse

At the regular meeting of the McLean County Board held on Tuesday, June 21st, the Board recognized Mr. Benjamin Owens for his 15 plus years on the Board and all of his work on Board Committees.
The County Board approved an Ordinance to increase the budget for election expenses to help address early registration. The County Board also approved an increase in election judge’s compensation as well as the list of appointed election judges.
The County Board asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to hold further public hearings regarding case SU-15-09 for the specific purpose of gathering additional information concerning reclamation of the land and local road use agreements.
The Board also approved an Ordinance which would allow Animal Control to use donated funds to build a dog run at their facility. The Board received from the County Auditor and placed on file the Management Letter from the Outside Auditor, the Popular Annual Financial Report and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

Railroad Construction to Close Roads
The Town of Normal has received a schedule of road closures for 2016 related to the Illinois High Speed Rail project. The closures are required to complete the work on the railroad tracks and to replace the roadway crossings. University Street, Fell Avenue, Broadway Avenue, Linden Street, College Avenue, Mulberry Street, Beech Street and Fort Jesse Road will be affected by the closures. Two (2) separate closures can be expected at each street crossing to complete the work. A detour route will be marked for each closure.
Below is a list of the closure schedule:

June 28 – June 30 Fort Jesse Road/Beech Street
July 1 – July 10 College Avenue/Mulberry Street
July 11 – July 16 Linden Street
July 17 – July 22 Broadway Avenue
July 23 – July 28 Fell Avenue
August 1 – September 3 Broadway Avenue/Linden Street/Fort Jesse Road
September 3 – September 17 Linden Street
September 19 – October 15 College Avenue/Mulberry Street
October 17 – November 19 Beech Street/Fell Avenue
*Above schedule subject to change.
For more information regarding the High Speed Rail project or the proposed work, please contact the Project Hotline: 1-855-IDOT HSR (1-855-436-8477) or visit

Corn Belt Energy hosts 78th Annual Meeting
Approximately 1,200 cooperative members and their families attended Corn Belt Energy Corporation’s 78th Annual Meeting, which was held at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington on the afternoon of Friday, June 17.  The theme for the meeting was “Always Cooperative”. Attendees enjoyed a complimentary lunch, entertainment from the Live Line Demo, educational workshops, bucket truck rides, and several free activities for their children.
During the business meeting, Board Chairman Rae F. Payne remarked on the how the electric utility industry is facing unprecedented times and discussed the many ways the cooperative is looking out for members long-term. He stressed the importance of cooperatively working with others, such as Wabash Valley Power Association, to better serve our members. Guest speaker, Jay Bartlett, Chief Executive Officer of Wabash Valley Power Association, also provided an update to Corn Belt Energy members on the status of the generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative.
Corn Belt President/CEO Don Taylor, informed the group of work plan projects, area construction projects and information about cooperative programs and rebates.
Retiring director, Bob Whitwood from Hudson, was recognized for his 12 years of dedicated service on the board. The following Directors were elected to serve three-year terms: Peter Borowski of Bloomington (District 1), Jesse Slager (District 2), Steve Schertz (District 3), Laverne Malone (District 5), and Rob Angus (District 9).
 After the meeting, the Directors organized and re-elected Mr. Payne as Chairman, Charles Meisenheimer as Vice Chairman, Albert Hagenbuch as Secretary Treasurer, and Janice Reimer as Assistant Secretary Treasurer.

In the June 23 2016 Printed Normalite:
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Bill Linneman
An explanation of my circumstances

Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Watch for emergence of Japanese Beetles

Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Governor keeps state running without budget but turning point coming

Classic Colcalsure
Mother Knows Best

Normal Town Council Report
International Town/Gown Association Conference Attendees Address Council

Unit 5 School Board Report
No Report This Week

McLean County Board Report

by Steve Robinson

Regular Meeting This Week

Capitol Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
News from the Capitol
Short-term budget needed to avoid capital construction delays


Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Gov. asking lawmakers to return and approve a stop-gap budget

Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Eventful week in Normal

Chimperscage - by Alan Look

Best Look Magazine


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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

No Report This Week

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Local author Marc Miller to hold book signing June 28 in Bloomington
From 1973 to 1996, local author Marc Miller had an office on the second floor at the corner of North Street and in Uptown Normal; the lights were often on late into the night as he and his staff of designers created boardgames and role-playing games that were sold around the world (Game Designers’ Workshop). In all, Miller estimates he wrote and published more than a million words, “Those were terse, game rules format words that instructed players how to play the various games.”
But he never found the time to write the one thing he wanted to try: a novel. “Just about a year ago, the inspiration struck me and I started writing scenes that turned into chapters that turned into a full-blown novel.” That novel is Agent of the Imperium, a science fiction story set in an interstellar empire thousands of years in the future.
“There’s a central concept that isn’t even science-fiction in this story. It asks questions about personal responsibility and what efforts and sacrifices a person can make, should make, for the greater good.” Miller says the story is set against the future history background of his role-playing game Traveller, but even a casual reader can follow without any special knowledge, “You just have to like science-fiction.”
Author Marc Miller will host a book signing at Epiphany Farms Restaurant, 220 E. Front Street, Bloomington on Tuesday June 28 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Immanuel Bible Foundation Property Added to National Historic Register
The Town of Normal is pleased to learn the property currently owned by and housing the Immanuel Bible Foundation at 1301 South Fell Avenue was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 7.
The “Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion” is a three-story, American Arts and Crafts Era home, built in 1906 and designed by the Bloomington architect, Paul O. Moratz, for its only two private owners, Margaret and Bird Van Leer. The home’s construction was completed in two years and placed the Van Leers alone on an elevated, five-acre plot of land, which at the time offered a “broad view” of eastern Normal and Bloomington. Paul O. Moratz’s youngest sibling Arthur F. Moratz designed the Normal Theater, which is also on the National Register.
“Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion and bell tower are two of the most architecturally significant structures in Normal. Their listing on the National Register is a very high honor,” stated Bruce Warloe, Vice-Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission. “It is also an affirmation of the decades’ worth of outstanding preservation by the Immanuel Bible Foundation, which has owned the property since the late 1940s.”
In 1949, the property was endowed by Margaret Van Leer to the Immanuel Bible Foundation, which has since owned, operated, and maintained the property as an institutional meeting hall.  In 2014, this Foundation entered into an agreement with the Town of Normal to gain a partner in its efforts to preserve and maintain the property. Even though portions of the interior and exterior of the home have gone through periods of renovation and restoration, no building or structure on the property has been “unmindfully” altered or moved from its original location. 
There are three historically significant aspects on the property: the main house, the bell tower/campanile, and the brick wall with iron fence.
The Historic Preservation Commission was created in 1990. One of the commission’s principle duties is to identify historically and architecturally significant properties and to recommend them for designation and preservation. 
The Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion becomes the sixth location in the Town of Normal to be listed on the National Register. The others are Cook Hall at ISU, The Normal Theater, the Camelback Bridge, Cedar Crest Addition, Historic District, Sprague’s Super Service (305 E. Pine St.).
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Thousands of Illinois historic and prehistoric places have been designated, and each year more places are added by applicants who want the prestige, financial benefits, and protections that National Register designation provides.
Every one of Illinois’ 102 counties has at least one property or historic district in the National Register. High-style mansions, vernacular houses, burial mounds, military aircraft, canals and historic downtowns together represent a cross section of the Prairie State’s history from its early settlement to the mid-20th century.
In general, properties have to be more than 50 years old to be eligible. Listing on the National Register places no obligations on private property owners but does make properties eligible for some financial incentives. For more information on the National Register application process, visit

Former Holiday Inn Hotel to become a Radisson soon
Swift Family Hospitality Group will renovate  the former Holiday Inn on the north end of Normal at Interstate 55 and rename it as a Radisson Hotel. The $9 million project should be completed in 8-10 months  CEO David Swift announced Monday at a press conference at the site of the once popular hotel that has been shuttered since 1999.
“It’s been a long journey,” said Mr. Swift. “We love Bloomington-Normal and we believe in the market.”
Swift Family purchased the property six years ago but the recession led to a delay in finding investors according to Mr. Swift. His company is based in Freeport, Ill. and operates 14 hotel properties in Illinois, Wisconsin and South Dakota.
The hotel here will have an indoor pool, concierge service, restaurant, banquet services. 158 rooms with a mixture of suites included and a lounge. The decor will be similar to a Radisson hotel the company just opened in Schaumburg, Ill.
Consolidated Construction of Appleton, Wisc. will be the general contractor and Mr. Swift said they will be using some local firms. This could be the last hotel for him as he is retiring after three projects this year and turning the business over to his family.

Local author Marc Miller to hold book signing June 28 in Bloomington
From 1973 to 1996, local author Marc Miller had an office on the second floor at the corner of North Street and in Uptown Normal; the lights were often on late into the night as he and his staff of designers created boardgames and role-playing games that were sold around the world (Game Designers’ Workshop). In all, Miller estimates he wrote and published more than a million words, “Those were terse, game rules format words that instructed players how to play the various games.”
But he never found the time to write the one thing he wanted to try: a novel. “Just about a year ago, the inspiration struck me and I started writing scenes that turned into chapters that turned into a full-blown novel.” That novel is Agent of the Imperium, a science fiction story set in an interstellar empire thousands of years in the future.
“There’s a central concept that isn’t even science-fiction in this story. It asks questions about personal responsibility and what efforts and sacrifices a person can make, should make, for the greater good.” Miller says the story is set against the future history background of his role-playing game Traveller, but even a casual reader can follow without any special knowledge, “You just have to like science-fiction.”
Author Marc Miller will host a book signing at Epiphany Farms Restaurant, 220 E. Front Street, Bloomington on Tuesday June 28 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

ARTiture: Unique June 25th DIY-Inspired Event Helps Build Homes
International Interior Design Association Hosts Event to Benefit Habitat for Humanity
ARTiture is the “fine art of giving old furniture a new twist.” Local artists and community members have been working over the past few months to create one-of-a-kind refurbished pieces and have donated them to ARTiture for the silent auction portion of this unique event. Many artists have started with a furniture item they purchased at the Habitat ReStore. Pieces will be auctioned off the night of the event, and the highest bidder (must be present) will be able to take the piece home that evening.
ARTiture will be held Saturday, June 25 at Epiphany Farms Restaurant (220 E. Front Street, Bloomington), from 6-9pm. Hors d’oeuvres, provided by Epiphany Farms, and cash bar will be available, as well as 50/50 raffle and door prizes for purchase. In addition, a Zoo Crew face painter will be present to do face- and body-painting for attendees. Cocktail attire is appropriate.
The event is open to the public (must be 21 or older to attend). Tickets are $30 when purchased in advance, or $35 at the door. Each ticket includes two drink vouchers and unlimited hors d’oeuvres provided by Epiphany Farms. Purchase tickets online at Student admission (with school ID) is $20 at the door. All proceeds from the evening will benefit Habitat for Humanity of McLean County.
The Central Illinois Chapter of the International Interior Design Association has held the Bloomington ARTiture event since 2012. This is the fourth year in which Habitat for Humanity of McLean County has been named as the beneficiary for the event.

Group Mission Trips Work Camp coming to Twin Cities July 4 – 8
St. John’s Lutheran Church and West Bloomington Revitalization Project are working with Group Mission Trips to bring 100+ teenagers and adult youth group leaders to Bloomington Normal to improve the homes of sixteen elderly, handicapped, and low-income residents for free.  
Group Mission Trips is a non-profit interdenominational Christian voluneer home-repair organization headquartered in Loveland, Colorado.  This summer, almost 25,000 young people and adults will participate in 36 Work camps in communities across the United States. 
St. John’s youth group has traveled to communities across the country for the past 15 years helping to improve the homes of nearly 1000 elderly, handicapped or low income residents.  This year we are excited to be able to bring youth groups from Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois to help residents in our local communities. 
Churches and organizations across Bloomington/Normal are partnering to deliver a transformational experience for both the youth and the residents they will serve.  The cost of materials has been covered by our funding partners: State Farm Bank, St. John’s JoyZone and Vacation Bible School offerings, Town of Normal, City of Bloomington, First Financial Bank, Illinois Farm Bureau and Resurrection Lutheran Church. 
Hospitality teams from area churches will welcome the campers with cookies, goodie bags, popsicles and more throughout the week.  The campers are staying at Normal Community High School, working on the homes during the day and participating in evening programs each night.  The youth groups have Wednesday off to have fun in our community.  You may see many of them at Fairview Pool or the Zoo. 
The public is invited to attend a service of blessing for the volunteer team and Group Mission Trips staff, and offer prayers for the campers and residents, at the 9:45 am service at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1617 E. Emerson, Bloomington in our Parish Life Center on Sunday, July 3rd.

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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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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

The Girl Can’t Help It
Thur & Sat • June 23 & 25 • 7 PM
Hefty hoodlum Marty “Fats” Murdock (Edmond O’Brien) employs has-been agent Tom Miller (Tom Ewell) to transform his girlfriend, Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield), into a singing star because he trusts Tom not to make a pass at her. However, the more time Tom spends with the stunning blonde, the more smitten he becomes. His troubles multiply when he realizes that Jerri can’t sing a note, is not in love with Murdock and wants to settle down with a nice man like himself. Approved / 99 min.

The Friday Late Night Show
Friday, June 24 • 10:30 PM
In Seattle during the era of grunge music, the lives and relationships of a group of young people, all living in the same apartment building, go through a period of flux. Among them are waitress and aspiring architect Janet (Bridget Fonda), who finds herself obsessed with bad boy musician Cliff (Matt Dillon); Linda (Kyra Sedgwick), an emotionally fragile environmentalist on the look-out for love; and Steve (Campbell Scott), a quintessential nice guy who studies traffic patterns. PG-13 / 99 min.

Born to Be Blue
A BNF Choice Film
Fri & Sun • June 24 & 26 • 7 PM
In the late 1960s, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) begins a romance with an actress (Carmen Ejogo) while trying to stage a musical comeback. R / 98 min.


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
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Grandstand Line-Up Finalized For 2016 Illinois State Fair
Each year the Illinois State Fair aims to bring in various musical genres in the hopes of attracting music-loving fairgoers of all generations.  This year, organizers of the Illinois State Fair are bringing a great lineup to the Grandstand stage.
Ticket prices for each of the shows at the 2016 Illinois State Fair are listed below:
Friday, August 12:  Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge - Tier 3 - $20 / Tier 2 - $25 / Tier 1 - $30 / Track - $30 / VIP - $42
Saturday, August 13:  Meghan Trainor / Hailee Steinfeld / Common Kings - Tier 3 - $28 / Tier 2 - $33 / Tier 1 - $38 / Track $38 / VIP - $50 
Sunday, August 14:  Jake Owen / Old Dominion - Tier 3 - $15 / Tier 2 - $20 / Tier 1 - $25 / Track $25 / VIP - $37
Monday, August 15: New Odyssey - General Admission - $5
Tuesday, August 16:  Dierks Bentley / Tucker Beathard - Tier 3 - $42 / Tier 2 - $47 / Tier 1 - $52 / Track $52 / VIP - $64 
Wednesday, August 17:  KISS / The Dead Daisies - Tier 3 - $49   / Tier 2 - $54   / Tier 1 - $59   / Track - $59 / VIP - $74
Thursday, August 18:  Volbeat / Killswitch Engage / Black Wizard - Tier 3 - $10 / Tier 2 - $14 / Tier 1 - $18 / Track - $18 / VIP - $25
Friday, August 19:  Cole Swindell / Kane Brown / LANco / Jon Langston - Tier 3 - $18 / Tier 2 - $23 / Tier 1 - $28 / Track $28 / VIP - $40 
Saturday, August 20:  Little Big Town / David Nail - Tier 3 - $27 / Tier 2 - $32 / Tier 1 - $37 / Track $37 / VIP - $49 
Sunday, August 21:  ZZ Top / Gregg Allman - Tier 3 - $34 / Tier 2 - $39 / Tier 1 - $44 / Track $44 / VIP - $54
All tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.

Normal Begins Search for New Director of Water Deparment

Steve Gerdes to Retire Following a 20-year Career with the Town
The Town of Normal has announced it will initiate a national search process to recruit a replacement for Director of Water Department Steve Gerdes, who has announced his upcoming retirement in August of this year.
“It will be difficult to find a replacement that can match the experience and knowledge that Steve brought to our organization nearly 20 years ago,” said Normal City Manager Mark Peterson. “However, I am sure that the excellent reputations of the Town of Normal and our Water Department will help us to attract a number of quality candidates.”
Gerdes began his career with the Town in February of 1997 and has served for 36 years in the public water supply industry. He served as District V Trustee of the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association from 2004 to 2008.
“Steve has our most heartfelt congratulations on an outstanding career in public service and our wishes for a long and happy retirement,” Peterson added.

Monument for massacred black GI’s unveiled at Miller Park
The City of Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department unveiled a monument to little-known World War II veterans in Miller Park, Bloomington, on Saturday morning, June 11, at 9 AM.
“At the beginning of World War II’s historic “Battle of the Bulge,” 11 African-American soldiers from the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion were beaten, stabbed and shot multiple times at the hands of their Nazi SS captors after they had surrendered in late December of 1944,” explained Assistant City Manager Steve Rasmussen. “Much has been written about the Battle of the Bulge and about several of the massacres that were committed. Practically nothing has been mentioned, however, about these 11 African-American soldiers.”
A recent World & US History Online article reported that “a 1949 Senate Armed Forces Committee report documented and investigated 12 incidents of Nazi troops massacring captured American troops and Belgian civilians during the Battle of the Bulge, but the committee’s report omitted the killings in Wereth, and history nearly overlooked the horrific deaths of the 11 members of the 333rd field Artillery Battalion.”
As a result, a Congressional resolution recognized the sacrifice of these brave African-American soldiers but nearly seven decades late. A suitable monument, however, was not provided. To help rectify this, a local veterans group led by Dale Mills of Bloomington conducted a fund-raising campaign to erect a suitable monument named “Wereth 11.” Through these efforts, a monument has been purchased and constructed and is ready for dedication.

McLean County Museum of History exceeds $3 million campaign goal
The McLean County Museum of History has surpassed its $3 million campaign goal to fund significant improvements including a new permanent exhibit and Museum-wide technology upgrades.
Campaign Co-Chair and Board President Carolyn Yockey made the announcement Thursday night during the Museum’s annual meeting and History Makers Gala. The Extending Excellence campaign has secured $3.36 million in pledges.
Yockey said the Museum’s campaign committee has long been confident it would reach its goal.
“Three million dollars sounded like a lofty goal when we first launched the campaign, but our early donors made it clear that we have strong support from the community,” Yockey said. “Everyone we’ve approached has understood the need for the campaign and shown enthusiasm for this next chapter in the Museum’s future.”
Museum Executive Director Beth Whisman said the campaign has already begun to impact the Museum.
“You can see the effect of the capital campaign in and around the Museum,” said Whisman. “The new landscaping is complete on the Museum Square, making the green space more inviting to the public. Inside, two of the five planned new permanent exhibit galleries have already opened. They’re filled with traditional artifact interpretation as well as new digital technology to meet the needs of 21st century learning styles. Our educators are working to develop new programming that incorporates these updated exhibits and new technology.”
The Extending Excellence campaign was launched to position the Museum to better connect with new generations and foster meaningful connections to our community’s past. When the campaign was first announced, the Museum outlined four initiatives to meet this challenge: installing a new permanent exhibit, upgrading technology throughout the Museum, expanding the Education Department, and enhancing the surrounding green space. These initiatives will continue to be implemented through 2019.
The public can learn more about the campaign’s four main initiatives and how to make a contribution by visiting the website  The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution founded in 1904 with roots dating  back to 1892.

One Dress for Eleven Brides
With wedding season in full swing, celebrate with a visit to the McLean County Museum of History to see a remarkable wedding gown worn by eleven brides.
The McLean County Museum of History recently received the donation of a wedding gown that was worn by eleven descendents of Alice Abbott McCarty. It is now on display in the Museum’s “New to Collections” case.
First worn in 1904 by McLean County resident Alice Myrtle Abbott (pictured) for her wedding to Rev. Francis Asbury McCarty, it was subsequently worn by 10 brides — all descendants of Mrs. McCarty. More than half of the brides were McLean County residents and four of the weddings took place here. The last bride wore the dress in 2008. 
After some discussion among family members it was decided that it was time to retire the gown and offer it to the Museum. 
“We were thrilled to receive this donation,” Museum Curator Susan Hartzold said. “While our collection is already filled with dozens of beautiful and well documented wedding gowns, and we no longer accept wedding gowns from the 20th century, we had to make an exception for this one because of its remarkable history.” 
The gown, along with photos of all eleven brides wearing the dress, will be on display through the end of August in the Museum’s first floor rotunda.
The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, which is also a free day for all visitors. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for Museum members, children and students with a valid I.D.


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