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by Steve Robinson

Council Approves Agreement With Union Pacific Railroad For Uptown Station Overpass Project
Normal Town Council members unanimously approved authorizing an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad for construction, maintenance, and use of a proposed pedestrian overpass bridge at Uptown Station. The project was mandated as part of the Illinois High Speed Rail project.
The cost of the project is $5.7 million, of which $5,589,920 is paid for from the High Speed Rail Project through Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The Town of Normal’s share for the project is $114,080. In addition, the project received an additional $1,250,000 from Illinois Commerce Commission, making the total cost of the project $6,340,000.
The bridge agreement with the railroad was necessary in order for the Town to construct, maintain, and operate the pedestrian overpass. The Town anticipates advertising for construction bids for the project as early as next month, with the construction company selected by January. Completion of the overpass project is anticipated by December 2015.
This project “is a really good investment for the community,” Council Member Chuck Scott addressing Council’s approval. City Manager Mark Peterson said the railroad company would be required to have the use of a flagman during construction for about 100 days to alert incoming trains. He added only contractors and workers would be on the tracks during the construction period.
Preparation For 2014 Property Tax Levy Approved: Council members unanimously approved a motion to authorize preparation for the 2014 Property Tax Levy to begin. The proposed levy will result in the Town being able to take in $11,258,000 in tax revenue during fiscal year 2015-16, an increase of $264,000, or 2.4 percent, above the current fiscal year’s tax levy.
Peterson told Council members a person paying $4,180 on a $100,000 home would likely see an increase in their tax bill of $7. “We’ve tried and will try to keep our levy as low as we can,” he told Council members. “This is a modest increase driven by pension costs.” He added the Town has managed to keep tax levies that fund the Town’s general fund and Normal Public Library at the same rate. Council members will likely be asked to approve the tax levy at their Nov. 17 meeting.
Town Zoning Code Amended: Council members unanimously approved an ordinance amending the Town Zoning Code to allow for use of property zoned as General Manufacturing to also be allowed to have such property be available for use by private clubs. The need for the amendment came when the Town was approached by owners of that property. The property owners had been approached by a local pole vaulting club wishing to use a section of the property for practices.
The property owners petitioned the Town to amend its Zoning Code to include the property to be designated for use under the category of “Health Club and Private Recreation.” Normal Planning Commission members met to discuss the request at their Oct. 9 meeting, during which, no members of the public spoke. NPC members unanimously approved the amendment, forwarding it on to the Council for final approval.
Liquor Commission Approves License For New Venture: Council members, serving as the Normal Local Liquor Commission unanimously approved a Class O liquor license for Lone Oak Ventures, Inc. doing business as Stave, 111 W. North St. Class O is a limited hours license.  The new establishment was home to Washburn Flowers until the owner retired in the spring.
Mayor Chris Koos informed Liquor Commissioners six of the nearly 60 liquor license holders in Normal had elected to pay their annual license holders’ fees in two payments, and that all six had completed paying their second installments, meeting a Sept. 30 deadline.
Liquor Commissioners also unanimously approved minutes from three previous meetings – one regularly scheduled meeting held July 21, and two special meetings called Sept. 15 and Oct. 6.
Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:
•  Approval of minutes of regular meeting held Oct. 6, 2014.
• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Oct. 15, 2014.
• A resolution to waive the formal bid process and award a contract to Bloomington-based Game Time, Inc. for the purchase of a modular playground under the U. S. Communities Purchasing Program for Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in the amount of $24,938.50.
• A resolution to waive the formal bid process and award a contract to Indianapolis-based Renosys Corporation for the installation of two new PVC Membrane Systems at Anderson Aquatic Center in the amount of $54,779 and approving an associated budget adjustment in the amount of $40,815.
• A resolution to accept bids and award a contract to Bloomington-based J. G. Stewart in the amount not to exceed $167,634.08 for the expansion of the Champion Fields parking lot at Maxwell Park and to authorize the negotiation of a Change Order not to exceed $61,865.92 for the construction of additional parking spaces.
• A resolution authorizing the execution of a license renewal agreement with That’s So Sweet for use of storefront space at 102 North St. in Uptown Normal.
• A resolution authorizing the execution of a license renewal agreement with The Pod for use of first floor and upper level space at 104 E. Beaufort St.in Uptown Normal.
• A resolution to approve a reciprocal easement agreement between the Town of Normal and Uptown Circle, LLC for the Hyatt Hotel project.
• An ordinance conditionally and partially approving the final plat of the Tartan Plaza Resubdivision by expedited process (101 S. Veterans Parkway).





McLean County Board Report
Enterprize Zone expanded in downtown Bloomington
Matt Sorensen, Chairman
Recording Secretary:  Judith A. LaCasse

 No meeting this week




NPR’s On Point host and B-N native Tom Ashbrook to speak November 7
WGLT brings Tom Ashbrook to the DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington on Friday November 7. Radio Faces includes a meet-and-greet cocktail party, followed by a sit-down dinner and Ashbrook’s multi-media presentation. He will discuss his experiences sharing conversation with some of the most significant newsmakers of the day, with ample time for audience questions.
Ashbrook grew up on a farm in the Bloomington/Normal area. After graduating from Yale and before finding his true calling as a journalist, he spent time as a surveyor/dynamiter in Alaska’s oil fields. He was a teaching fellow with the Yale-China Association, a Hong Kong television personality, and a producer of Chinese kung fu films.
Award-winning journalist Tom Ashbrook is host and managing editor for On Point, a two hour daily news broadcast where lively conversation covers everything from breaking news to arts and culture, and features writers, politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world.
Airing on GLT 9-11 AM M-F, On Point is now carried by 286 stations nationwide with a weekly audience of 1.5 million. The show is also available through iTunes as a podcast. Recent programs have included a discussion of Obama’s ISIS strategy with Mark Mazzetti, Pulitzer Prize-winning national security correspondent for the New York Times; a live performance from jazz singer Tierney Sutton; and an interview with Martine Rothblatt, the highest paid female executive in America.
Ashbrook worked as a correspondent for South China Morning Post and the Boston Globe. As deputy managing editor for the Globe, he directed coverage of the first Gulf War and the end of the Cold War. He was awarded the Livingston Prize for National Reporting and was a 1996 fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation. Ashbrook chronicled his dip into internet entrepreneurship in his book The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush, published in 2000.
GLT Radio Faces tickets are: $100 for cocktail reception, full dinner with wine, and presentation; $65 for full dinner with wine, and presentation. Tickets are available only through GLT at 309-438-2255 or www.wglt.org. Deadline for ticket sales is Friday, Oct 31.
Sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. All proceeds benefit the GLT Equipment Fund.




In The October 23 2014 Printed Normalite:
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Bill Linneman
Once Upon A Time

Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Bring in your tender bulbs after the first frost

The Spectator by Jim Bennett
Cain & Abel: Ancient Papyrus Discovery

Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Unions donating to Libertarians in attempt to split Republican vote

They Call me Spence
The power of song

Classic Colcalsure
Almost... Every Day

Normal Town Council Report
 by Steve Robinson

Council Approves Agreement With Union Pacific Railroad For Uptown Station Overpass Project 

Unit 5 School Board Report
 by Steve Robinson
No meeting this week

McLean County Board Report

No meeting this week

Capitol Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
Quinn’s Urban Weathization Program spends $16 million to weatherize 183 homes

News_from_State_Rep._Dan_Brady
Subpoenas issued for Neighborhood Recover Initiative investigation

Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Newspaper giant dies

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

Pick up a copy for these stories and more.


Unit 5 School Board Report

by Steve Robinson

No meeting this week






Check out Best Look Magazine!
May issue now available


Women’s Christmas Celebration to be held December 6
Ticket sales for the 2014 Women’s Christmas Celebration are now on sale at Broadview Mansion, 1301 S. Fell Avenue, Normal.  Tickets are $20 each and include breakfast. The Women’s Christmas Celebration will be held on December 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal.
On-line ticket sales are available. You may also order tickets by mailing your check to the mansion with an enclosed self addressed, stamped envelope.  Or you may call them to place your order and they will hold your tickets at the event ticket table for payment and pick up.
This year, Kendra Smiley will inspire us with her wit and wisdom!  Kendra is an author, speaker, and a radio / TV show host. 
In addition, local artisans have been invited to display their beautiful work as centerpieces. After the event, you will be invited to browse and shop, with all proceeds going to support the artists.  
If you have questions, call 309. 452. 6710.




Rodney Davis, Ann Callis debate at Illinois State University Oct. 30
Illinois State University will be the site of a debate between candidates for the Illinois 13th congressional district race on Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center.
The debate, which will begin with a pre-debate at 6 p.m., will feature Republican Rodney Davis and Democrat Ann Callis. The event is free and open to the public.
Questions for candidates will be allowed from moderators only. Moderators for the event will be Benjamin Yount of Cities 92.9, Illinois State Emeritus Professor of Politics and Government Bob Bradley and Torrance Davenport, the student chapter president of Illinois State’s national political honors society, Pi Sigma Alpha.
Those who wish to submit questions for consideration by the moderators can send them to Assistant Professor of Department of Politics and Government Carl Palmer at clpalme@ilstu.edu by Friday, Oct. 17
The will be a pre-debate of 30 minutes, followed by an hour of debate.
The debate is sponsored by American Democracy Project, League of Women Voters and Pi Sigma Alpha.








WGLT Radio Faces to present radio legend Don Munson on Nov. 7
Previously scheduled guest Tom Ashbrook cancelled due to unforeseen personal circumstances
Don Munson needs no introduction in McLean County. He is a well-known local radio legend who spent nearly four decades as the “voice of McLean County” on local commercial station WJBC, where he hosted a community-focused morning show that captured more than 70% of the McLean County radio listening audience each morning. No other radio host throughout the nation has achieved such high ratings.
Don also worked as a news reporter and radio sports announcer as the voice of ISU’s Redbirds. He became program director for the station in 1970, and served as station manager from 1980 until his retirement in 2000. He was honored with the Marconi Award in 1991, an accolade given to America’s top small market radio personality. However, as a die-hard ISU Redbirds fan, Don chose attending an ISU football game in Akron, Ohio over the gala awards event in San Francisco. Thus, he missed having Vanna White hand him the Marconi.
After just a year of retirement, Don joined the award winning team at WGLT in 2001. His show, Radio Munson, combines his love of broadcasting with his passion for jazz. Radio Munson airs weekly on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm and features big band swing and vintage jazz.
Don has received much recognition for his service in our local community. His honors include the Town of Normal Citizen of the Year, ISU Athletics “Stretch” Miller Award, and Illinois Softball Hall of Fame (as a broadcaster). He helped initiate the “Spirit of McLean County Award” given annually beginning in the 70’s and was the awardee in 2000, when WJBC announced going forward the award would be renamed as the “Don Munson Spirit of McLean County Award”. He has authored several books on McLean County history and has donated all of the proceeds to benefit the McLean County Museum of History.
GLT brings Don Munson to the DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington on Friday November 7, 2014. GLT Radio Faces includes a meet-and-greet cocktail party, followed by a sit-down dinner and Munson’s presentation. It is a unique opportunity for WGLT to feature a local radio legend at this year’s Radio Faces event. From Don’s perspective of 55 years in radio he will share his experiences of the shifting media landscape, his thoughts on the future of radio, and the importance of local news coverage.
GLT Radio Faces tickets are: $100 for cocktail reception, full dinner with wine, and presentation; $65 for full dinner with wine, and presentation. Tickets are available only through GLT at 309-438-2255 or www.wglt.org
Deadline for ticket sales is Friday, Oct 31.




New Route Theatre to premiere Walking With My Ancestors Nov. 6
New Route Theatre, 814 Jersey Avenue, Normal, announces the world premiere of Walking With My Ancestors by Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum which opens November 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 pm and November 9 and 16 at 2:30 pm. Walking with My Ancestors is directed by Kim Pereira and choreographed by Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum. This powerful new play will feature a company that includes (in alphabetical order) Leola Bellamy, John Bowen, Jajwannica Johnson, Cynthia Senefianso-Amedoda and Claron Sharrieff along with Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum.
Tickets are $10 General Admission and $8 Senior/Student and can be reserved by e-mailing us at new.route.theatre@gmail.com or by calling us at 309-827-7330 and letting us know the performance you will be attending and the number of tickets you need. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on performance dates based on availability.
Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, originally from Ghana, found herself amid the holding dungeons for African slaves on their way to the plantations of the Americas. That began an emotional journey into her past; a journey that led her to talk to the spirits of her ancestors, to begin a creative conversation with the ghosts that have haunted not only those prisons but indeed the Middle Passage and everything that followed, right up to the present day. Depicted in dance, song, and words is that heartrending odyssey. It is a pilgrimage and a crusade, a search for identity, and an attempt to ask the questions that have no answers. It is a voyage to meet the souls of ancestors, for the dead know everything



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Heartland Theatre Company opens ‘Falling’ November 6, With A Pay-What-You-Can Preview
Heartland Theatre Company opens Falling by Deanna Jent on Thursday, November 6 with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview, with performances running through November 23. The play is sponsored by Angie and Frank Hoffman.
Lori Adams, Head of the Acting Program at Illinois State University, directs the play, which she also directed in its world premiere at St. Louis’s Mustard Seed Theater and off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City. Fallingwas nominated for three Drama Desk Awards, including Best New Play, in New York. At Heartland Theatre, Falling features actors Daniel Esquivel, Karen Hazen, Ashley Pruitt, Rhys Lovell and Ann B. White.
About The Play:  How do you love someone who is very difficult to love? Playwright and IWU alum Deanna Jent has called Falling “a day in the life of a ‘typical’ family who are caring for a teenage son with severe autism.” As Josh gets older and bigger, his parents struggle to handle him. ISU’s Lori Adams, who directed this heartbreaking family drama in sold-out, award-winning runs in St. Louis and New York, now brings Falling home to Heartland. [Adult Audiences Only, Not Intended for Children]
Performances will be November 6, 7 and 8; 13, 14, 15 and 16; 20, 21, 22 and 23rd.
Sunday, November 16 Discussion After The Matinee: Playwright Deanna Jent, Illinois Wesleyan graduate, will speak to the deeply personal issues raised in the play and respond to audience questions about her process and her playwriting life.  [No charge, open to the public]
Panel Discussions on specific topics related to the play and autism are planned, following nearly every performance.
Ticket Prices: General Admission - $15, Senior Discount - $12, Student Discount - $5. Group rates available:  Email boxoffice@heartlandtheatre.org for a rate quote.
Curtain Times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinees
Location: 1110 Douglas St, One Normal Plaza, Community Activity Center.
For reservations call 309 452 8709 or email boxoffice@heartlandtheatre.org.
Reservations recommended for all performances, except Pay-What-You-Can. No reservations taken on that night only for other than season ticket holders.
For more information check out our website www.heartlandtheatre.org





ISU Jazz Ensembles to Present Halloween Big Band Dance Oct. 31
Illinois State University’s Jazz Ensembles I and II will present a Halloween Big Band Dance from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the New Lafayette Club, 1602 S. Main, Bloomington.
Admission will be $15 per person at the door. There are no advance ticket sales. Guests are encouraged to dress in the Halloween costume of their choice. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and a 50/50 drawing will be held at 9 p.m. A cash bar will be available.
Music performed by Jazz Ensembles I and II will include big band classics from the 1930s and 1940s as well as a wide variety of ballroom dance styles including cha-cha-cha, rhumba, waltz, swing, salsa and samba. The ensembles are conducted by Illinois State School of Music faculty member Tom Marko.
All proceeds from the dance event will help support jazz activities at Illinois State University.




Enjoy a ‘A Night Out with Neandertals’ Oct. 30th
University Professor of Anthropology Fred Smith will be the featured speaker at a Main Street College event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in Room 116 of the Alumni Center at Illinois State University.
Smith, who has been celebrated across the globe for his work, will give a talk titled Visiting the Ancestors: A Night Out with Neandertals. The event is free and open to the public.
Smith has worked on Neandertal and early modern human fossil material for nearly 40 years. The author of 2013’s The Origins of Modern Humans, Biology Reconsidered, Smith has published eight books and monographs and more than 150 scientific articles.
Focused on the role of Neandertals in the emergence of modern humans in west Eurasia, Smith has carried out field and laboratory research in Europe, West Asia and Africa. In 2013, he was honored with the Gabriel Lasker Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and in 2014 he received the William King Medal from the National University of Ireland for his research on Neandertals.
Main Street College was created by Illinois State’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Greg Simpson.  “My hope is that people from throughout the community will join us on Oct. 30. Dr. Smith’s work is extraordinarily interesting, and he is a most engaging speaker,” said Simpson, who noted the aim of the Main Street College series is to share with the public the exciting, and often entertaining, work being done across the College of Arts and Sciences.


 

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