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Unit 5 Schools
Illinois State University
University High School
Illinois Wesleyan University
Heartland Community College
Lincoln College


State Farm Holiday Classic
McLean County Arts Center
(sugar creek arts festival)

McLean County Fair

Civic/Non-Profit Organizations

Boy Scout Troop 3
Boy Scout Troop 19
W.D. Boyce Council (B.S.A)
Crossroads District
Centrillio Council (G.S.A)
Illinois Special Olympics
Normal Kiwanis Club
Habitat for Humanity of McLean County
U of I Extension - McLean County
Bloomington-Normal Macaroni Kid

About the community

Uptown Normal
Economic Development Council


Town of Normal
Normal Police Department
McLean County

Places of Interest

Children's Discovery Museum
US Cellular Coliseum
Interstate Center
Miller Park Zoo

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

HCE Units to study Pass the Pink Packet
McLean County Home and Community Education groups will be learning about “Pass the Pink Packet” during their January meetings. The Fact Find is Care for Christmas Plants. Other programs and workshops: 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 11, Arm Knitting by Lynda Kobs, Culvers on Hershey Road, Bloomington—RSVP/fees/supply list to Edna by Jan. 5, 309-662-5520; 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18, Community Service Day, Making bags for walkers and hats, scarves and mittens, Farm Bureau Building, near Interstate Center Dr., Bloomington, 309-826-9559- free and no RSVP needed.
On Jan. 26 at 1p.m., a free program, “History/Mysteries of McLean County” will be presented by Don Meyer at Christ Lutheran Church, 311 Hershey Rd, Normal.  Contact Delilah Finnegan at 309-532-0314 for more information.
Public is welcome at all meetings and programs. Individual units meet as follows:                   
Eastsiders: 9 a.m. Jan. 8, Extension Office; program, Jane Griffin and Fact Find by Lynda Kobs; hostesses-Joan Brucker, Phyllis Cellini, Lynn Fox, and Marlene Brown; 309-310-9205.
Money Creek: No meeting is scheduled.
Towanda: 7 p.m. Jan. 12, Towanda Community Building; program, Sandy Whalen; bring or wear snowman related items for show & tell; 309-663-4796.
Dale: 10 a.m. Jan. 13, Shannon’s, 1305 S Mercer, Bloomington; 309-829-8975.
Dry Grove: No meeting is scheduled.
Lexington: No meeting is scheduled.
Night Owls: 7 p.m. Jan. 20, United Methodist Church, Heyworth; program by Carol Hanafin; hostess is Cheryl Gebhardt; 309-275-6723.

Terri Ryburn Comedy Performance Jan. 28; Concert and Route 66 Film Jan. 29 & 30
Terri Ryburn and her friend, Kathi Davis, are bringing to Bloomington a concert called The Best of Hank and Rita:  A Barroom Operetta.  One of Ryburn’s former students, Ann Rosenquist Fee, is in a Minnesota singing duo called “The Frye” with Joe Tougas.  At their performances, people began to ask if they were married.  (They were but not to each other.)  Rosenquist Fee and Tougas started answering, “No, not anymore.”  From that, Tougas wrote the lyrics and music for the concert.  The show has gotten rave reviews in Minnesota.  The concert will be filmed for a short movie that Ryburn and Davis will submit to film festivals and use to raise funds for a full-length feature film, following the duo from Illinois to California, along Route 66.
A Night of Stand-up Comedy with Terri Ryburn is a fundraiser for the project.  Her “clean, but edgy” comedy happily takes on friends, the workplace, some ex-husbands, and other absurdities on Thursday, January 28 at the Eagles Club, 313 S. Main Street, Bloomington.  (Parking in the Eagles lot south of the building, on the street, or in the parking deck one block north.)  Doors open at 6:30 pm (cash bar, snacks, and bar food available); show starts at 8pm.  Tickets are $10 at the door.
The Best of Hank and Rita:  A Barroom Operetta presents a fictional husband-wife country-pop duo who hit the Top 10 briefly in the 1970s but whose career is in decline.  It’s 1986 and they’ve been performing their show in small town after small town for years.  Hank doesn’t know it, but Rita is leaving him after the show.  She’s done waiting for things to change, in their career and their marriage, but she’s giving herself one last good show.
Performances are on Friday, January 29, and Saturday, January 30, at the Eagles Club, 313 S. Main Street, Bloomington.  (Parking in the Eagles lot south of the building, on the street, or in the parking deck one block north.)  Doors open at 6:30 pm (cash bar, snacks, and bar food available); show starts at 8 pm.  Tickets are $15 in advance at hankandrita.com or $20 at the door (if available).
For more information, go to hankandrita.com, email Ryburn at tlrybur@ilstu.edu, or call 309-452-5325.

News from the Capitol
by State Sen.Bill Brady, 44th District

Dear Friends,
Attending the State Fair on Governor’s Day gave me an opportunity to visit with many of my constituents.  And although the weather cooperated for the day, the damage from the record rainfall earlier in the week was apparent.  The years of neglect by the previous administrations has resulted in tens of millions of dollars in unmet infrastructure needs in the Springfield and DuQuoin fairgrounds.  This past week, I was pleased the agriculture community created a foundation that will enable our private sector partners to help modernize and restore the greatness of the facilities.
Working with community partners, Connect Transit launched a new fixed bus route network between Uptown Normal and Downtown Bloomington.  This upgraded system makes public transportation easier, faster and more convenient for the Twin Cities.
The Treasurer’s Office also held its first hearing, in Normal this past week, on life insurers that do not pay death benefits.  The hearings are to better understand how life insurance companies avoid paying death benefits and what Illinois families can do to prevent themselves from being victimized.  The public was encouraged to attend and offer testimony.
The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission met for a second time this week in hopes to continue the push for a better funding system.
In other state news, recently-signed laws create sepsis protocols that will save lives, assist veterans and their families, and allow police officers to adopt retiring K-9 police dogs.
As our kids head back to school and the buses are on the road, please take extra precautions and drive safe.
Senator Bill Brady

Statehouse Update
from Senator Jason Barickman 53rd District
School Funding Reform Commission meets second time
The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission created by Gov. Rauner to recommend a comprehensive solution to reform the school funding formula, met for the second time on Aug. 16.
 During the meeting, Richard Laine from the National Governors Association spoke on the relationship between school funding and workforce readiness. Laine stressed that the challenge isn’t just funding schools, but creating an educational system that prepares students to enter the workforce. He also emphasized that training the US workforce to be competitive in a global economy is becoming increasingly important.
 The Commission also reviewed the “evidence-based” approach to funding education. This model draws from research and evidence-based best practices to help identify how much money per pupil is needed to educate students in Illinois according to its proficiency standards.
 Chaired by Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, the 25-member Commission includes five designees from Gov. Rauner’s Administration and five designees from each of the four legislative caucuses.
  The Commission’s report is to be presented to the Governor and General Assembly by Feb. 1, 2017. Lawmakers say the goal is to have the General Assembly take action on a proposal in 2017.
Gov. Rauner announces the creation of the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation

 On Aug. 16, Gov. Rauner announced a newly-formed, not-for-profit Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation has been established by leaders in the agricultural community. Suitably, the announcement was made on the state fair’s Agricultural Day.
The goal of the charitable foundation is to promote, support, assist and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The Foundation’s activities will emphasize capital improvements at these sites, with a focus on the restoration of buildings.
Combined, the two fairgrounds have approximately 200 buildings—some as old as 124 years. Many of these buildings are in dire need of repair including paint, plumbing, roofing and structural repairs. The Foundation hopes to ease the burden put on the state to fund the nearly $180 million in maintenance costs. In a time of uncertain budgets, the Foundation will provide additional support to the fairgrounds.
The Foundation Board is comprised of nine unpaid members representing the agriculture industry. Board members will develop strategies to raise private funds, coordinate with the Department of Agriculture to plan projects and determine the fairgrounds’ needs, and serve as ambassadors for the improvement of the fairgrounds.
 Anyone can give donations to the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. The Foundation will establish accounts that will be held outside the State treasury so donors know their donations will go to the intended purpose.

Best Look Magazine
Every Photo has a Story, Every Story has a Photo
McLean County's Sports and Leisure Magazine
Published Feb 15, May 15, Aug 15, Nov 15

Need artwork for your home or office? 

Alan Look Fine Art Canvas Gallery Wraps farm scene

Check out the
Canvas Gallery Wraps offered by Alan Look Photography!

News from State Rep. Dan Brady
Guest Editorial by State Rep. Dan Brady
105th Legislative District
Visit Rep. Brady’s Website for Budget, Education Funding and other Legislative Session Details
Area families can read more about the state’s stopgap budget, state funding increases for local school districts and other important issues from this year’s legislative session on State Representative Dan Brady’s website, www.rep-danbrady.com. Rep. Brady has posted a Session Review on his website to keep local residents up to date without the costs associated with a mailed newsletter.
“Throughout the summer I have attended events across the district giving updates on our budget situation, school funding, funding for our colleges and universities and other major challenges we have worked on this year. Posting the Session Review on my website will make updated information even more accessible to local families.” Rep. Brady said.
Representative Brady said the Session Review is readily accessible on his website by clicking the Session Review 2016 icon in the top right hand margin of the homepage. The Review is also printable.
“Anyone with computer access can read and print the Session Review. I do understand that there are some without computer access who may be interested in the information and they are welcome to contact my district office at 309-662-1100 or stop by at 104 W. North Street in Normal for a copy,” Rep. Brady said.

Sugar Grove Nature Center Happenings

Sugar Grove Nature Center is located in beautiful, historic Funks Grove, just south of Bloomington-Normal.  For a map and directions to the Nature Center, membership and program information visit us on-line at

For more information phone 309.874.2174 or email info@sugargrovenaturecenter.org. Sugar Grove Nature Center is located in beautiful, historic Funks Grove, just south of Bloomington-Normal. For a map and directions to the Nature Center, membership and program information visit us on-line at www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org.


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