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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

April 28, 2016
Senator Brady Reacts to Passage of SB 2059, SB 2047
Senator Bill Brady(R-Bloomington) reacted to the Senate’s unanimous passage of SB 2059 on Friday, April 22nd. The legislation, which will provide stopgap funding for community colleges, public universities, and the MAP Grant Program, was passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the day. The public university system has not been funded since the beginning of the budget impasse on July 1, 2015. Brady commended the proposal but emphasized there is much work left to be done.
“SB 2059 will provide much-needed relief for our public university system through the end of the fiscal year”, said Brady.  “While there is still much work to be done, this proposal will ensure community colleges and public universities can continue to carry out their mission while negotiations continue on further funding.”
Governor Rauner has indicated his intention to sign the legislation. The passage of SB 2059 comes at a critical time for Illinois’ public university system. Chicago State University had indicated it would close its doors at the end of April, and a number of public universities had laid off employees. Unlike previous proposals, SB 2059 is tied to real funding through the Education Assistance Fund. In total, $600 million will be appropriated to the higher education system from the EAF. $169 million of that total is appropriated for the MAP Grant Program.
Brady also urged the House to pass SB 2047, which unanimously passed the Senate Friday and would appropriate $441 million to human service agencies throughout Illinois. Additionally, Brady praised the spirit of bipartisanship that led to the passage of both pieces of legislation.
“These bills were the result of bipartisan legislators coming together for the people of Illinois, and they have provided a map forward as we continue negotiating on a full, 12-month budget”, stated Brady. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan matter as budget negotiations continue.”

Statehouse Update
from Senator Jason Barickman 53rd District
Senate Bill 231 is a bailout for bankrupt Chicago schools on local school’s back
Loss would be $9.8 million for McLean Unit #5
Downstate schools could lose $120 million per year under a school funding formula currently being debated at the state Capitol, according to data released by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
“This is exactly what many in the education community had been fearing, a plan to funnel downstate school money into the bankrupt Chicago school system,” said State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “This legislation would represent a major step backward in the quest to fix our current school funding formula.”
According to the data from ISBE, Senate Bill 231 would pull nearly $120 million in funding from downstate schools, $121 million from collar county schools, and $102 million from North Cook County schools, all to redirect more than $352 million to the Chicago Public School District (CPS).
Some examples of the negative impact on individual districts includes losses of $2.7 million for Bloomington, $9.8 million for McLean Unit #5, $885,000 for Eureka, $743,000 for El Paso-Gridley, and $259,000 for Pontiac Township High School.
“We all know the current funding formula is broken, but there is no doubt about it, SB231 in its current form is much worse,” said Senator Barickman.
The sponsor of SB231, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), has pushed to add $520 million in additional funding for a hold-harmless provision and adequacy grants, but has yet to provide any sort of a funding source to pay for it. If funded, the hold harmless provision would be phased out over four years.
“Even if he could find half a billion dollars, after a just a few years we would be right back to this disastrous formula and massive losses for downstate schools,” said Senator Barickman. “A real solution will require that everyone is at the table, including the education community, parents, lawmakers from both parties, and the Governor’s administration.”
Senator Barickman has advocated for continued work to develop a new formula, and has been working with schools and the education community on an evidence-based formula. In the meantime, he is pushing to fully fund schools for the first time in seven years. Senator Manar and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) have resisted that idea, with Cullerton suggesting that all K-12 funding be held up until Manar’s formula is passed into law.
“Downstate schools shouldn’t be paying for a CPS bailout, and their funding shouldn’t be held hostage by the process,” said Senator Barickman. “We all need to keep working on a new formula, but we can give our districts some certainty by fully funding the K-12 system, ensuring schools will be able to open on time in the fall.”

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

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News from State Rep. Dan Brady
Guest Editorial by State Rep. Dan Brady
105th Legislative District
A Real Funding Option for Higher Education is still on the Table
On Friday, Governor Rauner rejected the so-called ‘funding’ bill for Map grants sent to him by the Democrat majority in the General Assembly. He vetoed it because it was a sham. It was a “funding bill” that contained no actual funding, and so the Governor rejected it as he said he would. It’s maddening that with students’ and universities’ budgets stretched beyond crisis point, the majority party in the General Assembly chose to send the Governor a false promise instead of a real funding option that was on the table.
I am the chief House sponsor of a proposal which will adequately fund higher education for the remainder of this fiscal year and fully-fund MAP grants for students at the FY 2015 level utilizing existing revenues. Specifically, House Bill 4539 would provide: approximately $1.68 billion that would come from general revenue to fund community colleges and universities, and students’ MAP grants. This bill would work in tandem with legislation affording the Governor the ability to manage monies in existing state funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.
House Bill 4539 doesn’t merely promise funding, it specifies a plan to actually deliver it for students, community colleges and four year universities. But Speaker Madigan thus far has chosen not to allow the bill due process in the House.
House Bill 4539 is a realistic compromise, and it’s still on the table. For the sake of our students, our universities and our communities, I respectfully ask the Speaker and all my Democratic colleagues to come together and work with me to pass this bill!
Representative Dan Brady is the Minority Spokesman on the House Higher Education-Appropriations Committee

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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