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State Farm Holiday Classic
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(sugar creek arts festival)

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Boy Scout Troop 3
W.D. Boyce Council (B.S.A)
Crossroads District
Centrillio Council (G.S.A)
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Bloomington National Night Out
Normal Kiwanis Club
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U of I Extension - McLean County
Bloomington-Normal Macaroni Kid

About the community

Uptown Normal
Denbesten Real Estate (local interest listings)
Economic Development Council

Government

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Normal Police Department
McLean County

Places of Interest

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

News from State Rep. Dan Brady
Rep. Brady: “We need fewer election year promises, more jobs”
State Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) said he was disappointed in Governor Quinn’s budget proposal which was long on election year promises, but again short on plans to create good paying jobs.
“Our top priority must be creating good jobs for our families, but today Governor Quinn doubled down on failed policies that have resulted in the highest jobless rate in the Midwest, and residents fleeing our state – nearly 278,000 in one year,” Representative Brady said.
“The ‘temporary’ tax increase is set to begin rolling back this year. The Governor wants to make it a permanent burden on families and small businesses to pay for more election year promises and spending,” Brady said. “This spring in the House we worked across party lines to set a reasonable ceiling on state spending based on reliable revenue projections. Keeping spending within that limit will be my focus as we work out our new state budget.”



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

Audit shows more fraud & waste in All Kids insurance program
A new state audit showed problems continue with lax oversight in the Expanded All Kids state health insurance program. State agencies in charge of the program were cited for failing to conduct annual eligibility reviews, failing to verify income, duplicate enrollments and continuing to pay benefits for patients who were too old to qualify for the insurance program.
The Expanded All Kids program covers about 84,500 children and provided $75.2 million services to children during the audit period. Among the audit’s major findings:
•  Out of nearly 35,000 recipients required to have an annual review of their eligibility for the program, 32 percent were not reviewed annually as required;
• The two state agencies assigned to determine income eligibility did not verify one month’s income as required;
• During the audit period, 154 recipients received 1,966 services (an average of 12.7 per recipient) after they had turned 19 and were no longer eligible;      
• The Expanded All Kids program continues to have children who are coded as undocumented immigrants even though they had verified Social Security numbers or alien registration numbers;
• There was a lack of documentation to verify the Illinois residency of recipients;
• Eight out of 10 recommendations from previous audits were repeated in the latest audit.
The audit provided new fodder for those critical of the Quinn Administration’s management of Medicaid costs by raising continuing issues about the ability or willingness of state program administrators to adequately monitor eligibility and purge individuals who do not qualify.
Please contact my office if you have questions or concerns about these and other issues. Information is also available on my legislative Web site at http://brady.senategop.org/.


Audubon Society to present Programs about the Environment
 please check the JWP Audubon website at www.jwp-audubon.org.



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!

BCPA Announces
 2014-2015 Season
The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts presents our brand new season of artists telling their stories on our stage! This season you will see more! More artists, more outdoor events, more variety and more people enjoying all the BCPA has to offer.
Liven up your year with country rock and American roots with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sebastian Bach’s soaring tenor, Los Lonely Boys and One Night of Queen. Enjoy vocalists The King Singers, the longest running Phantom of the Opera Frank D’Ambrosio, America’s hottest new vocal group Under the Street Lamp and American Idol finalist Casey Abrams. There is fun for the family with Joel Sartore, Pirate School, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Kalapriya, Feet Don’t Fail me Now and much, much more. AND don’t miss our new silent films screenings of Nosferatu and The General with live organist Dennis Scott!
Tickets are go on sale June 5. To get your tickets now, before the general public, become an Arts Partner. As an Arts Partner you will receive first notice and opportunity to purchase tickets throughout the entire season.
Season at a Glance
CEFCU Summer Stage

October 5 - Under the Streetlamp
October 18 - 4 Stand Up Dads
October 19 - Los Lobos
October 24 - Casey Abrams
October 28 -  Nosferatu
November 15 - Ides of March
November 16 - Neil Jacobs
November 20 - The Spinners
December 9 - A Celtic Christmas
December 12 - A Christmas Carol
December 20 - The Dailey & Vincent Christmas Show
2015 Main Stage events
January 9 - My Baby Just Cares For Me
January 15 - Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!
January 17 - Tallan Noble Latz
January 23 - American English
January 27 - Joel Sartore & The Ark Project
January 30 - Pirate School
February 5 - The Un-Valentine’s Show
February 7 - Kalapriya
February 8 - Broadway Songs of the Great White Way
February 14 - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
February 19 - The King’s Singers
February 21 - Ricky Nelson Remembered
March 10 - One Night of Queen
March 22 - Churchill
March 26 - Los Lonely Boys
April 16 -  Broadway’s Next Hit Musical
Visit artsblooming.org or call 434-2777 for more information on becoming an Arts Partner and to view the entire season




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

 


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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


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
www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org.




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.


Local Schools Pay ‘Corruption Tax” for Chicago
from State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington)
A scathing report on the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has raised concerns that area school districts are paying a “corruption tax” that subsidizes waste, mismanagement and fraud and shortchanges schools in the 53rd District and across Illinois, State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) says.
Barickman joined other downstate and suburban lawmakers on Thursday, in a renewed push to prioritize education funding and eliminate a special block grant which allows CPS to end-run the school aid formula.
“Schools in my area are owed more than $16 million in backlogged payments, while circumventing the state’s allocation formulas allows Chicago schools to get at least $230 million in ‘extra’ funding from the state,” State Senator Barickman said. “At the same time, a recent report from the Chicago Board of Education Inspector General exposed a disturbing pattern of waste, abuse and even outright fraud.
Barickman said the unequal treatment between Chicago and other schools districts “amounts to a corruption tax, because local school districts get shortchanged while the Chicago schools are allowed to go around the allocation formula and that helps offset the money the school district wastes through abuse and fraud.”
Barickman explained that the Chicago Board of Education Inspector General’s Annual Report for 2013 came to light recently during the Senate’s state budget review process.
 That report found cases of school administrators faking data and even creating ‘ghost students’ to pad enrollment and secure more funding.
The waste and fraud identified by the Inspector General was particularly disturbing, Barickman said, because many school districts in the 53rd District and surrounding areas are still owed money by the state, primarily for “mandated categorical” programs such as transportation, special education and free lunch programs for poor children.
According to figures supplied by the Illinois State Board of Education, school districts in the 53rd District, including McLean County District 5, El Paso-Gridley, Prairie Central, Lexington and others are owed just over $8 million, while other area school districts, including Bloomington, Kankakee and Danville are also owed more than $8 million.
“School districts that are owed thousands of dollars in back payment should be justifiably outraged that they aren’t getting the payments they deserve, while the kinds of abuse outlined in the Inspector General’s report are occurring,” Barickman said.
Earlier this year, a special bipartisan Education Funding Advisory Committee, which Barickman served on, recommended eliminating the Chicago schools block grant.
Barickman said as the committee studied school funding, they found that the special Chicago block grant serves as a separate funding stream granted to Chicago Public Schools that allows the school district to bypass funding formulas used for every other school district in the state.


Academy of Seniors and Mornings with the Professors Scheduled
Illinois State University’s Academy of Seniors and Mornings with the Professors programs will begin classes in September and continue through January. The lifelong learning classes are sponsored by Illinois State’s Senior Professionals organization and will be held in the University’s Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main St. in Normal. This year is the 25th anniversary celebration for the Senior Professionals organization.
For a full listing of class descriptions and registration details visit www.seniorprofessionals.ilstu.edu or call (800) 877-1478.
 Academy of Seniors offers four classes, and the speakers and their topics include:
The Prostitute by the Side of the Road and Other Strange Biblical Stories – Presented by retired theologian Richard Watts from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Sept. 4, 11, 18 and 25.
The Sixties: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll – Presented by W. Michaels Weis, Department of History professor and chair, Illinois Wesleyan University, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28.
All in a Day’s Work: The Challenges and Rewards of Nursing – Presented by Mennonite College of Nursing faculty from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 10, 12, 17 and 19.
From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story and Status of American English – Presented by K. Aaron Smith, Department of English associate professor, Illinois State – from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28.
The Mornings with the Professors programs are scheduled for five Fridays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Speakers and their topics include:
David Foster Wallace: An introduction – Presented by Charles Harris, professor emeritus of English, Illinois State, Oct. 10.
Individual Right to Privacy: Concerns about Bulk Data Collection – Presented by Robert Bradley, retired professor, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State, Oct. 17.
Experiencing Science Hands-On – Presented by Jay Ansher, Department of Physics general education lab coordinator, Illinois State, Oct. 24.
For the Love of the Accordion – Presented by Bruce Bergethon, manager of radio station WGLT, Illinois State, Oct. 31.
US-India Relations: Reset or Rehash? – Presented by Ali Riaz, professor and chair, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State, Nov. 7.
The cost for Academy of Seniors is $35 per class for members and $45 for non-members. The cost of Mornings with the Professors is $35 for members and $45 for non-members for all five sessions or $15 for individual sessions and may be paid at the door.
From 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 a special Classroom Journey bus trip to see the hidden treasures in Pontiac will be held and the cost is $50 for members and $60 for non-members.
For more information call (800) 877-1478 or visit www.seniorprofessionals.ilstu.edu.

  

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