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


Redbird Sports
Bloomington Normal Mustangs Junior Football

McLean County Cougars JFL
State Farm Classic (LPGA)
Prairie Thunder Hockey
Bloomington Extreme (Indoor Football)
Lady Hearts (Bloomington-Normal Girls Softball Association)


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

McLean County Fair


Internet 66 Web Design (comprehensive listing for area businesses)

Civic/Non-Profit Organizations

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

About the community

Uptown Normal
Denbesten Real Estate (local interest listings)
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

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.”

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
June 21 - Bayou Bash
August 10 - Northern Exposure Blues Festival
August 22 - Bruegala: Modern Echo
August 23 - Bruegala: Switchback
2014 Main Stage events
July 1 - The United States Air Force Band
July 24 - Sebastian Bach
July 26–27 & August 1–2 - Miller Park Summer Theatre: The Music Man
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

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

New Laws Enacted
Boating safety measures signed into law included Senate Bill 3434, which would allow law enforcement to seize boats or other watercraft under certain circumstances involving alcohol or drug use.
Two related measures were also approved:
•  Senate Bill 2731 requires that any watercraft towing a person must display at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat’s helm, a bright or brilliant orange flag visible from all directions, continuously, from the time the person gets out of the boat until they get back into the boat; and
•  Senate Bill 3433 provides for new boating certification requirements, beginning January 1, 2016, including restrictions on persons younger than 18 operating a motorboat.
A devastating tornado in Gifford and other communities prompted legislation intended to help businesses rebuild after such storms. Senate Bill 3259 provides a preferential property assessment for small business-owned commercial or industrial property, which is destroyed by a tornado disaster.
This preferential valuation would be valid for 15 tax years following the tornado, or until the property changes hands. This attempts to lessen the impact to a business that is rebuilding after a natural disaster and is similar to the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption for homeowners.
Sponsored by Senator Brady, the “Illinois Gives” initiative contained in House Bill 4590 will allow state employees and retirees to automatically have a portion of their pay or retirement benefits withheld as a contribution to Illinois chapters of the American Red Cross.
Helping persons learn more about their family histories and possibly better treat medical conditions is the goal of House Bill 5949. Under the measure, adult grandchildren of persons who were adopted will have greater access to original birth certificates and adoption registries and be able to meet with confidential mediators when seeking records related to their grandparents.
Also approved was House Bill 5755, which places the following question on the November 4, 2014, general election ballot: “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?”

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!
Tim McGraw Concert set Sept. 12 at the Corn Crib
The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, have announced that Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town Tour will stop at the Corn Crib on Friday, September 12. The CornBelters will play their first regular season home game of the 2014 season (“CEFCU Opening Night”) at The Corn Crib on Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. versus the Evansville Otters.
Corn Crib Alum Jana Kramer and newcomer Dakota Bradley will be the opening acts for the concert, which will be produced once again by S.A.W. Events.  The gates will open at 5:30 with the show getting under way at 7 p.m.  Tickets will be $60 for reserved seats and general admission field tickets. VIP pit tickets will be $105. Parking is available at the Corn Crib and will be $20 per car.
 CornBelters corporate partners, package ticket holders and host families will have a pre-sale opportunity to purchase tickets from Wednesday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 11 by phone and in-person only.
E-mail newsletter subscribers will have a pre-sale opportunity to purchase tickets online only beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 13. The promo code will be sent out to all the newsletter subscribers on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 12 and the promo code will be valid from 8 a.m. Thursday, March 13 until 9 a.m. on Friday, March 14.
Tickets to the general public will go on sale Friday, March 14th at 10 a.m.  To purchase tickets stop by the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office or call 309-454-BALL during normal business hours. Tickets can also be purchased anytime online at www.normalbaseball.com.

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

Nature Adventurer’s Club
Ages 9-12 • Tuesdays, June 17-July 22 (6 classes); 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Investigation, experiments, and citizen science will be the focus of this inquiry-based program. We’ll find out what the kids are interested in, then plan the sessions from there. While this program is meeting at the same time as Nature Adventurer’s Club, age groups will be divided.
Fee for the series: One child: $75/members, $90/non-members; additional siblings: $60/members, $75/non-members. Registration and prepayment required by filling out a form at sugargrovenaturecenter.org/forms/SummerRegForm.pdf and mailing it in with a check. If you do not have computer access, please call us for other arrangements. Registration deadline: June 3.

Nature Journey
Ages 13-16 • Thursday, June 26; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
On this day, we will follow the trails wherever they take us...and maybe even go off the trail! Spend a day hiking and learning about habitats, plants, animals, and anything else we find!
Fee: $12/members, $15/non-members. Registration and prepayment required by filling out a form at sugargrovenaturecenter.org/forms/SummerRegForm.pdf and mailing it in with a check. If you do not have computer access, please call us for other arrangements. Registration deadline: June 12.

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.


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