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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

Prayers Go Out To All Families Affected
I would be remiss if I did not say that I am extremely disturbed by the events that have occurred within our country and the world during the past weeks.  It saddens me to think that in our civilized world our police officers who put their life on the line for the public every day, go to work with a sense of fear; our citizens who because of recent incidents fear our police; and most recently we all have a sense of heightened fear at any public event.  My prayers go out to all of the families that have been affected by the most recent and tragic events.
As Illinois goes through a challenging time, I’m hopeful that parents can find some relief that the General Assembly has passed a stop-gap budget to provide funding for our schools.  While this stop-gap budget does not provide all of the solutions, it is a necessary compromise that will allow our schools and colleges to open in the fall.  Education has been the top priority throughout this entire budget negotiations.  We have a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Senator Brady said the direction Illinois is headed won’t change until a complete and balanced budget is passed that is tied to major structural reforms that grow the economy and reduce government spending. Suggested reforms to make government more efficient and accountable, which were blocked by the Democrat majority this session, include:
• Term limits for state legislators;
• Curbing lobbyist gifts to legislators and ending the legislator-lobbyist revolving door;
• Local control of government costs that send property taxes skyrocketing;
• Ending fraud and abuse in our workers’ compensation system and curbing lawsuit abuse to make Illinois friendlier to job creation and economic growth;
• Government purchasing reforms to lower the costs and save taxpayers money.

Statehouse Update
from Senator Jason Barickman 53rd District
Bipartisan Commission On School Funding Set
Building on the bipartisan stop-gap budget approved June 30, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced July 12 the creation of a bipartisan commission on Illinois School Funding Reform, with State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) as a member.
Commission appointees will work in the coming months to negotiate an agreement to overhaul Illinois’ broken school funding system. A bipartisan compromise on this critical issue will be a top focus for legislators and the Governor, and another key reform for Illinois.
Comprehensive change is challenging, as the last year and a half have proven. However, this week the Governor’s budget director outlined a number of the ways reforms to state government have protected Illinois taxpayers, increased government efficiencies and helped Illinois function more successfully.
 Illinois’ Fiscal Good Health and Reforms
The compromise on the budget, after an impasse of more than a year, also acknowledged the need to address structural reforms to improve Illinois’ business and jobs climate and implement government reforms. For more than a year, the Governor argued, with Senate Republican support, that reforms are needed to get Illinois’ financial crisis under control and to restore economic prosperity.
Illinois’ public debt continues to climb out-of-control, the state’s unemployment rate remains above the national average – as job losses out-number job gains – and Illinois is one of the top states for out-migration of residents.
Looking back on the recently-concluded spring legislative session, Republicans teamed-up with Gov. Rauner to protect taxpayers from the years of overspending and overpromising of prior governors and General Assemblies, controlled by Democrat supermajorities. The prior Administrations “kicked the can down the road” with unbalanced budgets, borrowing and tax increases. As a result, today, Illinois government is left with a record backlog of unpaid bills and more than $100 billion in unfunded public pension debt.
During the no-cooperation-no-budget 2016 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), Republican legislators and the Governor ensured taxpayers were a top priority. They placed a renewed emphasis on Illinois taxpayers and as a result:
• Defeated the Democrat supermajority FY 2017 spending plan ($7 billion out of balance) that would have raised personal income tax rates to more than 5.5%;
• Stopped the Democrat supermajority’s attempt to bailout Chicago with an additional $400 million in state taxpayer funds;
• Linked passage of the stop-gap budget to comprehensive pension reform, forcing the Democrat supermajority to negotiate over this and other structural reforms proposed by the Governor.

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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Alan Look Fine Art Canvas Gallery Wraps farm scene

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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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