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About the community
Places of InterestChildren's Discovery Museum
US Cellular Coliseum
Miller Park Zoo
Alan Look Photography - Bloomington - Normal's Best Look in Sports Action
Audubon Society to present Programs about the Environment
please check the JWP Audubon website at www.jwp-audubon.org.
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
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
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:
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 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.
Capitol Commentary from Sen. Bill
The report noted that at this time “Fitch judges California to have the strongest credit profile and Illinois the weakest.” In fact, according to Fitch, Illinois’ credit rating remains the worst in the nation at A-/Negative, with California ranked A/Stable and New Jersey ranked A/Negative. The Negative outlook reflects “the direction the rating is likely to move over a one- to two-year period,” as compared to California, which Fitch noted is in a “relatively strong” position as a reflection of “a combination of cyclical recovery and institutional changes.”
Fitch compared the three states in four areas, including the states’ debt and liabilities, the economy, finances and management.
The rating agency noted that “Illinois’ ‘A-’ rating with a Negative Rating Outlook” reflects the state’s record of unwillingness to address numerous financial challenges, which have steadily increased in magnitude as a result. Fitch stressed that “Waiting until the last minute to resolve critical issues has long been endemic to management in Illinois.” Specifically at issue, according to Fitch, is the failure to prepare for and address the pending expiration of the temporary income tax increase, noting, “As a result, the state is now facing a hole in the current-year budget that grows significantly in the following fiscal year.”
Fitch applauded the state’s 2013 passage of pension reform as a way to address Illinois’ unfunded pension liability burden, which is well above that of California and New Jersey. They also noted that Illinois’ “actual annual pension funding is not as far below actuarially sustainable levels as in those states, and more manageable.” That said, even if the pension reform enacted in 2013 survives the current legal challenge, Fitch says the state’s unfunded pension liabilities are “exceptionally high and are expected to remain so,” in addition to the state’s “above average” debt burden, which increased during the recession as a result of Democrat lawmakers’ reliance on “deficit financing.”
While Democrats have continued to blame the state’s lagging economy on the recession, Fitch says “Illinois was not as negatively affected by the recession as some neighboring Midwestern states…its recovery continues to be weaker.” It also noted that the state’s population continues to steadily decline when compared to the national rate, and criticized the structural issues in Illinois saying, “Although it has the power to do so, the legislature in Illinois has a long record of failing to address key challenges in a timely fashion.”
If you have questions or concerns about these and other issues, please contact my office. Information is also available on my legislative Web site at http://brady.senategop.org/.
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
Local Schools Pay ‘Corruption Tax” for Chicagofrom 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.
Need artwork for your home or office?
Check out the Canvas Gallery Wraps offered by Alan Look Photography!
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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