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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
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

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

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

2015 Main Stage events

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. 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.

ISU Spring 2015 Speaker Series announced
The Speaker Series of Illinois State University will dedicate spring 2015 to the theme Where We’re Headed, Where We’ve Been.
Talks will explore the politics behind the Hurricane Katrina disaster, lessons to take from World War I, the issues of being transgender, growing up in political exile and building a sustainable business culture.
The Speaker Series of Illinois State University seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.
All events are free and open to the public, though tickets are required for the Laverne Cox talk.
The Politics Behind Katrina
The devastation that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was due to more than Mother Nature, says Cedric Johnson, associate professor of African American studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In honor of Black History Month, Johnson will address the politics that enabled the chaos following Katrina with his talk titled The City that Care Forgot: New Orleans and the Future of American Urbanism at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.
Johnson is editor of a collection of essays titled The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalist Culture and the Remaking of New Orleans. The book won the W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He is also the author of Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics.
Living Beyond Gender
 Transgender-issues advocate and critically acclaimed actress Laverne Cox will speak at Illinois State University on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Cox, who currently appears in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, will present Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in Braden Auditorium at the Bone Student Center. The event is free, but tickets are required for entrance. Tickets will be available at the Braden Auditorium Box Office in Bone Student Center, with a maximum of four tickets per person. Tickets will be available for students Feb. 2, for faculty and staff Feb. 9, and to the public Feb. 16.
Cox is a recipient of the Dorian rising star award for her work in Orange is the New Black, and won best supporting actress at the 2013 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for her work in the film Musical Chairs, directed by Susan Seidelman. She has spoken of moving beyond gender expectations to national outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NPR and FOX NEWS LATINO, among other national TV and radio networks.
Building A Business Culture
 John “Jack” Hartung, chief financial officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., and an alumnus of Illinois State, will give a talk titled Building a Sustainable Business Culture at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Center for Performing Arts.
Hartung joined Chipotle as chief financial officer in 2002, when Chipotle was a privately held company with fewer than 200 restaurants. Chipotle became a public company with its highly successful initial public offering in 2006. Now the business has more than 1,700 restaurants – all company owned – and has a market value estimated at nearly $20 billion. Currently, Hartung oversees all aspects of Chipotle’s finance department, including financial and strategic planning, financial reporting, investor relations and tax and business strategy. He also oversees IT and safety, security and risk.
The Life Of Exiles
 Clément Baloup, a cartoonist of Vietnamese and French heritage, explores the mass migration of more than 2 million Vietnamese, in his graphic narratives. He will speak about his work with a talk titled The Colors of Exile at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, in Milner Library. A corresponding Milner exhibit is being coordinated with the help of Professor of Art History Justin Wadlow of the University of Picardie-Jules Verne (France) and the National University of Vietnam in Hanoi.
Baloup has published several graphic narratives devoted to Vietnamese and other groups in France and elsewhere from the colonial period to the present, including Le chemin de Tuan (Tuan’s Way) and Le choix de Hai (Hai’s Choice). He has authored two biographical works, Quitter Saigon: Mémoires de Viet Kieu (Leaving Saigon: Memories of Viet Kieu) and Little Saigon: Mémoires de Viet Kieu (2012), which respectively tell the stories of Vietnamese emigrants to France and the United States.
A Look At The Great War, 100 Years Later
 Emmy-award winner and Yale University Professor of History Jay Winter will speak about World War I and its impact on the globe. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale, will give a talk titled The Great War 100 Years After: A Transnational Approach at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.
Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary. His many works on World War I include Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18; The Great War and the British People; The Fear of Population Decline; The Experience of World War I; Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History and 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.
The talk is sponsored by Illinois State’s Department of History and Office of the President, the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the ISU Foundation Fund.
Picking Cotton
Jennifer Thompson was a 22-year-old college student when she was raped. After she wrongly picked out Ronald Cotton as her attacker, he spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him.
Devastated that her actions led to the imprisonment of an innocent man, Thompson reached out to Cotton to apologize, and in an act of true generosity, he forgave her. Their unlikely friendship and bond became the basis for the New York Times best-selling book, Picking Cotton.  Thompson and Cotton travel the country, speaking out in favor of DNA testing and working to protect the wrongfully convicted by sharing their personal stories of hope and redemption.
The two will speak at Illinois State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in the Prairie Room in the Bone Student Center, with a book signing at Barnes and Noble bookstore at the Bone.

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

As legislators continue working towards an agreement on next year’s budget, I remain committed to negotiating and passing a balanced budget that will help Illinois get out of its fiscal hole. After this year’s budget, with its $1.6 billion hole, was passed by former Governor Quinn and Democratic lawmakers last year, we must remain steadfast in our efforts to return Illinois to sound fiscal footing.
Meanwhile, Tuesday night features the first Illinois Supreme Court evening session in over 100 years. The Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments regarding pension reform. Currently, the Illinois pension system is the most underfunded of any state in the country. The underfunded pension liability is estimated at $105 billion dollars.
Your input is vital to the work I do. Please contact my office or myself with questions or concerns. Make sure your voice is heard in Springfield!
You can also visit my legislative website at www.brady.senategop.org.

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

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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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

Little Wonders:  The Mitten
Ages 3-5 with an adult chaperone.
Wednesday, December 17;
10:00-11:30 a.m. or 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Based on the book by Jan Brett, this program will take us out on the trail, where animals will be waiting to snuggle into the nice, warm mitten. But will they all fit? Afterwards, we will warm up while enjoying a snack and creating a craft. Fee: $5/child members, $8/child non-members; registration required.
For more information or to register for this program, phone 309.874.2174 or email register@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.

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.

Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin to speak at March 24th Disability Awareness Cultural Dinner
Actress and activist Marlee Matlin will speak at the Disability Awareness Cultural Dinner at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, in the Brown Ballroom of Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center.
Matlin’s presentation will challenge audiences to advocate inclusion, acceptance and access for all people, and to live life without judgment.
Tickets for the dinner will be available online from Monday, Feb. 23 to March 19 at the University Housing website. Tickets are one meal swipe for those with Illinois State meal plans, and $20 for those without meal plans. No tickets will be sold at the door.  For more information, contact (309) 438-5399.
Matlin lost her hearing at 18 months, but never let her challenges dictate her future dreams. At age 21, Matlin received worldwide acclaim as the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar for Paramount Pictures’ Children of a Lesser God. She has also been nominated for her appearances in Seinfield, Picket Fences, The Practice and Law and Order: SVU and starred for seven years in The West Wing. She currently makes appearances on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth.
Along with a successful career, Matlin has dedicated herself to raise awareness for many humanitarian causes including diversity, LGBT rights, domestic abuse, addiction and better hearing health for millions of children in developing countries. In 2013, Matlin worked with MEDL Mobile to create “Marlee Signs,” an app that teaches basic American Sign Language on mobile devices.
Entertainment for the evening will be provided by singer JP Williams, who lost his sight at the age of 10, and continues his passion for music and performance.
This event is sponsored by University Housing Services and co-sponsored by Illinois State’s Campus Dining Services, Association of Residence Halls, Tri-Towers Area Government, West Campus Diversity Coalition and MECCPAC (A Dean of Students’ Diversity Initiative).

Sound of Illinois 73rd Annual Show Feb 28 at BCPA
Bloomington’s Sound of Ilinois (SOI) barbershop chorus will stage its 73rd annual show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Headlining the two hour program will be the award winning 80 man a cappella chorus, Illinois’ representative tor the eighth consecutive year in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) international competition in Pittsburgh in July. Directed by Terry Ludwig, he is in his 13th year leading the chorus.
Illinois’ current district champion quartet, Drive Time, will be featured in the show along with several other chapter quartets. Members of Drive Time include two SOI members: Rich Hansen, baritone, and Tim Pashon, lead. Bass is Andy Isbell and tenor is Tim Mahannah.
Four other chapter quartets will sing: Harmony Guaranteed, The Committee, Happy Hour and Synergy,
Tickets are available at the BPCA box office, 600 N. East, Bloomington or online at www.artsblooming.org. The chapter’s website is www.soundofillinois.org.

IWU to present Henry Charles Memorial Concerto February 27
The Illinois Wesleyan School of Music will present its annual Henry Charles Memorial Concerto-Aria Concert Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA). The concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature six students who were chosen as winners of the School of Music’s Concerto-Aria competition. This year’s soloists are Andrew Seidel ’15 (Flossmoor, Ill.), trombone; Zach Siegel ’15 (La Grange, Ill.), trombone; John Cossio ’15 (Lorton, Va.), baritone; Andrew Smelser ’15 (Plainfield, Ill.), clarinet; Jacklyn Klimczak ’15 (Des Plaines, Ill.), soprano; and Krystyna Lopez ’17 (Palatine, Ill.), violin.
The program will include “Ballade” written by Frank Martin and performed by Siegel; “Hai già vinta la causa” from “Le nozze di Figaro” written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by Cossio; “Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 26” written by Carl Maria von Weber and performed by Smelser; “O luce di quest’ anima” from “Linda di Chamounix” written by Gaetano Donizetti and performed by Klimczak; “Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra, Op. 4 II. Andante. Marcia funebre III. Allegro maestoso” by Ferdinand David and performed by Seidel; and “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 4 I. Allegro, molto appassionato” written by Felix Mendelssohn and performed by Lopez. The Illinois Wesleyan Civic Orchestra will perform “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34” written by Benjamin Britten.

Tickets now on sale for April 17 & 18 Gamma Phi Circus spring shows
Tickets for the Gamma Phi Circus spring shows are now available for purchase through Ticketmaster and Braden Box Office, located on the first floor of Bone Student Center.
Gamma Phi Circus spring performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Saturday, April 18, in Redbird Arena.  Before Saturday’s 1 p.m. show, there will be a pre-show children’s carnival that begins at noon with games and activities for all ages. This special event is kid-approved and open to everyone that has a youth ticket to the matinee show.
All tickets are reserved seating, with prices starting at $12 for adults, $10 for students, senior citizens and military, $8 for children ages 5 through 12, and $2 for children under 5.  Lower bowl seating will be an additional dollar.
This is the 86th anniversary of the founding of student-run Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University. Hollywood is the theme of this year’s circus.
The Gamma Phi Circus, founded by Clifford Horton in 1929, is the oldest collegiate circus in the United States. Students in Gamma Phi typically perform many of the acrobatic and gymnastic acts commonly associated with professional circuses. Among these acts are Russian swing, German wheel, high wire teeterboard, juggling Triple trapeze and lyric hoop.
For more information on the circus or tickets contact Braden Box Office at (309) 438-5444 or visit the Gamma Phi Circus website gammaphicircus.illinoisstate.edu.

Get your laugh on at Challenger Learning Center Funnyraiser Feb. 27
The Challenger Learning Center (CLC) at Heartland Community College is hosting the seventh annual Funnyraiser. The event takes place Friday, February 27 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the College’s café, located in the Student Commons Building on the main campus, 1500 W. Raab Road in Normal. Cost is $20 through February 25 and $30 at the door.
The event supports CLC mission scholarships for local K-12 schools. Attendees will giggle, chuckle and cackle all night long with amateur comedians. This year’s comedians include John Armstrong (Coldwell Banker), Angie Fulton (Salvation Army), Rick Pearce (Heartland Community College), Elizabeth Sperry (OSF), Cat Woods (Community Cancer Center) and Jim “Woody” Woodward (retired). Master of Ceremonies for the evening is Joe Strupek (State Farm).
At 6:00 p.m., attendees can participate in a silent auction, enjoy pizza, pasta and sandwiches from Rosati’s of Normal and purchase drinks from a cash bar. The first comedian takes the stage at 7:00 p.m.
Awards are given for Judges’ Favorite and Crowd Favorite. To vote, attendees can use coins, bills, checks and credit cards. All money goes to the mission scholarship fund. An open mic will also be available for individuals to share a joke and win an award.
Last year’s event raised more than $10,000. Associate Director of Foundation Relations and Events, Larissa McIlvain, hopes the event brings in even more this year with a goal of $12,500.
The event is open for those 21 and older. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit challengerlearningcenter.com and click on “Funnyraiser.”

Army Field Band, Chorus in Concert March 3
The U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in Illinois State University’s Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required.
Concert-goers need to pick up tickets (limit 4 per person) from either The Pantagraph, 301 W. Washington, Bloomington, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts Box Office, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m. and ticket holders must be seated by 7:45 p.m. Unclaimed seats will be released at 7:50 p.m. Call the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office at (309) 438-2535 with questions.
Dubbed “The Musical Ambassadors of the Army,” the U.S. Army Field Band performs concerts in locations around the nation and the globe. The concert is sponsored by Illinois State University’s College of Fine Arts and School of Music and The Pantagraph.

B-N Community Concert Band to present free concert February 26
The Community Concert Band of Bloomington-Normal will present a free concert on Thursday, February 26, at 7:00 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 502 East Front Street, Bloomington. Michael Wallace directs the ensemble.


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