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Published Feb 15, May 15, Aug 15, Nov 15

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by Steve Robinson

No Report This Week

McLean County Board Report
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Recording Secretary:  Judith A. LaCasse

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Railroad Construction to Close Roads
The Town of Normal has received a schedule of road closures for 2016 related to the Illinois High Speed Rail project. The closures are required to complete the work on the railroad tracks and to replace the roadway crossings. University Street, Fell Avenue, Broadway Avenue, Linden Street, College Avenue, Mulberry Street, Beech Street and Fort Jesse Road will be affected by the closures. Two (2) separate closures can be expected at each street crossing to complete the work. A detour route will be marked for each closure.
Below is a list of the closure schedule:

June 28 – June 30 Fort Jesse Road/Beech Street
July 1 – July 10 College Avenue/Mulberry Street
July 11 – July 16 Linden Street
July 17 – July 22 Broadway Avenue
July 23 – July 28 Fell Avenue
August 1 – September 3 Broadway Avenue/Linden Street/Fort Jesse Road
September 3 – September 17 Linden Street
September 19 – October 15 College Avenue/Mulberry Street
October 17 – November 19 Beech Street/Fell Avenue
*Above schedule subject to change.
For more information regarding the High Speed Rail project or the proposed work, please contact the Project Hotline: 1-855-IDOT HSR (1-855-436-8477) or visit

The Salvation Army Needs Fans!
Due to the summer months heating up, The Salvation Army of McLean County is accepting monetary donations and fans to distribute to community members without air conditioning.  
New and gently used fans and monetary donations are needed immediately and will be accepted Monday – Friday 9AM- 4PM  at the Corps Community Center located at 611 W. Washington St. Bloomington.  For more information please call Angie Fulton at (309) 829-9476, ext. 204.
Distribution will begin on Monday, July 11th. From July 11th – July 14th, fans will be given out to seniors (62+) and individuals with a documented medical condition that warrants a fan.
From July 18th – 28th distribution will be open to anyone in need of a fan. Due to budget limitations, anyone who received a fan in 2015 is not eligible to receive a fan this year.
Fans will be distributed Monday-Thursday from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM in our new building, the Emergency Assistance Office. Recipients need to bring a photo ID and a current piece of mail.  For questions about Fan distribution, please contact Nick Aister at 309- 829-9476 ext. 218.

McLean Co. Republican’s monthly breakfast is Monday, June 20
The McLean County Republican Party will hold its monthly breakfast this Monday, June 20 at the Doubletree Hotel, with the doors to open at 6:30 a.m. and the program to start at 7:00 a.m.  The speaker this month is Congressman Adam Kinzinger, 16th Congressional District. Congressman Kinzinger serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Committee on Energy and Commerce, the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, remains today as the body’s principal guide in the promotion of commerce, public health, energy and technology. Kinzinger serves on the following subcommittees:  Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and Subcommittee on Energy and Power.  Congressman Kinzinger earned his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University in 2000. He served on the McLean County Board from 1998-2003.
“I am excited that Congressman Kinzinger accepted my invitation to address the McLean County Republican Party at its monthly breakfast and I look forward to hearing from him.  I hope all Republicans take the opportunity to come out and hear from Congressman Kinzinger,” said McLean County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Erickson.

June 25th event to honor Margaret Balbach
An event honoring the life and academic contributions of Margaret Balbach will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Illinois State University’s Horticulture Center. Remarks by former students, colleagues, and friends will be at 2:30 p.m.
Margaret Balbach joined Illinois State’s Department of Agriculture in 1973. She founded the department’s horticulture-agribusiness program and taught courses in plant identification, landscape design, propagation, and floral design. She retired as a full professor of plant and soil science in 1994.
A charter member of the Garden Writers of America, Balbach authored a weekly horticulture column in The Pantagraph from 1976 to 2006, then continued online for several years. She was certified as a professional horticulturist through the American Society for Horticulture Science and was a Champaign County Master Naturalist. Along with her husband, Hal Balbach, she created an endowment to support horticulture education at Illinois State University.
To RSVP for the event, contact Alumni Relations at (309) 438-2586 or by Friday, June 17. Contributions to the Drs. Margaret and Harold Balbach Endowment Fund in support the Horticulture Education Programs can be made online.
Illinois State’s Horticulture Center is located at 1000 W. Raab Road in Normal, across from the Corn Crib baseball stadium.

Sustainable Landscaping and Invasive Plant Management featured on June 25th Annual Yard Smart Garden Walk
Please join the Ecology Action Center for its 14th annual Yard Smart Garden Walk on Saturday, June 25th. This free event features beautiful and functional gardens in our community that protect the environment, create a healthy and inviting space for people and animals, and use little or no synthetic chemicals.
The 2.5-mile driving tour takes place from 9:00 am to 12:00 p.m. and will start and end at the 1 Normal Plaza Shelter. This year’s walk focuses on native plants in private gardens and invasive plant management in natural areas. Special focus will be given to the EAC’s new Sugar Creek Stewards program which is focused on improving the riparian habitat along Sugar Creek in Bloomington-Normal. The EAC encourages participants to carpool to the Shelter and during the tour to reduce pollution and conserve energy.
As in the past, this event includes a McLean County Freecycle plant and garden tool exchange. The EAC encourages participants to donate and take away garden tools and/or labelled, potted plants at the free exchange.
The Yard Smart Garden Walk is free and open to the public; however, a $5 donation to offset the cost of lunch is appreciated. Water will be provided, and participants should bring their own reusable water bottles. The lunch is a zero waste event. Registration is available online at or over the phone at 309-454-3169 x.15; please RSVP by June 18.
The garden walk promotes the Ecology Action Center’s Yard Smart program, which encourages local gardeners to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, to conserve natural resources such as water and fossil fuels, and to make room for wildlife in their yards.
Yard Smart Certification recognizes the efforts of those in the community who use ecologically sustainable practices to maintain their yards, and who realize their lawn, garden, and landscaping decisions affect the health of the entire community.
More information on the Yard Smart program as well as a set of free resource fact sheets is available at

Tour The Biltmore Estate with the McLean County Master Gardeners
The University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners invite you to accompany them on a trip to the beautiful “Land of the Sky,” Asheville, North Carolina, on a six day, five night tour August 21 to 26.
We will spend a full day at the Biltmore Estate and Antler Village and Winery. The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the United States and boasts gardens with vistas that will take your breath away. We will stroll acres of formal and informal gardens designed by famous landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. Olmsted is considered the father of American landscape architecture and has contributed to well-known parks such as Central Park in New York City and the Niagara Reservation of Niagara Falls. During our visit to Biltmore Estate, we will see why Olmsted’s influence is still very alive in modern landscapes. Other activities will include a visit to the Garfield Park and Conservatory in Indianapolis, a guided tour of Asheville, and a visit to the North Carolina Arboretum and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
If you have not experienced a McLean County Master Gardener field trip, you are missing out! The trips are impeccably planned, saving attendees from the hassles of navigating traffic or checking into hotel rooms. Instead, spend your time and energy enjoying the best garden attractions and mingling with others who enjoy discussing all things gardening. “Thank you for letting me be part of your wonderfully planned trip,” said a past tour participant. “The entire trip was excellent. A good variety of experiences: gardens, history, art, culture, culinary treats and meeting new people.”
Not a master gardener? No problem!  “I am not a Master Gardener, but have enjoyed this experience,” stated another past participant. This trip will spark novice and experienced gardeners alike to feel like kids in a candy store as we “ooh” and “ahh” over never before seen plants and lush landscapes of color.
This one of a kind summer getaway is limited to 50 participants and it is anticipated to fill up quickly, so sign up today! The cost per person to attend is $599 (double occupancy) and includes five night’s lodging, nine meals, and admission to all attractions. Single and triple occupancy rates are also available. To view the trip itinerary and register, visit Registration closes July 1

In the June 16 2016 Printed Normalite:
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Bill Linneman
An explanation of my circumstances

Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Dead head your peonies

Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Poll finds that voters blame Madigan 55-34 for Illinois’ budget disaster

Classic Colcalsure
Spin & Marty

Normal Town Council Report
No Report This Week

Unit 5 School Board Report
Superintendent Informs Board: State May Not Have Budget Until After November Election

McLean County Board Report

by Steve Robinson

No Report This Week

Capitol Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
News from the Capitol
Senator Brady Reacts to Passage of SB 2059, SB 2047


Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Statement following adjournment of the regular legislative session

Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Land of Lincoln Honor Flight to depart Tuesday

Chimperscage - by Alan Look

Best Look Magazine


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Mystery Photo, Legal Notices, Obituaries, Service Directory, School and Senior Information, and Classified advertisements

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Unit 5 School Board Report

by Steve Robinson

Superintendent Informs Board: State May Not Have Budget Until After November Election

Unit 5’s district superintendent explained to District Board members that he and his lieutenants are preparing for receiving money from Springfield. But due to the current political climate at the Capitol and an election still five months in the offing, Dr. Mark Daniel said he is asking staffers to begin shaping a battle plan now.
In his comments to begin the Board’s June 8 meeting at district headquarters, Daniel reported he and other district officials joined Gov. Bruce Rauner as they toured the Regional Alternative School in downtown Bloomington on June 7. Daniel said he heard Rauner ask for downstate legislators to begin supporting measures which would support K-12 schools at current funding levels.
“The Governor said the State of Illinois is at a critical point over the next three weeks, and that Chicago Public Schools will be supported but not at levels suggested by the House Majority Leader,” Daniel said without mentioning Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan by name.
“I came away from that session with the feeling it may be November, after elections, before we actually see a State budget,” Daniel told Board members. He added he has asked Marty Hickman, district business manager, to look into ways the district could be financed should no budget be available from Springfield.
“I would agree with the governor that the State is at a critical stage,” Daniel continued, adding the district has seen another effect from the budget stalemate in that nine of the district’s 12 top academic students had indicated they have decided to attend colleges outside Illinois. “To me, that is a clear indication that something’s awry, not just in K through 12, but also in Higher Ed.”
Unit 5 “is going to begin planning for a scenario where we may not see dollars flowing,” Daniel said.
Board Approves District Budget for 2016-17 School Year: Board members unanimously approved an amended budget for the 2016-17 school year at this meeting, following a required public hearing. No members of the public spoke at the hearing. All of the district’s major operating components – Operations & Maintenance, Education, and Transportation – as well as the district’s working cash fund, are expected to end the school year with reserves, Hickman told Board members.
The district typically receives four payments from the State for Transportation and Special Education, Hickman said, and could receive a fifth payment before the 2015-16 fiscal year ends on June 30.
Masonry Work For Chiddix Junior High Approved: Board members unanimously approved a contract with Springfield-based Otto Baum Co., Inc. to perform masonry work at Chiddix Junior High School. The bid submitted by the company for the project was $37,850.
Contract With DeLage Landen For Phone Software: Board members unanimously approved a 60-month lease agreement for telephone software from Wayne, Pa.-based DeLage Landen at a cost of $224,009.65.
Board Approves Insurance, Worker’s Comp Packages: Board members unanimously approved about 15 insurance policies for such things as general liability, auto, umbrella, legal liability, professional liability, and Board liability with a number of insurers including Wright Specialty Insurance, National Casualty Insurance, and AIG. A unanimous Board vote also gave approval to a worker’s compensation package with Safety National Insurance. The district’s premium for this coverage was $90,243, which was an increase in cost of just over five percent.
Work Session On Strategic Planning Started Board’s Evening: Prior to the start of the regular meeting, Board members held a 90-minute work session regarding its strategic planning initiative, an item that dominated the Board’s May 25 meeting.
Just before the regular Board session began, Board members closed the Strategic Planning session by agreeing it was important for Unit 5 to keep the district’s current mission statement intact, and to continue studying how to narrow its vision statement, which currently has nine specifics to it. The district is looking to narrow or condense some of the elements of the mission statement.
Next Board Meeting Set For July 13: Currently, there are no additional meetings for the Board this month and no second meeting scheduled in July. The Board’s next regularly-scheduled meeting is set for Wednesday, July 13 at district headquarters, 1809 W. Hovey Ave., beginning at 7p.m.

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Local author Marc Miller to hold book signing June 28 in Bloomington
From 1973 to 1996, local author Marc Miller had an office on the second floor at the corner of North Street and in Uptown Normal; the lights were often on late into the night as he and his staff of designers created boardgames and role-playing games that were sold around the world (Game Designers’ Workshop). In all, Miller estimates he wrote and published more than a million words, “Those were terse, game rules format words that instructed players how to play the various games.”
But he never found the time to write the one thing he wanted to try: a novel. “Just about a year ago, the inspiration struck me and I started writing scenes that turned into chapters that turned into a full-blown novel.” That novel is Agent of the Imperium, a science fiction story set in an interstellar empire thousands of years in the future.
“There’s a central concept that isn’t even science-fiction in this story. It asks questions about personal responsibility and what efforts and sacrifices a person can make, should make, for the greater good.” Miller says the story is set against the future history background of his role-playing game Traveller, but even a casual reader can follow without any special knowledge, “You just have to like science-fiction.”
Author Marc Miller will host a book signing at Epiphany Farms Restaurant, 220 E. Front Street, Bloomington on Tuesday June 28 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

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Normal Community Ironmen, Normal Community West Wildcats, Ridgeview Mustangs, University High School Pioneers, Central Catholic Saints, Lexington Minutemen, ElPaso Gridley Titans, Illinois State University Redbird, Illinois Wesleyan Titan, State Farm Holiday Classic, McLean County Tournament, HOI Conference, Heart of Illinois

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Historic North Street

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coming next to the Historic
Normal Theater
All seats $7• Refreshments $1
Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Hotline: 454-9722

Boy & The World
Fri & Sun • June 17 & 19 • 7 PM
Cuca’s cozy rural life is shattered when his father leaves for the city, prompting him to embark on a quest to reunite his family. The young boy’s journey unfolds like a tapestry, the animation taking on greater complexity as his small world expands. The story depicts a clash between village and city, hand crafted and mechanized, rich and poor. Musical; No Dialogue. PG / 85 min.

The Friday Late Night Film
Fri, June 17 • 10:30 PM
Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) plunges headfirst into the dark border underworld when he follows a trail of blood to the last of the infamous Mexican drug lords, Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida), for an action-packed, bullet-riddled showdown. With the help of his best friend (Steve Buscemi) and a beautiful bookstore owner (Salma Hayek), the Mariachi tracks Bucho, takes on his army of desperados, and leaves a trail of blood of his own. R / 107 min.

Born to Be Blue
A BNF Choice Film
Sat, June 18, 7:00 PM
In the late 1960s, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) begins a romance with an actress (Carmen Ejogo) while trying to stage a musical comeback. R / 98 min.


issue of Best Look Magazine  Available
Best Look Magazine is a quarterly sports and leisure magazine featuring sports, events, and people primarily from McLean County.  Every story has a photo and every photo has a story. The magazine is published by Alan Look Photography.  Please check it out at your convenience at
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Grandstand Line-Up Finalized For 2016 Illinois State Fair
Each year the Illinois State Fair aims to bring in various musical genres in the hopes of attracting music-loving fairgoers of all generations.  This year, organizers of the Illinois State Fair are bringing a great lineup to the Grandstand stage.
Ticket prices for each of the shows at the 2016 Illinois State Fair are listed below:
Friday, August 12:  Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge - Tier 3 - $20 / Tier 2 - $25 / Tier 1 - $30 / Track - $30 / VIP - $42
Saturday, August 13:  Meghan Trainor / Hailee Steinfeld / Common Kings - Tier 3 - $28 / Tier 2 - $33 / Tier 1 - $38 / Track $38 / VIP - $50 
Sunday, August 14:  Jake Owen / Old Dominion - Tier 3 - $15 / Tier 2 - $20 / Tier 1 - $25 / Track $25 / VIP - $37
Monday, August 15: New Odyssey - General Admission - $5
Tuesday, August 16:  Dierks Bentley / Tucker Beathard - Tier 3 - $42 / Tier 2 - $47 / Tier 1 - $52 / Track $52 / VIP - $64 
Wednesday, August 17:  KISS / The Dead Daisies - Tier 3 - $49   / Tier 2 - $54   / Tier 1 - $59   / Track - $59 / VIP - $74
Thursday, August 18:  Volbeat / Killswitch Engage / Black Wizard - Tier 3 - $10 / Tier 2 - $14 / Tier 1 - $18 / Track - $18 / VIP - $25
Friday, August 19:  Cole Swindell / Kane Brown / LANco / Jon Langston - Tier 3 - $18 / Tier 2 - $23 / Tier 1 - $28 / Track $28 / VIP - $40 
Saturday, August 20:  Little Big Town / David Nail - Tier 3 - $27 / Tier 2 - $32 / Tier 1 - $37 / Track $37 / VIP - $49 
Sunday, August 21:  ZZ Top / Gregg Allman - Tier 3 - $34 / Tier 2 - $39 / Tier 1 - $44 / Track $44 / VIP - $54
All tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.

Nancy Warner Named Honorary Survivor For 2016 Relay For Life
A first colonoscopy for Nancy Warner of Bloomington provided news she wasn’t expecting in 2011. From that exam, doctors discovered Nancy had Stage 3 Colon Cancer. To eradicate the disease, Nancy needed a colon resection and six months of chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy drugs, while helpful in killing the cancer, left Nancy in unique circumstances, partially disabled, needing to learn to walk again. But she said, even so, “I’m living the most abundant life I ever have.”
Relay For Life of McLean County is pleased to announce Nancy Warner of Bloomington has been chosen as our Honorary Survivor for this year’s event which will be held from 4p.m. on Friday, June 24 through 10a.m. on Saturday, June 25 at Normal Community High School, 3900 E. Raab Rd. A 2nd Annual 5K Run held as part of our Relay event will take place at NCHS on Saturday, starting with registration at 7a.m.
Having survived Cancer and the side effects of her treatment, Nancy has become involved with Relay For Life of McLean County, in part, to spread the organization’s message and to help encourage others as they raise funds for the upcoming annual event.
“Nancy’s story of surviving cancer is inspirational because her cancer was aiming toward taking her life when doctors detected it through a routine exam,” added Kimberly Wright, Community Manager for American Cancer Society’s Peoria Office. American Cancer Society oversees all Relay For Life events. ACS’ Peoria Office oversees the McLean County Relay event. “Nancy’s story supports the urgency of getting colorectal screenings starting at age 50.  Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons against colorectal cancer. Regular screening can prevent many cases of colorectal cancer altogether by finding and removing certain types of polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer.”
“Unfortunately, only a little more than half of people who should get tested for colorectal cancer get the tests that they should,” Wright added.  “The American Cancer Society is so thankful to have Nancy on our side as an advocate for early detection through colorectal screenings.”
Relay For Life of McLean County hopes to raise $370,000 in 2016 and have at least 85 teams and 400 survivors and 400 caregivers at their annual Relay event. Relay For Life of McLean County will be held from 4p.m.June 24 to 10a.m. June 25, 2016, at Normal Community High School.
In 2015, Relay For Life of McLean County raised $291,461. Since it began in McLean County in 1994, Relay For Life of McLean County has raised over $7.6 Million to fight cancer. We are looking for more teams to join us in the fight! Since it began in McLean County in 1994, Relay For Life of McLean County has raised over $7.6 Million to fight Cancer. We are looking for more teams to help us join in the fight!


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