Catrina Petersen | WGLT

Catrina Petersen

Intern

Catrina Petersen is an intern at WGLT focused on reporting and online writing. She is also a student in Illinois State University's School of Communication.

Ways to Connect

Emily Bollinger/WGLT

An Illinois State University professor who also is president of the McLean County Board of Health said if the community could do it over, she'd change the COVID-19 messaging to lessen the tension between maskers and anti-maskers.

Cathy Oloffson

Expected turnout for next month’s Bloomington Kiwanis Mother’s Day Flower Sale is much higher because 2020's sale was canceled, but some supply is limited.

Fruit frozen on tree
Nam Y. Huh / AP

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. | Fruit farmers in central Illinois are worried a freeze Tuesday night could destroy their crops.

Kelly Stogner

A single mom lives to raise her child. A man gets to live pain free and play with his grandchildren. Organ donors in Bloomington-Normal made it possible.

Rhonda Massie

After her passing in 2015, Irene Mischler left a trust in memory of her brother Charles Mischler to be used for economics and history materials. The Bloomington Public Library has used the proceeds to buy access to a tool that’s helping to keep veterans’ history alive.

Fold3 by Ancestry provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served.

Illinois State University

An Illinois State University faculty member has been recognized for his sci-fi screenplay about a chaotic near future that connects to many divisive issues in our present.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Consolidated local elections typically produce a lower voter turnout than even-year elections like presidential cycles. Normally, only about 20% of registered voters cast ballots.

Staff / WGLT

The Children's Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal is tentatively planning to reopen May 1, but there are a lot of moving parts for its staff to consider.

Facebook

A student organization is tackling two of the world’s biggest threats: hunger and climate change.

Ally Lawler

An Illinois State University sorority says it is “stepping” up to collect shoes for people in developing nations.

Delta Zeta Lambda Rho said it is just 300 shoe pairs shy of its 1,500-pair goal. 

Ally Lawler heads philanthropy for Delta Zeta Lambda Rho. 

Matthew Dugas

A thumb-sized frog lays very tiny eggs, but that didn’t stop an Illinois State University professor at taking a closer look.

Professor Matthew Dugas studies poison dart frogs he keeps in a fish tank in a walk-in cooler in his laboratory. Dugas specifically studies parental care. He spent a lot of time focusing on the begging behavior tadpoles exhibit, similar to that of birds. 

Staff/WGLT

Two recent mass shootings have spurred President Joe Biden and his administration to push for Senate passage of two House-approved gun control measures.

Biden said this week that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should once again be banned and that loopholes in background checks should be closed.

Sharon Chung
Staff / WGLT

As the number of COVID-related deaths increased, Asian Americans have felt negative attitudes increasing toward them as well.

motorist talks on a cell phone
Nam Y. Huh / AP

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission’s Go:Safe transportation safety action plan goes beyond data and infrastructure. It’s about changing culture.

Michael Retter

When there is a large concentration of birds, disease tends to spread. This winter was an exceptional winter for finches coming down to central Illinois from Canada, and that caused more birds to be at feeders than normal.

American Birding Association magazine editor Michael Retter said the disease most prevalent in McLean County is salmonella.

Delivering the vaccine
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

McLean County dentists are taking a hands-on approach to getting their patients back in the chair, with many learning how to deliver the COVID vaccine themselves.

Staff / WGLT / WGLT

Downtown Bloomington is home to over 50 female-owned businesses. One reason for that cluster is the relationships those women have built over the years, allowing them to bounce ideas off each other and making the tall task of entrepreneurship a little easier.

The Bistro owner Jan Lancaster said her goal was to always own a business. She was never interested in corporate life.

Normal Township Activity and Recreation Center

Quarantine made for some extra time, and some used it to start a new hobby or develop an existing one. Some Normal Township Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) members spent their time crafting a Quarantine Quilt.

Quilting group leader Mary Wuhrmann said the 4-by-5 foot quilt’s center square represents the COVID-19 virus, but the surrounding squares represent our homes.

  

Shulaws and Karin
Illinois State University

A 1947 Illinois State University alum who dedicated his life to military service, and his wife, a stenographer and translator in the French Women’s Army Corp, have given $1 million to help fund scholarships for ISU physics students.

Ecology Action Center

The Ecology Action Center is challenging itself and the community to go big or go home, with plans to plant at least 100,000 new trees in McLean County.

Center director Michael Brown said if the initiative plants all 100,000 trees over the next decade, then nearly 14,000 metric tons of carbon could be sequestered.

“It is one of the most significant and cost-effective strategies out there for carbon sequestration and for emissions we cannot address through other means,” said Brown.

The EAC is raising the money to do it through private donations. 

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Democrats have vowed to continue pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Illinois already has beat them to the punch, but the federal proposal includes something Illinois’ minimum wage law doesn’t have.

Emily Bollinger / WGLT

The hustle of running late to class, the passion students have for a course, and the persistence of earning a degree—it’s all been moved online.

Facebook

An Illinois Wesleyan alum’s work is up for a Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy). The movie “The Prom” is based off Bill Damaschke’s Broadway musical comedy of the same name.

Black people too often have been associated with only crime and racial trauma in pop culture. But one film that defies the stereotypes and gives power to the Black community is “Black Panther,” which three years after its release continues to stimulate dialogue.

Performing arts students continue to overcome pandemic hurdles in a big, complicated way.

Apartment after fire
Jessica Wenberg

Many college students who called the Sugar Creek Apartments home are adjusting to their new reality after Saturday’s fire, even as others are reaching out to help their displaced neighbors.

Apartment on fire
Bloomington Firefighters Union - IAFF Local 49 / Facebook

UPDATED 8:35 p.m. | Crews worked the scene of a large fire that destroyed or heavily damaged 12 apartment units Saturday afternoon in Normal.

Fire at debris site
Darnysha Mitchell / WGLT

Crews braved zero-degree weather on Sunday to extinguish a fire that broke out in the debris of a major freight train derailment near Uptown Normal.

Facebook

Xenophobia and racial hatred against Asian Americans has grown stronger due to the pandemic and the Trump administration's language surrounding it, according to an Illinois State University researcher.

ISU anthropology professor Nobuko Adachi says her research proves it. She’ll discuss her work during a virtual Research Series talk later this month. 

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