Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

Charlie Schlenker

News Director

GLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.

Teachers posed together
Blue Ridge Federation Community Support / Facebook

Blue Ridge teachers Union President Don Anton said Tuesday he believes a tentative three-year contract agreement with the district is a good deal for members.

Field where first BNWRD plant was built
BNWRD

The Bloomington and Normal Water Reclamation District will have to spend $160 million-plus over the next couple decades. Businesses, homeowners and apartment owners in the Twin Cities will have to pay for it.

Randy Stein / BNWRD

About 100 years ago, Sugar Creek running through Bloomington-Normal was "pretty disgusting," according to Randy Stein, the director of the Bloomington and Normal Water Reclamation District.

Plant expert in the wild points out grasses,
Illinois State University

As climate change and human industry destroy once thriving habitats, scientists are using samples from herbariums to piece together the history of our ecosystem.

Barry Hitchins
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Unit 5’s school board is “reassessing” its options for closing a $12 million structural deficit—including a possible referendum in 2020—in light of Superintendent Mark Daniel’s plans to leave the district, the board president told WGLT.

Barbara Stuart

Paul Findley served 22 years as a congressman from Illinois in the 20th District. The area he represented covered much of the territory Abraham Lincoln served during his one term in Congress.

big room with seated people and display screens.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The new head of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council promised regular updates on development efforts during a joint Bloomington City Council, Normal Town Council, and McLean County Board meeting Monday night.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

There is a dark side to using sports to help create a national and cultural identity. Scholar Antonio Sotomayor said Puerto Rico is a case in point.

While the Peoria area is showing job growth, it still lags national averages.

Illinois State University
WGLT

Illinois State University had another great recruiting year, with a 1.2% increase in total enrollment and the largest freshman class in 33 years. It's another stable year. Several other schools throughout the state continued years of enrollment drops.

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

Illinois colleges and universities have been under pressure for years from smaller graduating classes, out-of-state competition and changing demographics. Private higher education institutions in the state face the same challenges public schools do and a couple extra.

Outside of the building
Illinois State University

By this time next year, Illinois State University's new multicultural center should be open for business.

Rivian plant exterior
Eric Stock / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal community was charged up Thursday after Amazon announced its 100,000-van purchase from Rivian—the largest order ever for electric delivery vehicles.

Woman sits in a chair.
US Department of State

Sojourner Truth made a stop in Bloomington in 1879 to hold a speaking engagement on women’s suffrage and equal, just treatment of former slaves like herself. 

Trisha James Davis of Springfield will portray Truth  at Second Presbyterian Church's Sojourner Truth Celebration,  honoring the 140-year anniversary of that speech. When discussing her approach to portraying the iconic figure, Davis emphasized the vocal aspects. 

“She had a heavy voice,” Davis said. “When I’m doing a presentation on her I will affect a heavier voice with a twinge of an accent.”

exterior of U-High
Staff / WGLT

Editor's note: Four days after this story was published, the Utica police chief told WGLT it appears no formal charges will be filed against Miller in this case. That updated story is available online.

A Bloomington-Normal cheerleading coach and teacher has been placed on leave as authorities investigate an alleged incident at a hotel in LaSalle County.

cute critter
City of Bloomington

The Miller Park Zoo has another cute dose of aww for visitors. Its red pandas have had three cubs. The litter has one male and two females, the first time the zoo in Bloomington has had panda cubs.

Red Pandas were once native to North America. There are fossils as far back as five million years. The zoo said their habitat today is in pockets of mountain areas above four thousand feet in China, Nepal, Burma, and Bhutan.

Wonsook Kim as a student.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

“Illinois State University is where I started. Why ISU? Because this is where my heart is at.”

Wonsook Kim earned three degrees at Illinois State in the 1970s and experienced her first dates, first job, and first experience with dorm life there. Her love for her alma mater is why she and her husband decided to give the school a $12 million donation last Thursday, the largest individual donation in the school’s history. For her generosity, ISU President Larry Dietz announced that the College of Fine Arts and the School of Art will both be renamed after Kim.

Normal West signage
Staff / WGLT

Normal Community West High School is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its creation.

State Farm downtown
Eric Stock / WGLT

The Historic Preservation Commission had been set to hold hearings on two historic landmark nominations for the downtown building State Farm is offloading.

But Mayor Tari Renner said those won’t be needed.

Two electric scooters parked on a sidewalk
Tim Evanson / Flickr

The Town of Normal is pulling back on a pilot project to allow E-scooters into the community. Talks with Illinois State University and a scooter company began in January, but town planner Mercy Davison said that is now on hold.

University communities around the country have been targeted by E-scooter companies who see an audience for the motorized vehicles. But Davison said that after looking into the ordinances of other communities in Illinois, the town found that scooters would not be a possibility anytime soon.

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian

Rivian has attracted another large investment, this time $350 million from Cox Automotive.

people collecting waste from cars as they drive through a holding area at the Rivian Auto plant.
Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

Appointments to drop off household hazardous waste Saturday at the Rivian auto plant in Normal are running below what organizers hoped would come in.

a parade route with tumblers and a banner
Illinois State University

Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University will celebrate its 90th year with a parade: the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

architects rendering of the Trail East five story building
Town of Normal

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall on the $30 million mixed-use building that will rise on the northeast arc of Uptown circle. It is known as Trail East.

Curt Richardson
WGLT

A new law aims to create a safer school environment for students.

PGAV Planners

An analysis of the tax increment financing (TIF) district in Uptown Normal indicates the effort to spark development in the city center begun in 1999 has been a good value for taxpayers, according to a consultant.

Council members sit at a dais.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has approved a development agreement with an Uptown business to create a two-story brewpub and rooftop dining establishment using the old Bill's Key and Lock shop property.

Pianos being delivered
Twitter / Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University Tuesday had a lawn and sidewalk full of Steinway & Sons pianos.

Man stands in front of GLT logo.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Education researcher and Illinois State University professor Charles Bell said that the difference in school discipline given to white and black students can lead to a minority exodus from certain districts.

Man sits in front of mic
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

In an increasingly busy world, there is one constant: advances in technology making life easier.

The Community Health Care Clinic in Normal, which partners with local hospitals and colleges, understands that its patients cannot always make room in their schedules for regular visits. Director Mike Romagnoli says his clinic will test a smart phone app that will remedy this problem.

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