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.

Bloomington City Hall
Eric Stock / WGLT

“The city is in a good position, but it’s not in a great position,” City Manager Tim Gleason said Monday night in terms of the city withstanding the economic impact of COVID-19.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington City Council members signaled by a 5-4 vote Monday night they are not in favor of approving direct payments to people disadvantaged by the pandemic shutdown.

oil drill
Eric Gay / AP

The chief fundraiser for Illinois State University said student environmentalist concerns about the riskiness of investments in the fossil fuel sector are something money managers pay attention to.

A bicycle repair stand.
Facebook

This time of year is usually a peak period for bicycle stores as warmer weather prompts central Illinois residents to buy a set of wheels or fix up what they have in the garage. Gov. JB Pritzker's shutdown order designates bicycle stores as essential businesses. And even with the pandemic, the bicycle business is, well, peaking as usual.

Many Democratic governors and a few Republican ones have called on the federal government to re-open the enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance programs.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is skeptical whether that would do much.

"I think it's obviously open to discussion, but let's not kid ourselves, just opening up the ACA is not going to provide affordable health care coverage to people who are going to have to pay outrageous amounts on the exchanges," said Davis, the incumbent Republican in the 13th Congressional District.

A giant of Illinois agriculture has died. Former state representative, state agriculture director and longtime 4-H booster Gordon Ropp was 87 years old.

Two Congressmen and a Regional HHS Director at a podium
Staff / WGLT

Two Central Illinois congressmen said they expect debate over a fourth coronavirus disaster recovery bill to be bipartisan, though they also preferred GOP drafts originating in the Senate.

Like most colleges and universities in the country, Illinois Wesleyan University is reimbursing a portion of student room and board fees because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLean County Health Department

The McLean County Health Department reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total to 77.

Three people remain hospitalized, 28 are in home isolation, and 44 have recovered, according to the department. Two people have died.

Statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 1,672 new cases of coronavirus, including 43 additional deaths. IDPH has reported a total of 20,852 cases, including 720 deaths, in 86 Illinois counties.

JB Pritzker at a podium.
Gov JB Pritzker / Facebook

State officials have set up digital medical programs with several partner outlets for people with COVID-19 symptoms to keep them in their homes until advanced medical services might be needed.

Midwest Food Bank
Eric Stock / WGLT

The coronavirus pandemic has taught many people a lesson in supply chain economics, not least of all the Midwest Food Bank.

Davis and LaHood tour testing site
Staff / WGLT

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood said Thursday federal funding to operate the regional COVID-19 testing site in Bloomington will not end on Friday as previously planned.

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

Illinois Wesleyan University has sent the results of a faculty-driven evaluation of its academic programs to students and families. The exercise includes significant changes that could result in layoffs.

OSF exterior
Jeff Smudde / WGLT / WCBU

OSF HealthCare said Tuesday that some employees will be forced to take unpaid leave or use their paid time off as the system faces a substantial decline in revenue tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

seats in a Jewish temple
Facebook

This week, many religiously observant people are trying to find extra meaning in the traditional messages of their faiths as they continue to face the coronavirus pandemic. For Christians, ministers have emphasized the coming of new life to offset the constraints of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

rows of masks
COVID-19 Mask Making

Members of the central Illinois Facebook group COVID-19 Mask Making said they have already made and delivered more than 1,000 masks to dialysis centers, long-term care facilities, rural hospitals, and other healthcare outlets.

Sunnyside Park
Eric Stock / WGLT

The mayor of Bloomington said Saturday evening he plans to issue an executive order expanding police power to ticket those who assemble in large numbers or who fail to abide by social distancing practices ordered by Gov. JB Pritzker to slow the flickering progress of the coronavirus through the population.

Rosa Parks Commons
Town of Normal

Normal Mayor Chris Koos has signed an executive order giving police a tool to enforce social distancing and violations of Gov. JB Pritzker’s order to avoid large gatherings of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Exterior of a funeral home
Beck Memorial Home

Funeral homes are facing a new reality of mourning in trying to follow social-distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

A screen with a virtual meeting
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

McLean County Board Finance Committee members Wednesday evening asked Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council Director Patrick Hoban to develop guidelines to repurpose money from a business creation fund to help existing businesses hit by pandemic-caused shutdowns.

Magic Johnson retires
Nick Ut / AP

“This week is critical,” said Illinois Wesleyan University Professor Greg Shaw.

JB Pritzker
Vishesh Anand / Illinois Public Media

There are now 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLean County.

The McLean County Health Department released the latest tally Sunday afternoon. The new people with COVID-19 are a man in his 70s and a woman in her 30s. Both are self-isolating at home.

There has been one death and 120 negative tests in McLean County. There are 40 tests outstanding, according to the health department.

As Illinois State University wrapped up its first week of online classes, ISU Chief Technology Officer Charley Edamala said the transition from face-to-face education to online instruction amid the pandemic so far has been smooth.

A tent next to a hospital.
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal hospital officials said Thursday they have planned for surges in COVID-19 cases that could demand "desperate action."

John Milhiser and Adam Ghrist
Eric Stock / WGLT

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

Bloomington and Normal fire chiefs said they have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for now. That includes masks, gloves, and gowns. 

Normal Fire Truck
Staff / WGLT

One of the difficulties in estimating the penetration of the novel coronavirus in Bloomington-Normal has been a lack of testing. As of Tuesday, there were only eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLean County. Protocols have not called for testing everyone. Early on there was also a lack of swabs used to collect test matter from nasal passages, though that is rising.

Nurse with a test
Martin Meissner / AP

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

Safe Harbor
Mark Romine / Salvation Army of McLean County

The homeless population in Bloomington-Normal is at increased risk of COVID-19 sickness, according to service providers.

Pritzker at press conference
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

A woman in intensive care in Bloomington-Normal has died of COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The McLean County Health Department said she was in her 70s and tested positive last week. The department said the woman died late last week.

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