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.

At the turn of the 20th century, a certain woman journalist put out four columns a week. She was a prolific writer turning in 2,000 words at a crack, a wonderful interviewer, and nobody's fool.

Madam Annette talked with everyone from businessmen and public officials to jail inmates. During GLT's recurring series McHistory we hear portions of one of Madam Annette's columns as she explores a coal mine under Bloomington. McLean County Museum of History Development Director Beth Whisman reads the column with comment from Archivist Bill Kemp.

In 1824 the area that would become McLean County had only 15 settler families. By 1830 when the county came into being the population was still very sparse.

We dip into a half century of diaries of life in McLean County by a carpenter and handyman who wrote fiction and poetry and a log of his daily rounds in Bloomington-Normal. Charles Morgan wrote of freight hopping to Kansas City, going to Nickelodeon movies in the 1910s, the 1918 flu which killed more than 3% of the world population.

An early Bloomington settler and one time friend of Abe Lincoln was also a southern sympathizer. Sarah Withers wrote on May 4th 1861, "This day our nation is to be disgraced by the inauguration of Abe Lincoln as President. How Humiliating!"

A selection from the Withers Diary is part of this episode of GLT's recurring series, McHistory.

In this Black History Month edition of our Sound Ideas recurring series McHistory, you'll hear from a Spanish American War Soldier from Bloomington who writes home from eastern Cuba.

Julius Witherspoon returned to Bloomington after the war, but he was not well, perhaps because of a tropical disease. Witherspoon died a few years later at the age of 46.

McHistory is a co production of GLT and the McLean County Museum of History. This episode included the voices of Museum Marketing Director Jeff Woodard, and Librarian Bill Kemp, and was produced by GLT's Charlie Schlenker.

Lobbying days in Springfield happen every year in which interest groups throng to the state capitol to push for certain legislation. As part of GLT's joint project with the McLean County Museum of History, we take you back more than a century to hear what was an important issue of 1909.

This McHistory starts with a Chicago and Alton Railroad Trip.

The hamlet of Danvers once hosted a sanatorium for those struggling with addiction to alcohol. As part of GLT's joint project with the McLean County Museum of History, McHistory examines this particular cure and the era that lead to it.

America's most successful woman playwright is all but unknown today.

Jessica Chambes poses with mudpuppy
Ryan Denham / WGLT

If you had to rank the most interesting living creatures that can be found in Central Illinois, the mudpuppy would be near the top of the list.

Police and Fire
WGLT file photo

Federal prosecutors have charged two Peoria men with stealing nearly 100 guns from Farm King in Galesburg and the Tac Shack in Monmouth.

Barickman on the Senate floor
senatorbarickman.com

State Sen. Jason Barickman said he went public against Gov. JB Pritzker's bill on legalizing recreational use of marijuana even though he knows it will make it more difficult to get a compromise bill.

Students walk in the quad
Cindy Le / WGLT

The cost of attending Illinois State University in the fall would rise about 1.3%, according to a proposal going to the Board of Trustees on Friday.

Stephen Ondra
Illinois Wesleyan University

As Illinois Wesleyan’s 2019 graduates take their first steps into the working world Sunday, a fellow Titan alum will tell them their liberal arts degree will be key to their success.

Ken Lam in action
Ken Lam

The lure of the symphony and the timelessness of classical music comes from the power and images invoked in the listener.

McLean County State's Attorney Don Knapp
Staff / WGLT

About 60 law enforcement leaders from across the region gathered Monday at Heartland Community College to share data and intelligence.

CIFSC

Spring is here. Flowers are blooming. Trees are budding. And ice skating is peaking.

Wait, what? Ice Skating? The Central Illinois Figure Skating Club is performing its annual celebration Saturday evening at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

It's the seventh year for the annual show and the figure skating community has grown by leaps and bounds. Lena Chaudhury from the club said they now have 72 skaters, as young as three on up to people in their 60s.

Two elected officials standing outside a post office
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

GOP Rep. Darin LaHood says President Trump's strategy of blocking his staff members from testifying before Congress will not work.

Two men sit in the studio.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Larry Rigdon served in the Vietnam War as a radio operator directing helicopter supply drops. He had never been to his war's memorial in Washington, D.C.

A picture of a piano
Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University is receiving a $3.5 million gift to become an all Steinway piano music school. University Piano Technician Dave Horine said they will be buying 35 new pianos and trading in 45.

a wall of campaign signs.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A year ago, Erik Rankin took over as Chair of the McLean County Democratic Party. In that time, Democrats have added County Board seats, elected city council members that have party values and built party infrastructure. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

We are already a water-challenged planet. As global climate change continues, we are likely to become more so, according to Vandana Shiva, a noted environmentalist.

photo of man at microphone
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The future of newspapers is in more and deeper local coverage, according to a prominent former Illinois State University student.

Town Council chambers
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Democrats challenged state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Normal, during a sparsely attended town hall meeting Tuesday about a proposal for a graduated income tax.

A view of the creativity center building.
BCPA

The Friends of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts has announced a $5 million capital campaign to finish the Creativity Center across the street from the BCPA on Locust Street.

Londrigan with a crowd of people and signs
Dirksen Londrigan campaign

Only five months after she lost an election for the U.S. House, Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan announced Thursday she is running for Congress again in the 13th District.

A page in the music score of Gate of Horn
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra premieres a new piece of music Friday evening at the BCPA in Bloomington.

Jenn celebrates
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

A well-known community organizer unseated a five-term incumbent in Tuesday’s election, meaning four new faces will be joining the Bloomington City Council next month.

GLT's Charlie Schlenker recaps the April 2 municipal elections, which unseated two incumbents (R.C. McBride and Karen Schmidt) on Bloomington-Normal city councils. This aired Wednesday on GLT's Sound Ideas.

Kathleen speaks
Sean Newgent / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos struck an optimistic tone Wednesday that the Town Council won’t become too divisive following the election of two new members who beat his preferred candidates.

RC, Dave, and Jill
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Two challengers who’ve criticized the direction of Uptown Normal redevelopment knocked off an incumbent Normal Town Council member Tuesday as they emerged as the top vote-getters in a crowded eight-way race.

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