Joe Deacon | WGLT

Joe Deacon

Reporter

Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU. He started working for WCBU in 2020.

He previously was a correspondent for WGLT, starting in 2019.

Earlier in his career, Deacon worked at The Pantagraph in Bloomington.

Ways to Connect

Hamilton Road project
City of Bloomington

Bloomington will get financial help from the federal government to acquire property for connecting the two sections of Hamilton Road.

On Wednesday night, the city council approved a resolution authorizing the use of $500,000 of state motor fuel tax dollars to buy the land needed to build the new four-lane section between Bunn Street and Commerce Parkway with $400,000 to be reimbursed with Federal Surface Transportation funds.

The Bloomington City Council meeting that was scheduled to take place virtually Monday night was rescheduled to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

While Normal residents will start seeing higher utility bills next month, a planned water rate increase has been delayed another three months.

After narrowly adopting an amendment proposed by Karyn Smith, the town council voted unanimously Monday night in favor of an ordinance implementing the previously approved water, sewer and waste collection fees. Smith’s amendment pushed the water fee increase to Oct. 1, while the other fee hikes will take effect July 1.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and City Councilmember Jenn Carillo.
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner stressed public safety remains the city’s top priority while pledging to improve law enforcement practices. City Council member Jenn Carrillo advocated for a complete overhaul of police departments.

Cindy Le / WGLT

Normal City Council member Chemberly Cummings took the opportunity Monday night to shed a light on the toll of racism, one night after looters ransacked several retail stores in town.

Cummings said earlier peaceful protests and the following civil unrest left some members of the community feeling courageous and hopeful and others worried and fearful.

Downtown Bloomington
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Bloomington restaurants and bars will have an opportunity to add or expand outdoor seating in the near future.

CRISTIAN JARAMILLO, file / WGLT

Parking enforcement in downtown Bloomington could see some changes later this year.

A proposal by City Council member Jamie Mathy would extend enforcement hours into the evening with current employees working staggered shifts to cover the extra time. The plan was one of three initiatives proposed by Mathy during Monday night’s virtual Committee of the Whole meeting.

Tari Renner
Staff / WGLT

UPDATED 1:40 P.M. | McLean County officials are working with other central Illinois leaders to encourage Gov. JB Pritzker to create a subregion for the area in his plan to reopen the state.

WGLT

Some Bloomington restaurants and bars are getting the chance to have the cost of their liquor licenses reduced.

Normal signage
Staff / WGLT

Projections made by the Town of Normal’s finance department anticipate a $10.4 million loss in the general fund, but officials say a strong fiscal position entering the pandemic will enable the town to get through the economic downturn.

WGLT

The Bloomington City Council heard presentations Monday night from several social service agencies addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as numerous citizens upset over last week’s vote against a possible direct aid program.

Heartland building exterior
Staff / WGLT

While summer and fall enrollments at Heartland Community College are down about 20%, administrators believe those numbers may improve and the college remains financially sound.

Marie's Place
Google Maps

The new owners of two video gambling businesses in Normal will need to apply for new liquor licenses after the town revoked the current permits.

Bloomington VFW
Eric Stock / WGLT

Club organizations like the VFW can now offer delivery and curbside pickup of alcohol in Bloomington.

The City Council granted the permission during its virtual meeting Monday night, voting to modify the local emergency order approved on March 26. The amendment extends the temporary curbside and delivery alcohol allowance for restaurants and bars to club liquor license holders during the state’s shelter-in-place directive.

Patrick Hoban
WGLT file photo

The head of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council thinks the full scope of a financial crisis from the COVID-19 outbreak may not be known for a few months.

Exterior of Heartland campus
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Heartland Community College will not hold a traditional graduation ceremony this spring, opting instead for a virtual alternative commencement amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Tari Renner
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington has officially declared a local emergency and adopted emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

David Paul and Dan
Megan McGowan / WGLT

State Rep. Dan Brady beat back his Republican primary challenger for a second time Tuesday, although by a smaller margin than he did two years ago.

Stan and Chemberly
Staff / WGLT

Several Town of Normal employees will get their semiannual cost of living raises, but Council Member Stan Nord says it’s a bad look for the town in the current economic climate.

Storage containers
Eric Stock / WGLT

Normal Town Council member Kathleen Lorenz fears one of her colleague’s defiance of zoning regulations has set a “very, very bad precedent.”

Pam Reece
Emma Shores / WGLT

The Town of Normal is proceeding with plans to halt water shutoffs and delay a scheduled utility and waste fee increase in response to potential economic ramifications from the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we know, this situation is going to have significant economic impact," City Manager Pam Reece said during Monday's Town Council meeting. "We just don't know to what extent."

Dan Donath speaks
Joe Deacon / WGLT

Crime went down slightly in Bloomington last year, but shootings remain a big issue for the police department.

Joe Deacon / WGLT

A contingency figure left out of the Town of Normal budget for the past three years has been reintroduced.

Parking garage
Cindy Le / WGLT

Replacements for Bloomington’s O’Neil Pool and the Market Street parking garage appear to be on the horizon, with items related to both facilities included in the proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year.  

Heartland Community College Board of Trustees
Joe Deacon / WGLT

The cost to study at Heartland Community College is going up for a third straight year.

Pam Reece listens
Joe Deacon / WGLT

Normal City Manager Pam Reece received a salary increase Monday, along with plenty of praise from Town Council members.

Joe Deacon / WGLT

Work on a new apartment complex near the Illinois State University campus could begin as soon as May, according to property owners.

Republican U.S. Senate candidates
Joe Deacon / WGLT

President Donald Trump is essentially unopposed in next month’s Republican primary, but Illinois voters still have some important decisions to make.

A new car wash that will replace a fast food restaurant near a busy Bloomington intersection has made plans to ease traffic concerns in the area.

Parasite cast celebrates
Chris Pizzello / AP

Audiences at the Normal Theater gasped frequently last Thanksgiving weekend during showings of "Parasite."

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