Sarah Nardi | WGLT

Sarah Nardi

Correspondent

Sarah Nardi previously worked for the Chicago Reader covering Arts & Culture. She joined WGLT as a correspondent in 2020.

Ways to Connect

Bloomington mayoral candidates stand at podiums
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The three Bloomington mayoral candidates in the April 6 election were asked Tuesday night to address many of the same topics that have been dominating the national conversation for months. 

Tiki bar
"The Tiki Bar" by Heritage Vancouver is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The weather is finally taking a turn for the not-so-frigid here in central Illinois. So let's talk tiki.

Murph and Sarah talk about options for incorporating tropical elements into your garden and home, even in the chilly Midwest.

WGLT's Grow is your source for gardening advice and down-to-earth tips. Murph and Sarah are ready to take on all your gardening questions, so submit yours today.

About 50% of Unit 5 employees have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far. 

Speaking to the school board Wednesday night, Superintendent Kristen Weikle said staff vaccinations are “one more step to help us in the return to have more of our students return to in-person learning.”

Weikle said the district has been working with the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) to hold clinics exclusively for Unit 5 employees; 200 district employees received a shot last week, with 200 more scheduled for Thursday. 

Black Americans have suffered disproportionate effects of COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Black community faces the highest risk of any racial or ethnic group in the country. Black Americans are more likely to contract COVID, to be hospitalized for it, and to die from it.

Chocolates
Larry Crowe / AP

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, making it the perfect time to talk about plants. Plant-based aphrodisiacs, to be precise, and not just chocolate.

WGLT's Grow is your source for gardening advice and down-to-earth tips. Murph and Sarah are ready to take on all your gardening questions, so submit yours today.

Parents had mixed reactions when some Unit 5 elementary students returned to full-time, in-person learning earlier this month. Speaking to the school board Wednesday night, district superintendent Kristen Weikle addressed the difficulties of making decisions around COVID-19. 

Man holding pineapples
Rebecca Blackwell / AP

It's cold. Let's indulge in a little escapism, shall we? Let's take a little trip into the tropics and talk about pineapples.

Kid washes hands
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool

Unit 5 plans to bring its elementary students back to the classroom five days a week, starting later this week.

McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight says she knows the public is tired of the frustration and confusion surrounding vaccine distribution.

This week on WGLT's Grow, Sarah and Murph share some creative ideas for using all that wood that's laying around—for cooking meat.

The number of shootings in Bloomington-Normal is steady compared to previous years, but law enforcement is concerned about the increasing intensity of gun violence among young people.

Exterior of Heartland campus
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Heartland Community College is reporting a sharp decline in enrollment, especially among new students. 

Enrollment in that category was down 32% on the first day of the spring term compared with this time last year. Heartland enrollment head Sarah Diel-Hunt said the community college experienced similarly low numbers in the fall, when the pandemic delayed plans for many first-time students. 

The Illinois State University Board of Trustees voted Saturday to approve a $46,000 bonus for outgoing university president Larry Dietz, who announced in November that he will retire June 30.

Typically, December is a slow month for business travel at Central Illinois Regional Airport, but this year it was practically non-existent with airport director Carl Olson saying there was “no detectable business travel activity” the final month of 2020.

During a brief school board meeting Wednesday night, Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle encouraged staff and students to reflect on the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

Mollie Ward speaks
WGLT

As Willie Halbert watched scenes of chaos unfold at the U.S. Capitol, she said she was neither shocked nor surprised.

Crews working on a downed tree
LM Otero / AP

Anyone who thought chaos might be magically shown the door on Jan. 1 was in for a rude awakening, as Mother Nature clearly had other plans.

Mistletoe
IronRodArt - Royce Bair ('Star Shooter')

On this week's episode of WGLT's Grow, Sarah and Murph tackle the origins of that little piece of flora that's everywhere during the holidays: mistletoe.

On today's episode of WGLT's Grow, Sarah and Murph talk about birch trees — to plant or not to plant. And if you do, when's the best time to plant a birch?

The Unit 5 school voted Wednesday night to formally dismiss a teacher charged with sexually abusing his students. Those charges were later dropped.

Green energy advocates are warning the COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating problems like economic inequity and environmental racism.

Illinois People’s Action (IPA), a community organization with chapters throughout Illinois, hosted a virtual summit on Tuesday night to discuss the “triple threat” of climate change, COVID, and systemic racism.

“We are in the midst of a triple-layered crisis that is threatening our people and our planet’s well being,” said IPA organizer Cecilia Long.

The Bloomington City Council voted Monday night to approve a property tax levy for the 2020 fiscal year, totaling an estimated $25.6 million that will result in no change in the property tax rate. 

The levy includes financing for both the city and the Bloomington Public Library. 

The tax rate is expected to remain $1.090 per $100 assessed valuation.

Lanterfly on a rail
Wikipedia / Walthery

This week on WGLT's Grow, you'll learn about an invasive pest making headway in North America, called the spotted lanternfly.

The Hoefler Family
Courtesy

In late October, Adam and Nia Hoefler of Normal and their two children got the news that we’ve all come to dread: the entire family had tested positive for COVID-19. But despite having the same virus, the Hoeflers each displayed very different symptoms.

The Great Plains Shelter Project of the 1930s was a massive government undertaking designed to help the Plains states recover from the devastation of the Dust Bowl.

On today's episode of WGLT's Grow, our resident expert Patrick Murphy tells co-host Sarah Nardi more about the great wall of trees.

Exterior of Unit 5 offices
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle is advising parents and students to be prepared for a possible return to 100% remote learning due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Chicken shop signage
Facebook

As McLean County enters the second week of indoor dining restrictions, restaurant owners are facing increasingly difficult decisions.

Justice Tom Kilbride of Illinois’s 3rd Judicial District has apparently come up short in his bid retain his seat on the Illinois Supreme Court for a third term.

“Though votes continue to be counted, I am disappointed in the apparent outcome. I want to thank the voters of the Third Judicial District for twice placing their faith in me to uphold the sacred principles that guide our judicial system," said Kilbride in prepared remarks.

The Illinois High School Association voted on Wednesday to carry on with the high school basketball season despite a recent statewide surge in COVID-19. The decision comes just a day after the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) elevated basketball to a high-risk category.

Connect Transit will undergo yet another leadership change as interim General Manager Martin Glaze is leaving the public transit agency.

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