Student Reporter Mike Miletich | WGLT

Student Reporter Mike Miletich

Mike joined GLT's staff as a student reporter in February of 2016 having worked previously as a reporter at Illinois State University's student radio station, 103.3 WZND. He acted as a director for the WZND newsroom for two years. Mike was also seen as a reporter, producer, and anchor at TV-10 News. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism in May of 2017 before starting his post-graduate career with the Public Affairs Reporting Masters Program at University of Illinois Springfield.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington Ward 3 hopeful J Balmer said there are a number of disturbing things he found with the recent petition challenging process.

The Bloomington Election Commission dismissed all of the petition challenges earlier this week. 

Balmer said he thinks there is a concerted effort by a small group of people to subvert Bloomington elections.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The McLean County Board will keep their monthly meetings scheduled at 9 a.m. despite multiple board members voting against it. 

District Nine Representative Erik Rankin said board members received a large number of phone calls and emails from constituents concerned about the meeting time. 

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The owner of a typical home in Normal will pay an extra $13 a year to the town of Normal next year.

That's an increase of less than 2 percent. The benchmark home has a value of $165,000.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

There has been a surge of small business optimism coming out of the presidential election. That's according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist J.D. Foster.

Foster said small businesses have been reluctant to invest and hire because of policies coming from the Obama administration. Foster said businesses feel the federal government won't be such an oppressive force under President Elect Donald Trump. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Unit Five School District in McLean County is the latest local taxing body to approve Rivian Automotive's tax incentive package.

Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe spoke to board members Wednesday night about the educational opportunities Unit Five students could have with his company's technology.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A hearing to review an objection to Mayor Tari Renner's nominating petitions has been delayed to later this week.

The original hearing Monday morning was stopped after multiple citizens called out the Bloomington Election Commission for violations of the Open Meetings Act.

Road construction sign
Staff / WGLT

A Bloomington Alderman believes road resurfacing overshadows the need to maintain and upgrade the City's water infrastructure.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council is on record in support of continued state funding for Connect Transit. The Twin Cities' bus system faces a shutdown in January unless the Illinois Comptroller transfers funds appropriated earlier this year by the state legislature.

The $5 million owed to Connect Transit is part of a larger funding package for several downstate transit systems. Connect Transit's General Manager Andrew Johnson, who is President of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, spoke to council members about the state's legal authority to provide funding.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Some members of minority groups in Bloomington-Normal said a Donald Trump presidency will undo several decades progress.

About 200 citizens joined together on the courthouse square in Bloomington Wednesday night in a demonstration organized by Illinois People's Action, to say they still feel a better America is worth fighting for.

Normal water tower
Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal is planning for the future...the year 2040 to be exact. A committee of community members presented the Normal 2040 Plan to the Town Council Monday night.

Committee members said the plan will work as a blueprint to improve the community and residents' lives. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Some members of the community expressed concern about the future of Connect Transit services due to the lack of state funding for public transportation. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson told those gathered for a meeting Thursday there have been no transfers from the state's general revenue fund into the transportation fund since June. 

Johnson said the system can still provide 25 percent of their services without state funding. Elizabeth Griuber said she would like to see those services go toward the handicapped or residents with low income. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

Transportation provider First Student has less than a week to fix the multiple busing issues affecting students in Unit 5 schools. The school board voted Wednesday night to give the company until November 1 to reach an agreement with concessions for the problems, including financial compensation.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said there can't be inconsistency on the definition of late buses between Unit 5 and First Student. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Residents of McLean County have mixed reactions about the possibility of a highway route running between I-74 and I-55. An environmental assessment of the project was discussed during a public hearing Wednesday night at Central Catholic High School.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Bus contractor First Student has named a new location manager for McLean County. Mark Bohl was introduced to the Unit 5 School Board during Wednesday night's meeting. 

Mike Miletich / Staff

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is assessing the scene after receiving a bomb threat at one of its physician offices.

Hospital staff immediately called Bloomington Police and Fire Departments. OSF St. Joseph's President Chad Boore says he is glad the crews were able to make it to the hospital quickly.

"They worked with us in a very organized fashion to do a complete sweep of the building, which is Eastland Medical Plaza II, and after working through all of that it was determined that the building was clear," Boore said.

Staff

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis wants to give more authority to state and local governments when it comes to improving the country's transportation infrastructure. Speaking before boarding a Connect Transit bus in Normal, Davis said his house bill empowers localities.

"If I'm successful in this bill, it will create more of a local stakeholder committee to make decisions on awards to groups like Connect Transit. It allows people who are more familiar with out local mass transit needs to have a say on who gets awarded the competitive funds versus who doesn't," Davis said.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit 5 Schools is giving bus contractor First Student one month to prove they are reliable.  The school board voted last night to give the company a November 1 extension to fix transportation problems that have plagued the company since the beginning of the school year.  If First Student declines, Unit 5 will terminate the contract for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day and several local organizations are working to spread the word about registration opportunities. YWCA McLean County will lead the effort with Not In Our Town, League of Women Voters, NAACP, and many other organizations and volunteers to hold registration drives throughout the community. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit 5 school board members say the district's bus contractor needs to increase its supply of drivers as soon as possible. Driver absenteeism has frequently made students up to two hours late to class. 

Superintendent Mark Daniel said he knows contractor First Student is struggling to find drivers, but the company should have been thinking about this since the school year began. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Habitat for Humanity of McLean County is ready to start work on two houses this fall. A groundbreaking ceremony took place at 601 Church Street in Normal on Saturday afternoon. The house is sponsored by collegiate chapter programs of Habitat at both Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Melissa Schoper / WGLT

The Unit 5 School Board last night heard parent concerns about new bus routes. More students are riding fewer buses due to a change in school start times, and budget cuts.

Some routes have children spending two hours on a bus when they only live ten minutes away. Parents and First Student bus drivers said buses are overcrowded and routes are confusing.

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A pedestrian has died after being hit by a vehicle in Normal.  The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Vernon Avenue and Grandview.

Normal Police and Fire Departments found the pedestrian pinned under the vehicle. McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis has identified the victim as 74-year old Lanny Lobdell of Normal. Davis says Lobdell died from multiple blunt injuries to the chest after being pinned. He was initially taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center where he later died.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A new era of public transportation is driving into the Twin Cities. Connect Transit is launching a completely redesigned bus system with new routes, increased bus frequency, and for the first time ever, Sunday service. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson said the new system is a "game changer" for Bloomington-Normal.

WGLT Staff / WGLT

Unit 5's new school bus system will be put to the test when classes start next week. Earlier this year, the school board adjusted school start times to reduce the number of buses needed.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said he is ready for the first day, but also aware there will be some trouble spots.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Bloomington's Liquor Commission will stay the same, for now. Currently, the city has a three-person commission. The City Council was scheduled to vote Monday night on eliminating the city's liquor commission as it is and allow Mayor Tari Renner to appoint a Deputy Liquor Commissioner. The Deputy Liquor Commissioner would primarily sign documents and fulfill duties when the mayor is not available.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Town of Normal has announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft with a focus on digital literacy, entrepreneurship, and youth engagement with STEM subjects. As part of the digital alliance, the town, along with Microsoft, has agreed to support the promotion and establishment of initiatives that focus on STEM education and economic development in the Twin Cities and Central Illinois. 

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has unanimously approved a Complete Streets resolution. The policy establishes rules for making streets and sidewalks accessible to people using any form of transportation.

City Manager Mark Peterson said budget is a consideration when implementing a Complete Streets upgrade and some improvements are not financially supportable. Peterson said there is enough flexibility to make adjustments in street design based upon the existing conditions.

Haley Kosik

Humanization was the unofficial theme of speeches at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Erik Rankin is in Philadelphia with ISU students for the convention this week. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Rankin said Hillary Clinton has often been accused of having a "non-feeling political presence", but speakers highlighted her as a mother and grandmother.

Rankin said President Bill Clinton's speech about his relationship with Hillary was great to bring up her early political career and how she has become stronger and more powerful over time. Rankin said it was interesting for his students to watch Bill speak about his wife due to the fact that many people look back at his infidelities.

Erik Rankin

Bernie Sanders has the large task of speaking to his supporters at the Democratic National Convention, while also working to unify the party for Hillary Clinton, according to an ISU political scientist.

Illinois State University Politics and Government Professor Erik Rankin is in Philadelphia with ISU students for the convention this week. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Rankin said Sanders has to make sure people don't forget about his revolution within the Democratic party. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Illinois Department of Commerce's Office of Tourism is celebrating artisans, products and experiences unique to the state with the new Illinois Made program. Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe said  Illinois Made is an opportunity to feature the entrepreneurial spirit that is happening in the state. Jobe said Illinois is home to a thriving culture of artisans and craftspeople, making products that are in high demand among people looking for authentic, out of the ordinary experiences.  

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