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.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A  family in Normal is trying to start a trend towards solar energy systems for houses in the community. Paul and Kathy Packard own the home with the Solar Bloomington-Normal program's first solar installation.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The human services sector makes a major contribution to Illinois' economy, but the current budget impasse is making that area suffer. Human services hire more than 1,000 workers in McLean County. With a loss of these jobs, there will be less income to the community through taxes and spending.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

With just over a week left before the start of the 2017 Fiscal Year, Illinois' Comptroller is warning that hardships caused by the state's budget impasse will grow significantly without further action in Springfield.

While court orders, consent decrees and statutory authorization of some payments will continue, Munger said that $23 billion in existing spending for schools, 911 call centers, domestic violence shelters, federally-funded social and human services and higher education will stop next month without new legislation.

David Proffer / Creative Commons

An Illinois State University scholar said climate change is raising the water temperature of a 10-million-year-old lake in East Africa. 

ISU Professor of Geography-Geology Catherine O'Reilly has been studying Lake Tanganyika for 15 years.

Ralph Weisheit

Home sales in the twin cities increased over the past several months and it is due to an unlikely helper.

Karen Stailey-Lander, president of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, said the economy actually helped increase real estate sales the first five months of this year.  

"I think buyers out there have much greater confidence in the economy at this point, so we're just seeing an increase in sales, really across the board," said Stailey-Lander.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Around 100 people came together for a peace vigil held at St. John's Lutheran Church Wednesday night in the wake of violence in Orlando early Sunday morning.

With hymns playing softly in the background and a row of candles on an altar, Bloomington residents of many faiths joined in silent prayer for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. Among those who came were several representatives of the local Muslim communities. Imam Abu-Emad Al-Talla from Masjid Ibrahim of Bloomington said he is deeply disturbed by the actions of the shooter.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

School district superintendents across the state of Illinois are upset with the lack of a state budget again. District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said unlike some districts, Bloomington schools will open in the fall.

Reilly said if the state doesn't get a budget, the district will get around six million dollars from the state. Reilly said most district money will still come from property tax revenues and federal funds.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Twenty years after the first Not In Our Town National Gathering took place in Bloomington to fight hate and intolerance, members say there is is an even greater need today for the organization's grass roots, community-building efforts.

NIOT member Mike Matejka said the recent presidential race and the rash of police killings of African Americans have created tensions within many communities.

Summer Slevin

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip and for one Illinois State University alum, it's time to shine with her name. You might remember GLT covering Summer Slevin's road trip across the U.S. last year, but she leaves for her second trip this Sunday.

Her last journey covering 21 states and 10 national parks was focused on nature and meeting new people. This time, she is hitting the road for a completely different reason.

McLean County Health Department

Mental health agencies are pledging to do a better job getting people to the right resources in McLean County. As part of the County's mental health initiative, a group of agencies is reaching out to the public.

Health Department Outreach Director Laura Beavers said many citizens have no idea what's available.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council approved a firm to conduct a feasibility study for a tax increment financing district near Illinois Wesleyan's campus. 

PGAV will examine properties at North Main and Chestnut streets to see if they qualify as a TIF.

Staff / WGLT

School officials are trying to make sure they aren't stung by proposed economic incentives for a $50 million downtown Bloomington hotel project.

The city is studying the feasibility of creating a tax increment financing district, or TIF, where additional property tax revenue in an area is redirected back to the development site instead of going to local taxing bodies.

While District 87 wouldn't be getting any less money than it does now, Superintendent Barry Reilly said the district doesn't want to miss out on that money for the maximum length of a TIF.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State University's Board of Trustees formally approved a 3 percent increase in tuition, fees, and room and board at a Trustee's meeting Friday.

For students who are Illinois residents, the increase amounts to an additional $10.78 per credit hour. ISU President Larry Dietz said the increase is necessary because of a $60 million short fall in the university's budget despite an expected infusion of stop gap funds by the state.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Editors note: This story is being updated to correct a reporter's error. WGLT sincerely regrets the mistake.

Race relations are in some ways worse today than in past decades, especially for some African Americans. Humanists in Bloomington-Normal are encouraging community members to join in the conversation of Black Lives Matter in order to understand what their neighbors live through every day.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

High school students from all across McLean County are taking part in the Youth Global Citizens program. The program allows students to work on goals and events for local organizations such as the Promise Project and Home Sweet Home Ministries. District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said bringing the program to McLean County this academic year let students open their eyes to the endless possibilities of leadership. Reilly said he is proud young people are volunteering their time to service and philanthropy.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Unit 5 schools is looking at buying $3.5 million worth of school buses, but that doesn’t mean the district is looking to expand its bus fleet.

Superintendent Mark Daniel explained the district plans to buy 49 new buses and also reduce the number of buses it’s renting.

“By purchasing we can run those buses, hopefully, we’re targeting eight years, but hopefully extending 10 to 12 years,” said Daniel. “That is a significant saving over renting.” / Flickr via Creative Commons

February unemployment rates increased in all of the metro areas of Illinois compared to last year.

Bloomington's unemployment rate sits at 6.3 percent, but there were job gains in financial services, education, and health services with an estimated 6,200 people in search of work. For Peoria, unemployment hit 8.1 percent with around 15,000 people looking for jobs.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The McLean County Unit 5 Board of Education has approved changes to start and end times for the 2016-17 school year.

This change from a three-tier to a two-tier system means elementary students will be starting the school day at 7:45. High schools will start at 8:30 and middle schools start latest at 8:45.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Students, parents and teachers are voicing their concerns about possible changes to school bus routes and start times. More than fifteen people spoke during a regular board meeting. Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel says the budget situation is forcing them to make changes.