WGLT's Sound Ideas | WGLT

WGLT's Sound Ideas

Weekdays 5-5:30 p.m.

WGLT's Sound Ideas is our flagship news program. Every weekday, WGLT reporters go beyond soundbites for deeper conversations with newsmakers, musicians, artists, and anyone with a story to share.

This 30-minute newsmagazine is produced Monday through Friday.

Chris and Marc

This story is about debt, specifically Town of Normal debt; what’s healthy and what’s not. It’s a campaign issue in this year’s mayoral and city council contests.

Illinois State University basketball player Mary Crompton has been testing her teammates for the coronavirus. Making your degree count even while you're still in school. Plus, Springtime ring a ding time, hear the birdies sing time. It's also pothole season. Bloomington Normal Public Works Directors fill you in on filling up those holes. Area lawmakers say the Pritzker administration has committed an oversight in keeping children's museums closed. A Bloomington Normal photography exhibit plumbs the depths of lakes around the world and merged art with science. And long lost photos of young Richard Pryor come to light and the public in Peoria.

Rising public pension payment obligations for Bloomington and Normal could force some unpleasant choices several years down the road. Will there be cuts elsewhere? Hear ideas from city and town council candidates on the pension challenge. Plus, one of the big campaign issues in the town of Normal Mayor and Council contests is debt, how much of it there is in Town government, what it bought the town, and whether it is healthy. And listen to new Bloomington-Normal music from 'Thoughts Detecting Machines.'

Staff / WGLT

A new community project aims to take a snapshot of life in McLean County during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mary Crompton handling COVID tests
ISU Athletics

Illinois State University women’s basketball player Mary Crompton is on the five-year plan, but not the one many college students employ to get through school.

Kendra Paitz / University Galleries

A Chicago-based artist ventured into the wild to gather inspiration for her latest exhibition. Plumbing the depths of lakes around the world, brainstorming with scientists and shadowing the footsteps of a renowned naturalist, she merged arts with science in an exploration of a fragile environment. 

"That Was the Year That Wasn't" album cover
Rick Valentin

Rick Valentin says dreary central Illinois winter weather is why he began writing and recording new music in January 2020. But that exercise for his solo vehicle, Thoughts Detecting Machines, evolved into an album that acted as a coping mechanism when the pandemic hit.

police car in front of Walmart
WGLT file photo

It's an issue that doesn't get much play in political campaigns, but it could have major impacts on how Bloomington and Normal governments operate for decades to come.

Rape crisis centers are facing many hardships during the pandemic. Many are struggling to maintain services their clients rely on and balance budgets. Center leaders say it’s a repeat of what they went through during the Illinois budget impasse.

WGLT File Photo

Business development and revenue generation are big parts of city government. Candidates for Bloomington City Council offer different ideas on how to achieve that.

Jason Barickman / Courtesy

Illinois Republicans continue to criticize what they say is an unbalanced budget proposal from Gov. JB Pritzker. The Senate Republican floor leader is no exception.

Bill and Taylor
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

As Taylor Mathews lit the forge in his family’s metalworking shop in rural Bloomington, just behind him was an anvil from the ’80s. The 1880s.

mosaic of Ida B. Wells
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Journalism is the first rough draft of history. In newsrooms across the country, that first draft has historically been written mostly by white men.

picture of David Davis
McLean County Museum of History

Most people in Bloomington-Normal know David Davis as the campaign manager for Abe Lincoln. Most know him as the guy who had a big mansion built on the near east side of Bloomington. Most know him as a judge in the legal circuit where Lincoln rode before his rise to national prominence.

Breanna Grow / WGLT

From the police killings of Black Americans to the storming of the U.S. Capitol, the events of the last year have forced Americans to grapple with some difficult questions. 

street photo
Jason Reblando

Poetry and photography meet in a new Twin City exhibition that highlights the struggles of refugees through the story of a German Jewish intellectual who, in order to escape Nazi persecution, undertook a perilous journey across the Pyrenees mountains. 

Bloomington voters this spring will choose their first new mayor in eight years. The choice is between a low-key veteran city council member and two political newcomers with very different backgrounds. One of them will replace Tari Renner, who is not seeking a third term.

Black people too often have been associated with only crime and racial trauma in pop culture. But one film that defies the stereotypes and gives power to the Black community is “Black Panther,” which three years after its release continues to stimulate dialogue.

Posters and bulletin boards for Black History Month

Teachers have encountered many challenges during the past 12 months, and the craft has been evolving because of the pandemic. Now it is Black History Month, and for many teachers Black history is more than just a one-month exercise.

Rodney Davis speaks
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package is set for a vote on the House floor at the end of the week. But U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said more attention is needed on the money that’s already been approved—and whether it’s all been put to good use.

Bloomington police car
Amy Niebur / WGLT

Months after a Bloomington police officer was involved in a racially-charged dispute, the City of Bloomington has released officer body camera footage of the incident.

Joe Deacon / WCBU

Gov. JB Pritkzer has signed a criminal justice reform bill spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. But questions linger among activists, lawmakers and law enforcement officials over the effects of the bill.

John Milhiser
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois

When John Milhiser took over as U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois in 2018, he had several priorities for the office, including plans to build working relationships with 365 law enforcement agencies dotted across the sprawling 46-county federal district.

Milhiser leaves office on Feb. 28, a departure he knew was possible when he moved into his Springfield office. Milhiser and other prosecutors who were appointed during the Trump administration, or confirmed by the Senate, were asked to resign recently as part of the Biden transition.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood said the Biden administration should negotiate with COVID-19 vaccine makers to boost production.

Kristen Weikle
Staff / WGLT

Flat funding for Illinois schools is effectively a cut. That's Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle's thought on Gov. JB Pritzker's budget proposal.

Adam Kinzinger speaking at House committee hearing
Kevin Deitsch / Pool via AP

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s support for impeachment of former President Donald Trump helped make Kinzinger a national political figure. He's also taking heat from many within his own party and even his own family.

Performing arts students continue to overcome pandemic hurdles in a big, complicated way.

Facebook / Immigration Project

The Immigration Project is taking a new holistic approach to services.

Traditionally, the project has offered legal services, but now has expanded offerings with a new Welcoming Center on Landmark Drive in Normal. Hannah Mesouani manages the center with two caseworkers.

Photos Courtesy Facebook / Kelby for Ward 7, Mollie Ward For Bloomington City Council Ward 7, June Peterson-Middlebrooks, Coretta Jackson for Ward 7, Daniel Freburg

Five candidates are vying for the Ward 7 seat on the Bloomington City Council. But only two will appear on the ballot in the April 6 municipal election. This week, voters will determine who those finalists will be.

Pamala Eaton

It’s brutally cold outside. There’s a foot of snow adding to the misery. Oh, and the pandemic. Charming. 

But one local artist steadfastly has embraced an inner warmth with his new collection of works, letting his romantic side out to shine a light in the persistent darkness.