McLean County | WGLT

McLean County

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The Illinois Department of Transportation has awarded $883,000 to McLean County to upgrade stretches of two roads to handle local truck traffic.

The grant money is the first installment on more than $7 million in improvements to County Highway 24 near the Tazewell County line and Meadows Road west of Chenoa in northern McLean County. In all, 19 lane miles will be improved to become designated truck routes.

Trisha leads tour
Breanna Grow / WGLT

The McLean County Triage Center in downtown Bloomington experienced its busiest month to date in February. 

Ecology Action Center

The Ecology Action Center is challenging itself and the community to go big or go home, with plans to plant at least 100,000 new trees in McLean County.

Center director Michael Brown said if the initiative plants all 100,000 trees over the next decade, then nearly 14,000 metric tons of carbon could be sequestered.

“It is one of the most significant and cost-effective strategies out there for carbon sequestration and for emissions we cannot address through other means,” said Brown.

The EAC is raising the money to do it through private donations. 

The continuing COVID pandemic, and the challenges facing the health department because of it, were the focus of Wednesday’s McLean County Board of Health meeting. 

The Normal Town Council on Monday OK’d spending about $150,000 on a three-year agreement with Midwest Fiber to continue the decades-old drop-box recycling program.

Joe Biden
John Minchillo / AP

Main Street Republicans in Bloomington-Normal look ahead to a Joe Biden administration with a combination of fear and optimism. Several GOP members consulted by WGLT, who are not office holders and not involved in political activity, all affirmed traditional values of the party.

McLean County’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is on the decline, even as the region that includes Bloomington-Normal faces additional restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Shelby Rapp
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

What started out as a normal Saturday morning last month turned scary in Shelby Rapp’s east Bloomington neighborhood. She heard screaming coming from outside as she did laundry.

Chris Koos speaking at podium
Eric Stock

Local and state government leaders in McLean County are issuing a plea to get counted as the 2020 Census moves into the final weeks.

Country Financial
Ashley Binkowski / WGLT

Wages for Bloomington-Normal and Peoria workers were headed in very different directions when the pandemic hit like a freight train, according to newly released economic data.

an old house with an antique ambulance driving up to it.
McLean County Museum of History

The influenza pandemic of 1918 claimed the lives of some 600,000 Americans and perhaps more than 50 million people worldwide. Bloomington-Normal also felt profound effects.

McLean County Museum of History Librarian and Archivist Bill Kemp said you could hardly think of a worse year for that flu disaster to happen.

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.

Voting booths
Kiichiro Sato / AP

National debate over expanding mail-in ballot efforts has come to McLean County.

Fairview Building
Eric Stock / WGLT

McLean County is negotiating with a laborers' group that wants to take over the vacant Fairview Building in Normal to turn it into affordable senior housing.

police tape
WGLT file photo

UPDATED 9:10 p.m. | Emergency 911 service has been restored.

Previous story: Emergency 911 telephone service remains out in McLean County and county officials don't know when it will be restored.

Kevin Woodard stands at podium.
Woodard campaign

There are now four people from three political parties who want the job of McLean County auditor in next year's elections.

McLean County Law and Justice Center
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County has several new appointments in court services.

McHistory: From Cabinets To Coffins

Nov 5, 2019
McLean County Museum of History

John L. Walcott was Bloomington's first undertaker.

This episode of McHistory shares the story of one cabinet furnisher turned coffin maker.

This episode of McHistory was produced by WGLT's Mary Cullen, featuring Bill Kemp of the McLean County Museum of History and Seth Wheeler, a volunteer with the museum.

Hear more local history stories by subscribing to WGLT's McHistory podcast.


McHistory: Blazing The Trail For Women Who Write

Nov 5, 2019
McLean County Museum of History

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Irons Folsom Fox blazed the path for women in Bloomington-Normal who had dreams of writing in the late 1800s.

Trisha Malott speaks
Mary Cullen / WGLT

McLean County Republican leaders say it’s time to address the “troubled auditor’s office.” They think Trisha Malott is the answer.

McLean County

Trauma and the behavioral health concerns that come as a result must be addressed.

McLean County Democrats

A Bloomington-Normal nurse has announced her candidacy for McLean County coroner.

A photo taken inside the McLean County Home for Colored Children in October 1935
McLean County Museum of History

The care of orphaned, abandoned, and rejected African American children in Bloomington Normal has not always been kind or good, or even wanted in certain parts of town.

This episode of McHistory offers an unflinching perspective of Bloomington-Normal's past.

Louise Calimese and her husband Napoleon led the McLean County Home for Colored Children for nearly three decades.

WGLT's Mary Cullen produced this episode of McHistory, featuring Bill Kemp of the McLean County Museum of History and Jennifer Rusk with the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Walk.

Businesses will have to change, well, the way they do business after recreational cannabis use becomes legal in January. Till now, simple drug-screening tests have helped employers maintain a drug-free workplace. After January it won't be that simple at all.

Camille Rodriguez
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The McLean County Board's Executive Committee will decide Tuesday whether to have a consulting firm overhaul the county's electronic justice system.

Police Car Lights

A McLean County Highway Department employee was killed Wednesday morning in what county officials have said was an electrocution.

Crews building beds
West Bloomington Revitalization Project

Every child deserves a bed to sleep on, according to Robert Bosquez from the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP).

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County government is expecting the busy spring legislative session in Springfield to help it chip away at road repairs and other infrastructure.

Frank Beck speaks
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Less than 48 hours after the latest fatal shooting in Bloomington, leaders of the county’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council signaled Thursday that reducing gun violence will become one of their priorities.

Three county officials seated at a table in the county government complex.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A mental health triage center is on pace to open this spring in the building housing the McLean County Health Department on West Front Street in downtown Bloomington.