Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

March for Science.com

Increasing public doubt of scientific findings is prompting a March for Science in Bloomington-Normal.

ISU biologist Scott Sakaluk says he and other researchers feel alarm as laypeople treat science as opinion-based and political.

ISU Credit Rating Unchanged With An Asterisk

Apr 21, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University's bond rating remains unchanged, though the Standard and Poor's agency has placed ISU on a credit watch.

That's in recognition of the state budget crisis and a lack of more than $80 million the university would regularly have received in the last two years if not for the deadlock between the governor and lawmakers.

Court Rejects Blagojevich Appeal

Apr 21, 2017
Il. Dept. Corrections / Facebook via Creative Commons

A federal court has taken just three days to reject the appeal of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking a third sentencing.

The unanimous ruling Friday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed arguments that the Democrat's trial-court judge should have reduced his 14-year prison term for corruption because of his good behavior behind bars. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Congressman Rodney Davis said he is not changing his policy of no Town Hall meetings for the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Faculty had offered to exclude media and give Davis questions ahead of time. The Taylorville Republican said during a stop in Towanda that the invitation was political.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The longest serving Town of Normal council member says he was deeply troubled by the recent municipal election.

During a news conference at Uptown Station Wednesday morning, Councilman Jeff Fritzen said he believes Normal mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli's campaign  was damaging to what many had worked on within the community.

Michael Hill / WGLT

There's debate on the McLean County Board over how much priority to give improvements at an east side intersection.

County Board members agreed on more discussion for the $1.6 million project at Towanda Barnes and Ireland Grove roads.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The First Female Prime Minister of Norway says every country should have equal opportunity for men or women to become leaders. 

Speaking during an Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series Master Class at Illinois State University, Dr. Gro Brundtland said she knew as a young girl that she lived in a good democratic country, but it wasn't dealing on equal terms for men and women.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

One of the many Democratic candidates for governor says he is the only person that can win over Bruce Rauner.

Bob Daiber is the Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools. During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, Daiber said he wants to improve many areas the current administration has failed at. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

State Senator Andy Manar says everyone could benefit if Illinois has great equity among school districts. 

During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, the Bunker Hill Democrat said the state is harming individuals today by having the least equitable state in the country.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The changing nature of retail is affecting cities' ability to provide basic services. As an increasing number of people discover the convenience of online shopping, cities are losing essential sales tax revenue, something internet sellers don't pay.

Unit 5 district offices
Staff / WGLT

The head of the Unit Five School District says he is pushing the panic button firmly about state aid payments. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district will run out of money about the end of the spring legislative session.

"We will not be able to have a balanced budget. So we will be in deficit spending: My great concern is if there is no state budget then how are they going to make payments in the future," said Daniel.

Staff / WGLT

Residents on the southwest side of Bloomington will have to drive slower on a section of Fox Creek Road.

The City Council has approved lowering the speed limit on Fox Creek to 30 miles per hour from West Oakland Avenue to Stonehedges Court.

Matt Molinari / Flickr

Livingston County Prosecutors and law enforcement leaders want the state to boost early childhood block grant funding funding by $50 million. Sheriff Tony Childress said that will allow the state to capture more federal funds for preschool.

Childress was with the States's Attorney and another Sheriff reading books to three and four year olds at a Pontiac grade school.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The number of mail in ballots received in the Town of Normal Mayor's race is up to eighteen, according to the McLean County Clerk's office.

13 came in the day after the election and another five on Thursday.

CIRA sign under blue sky
Staff / WGLT

Central Illinois Regional Airport leaders are still hoping to create new property taxes for rural McLean County property owners.

The idea first surfaced two years ago, when a federal budget sequester threatened to eliminate funds to operate the airport control tower.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Thirteen mail in ballots for Town of Normal races have already arrived at the McLean County Clerk's office the day after the election out of a total of thirty four remaining requested mail in ballots.

Francis Storr / Flickr

Eight years ago Bitcoin was an experimental technology of interest to niche enthusiasts only. The digital currency is much bigger now.

It's traded worldwide. There is even a business presence for it in central Illinois.

Sarah Grammer smiles
Mike Miletich / WGLT

A wave of political involvement sparked by the election of Donald Trump in November has resulted in big changes in Normal Township.

After decades of Republican strength, Democrats took the township supervisor's job and three out of four trustee positions in Tuesday's election.

ladrachok / Flickr via Creative Commons

Election coordinators in McLean County are forecasting only a slight turnout increase from four years ago, in spite of a larger than usual number of candidates and contested races.

But there are pockets of very high turnout. The Village of Lexington is one. There is a mayoral race there.

Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal will be filling in gaps of the sidewalk system close to Illinois State University. 

The Town Council has approved using over $270,000 of Motor Fuel Tax Funds for sidewalk improvements on Beech Street, Fell Avenue, and University Street. 

Connect Transit

Connect Transit in Bloomington Normal is facing a problem, an aging fleet of busses and capital money tied up in operations because the state isn't paying its share. Isaac Thorne is the Interim General Manager for the bus system.

"The majority of our busses are 2004, 2005 busses. And we have eight 1998s. We hope we can replace six in 2018 which would bring us down to needing seventeen," said Thorne.

Ken Chui

The surge in contested races and candidates running for municipal offices in the April Consolidated Elections has not translated into an equal increase turnout in McLean County, though there will likely be some improvement over four years ago.

Following the November election, significant political activity began to happen among some constituencies in McLean County.

David Wilson / Flickr

Several sectors of the Bloomington-Normal economy gained jobs last month compared to a year ago.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports increases in educational and health services, financing, business, construction, transportation and warehousing, and utilities.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council may move to lower the speed limit on a southwest-side road. 

Aldermen discussed reducing the speed on Fox Creek Road from West Oakland Avenue to Stonehedges Court during a non-voting work session Monday night. 

Sarah Grammer, left, and Cheryl Gaines
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The two candidates for Normal Township supervisor have opposing views on making the public assistance program more efficient.

Township duties are to determine the value of property for taxation, to take care of roads not maintained by other government entities, and to distribute welfare to the local poor who are not eligible for other public aid.

Staff / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board has completed the hire of an Interim Director.

Former Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for Andrew Johnson until a permanent replacement can be chosen.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has signed off on a labor agreement with jail guards.

It's a two-year contract that expires at the end of this year. County Administrator Bill Wasson said they will head right back into negotiations.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A Facebook group called "Bloomington Deserves Better Than Kevin Lower" is attacking the mayoral candidate for a 3-year-old response to an alleged racist post on a page titled the Marcus Garvey Society.

On the page was a comment suggesting that "if African Americans really wanted to escape racism, it might be time for them to move to the land of the ancestors."

Staff / WGLT

The Normal town council has altered some public comment rules and retained others.  Following an Illinois Attorney General's Office ruling that a 45 day wait between comments violated the Open Meetings Act, council agreed to waive any wait time. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss is joining a growing field of Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in 2018.

During a stop in Normal Monday night, the former University of Chicago math professor called for a movement of ordinary people to take on money and "the machine."

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