Sound Ideas | WGLT

Sound Ideas

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.

On today's episode of Sound Ideas, Eric Stock reports on the shutdown of a nonprofit that promoted heart and lung health. Dana Vollmer has an economic checkup on Bloomington-Normal. And Laura Kennedy previews a holiday production from the Nomad Theatre Company.

Small businesses traditionally haven't been good at selling on line. During the pandemic small retailers HAVE TO compete with internet merchants. Plus, Congressman Darin LaHood assesses the latest pandemic relief package. Small hospitals are having trouble getting bigger health institutions to take patients that need a higher level of care. hear from the small hospital in Monticello. A Bloomington Normal man who has devoted his professional life to helping others get strong and fit feels his own strength fail in medical complications.

Some main street Republicans in Bloomington Normal say they think President Trump took the GOP in the wrong direction. Others worry what a Biden administration might mean. A report on business Republicans in the twin cities. Plus the show runners of Fargo recently picked a central Illinois location for one of their episodes a historic mansion near Towanda. There's a new grant opportunity for people who need health relief from the pandemic in Bloomington Normal. Researchers in Illinois find more people are dying of NON COVID related factors this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic's blow to the labor force might not be as devastating to the Bloomington-Normal area as originally feared.

encased emergency defibrillator
Seth Perlman / AP

A non-profit that has provided defibrillators to schools, churches and businesses in McLean County for two decades is shutting down at the end of the year.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

The John M. Scott Commission has announced a $485,000 wellness grant to assist health service agencies in McLean County.

Dave Howell

If you watched the mostly black-and-white Episode 9 of FX’s “Fargo,” you might have recognized a historic Italianate farmhouse where some of the action was set.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield in January, staring down a change in House leadership, the economic fallout of the pandemic and unfinished business interrupted by COVID-19.

Retirements are soaring during the pandemic, which cuts against conventional wisdom. Many baby boomers have been delaying retirement because they haven't saved a lot. Retirements are a third higher than average in the U.S. this year. Plus GOP state representative Dan Brady says it's time for President Trump and the rest of the nation to move on from the November election. A central Illinois Opera singer snags an international award. And the Mayor of Normal stops by.

Rivian has leased the Phoenix Investors warehouse in North Normal. It's 500,000 square feet for parts sorting and staging for the electric vehicle plant. Plus, Congressman Rodney Davis says he does not have much hope for a pandemic relief package drafted by centrists. And Democrats on the McLean County Board don't like losing committee chair positions. Hear why that happened.

If Normal wants Restore Illinois restrictions enforced, it’s going to require a local ordinance, according to Normal Mayor Chris Koos. 

Phillip Taylor ( / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Retirements have accelerated in the last year, as the pandemic closes businesses, cuts hours and puts workers at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Teachers say the usual ABC grading system does not fit when a pandemic has traumatized students and forced them from the classroom. Thinking outside the box in student assessment. Plus, Bloomington Normal Mayors say even amid the pandemic there is economic development. They tell the chamber of commerce about success stories. Enrollment at Colleges in Bloomington Normal is down for the spring semester, so far at least. Front line healthcare workers have been running flat out for months. Are they running out of steam the way hospitals are running out of space?

Davis and Trump
Jeff Roberson / AP

Hundreds of Republicans in Congress have declined to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden is indeed the president-elect. President Trump himself continues to falsely claim he won the election, even as he seriously considers launching a bid for 2024.

County Board oath of office
Emily Bollinger

McLean County swore in three new County Board members and reelected John McIntyre as chairman during a special meeting on Monday.

Rivian sign and plant photo
WGLT file photo

Rivian has leased the Phoenix Investors warehouse in north Normal as part of its ramp-up to production.

Jim Lathrop watching football practice

Jim Lathrop has been helping student-athletes build their bodies for decades. Now, his body is breaking down.

Drive-through virus testing
Lynne Sladky / AP

Illinois State University plans up to 20,000 rapid coronavirus tests per week with the help of a new lab.

Child seated
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Remote learning has shaken up the way educators teach—and how teachers measure student growth.

Some worry students may fall behind without in-person instruction. The fear is greater for students already struggling in school. Educators say just because learning looks different during the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn't mean students do worse. Some argue now is the time to reconsider how to assess students.

Most congregant living places in Bloomington Normal have had COVID outbreaks. Not homeless shelters. Safety comes at a cost at a crowded time of year. Plus, hear from Bloomington Mayoral candidate Jackie Gunderson. This year's America’s Best College Poet comes from Illinois State University. And singer songwriter Leah Marlene of Normal has a new album out a ballad-heavy introspective, full of doubts and the stress of expectations.

The mother of an abused and murdered little girl says the state child welfare system failed her daughter. Ann Simmons has started a not for profit to advocate for reform after the death of Rica Rountree. Plus Illinois State University is closer to the start of rapid saliva testing for the Coronavirus. Hear from a write in candidate for Mayor of Bloomington. And a central Illinois entrepreneur is trying to create an app to translate American sign language to the spoken word.

TUE - Bloomington Mayoral candidate Mboka Mwilambwe says he's voted for new parks and a number of other must have projects for the city. Mwilambwe says that fiscal responsibility has made it more possible for the city to weather the pandemic. Plus, OSF Saint Joseph Medical Center is putting in a ten million dollar cancer center. It's world AIDS Day. Hear a comparison of the HIV crisis and the pandemic...they're more similar than you'll be comfortable with. And listen for an update on Illinois Wesleyan University's response to the pandemic.

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University
Staff / WGLT

The head of Illinois Wesleyan University’s coronavirus response said COVID-19 compliance on campus was generally good during the fall semester, but it was a learning process for both students and staff." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Mon - Hospitals that treat COVID patients aren't the only health care facilities strained for space and staffing during the pandemic. Long term care facilities are in a pinch as well. Plus, State Senator Jason Barickman suggests Medicaid is one of the cuts that needs to be made to balance the state budget now that the progressive tax measure has failed. Hear an update on Bloomington Public Library expansion plans. And a central Illinois Univerity is helping NASA get back to the moon.

Advocate Bromenn Hospital
Emma Shores / WGLT

COVID-19 has created a health care logjam as new cases rise, but hospitals aren't the only ones strained for space and staffing." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Senator Jason Barickman on the Senate floor.
Seth Perlman / AP

Now that voters have rejected the income tax amendment to the State Constitution to create a progressive tax structure, Illinois faces hard choices to balance the budget during the spring session of the General Assembly." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Rica and Ann
Family Photo

When Ann Simmons last saw her daughter Rica Rountree alive on April 20, 2018, with obvious signs of abuse, she knew she had to change her life for the better if she was going to save her daughter’s life." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Dana Vollmer / WGLT

'Tis the season of giving and all around McLean County, nonprofits hope generosity is living.

Organizations that rely on community dollars say they've been fortunate throughout the pandemic—and hope that continues into the busiest time of year for fundraising: the holidays.

A Hudson family is counting its blessings this year even though its Thanksgiving plans are still up in the air.