Sound Ideas | WGLT

Sound Ideas

deer approaching a road
Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A study done by two Illinois Wesleyan University professors and a Bloomington veterinarian shows 48% of ground venison packets sampled had lead contamination.

Mike Straza

The first Bloomington mayoral candidate to emerge says he would lean into his business background to help the local economy navigate the pandemic.

State Rep. Dan Brady faces a challenge from Democrat Chemberly Cummings this fall in an Illinois House district that includes parts of Bloomington-Normal.

Heartland community college will likely take a couple months to recover from that destructive October 5th cyber attack. Chief Information Officer Scott Bross says the FBI is investigating. Mayor Tari Renner of Bloomington says he's had enough time in office. Plus, outbreaks of COVID-19 at eight Bloomington Normal long term care facilities now outpace the numbers at nursing home during the early part of the pandemic. And nine new restaurants are serving meals amid the pandemic. Hear a check in on the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene. 

An entry way to a retirement facility
Bickford of Bloomington

A third wave of COVID-19 infections in Illinois is pressuring long-term care facilities in the state, including McLean County.

Unlike in March, health departments have better direction and more tools for schools to address coronavirus flareups and outbreaks. Hear more on school reopening and contact tracing. Plus, a report on the graduated tax initiative. A central Illinois candidate for Illinois Teacher of the Year offers his philosophy of education. And even in the middle of a pandemic, nine restaurants are under construction in the twin cities. Larry Carius talks about the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene. 

Tari Renner gestures
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner announced Wednesday he won’t seek re-election to a third term next spring.

Larry Dietz at news conference
Illinois State University

Illinois State University's president does not have too much concern about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases to start the second semester.

HCC building
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Hackers carefully considered the timing of the Oct. 5 cyberattack on Heartland Community College.

There was a student spike in COVID cases at ISU at the start of the semester. What about next semester? ISU President Larry Dietz says that's one reason the university will begin testing up to 13 thousand people a week. Plus, hear about the challenge of busing children to school in a socially distanced way. Unit 5 Schools Superintendent Kristen Weikle talks about teacher student bonding during the pandemic. And it's a good year for pumpkins and pumpkin sellers. 

Kristen Weikle

Unit 5 schools have resumed part-time classroom instruction at a time in the pandemic that is not really a low-risk period. Cold and flu season is coming. Neighboring states are contributing to a rise in coronavirus infections in Illinois and recent record high daily numbers of new positive tests.

Some say the surge might even be worse than the peak in July. But Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle said she's not unduly worried about Bloomington-Normal schools.

13th district Congressional candidates are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars this year on Facebook. Learn more about social media political campaign strategy this election. Plus, 'a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a virtual horse!' There's a new production of Richard III coming to a screen near you. The federal government will spend more money to reduce human trafficking in central Illinois. And our series on contact tracing continues. 

Rhetoric from the Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois raises the prospect of a new civil war. Hear why even races that used to require mainstream approaches to be successful aren't attracting mainstream candidates. Plus, our series on contact tracing continues. Outgoing Illinois State University Athletics Director Larry Lyons shares how new initiatives on diversity training and racial insensitivity are going after his misstep earlier this year. And Ameren Illinois joins the electric vehicle caravan with a network of charging stations. 

Children getting onto a school bus
Staff / WGLT

Unit 5 and District 87 will soon start busing kids to school for the first time since the pandemic began in March. They are the last districts in McLean County to bring kids back to the classroom, and administrators believe they can keep them safe on the buses as long as students follow the rules.

Facebook ads screenshot
Facebook Ad Library

If you want a sense of just how important the fight is for the 13th Congressional District, look no further than the ads in your own Facebook feed.

On today's episode, WGLT's series on contract tracers continues.

Chevy Volt
Staff / WGLT

Ameren Illinois says it plans to help build out a network of public electric vehicle charging stations, including some in Rivian’s backyard here in central Illinois.

Democratic McLean County Board candidate Hannah Beer says Illinois State University student voices have often not been heard the way they should be. Hear coverage of election 2020 and the county board district that covers the ISU campus and uptown. Plus, the Illinois School Nurses Association Nurse of the Year tells you how very different things will be in Bloomington Normal school buildings. And Eric Stock reports part one of our weeklong series on contact tracing.

Connie, Nikita, and Ryan

McLean County’s top Democrat and Republican are making their case for and against the graduated income tax—one of the biggest issues facing voters this fall.

Brandon Thornton
Lyndsie Schlink

An Illinois Board of Education Teacher of the Year honor has landed in the hands of a Bloomington High School favorite. The Illinois State Board of Education named special education teacher Brandon Thornton its top teacher for the east central region of Illinois. 

Man wearing mask in grocery store
WGLT file photo

Contract tracing has been around since at least the early 20th century and it remains one of health care's most critical infectious disease responses.

Melissa Graven, McLean County Health Department's communicable disease supervisor, said tracing who infected people have been around is more critical during COVID-19 because hardly anyone is immune. 

(clockwise from top right) Stacey Hirsch, Ava Roper, Gaynett Hoskins and LaNell Greenberg

Some frontline workers in this coronavirus pandemic are people you never see, but you may hear from them. Health experts say contact tracers are crucial to containing the spread of COVID-19, but only if the public cooperates.

On today's episode, you'll hear from McLean County Democratic Party chair Nikita Richards and McLean County Republican Party chair Connie Beard discuss the graduated income tax proposal. Find all of our election coverage at 


John Minchillo / AP

The pandemic may be wrecking a lot of things for a lot of people. But one part of the economy that’s doing well is home improvement.

Lyndsie Schlink / Illinois State University

Poetry and textiles entwine in a new exhibition by an interdisciplinary artist who draws her inspiration from the words we read and the materials we caress. 

On today's episode, Sen. Dick Durbin talks about the prospects for another round of coronavirus relief. You'll hear about the physical toll of pandemic stress. And ISU and IWU make alternative plans for Homecoming. 

AP Photo/LM Otero

Stress is abundant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Job loss, health fears, time spent away from loved ones — it piles up. And that stress takes a toll on the body. For some, the effects are more visible. Some are even losing hair over it.

On today's episode of Sound Ideas, you'll hear a debate between two candidates running for McLean County Board in District 3, which includes southwest Bloomington. They are Democrat R.J. McCracken and Libertarian Derek Evans. 

WGLT's Sound Ideas - 10/06/20

Oct 7, 2020

On today's episode of Sound Ideas, you'll hear from Normal Mayor Chris Koos about developments in Uptown Normal. Heartland Community College discloses a computer systems breach. And WGLT courts reporter Edith Brady-Lunny follows an unusual development involving alleged looters in McLean County.

Exterior of Glenn
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Unit 5 families who are sending their child back to school in-person later this month should be prepared for them—and their siblings—to be sent home if they show even one symptom.