Sound Ideas | WGLT

Sound Ideas

Hear about Tina Sparkle's first album in nine years. Jon Norton talks with the Central Illinois trio about the album Southern Hospitality. Plus, State Farm just improved its benefits package to try to keep employees from moving to those other places: Geico, Progressive, those folks. Ryan Denham looks at the competition for talent in the insurance game. A Eureka College scholar studies conservative and progressive belief tendencies on conspiracy theories.

30 year old Danielle Kater died from Coronavirus complications. She is the youngest McLean County pandemic death. She had no underlying health conditions. In an extended interview, Dana Vollmer talks with Kater's parents and husband about their loved one and the message they want to send; take the virus seriously. 

The insurance business is very competitive—and not just for customers.

Bloomington High School Junior Dawson Marshall says the community wide virtual theater festival he's working on is just as cool as non pandemic theater. All the world is indeed a stage. Plus, a Republican lawmaker says Governor JB Pritzker's high handed handling of the pandemic makes him vulnerable in two years. And central Illinois school districts are pulling back from in person classes as community COVID cases continue to rise. 

Performers on stage
University High School

Actors act, even in a pandemic. But what high school students are doing now is more subtle than the way they usually tread the boards.

Today on WGLT's Sound Ideas: The Bloomington-Normal community mourns the loss of Barb Adkins, a former deputy city manager. Eric Stock checks in with the VA's outpatient clinic in Bloomington as it navigates COVID-19. And an Illinois State University weighs in on masks and youth sports.

People exercising while wearing masks
Jae C. Hong / AP

A sports science professor at Illinois State University says studies aren't yet clear on whether masks limit performance during aerobic exercise.

Dan Caulkins
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A Republican lawmaker who represents parts of McLean County said the state’s own contact tracing data does not support such a hard crackdown on indoor service at bars and restaurants.

Shelby at work

Discover magazine and National Geographic laying on the coffee table captured the mind of Dr. Shelby Putt at a young age.

Watterson Towers residence hall at ISU

The road to the presidency was not straightforward. And it has shaken some Illinois State University students, who have some of the same divisions and misinformed beliefs the rest of America has shown during voting.


A longtime public servant who fought against intolerance in Bloomington-Normal has died.

Olympia High School entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Not long after District 87 and Unit 5 started to bring students back to the classroom, several other McLean County districts had to pull their kids out of school as coronavirus cases surged.

It's quarantine opera. Producers send recorded music to the singers who stage, act, and perform in their homes and send the footage in to combine with other singers. MIO Opera offers YouTube Donizetti with emerging central Illinois artists. Plus, stop feeling guilty about putting all the food packaging and waste food into the landfill. You can do something about it with a new Bloomington Normal composting service. And a social worker is going back to school so she teach others who want to follow that career path.  

VA Outpatient Clinic in Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

The head of Bloomington's Veterans Affairs clinic says the pandemic has made caring for veterans more challenging and more critical at the same time.

Composting just got a whole lot easier in Bloomington-Normal.

The Ecology Action Center’s new community compost kiosk is more inclusive than your average backyard-composting setup. 

As Coronavirus mitigation efforts hit Bloomington Normal the Chamber of Commerce says it's time to support struggling restaurants. Chamber of Commerce board chair Nate Hinch reacts to a halt of indoor food service by urging people to bundle up and eat outdoors. Plus, if music soothes the heartache of pandemic isolation, what's on your turntable? Jon Norton has more. In spite of adverse weather conditions in the spring and late summer McLean County farmers say the crop was alright, not fantastic, but alright. And internet sermons aren't enough for some churchgoers. 

Restaurant owners in Mclean County are not happy with Governor JB Pritzker's mitigation order limiting service. There's a rising protest. Plus, hear a report on why Democratic Congressional Candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigen lost bigger than last time out against Representative Rodney Davis. The head of the McLean County Republican Party offers her take on turnout and Trump. And Political scientist Lane Crothers notes a lot of people underestimated the passion of Republican voters in this cycle. 

Courtesy Connie Beard

Republicans logged a lot of wins in McLean County Tuesday night.

Congressman Rodney Davis cinched a closely-watched race. County-wide officeholders fended off Democratic challengers. The county board held a Republican majority, despite efforts for a potential Blue Wave.

Those who expected a blue wave in Tuesday's election had a grave disappointment. Those who hoped for a ratification of the Trump presidency and for Republican gains likewise ended up unsatisfied.

sign leading to cafe dining room
Facebook/Jack's Cafe

Some McLean County restaurants kept their dining rooms open on Wednesday, in defiance of Gov. JB Pritzker’s order to stop indoor dining in regions with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

Rodney and Betsy
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

If you were surprised by size of U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis’ margin of victory over his two-time Democratic challenger, you aren’t alone. So was Davis. 

It's the job of law enforcement to plan for scenarios after the election that include unrest. Eric Stock has a report. A family from LeRoy says the trope that young people don't get hurt by the Coronavirus is tragically wrong. Plus, the Mayor of Normal says the latest Covid mitigation efforts hurt bars and restaurants disproportionately AND too much. And the new diversity officer for the city of Bloomington says he wants to remove systemic inequities in city government. 

Patti Welander

A LeRoy family is pushing back against the narrative that young people don't have much to worry about with COVID-19.

Medici restaurant entrance

The mayor of Normal and central Illinois lawmakers say the state should reconsider COVID-19 mitigation efforts set to go into effect on Wednesday.

It's the two sentence horror story competition. We'll scare you like it's the year 2020. Plus Eric Stock tells you about the fight to control the McLean County Board. A public policy journalist examines the progressive income tax proposal for the state of Illinois. And Laura Kennedy goes meta meta on the next Community Players Theater production. 

Pallets stacked in front of store entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Police in Bloomington-Normal say they don't expect any trouble on election night, but during this time of high tension, they also say they aren't taking any chances.

RJ, Charlie, and Derek
YouTube / Zoom

McLean County Board District 3 takes in the western part of the county and portions of west and south Bloomington. Participating in a WGLT forum were Democrat RJ McCracken and Libertarian Derek Evans.

John McIntyre and Nikita Richards
WGLT file photos

McLean County Democrats have their sights set on something that once seemed unimaginable -- gaining majority power on the county board.

Here's a tale of two neighbors with very different political ideas. Yet Trump-supporter Brian Knuth and neighbor Wendy Gochenaur say they actually get along very well. Plus, a report on Black Mental health. A disproportionate hit from the pandemic, police killing after police killing, and racist language from the far right all take a toll. And hear the candidates for State Representative in the 88th District. Keith Sommer, Karla Bailey Smith, and Ken Allison take part in a WGLT forum. 

Man posing next to Trump flag and woman raising Black Lives Matter Flag
Eric Stock / WGLT

A stroll through a west Bloomington neighborhood shows the deep political divide that grips much of the country as election day approaches.