Sound Ideas - Full Episodes | WGLT

Sound Ideas - Full Episodes

WGLT’s local newsmagazine airs weekdays at 5 p.m. Subscribe to the Sound Ideas podcast in feature-story format or listen to complete episodes using the links on the right.

They call it the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, but the finger prints on the building are really those of Davis's son George. Author Marcia Young has a new book that looks at 150 years of the historic landmark. Plus, the reviews of President Biden's inaugural speech are in. We'll bring you a couple from McLean County. Learn about the term hashjacking and how it's hurting some human service programs, and there's a new effort to develop racially sensitive programs. 

Bloomington-Normal saw an average number of shootings last year, even though neighboring communities and the nation as a whole saw a jump. Hear a report on gun violence in the twin cities. Plus, some social justice advocates have trouble forging ahead during the pandemic. Hear how they are keeping the faith. The first batch of cannabis conviction expungements is through the system in Illinois. It is part of the deal to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The impact for some whose records are cleared will be significant.

Auto insurers and automakers are going to have to work together to navigate the brave new world of self-driving cars. But there's a catch; the automakers try to protect proprietary info. Rand Corporation researcher Karlyn Stanley explains on why data-sharing is Priority Number One on the road to automation. Plus, an old junior high school has become affordable housing for seniors in Bloomington-Normal. Colleen Reynolds tells you about the innovative redesign that includes chalkboards and keeps the old wood flooring.

The Alan Beaman wrongful conviction case is back to the state Supreme Court for a third time. Hear the arguments about suing the Town of Normal police officers. Plus, Bloomington Schools' Superintendent Barry Reilly tells you how the district is preparing for the spring semester. Get an update on a Coronavirus saliva test program that ISU hopes to start very soon, and arts correspondent Laura Kennedy brings you paintings splashed with color that embrace memories and motherhood. 

You know the hotel business is bad when a massive power outage is a good thing. The head of the Hotel-Motel association says a recent blackout brought in 900 utility workers to Bloomington-Normal to make repairs. Six Bloomington-Normal hotels have received new state emergency pandemic relief. Plus, hear why diversity among judges matters, as McLean County gets its first African American judge and first African American woman judge. The McLean County Democratic Party gets a new chair, and the County Republican Party shows divisions over, yes, President Trump. 

As society prepares for more electric vehicles, it will have to design charging infrastructures and decide how to pay for the electricity used. The Illinois Commerce Commission says electric utilities have a seat at the E-V table. Plus, find out who has clout and who doesn't in selecting a new state senator to replace Bill Brady. Hear why a significant number of healthcare workers in Bloomington Normal don't want to get the Coronavirus vaccine. And a bitter irony from the pandemic; some gay men now can give blood for the first time in decades.  

State Senate seats like the one Bill Brady just quit, don't open up that often. Hear from the Republican County Party Chair who controls the largest chunk of the vote to replace Brady. Plus, law enforcement and prosecutors say they are none too keen on a sweeping new criminal justice reform bill that has dropped in the legislature. Nursing home operators say it is nearly impossible to keep the Coronavirus out of facilities in McLean County. And a Bloomington Normal drummer has a new advice book for musicians titled: "You Got the Gig, Here's How to Keep it."

The small town lawyer is becoming a thing of the past. In more than half of all Illinois Counties there are fewer than ten practicing attorneys. Hear how to chip away at the shortage of rural lawyers. Plus, Illinois State University scholars take a fresh dark look at bleak world of sex and violence, Noir fiction. And the new ISU Athletic Director lays out plans to advance his program.

It's a tough sell to convince McLean County Farmers to move acreage into wetland, especially considering how fertile the soil is in McLean County. Hear about a Nature Conservancy study of the Mackinaw River watershed. Plus, a consumer advocacy group says State Farm and other insurers haven't given enough back to rate payers for driving less during the pandemic, and someone should make them do it. Methamphetamine cases helped McLean County set a new record for drug felony filings last year. And hear about the new therapy with the shorthand name BAM that's helping victims of COVID-19.

An Illinois Wesleyan graduate and vaccine researcher says if the flu vaccine is a guide, it will be difficult to convince enough people to take the Coronavirus vaccine to achieve herd immunity. Dr. Greg Poland says it's a selfish thing when people don't take precautions. And hear more about the science behind the vaccine. Plus, a new senior housing project is taking shape for the old TB Sanatorium and Health Department Building in Normal. And the Mayor of Normal says the municipal election three months away is already affecting town council public discourse.

Newly retired judge Scott Drazewski helped establish McLean County's first drug court. Judge Drazewski reflects on his career. Plus it was the best of years for Illinois Farmers and it was the worst of years for them as well. It all depends on what you grew. A wave of evictions is coming as pandemic protections prepare to sunset. And hear about an ultraviolet robot that can tamp down bacteria in your home, developed in central Illinois.

Listen for more of the top 2020 stories on WGLT including the November election. The family of McLean County's youngest COVID fatality got a shock when they tested her blood oxygen level, it was far lower than you would expect in a 30 year old. Danielle Cater is one of 86 McLean County People to die in the pandemic. The broad range of symptoms COVID can all happen to people, sometimes in the same family. And to break the pandemic drumbeat, a light and fluffy story of popcorn.

We'll bring you some of the most powerful stories of 2020 including how some people have long term problems from catching COVID. The pandemic touches all of us. Plus, find out what it's like to be a contact tracer in McLean County. And Domestic violence takes a disturbing turn in Bloomington Normal.

This week on Sound Ideas we recap significant stories of the year including the dialog on race relations. Brandon Bell was part of the series Living Black in Bloomington Normal. You'll also hear from the first tenured African American professor at Lincoln College, a student who had the uncomfortable epiphany that most hate crimes are against blacks when she was doing research on hate. And an activist who says he's been exposed to bias and micro aggressions since a young age.

Unit 5 is looking ahead to the new semester in January and a return to hybrid learning. Superintendent Kristen Weikle says they will look at building numbers as well as county and regional pandemic statistics to gauge when to stay in person and when not. Weikle says Unit 5 isalso starting in person classes later than usual to see how holiday infection rates are. Plus rural hospitals are under tremendous strain from the pandemic, particularly now with the virus so widespread. And Bloomington-Normal musicians have taken a huge economic hit from the pandemic. Hear how they are adapting nine months in.

Most churches pack in their members for carols and candles on Christmas eve. Not this year. But, it won't be a completely silent night for many other ministers. Plus, there is an immigrant group in Bloomington Normal with a severe language barrier that hinders access to healthcare.The language is French. A hit Netflix mini series, The Queen's Gambit, has given Bloomington Normal game sellers a boost. Chess sets are jumping off the shelves like, well, like a knight on a chess board. And pick your bracket winners now. No, it's not 'March Madness.' The Normal Theater has a competition for best Christmas movie.

McLean County Health officials say they will craft different messages for various groups that hesitate to get a Coronavirus vaccine. Hear part three of our series on vaccines. Plus, COVID-19 deaths among older people are on the upswing in McLean County; deaths of all ages, for that matter. Front line health workers have a lot of stress and overwork just now. How they deal with that stress matters to everyone. And Community Players Theater has an on line holiday production filled with schmaltz and good cheer.

McLean County health officials say there are training and certification hoops to jump to be eligible to offer the Coronavirus vaccine. It'll be a marathon to have the vaccine widely available in the nation and the county. Plus, some of the first vaccinations in the state are in central Illinois, not in McLean County yet, though. Justice reform advocates target the state felony murder law. It's a heavy legislative lift. And the Mayor of Bloomington drops by.

From contact tracing and COVID testing, the McLean County Health Department how has to pivot to mass vaccinations in a safe way. Hear County leaders talk about the coming vaccine. Plus, a central Illinois Congressional Republican voted against a cannabis bill even though he's to the left of his party on that issue. We'll tell you why. COVID cases at the McLean County Nursing home have risen. The families of people in  nursing homes are relying on technology to visit their loved ones during the pandemic, but even the tech is tough to put in place nowadays.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

On today's episode, Eric Stock reports on hospital contingency planning for COVID-19. We check back in with a Hudson family given a terminal cancer diagnosis. And Dana Vollmer reports on the nonprofit community's high hopes for the holiday season.