McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Junius Rodriguez , Eureka College history professor

McLean County

Rodriguez revisits goal of turning 18th District blue

In an instance of what could be déjà vu, Eureka College history professor Junius Rodriguez has announced he is throwing his hat back into the ring for the U.S. Rep. seat he lost last year to opponent Darin LaHood. In a statement released Tuesday, Aug. 1, Rodriguez said he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for the 18th Congressional District seat during the 2018 legislative cycle.

“We face extraordinary challenges as a nation, and the counties of West Central Illinois are certainly not immune to these burdens,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Maintaining the status quo is no longer a viable option.” LaHood, the Republican challenger last year, bested Rodriguez by a more than two-thirds majority in the November election.

Highway 136 work underway; will finish in November

The Illinois Department of Transportation last week began work on the rehabilitation of Highway 36, between Highway 50 and the border of McLean and Champaign counties. Motorists are being informed to anticipate delays and allow extra time during commutes through the area.

According to a news release from the state agency, work will include 7 miles of cold milling, patching, resurfacing and pavement striping and ditch repair. IDOT has hired Rowe Construction Co. for the $2.6 million project. Weather permitting, the work is scheduled to finish by the end of November. For up-to-date information on the project, visit

King, queen crowned for this year’s County Fair

Tristan Friederich and Chloe Hilt were crowned the 2017 king and queen, respectively, at this year’s McLean County Fair, which was held this past weekend. Friederich, son of Leslie and Van Friederich, is a Goodfield resident and a home school senior.

The 17-year-old also is a member of the 4-H chapter Homespun. Hilt, daughter of Matt and Molly Hilt, is a Carlock resident. She is involved in her school’s FFA chapter, the Danvers Industrial Youth organization and Bible school.

To receive the recognition, Friederich, Hilt and their fellow competitors had to partake in a public speaking exercise before a panel of local leaders who rated each of the participants.


Timeline set for Giordano’s opening in the city

McLean County residents will not have to wait much longer to have a taste of Chicago in their own backyard. Giordano’s, the Chicago-based pizzeria that has a number of locales throughout the Windy City, will open its first McLean County eatery in October.

The local Giordano’s is assuming a former Qdoba franchise at 1505 N. Veterans Parkway. Giordano’s is undertaking a series of renovations at the Qdoba space.

Parks and recreation department to hold first-ever race

The Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts department, in conjunction with Dust2Glory Fitness and Certified Spartan SGX Coach Dustin Webb, have announced the creation of new initiative, “Hill of a Race.” Described by organizers as “the ultimate outdoor fitness challenge,” it will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, at Ewing Park, and is available to persons of all ages and skill levels.

The obstacle course will include running, lifting, carrying, climbing, crawling, agility and balance. In anticipation of the upcoming event, parks officials are holding several training clinics for interested participants in September. For information, visit the department’s website at  

Anderson Aquatic Center in Normal is offering reduce rates for the remainder of the season.  The Fairview Family Center also is having rate cuts. (Photo courtesy of Town of Normal)


Town’s sewer utility rates to more than double by 2023

Faced with aging infrastructure and rising costs, Normal officials have announced a plan that calls for more than doubling users’ sewer utility fees through a tiered approach in the next six years. Based on calculations from the town’s sewer utility, an average household, using 6,000 gallons of water, pays in the ballpark of $10.12 per month at the moment. By 2023, the amount, based on the same level of usage, is expected to increase to $22.67 per month.

The Town Council has been reviewing a tiered plan that would implement the first rate increase in October and then make gradual increases in the next six Aprils. Each of the increases would be in small intervals, according to the utility, to avoid a one-time sticker-shock rate hike.  

Rates chopped at aquatic centers after staffing shortage

Normal’s two aquatics centers — Anderson and Fairview Family — have closed within posted operating hours in recent weeks because of unanticipated staffing shortages. In a mea culpa to users, the town’s parks and recreation department last week announced a series of rate reductions.

For the remainder of the season, daily admission rates will be $5 for adults and youth, $3 for seniors and free to children under 2 years old. The town also has indicated plans are in motion to offer a discount to season pass holders who renew early in 2018. Further details on that overture are forthcoming. For information, call the department at (309) 454-9540.

El Paso

Library to host U of I Extension monarch workshop

The El Paso District Library will host a monarch workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, in the Drake Family/Heartland Bank Community Room within El Paso District Library, 149 W. First St. Kay Henrichs, a McLean County master gardener and monarch expert, will lead the session. Henrichs will share her experiences in rearing and conserving monarchs from her backyard. She also will discuss such preservation techniques as establishing monarch waystations. For information, or to reserve a seat, call (309) 527-4360.  


–McLean County News Briefs–