McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

The United Way of McLean County  has announced the local organization will change how it collects funds for the 64 human services programs it assists.

McLean County

Former McLean County Board chair could face prison time

Matt Sorenson, who stepped down as chair of the McLean County Board nearly two years ago, could face time in prison in connection with his role in defrauding State Farm Insurance. Last fall, Sorenson pleaded guilty on one count of wire fraud.

Sorenson is slated to be sentenced this month in federal court in Chicago. After stepping down in January 2016 from the County Board, officials initiated an internal investigation and did not find any irregularities while Sorenson conducted county-related business.  

VA announces plans of outpatient clinic in 2019

Officials within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last week announced plans of opening an outpatient clinic within McLean County in July 2019.

The federal agency has not announced a specific location within the county, though it has laid out some of the details for the proposed facility.

The clinic will likely encompass 20,000 square feet and house five primary care teams and mental health services. During the initial phase, VA is expected to sign a 10-year lease for the chosen site.

United Way chapter tweaking how it collects funds

Citing a changing marketplace, officials within the United Way of McLean County on Friday, Sept. 8, announced the local organization will change how it collects funds for the 64 human services programs it assists.

United Way will continue to host workplace fundraising campaigns, as it has in the past, but will rely more so on a method known as direct-to-donor appeals.

Plans call for relying more so on social media and digital marketing. The campaigns undertaken by the McLean County chapter also will not have a set start and end date, as they had in the past; rather, they will be ongoing.


Police investigating shots fired calls on Washington Street

Bloomington Police are seeking suspects in connection with a case of multiple gun shots being fired in the 800 block of West Washington Street about 11:56 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. According to eyewitness accounts provided by the department, a dark-colored vehicle stopped in the middle of the road for a brief period of time.

Sounds of people yelling followed, and multiple gunshots being fired were then heard by the witnesses. According to police, no one was reported injured. At press deadline, police did not announce any leads or arrests. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Curt Maas at (309) 434-2534 or email  

Mayor takes leave of absence; health cited

Citing undisclosed medical conditions, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner announced last week he is taking a leave of absence from his elected leader duties. While announcing his hiatus, Renner said he reached his decision after consulting with his physician and family members.

Although a specific date has not been announced for Renner’s return, he and other city officials have indicated they intend for it to be several weeks in duration. Alderwoman Karen Schmidt is serving as mayor pro tem during Renner’s absence.

Portions of Washington Street being reconfigured

Motorists driving along Washington Street will notice changes to the configuration of the roadway in coming weeks. According to city officials, Washington Street will have three, rather than four, lanes of traffic.

Pavement marking will be installed for both directions of traffic, each side reduced to one lane. The third lane, in the center, will be comprised of a center two-way left-turn lane, from Mercer Avenue to St. Joseph Drive.

Other changes include a new dedicated right-turn lane, for eastbound Washington Street, at Mercer Avenue, and for westbound Washington Street, at St. Joseph Drive.


Consultant hired in search for Peterson’s replacement

The Normal Town Council recently approved a plan to bring in an outside consultant amid an effort to find a successor for City Manager Mark Peterson, who is retiring in March after decades of service to the community. Peterson this summer announced his plans to step down early next year. As part of the succession plan, the town has agreed to issue a $20,000 contract with Northbrook-based GovHR USA.

Town officials release 2016-17 fiscal year report

The town of Normal’s finance department recently released a report on the municipality’s fiscal condition from the past year. The document highlights several areas of concern, as well as positives.

One area receiving a glaring spotlight is contingency funding, which has received a “negative outlook” because of a past history of using dollars within that area of the budget for unexpected needs or opportunities related to municipal business.

But other areas of the budget, such as long-term debt, remain in a health state, according to the document. The full report can be viewed on the town’s website at


–McLean County News Briefs–