History museum plans bicentennial events
The McLean County Museum of History has announced a series of upcoming events to mark the state’s bicentennial in 2018. A ceremonial flag raising ceremony took place Monday, Dec. 4, to help usher in the festivities planned in the year ahead.
The museum’s first bicentennial-related event will occur at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the museum, 200 N. Main St., Bloomington.
Debra Reid will discuss how farmers have historically kept farms operational in a competitive business environment. Reid is the curator of agriculture and the environment at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
Dean of ACES program visits area projects
Kim Kidwell, dean of the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences program, or ACES, recently visited McLean County and surrounding areas to highlight various recent projects students have undertaken.
George Czapar, associate dean and director of U of I’s Extension, accompanied Kidwell on a number of the stops. While in McLean County, the leaders explored a 4-H showcase at the McLean County Extension office. Participants in the 4-H program had an opportunity to demonstrate and showcase their various accomplishments.
City Council cuts contributions to small business initiative
The Bloomington City Council on Monday, Nov. 27, trimmed the municipality’s three-year commitment to the Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University in half, from $124,000 to $62,000, through the end of 2020.
The Normal Town Council, which contributes into the SBDC in a joint agreement with Bloomington, previously authorized to maintain current funding arrangements. The SBDC faces a $25,000 shortfall on the heels of the decision in Bloomington. No decisions have been announced on how the gap will be addressed.
Advocates urge passage of ‘welcoming ordinance’
The council chambers were at full capacity Monday, Nov. 27, when the Bloomington City Council held its most recent regular meeting. Scores of advocates, some holding signs, urged municipal decision-makers to adopt a so-called welcoming ordinance that would put Bloomington on record in supporting immigrants’ rights. If adopted, the ordinance could prohibit city police from cooperating with the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency without a judicial warrant.
Mayor Tari Renner previously stated he would support such an ordinance. Plans call for the City Council to hold a special meeting in December to comb through the logistics and language within the possible ordinance.
Tire store fire remains under investigation
The cause of a recent fire at Twin City Tire, 215 E. Hamilton Road, remains under investigation, officials within the Bloomington Fire Department have announced.
The store was engulfed in flames shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26. Multiple units, including ladder trucks from Normal, responded to the scene to extinguish the fire, which was under control in about an hour. Damage estimates have yet to be released.
Renner to host multiple town hall meetings
Mayor Tari Renner is holding a series of town hall meetings at various venues across the city this month. Upcoming meetings will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St.; and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the Miller Park Pavilion, 1020 S. Morris Ave.
“While there will be no formal agenda, I will give a brief, high-level update from the mayor’s perspective on a range of recent and upcoming items of note, such as the city’s budget,” Renner said in a statement. “However, my primary goal is to hear from and engage with Bloomington constituents, whose ideas and feedback area so vital to the city’s operation.”
Town’s inspections, engineering departments relocate
The town of Normal’s inspections and engineering departments began conducting business this week out of Uptown Normal’s newest building, 1 Uptown Circle. The move officially took place Monday, Dec. 4.
The departments’ hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Customers can access the department by using on-street parking or the parking deck directly south of the Uptown Station, or Amtrak, building. Deck parking is free for the first hour; validation is needed to park free within the deck after one hour.
–McLean County News Briefs–