McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

The Salvation Army of McLean County says while the Red Kettle Campaign itself has come to an end, people can still give for the  year-end giving to make up their funding shortfall.  (Photo courtesy of Salvation Army)

McLean County

Flu outbreak claims three deaths; hundreds sick

The death toll from flu-related symptoms rose to three persons in the days leading up to Christmas, according to officials in the McLean County coroner’s office and health department.

While specific numbers of contracted cases are not known across the general population — they are not tracked or required by law — local officials project several hundred persons in McLean and surrounding counties have contracted a strain of the influenza virus.

According to the Illinois Department of Health, the outbreak has been widespread and has resulted in more than a hundred people across being admitted into intensive care units in recent weeks.    

subhed: Salvation Army’s campaign falls short of goal

The $255,000 fundraising goal set by the Salvation Army of McLean County fell short by more than $40,000 when all this season’s proceeds were counted, officials announced this past week.

The local chapter of the international agency had hoped to top the $253,896 brought it during last year’s campaign. But when the bells stopped ringing Saturday, Dec. 23, and all donations were counted, proceeds across the county totaled $214,282.

The last time the Salvation Army of McLean County missed its target was in 2013.

While the Red Kettle Campaign itself has come to an end, organizers are hoping year-end giving will make up for the deficit. The results of the organization’s various campaign efforts throughout 2017 will be announced in early February.

Energy company eyeing wind farm in McLean County

Invenergy, a Chicago-based alternative energy company, recently announced plans of constructing a new wind energy farm on more than 100 parcels in townships in McLean County’s northern area.

If plans proceed as proposed, the wind farm would be spread across Chenoa, Gridley, Lawndale, Lexington and Money Creek townships. Invenergy has submitted its application to McLean County officials, and board approval will be needed for plans to proceed.

The company in its application materials has stated its wind farm would have the capacity to power about 69,000 homes. Several other wind farms operate in the area.

Residents can discard electronics at recycling center

Self-service electronics recycling drop-off service will be available from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Normal Public Works facility, 1301 Warriner St.

Although the venue is located in Normal, residents across McLean County can use the service. Attendants at the drop-off center will accept a range of items, including computers, monitors, electronic keyboards, televisions, scanners, fax machines, microwaves, video recorders and cameras.

For information, call the Normal DPW office at (309) 454-9571 or visit


Missing woman found, reunited with family

After a frantic call for her whereabouts on Christmas Day, family of a missing Bloomington woman are breathing sighs of relief after she appeared at a police station on Wednesday, Dec. 27.

Carmon Edwards, 53, went missing, reportedly because of a decline in her cognitive health. Edwards was planning to visit family for Christmas, but wound up going to wrong way on Interstate 74. A man described by Illinois State Police as a good Samaritan found Edwards wondering in Mattoon, dazed and confused. T

The man took Edwards in for two days, reportedly to get a better understanding of where she was headed. State Police are investigating the incident, but have asserted the unidentified man is not suspected of any negligent activity.

Grand Café restaurant building downtown to be razed

A decades-old building that has housed Chinese eatery the Grand Café could soon have a date with the wrecking ball. But the restaurant and its storied name are expected to live on in the years ahead at a new location.

The owner of the Grand Café building at 615 N. Main St. intend to raze it in early 2018. The Grand Café, which closed at the location in early 2017, has since relocated to a small space at 2205 E. Oakland Ave. Grand Café had operated out of its Main Street perch since 1976, but its local origins stretch back much further. Hong Kong native Charlie Lum established the restaurant in 1921 out of a different space in downtown Bloomington.


Ameren exploring infrastructure expansion

Utility provider Ameren has announced plans of expanding its local electrical service lines in the years ahead in a project pegged at $17 million to $21 million. Infrastructure, including new transmission lines and poles, has been proposed in two possible configurations on Normal’s north side.

One route runs along portions of Route 66; the other, near the intersection of interstates 39 and 55. The Illinois Commerce Commission will have a final say on which option will go into motion. Full details of the expansion project are available at

Longtime Normal West H.S. coach hangs up whistle  

Darren Hess, who served as the head coach of Normal West High School’s football team for 15 years, has resigned from the position, according to a news release issued Thursday, Dec. 21.

Throughout his tenure over the Wildcats, Hess holds a 96-56 record and includes two Big 12 Conference championships. Hess in the news release said his decision to step down was difficult, but came after a period of reflection.


–McLean County News Briefs–