McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Training sessions for those wishing to be volunteers on the University of Illinois Extension’s Money Mentors program begin Thursday, June 14. (Courtesy of U of Illinois Extension)

McLean County

ISU professor receives Fullbright scholar award

The U.S. Department of the State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recently announced Illinois State University Professor Andrew Hartman has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to England.

Hartman will conduct research at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in London as part of the project. He will be examining the role of Karl Marx’s work on American political thought.

Hartman is receiving his second Fulbright award; he previously was given the opportunity to attend the University of Southern Denmark in 2013. Hartman is in the midst of writing his third book, “Karl Marx in America,” through the University of Chicago Press.    

Money Mentors program returning to help residents      

University of Illinois Extension officials recently announced plans of restarting the Money Mentors program in McLean County.

Participants and volunteers are currently being sought. The program is designed to help participants in getting organized and managing their finances. Volunteers are offered research-based financial education tools for participants.

Training sessions for volunteers begin Thursday, June 14. For information, email Camaya Wallace Bechard, Extension consumer economics educator, at or call 309-663-8306.    

Clay Wheeler has been named chief of the Bloomington Police Department.


Veteran Police Department named next chief     

Clay Wheeler has been named chief of the Bloomington Police Department, following the retirement of Brendan Heffner. Wheeler, who joined the BPD in 1991 and is a Bloomington native, most recently served as assistant chief.

In a news release, Interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen said Wheeler has demonstrated commitment and aptitude in his years on the force.

“He has served the community with dedication and integrity for over two decades, and I expect he will excel in the role of chief,” Rasmussen said of Wheeler in a statement. “Our city is fortunate to have him here, ready to hit the ground running.”

Police respond to shots fired along Riley Drive 

Bloomington Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy suspected of striking a vehicle with several gunshots in the 300 block of Riley Drive about 8:35 p.m. Monday, May 7. According to department officials, five persons were inside the vehicle at the time of the incident. No injuries were reported.

Witnesses provided police with a description of the vehicle, and officers located it a short time later at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Clearwater Avenue.

The suspect fled the vehicle, while briefly holding onto the handgun. He subsequently dropped it.

Officers later arrested the boy for possession of a stolen firearm. The boy has been detained at the McLean County Juvenile Detention Center.   

Parks department hosting Free Family Fun Day 

The Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department will host a free Family Fun Day from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the North Pavilion of Tipton Park, 2201 Stone Mountain Blvd.

Scheduled festivities include balloon artists, face painting, inflatable obstacle courses and an art craft.

Several businesses and organizations are assisting the department with the event. For information, visit or call 309-434-2260.   

BCPA holding auditions for summer play

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is holding auditions for the upcoming summer theater production of “Oliver!”

The performance, based on the Charles Dickens novel, “Oliver Twist,” is open to children age 8 and up. Auditions are taking place Tuesday, May 22 to Thursday, May 24, at 5:30 p.m. each date.

For information or to reserve a 10-minute audition appointment, call 309-434-2766. “Oliver!” is being performed from July 26-29.


TIF district funding proposed for Uptown Plan 

In the hopes of spurring new development in the heart of the community, Normal officials have announced a proposal to extend a tax-incremental financing, or TIF, district for an additional 12 years.

The town’s effort, which is going before the state legislature and other taxing bodies for review, calls for extending the life of the TIF through 2038; it currently is set to expire in 2026.

By extending the life of the TIF, town officials said they are attempting to make good on a pledge to have five large buildings in place around Uptown Circle. Two of the five parcels in the plan have yet to be developed.

Access to Constitution Trail restricted this week

Pedestrians and bicyclists will have limited access to Constitution Trail through Friday, May 18, as contractors perform soil borings for a proposed pedestrian underpass project. The impacted area is near the railroad. Town officials are asking trail users to exercise caution and, if possible, consider alternate routes.


–McLean County News Briefs–