McLean County News Briefs

Shameka Curry, 37, Bloomington

McLean County

Nurse charged in stealing from elderly woman      

A Bloomington licensed nurse has been charged in McLean County Court on accusations she neglected and stole from an elderly woman. According to county prosecutors, Shameka Curry, 37, fraudulently obtained $10,000 from the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation and is accused of stealing $350 from the woman, who died in May 2017.

Prosecutors also allege Curry provided the elderly woman inadequate care during a 4-and-a-half-month span of time, ending in March 2017. Curry failed to provide the woman with critical nutrition and did not take her to necessary medical appointments, according to prosecutors.  

Illinois State University is expecting record minority enrollment or the 2018-19 school year.

Early signs point to ISU enrollment increase

Although final figures will not be known until next month, preliminary data from Illinois State University officials reveals an anticipated uptick in enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. Freshman orientation participation has increased 8 percent, and the amount of fall deposits has increased 9 percent, according to enrollment staffers within ISU.

Based on the tentative data, ISU is anticipating 34 percent of this year’s student body to be comprised of minority persons, which is a record. Enrollment tallied at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year revealed 20,784 students were attending ISU.

Local airport receives $2.3M FAA grant      

The Central Illinois Regional Airport will soon undergo a few high-priority facilities improvements on the heels of an announcement from the Federal Aviation Administration. Officials within the agency recently allocated $2.3 million in grant funding to CIRA for runway improvements, including pavement rehabilitation. Last year, CIRA received $11 million in grant funding for taxiway upgrades and repairs.

County considers loan program for development      

In the hopes of increasing economic development in smaller communities, the McLean County Board is in the midst of discussing a possible loan program geared specifically toward municipalities designated as villages, in addition to individual business owners.

The proposal, which is still in the early stages of development, is aimed at bringing new business into the more sparsely populated areas of McLean County. Early supporters of the proposal include County Board member Jim Soeldner, whose representation includes the villages of Downs and Ellsworth.


BCPA 2018-19 ticket sales begin this week      

Comedy, concerts and theater will all take center stage in the coming months at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. Organizers have officially announced BCPA’s 2018-19 season of performances, which includes an intermingling of nationally known names and locally inspired shows.

This year’s lineup also includes several off-Broadway plays, including “ELF The Musical,” “The Sound of Music” and “Rock of Ages: The Broadway Musical.” For a complete itinerary of what’s on tap this season, visit For information, call 309-434-2777. Ticket sales begin Thursday, Aug. 9.     

Police Department  joins county opioid effort       

The Bloomington Police Department is the latest local law enforcement agency to offer Safe Passage, a program designed to assist persons struggling with opioid addiction. BPD’s participation comes in conjunction with the McLean County Opioid Initiative, which has partnerships with hospitals in Bloomington and Normal and such organizations as Chestnut Health Systems.

Under the provisions of Safe Passage, persons entering a police station or approaching an on-duty officer, asking for help, can be screened into the treatment program. Persons surrendering drugs, paraphernalia and related equipment will not be charged criminally under the provisions of Safe Passage. For information, call 309-827-6026.

Local Italian eatery to relocate to near airport        

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano will relocate from its current 9,000-square-foot building at 1501 N. Veterans Parkway to a new building at Airport Road and Illinois 9, company officials announced last week.

Plans call for Biaggi’s to construct a new freestanding building at the 6-acre site next spring and begin operating at the new location in fall 2019. Biaggi’s will continue operating at its Veterans Parkway location until the transition is complete.


Uptown roadwork begins this week, lane closures

Roadwork on Beaufort Street, between Broadway and Uptown Circle began Monday, Aug. 6, according to officials in the Normal Public Works Department.

Construction work consists of concrete pavement repairs. The project includes traffic deviations and closures, including areas near Uptown Station. For information on the project, visit the town’s website,



–McLean County News Briefs–