McLean County News Briefs

University of Illinois Extension is hosting a workshop at The Refuge Food Forest in Normal from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28. The Refuge Food Forest provides access to healthy food and information for individuals or families interested in learning how to incorporate fresh fruit into their diet. (Photo courtesy of U of I Extension)

McLean County

Extension to host college, career readiness program         

The University of Illinois Extension, in conjunction with the McLean County chapter of 4-H, will host a college and career conference Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Illinois State University Alumni Center in Normal.

The conference, in its second year, is designed to expose youth to a variety of opportunities available after graduation. It also is intended to educate them on the support and resources that are available to help in making informed decisions.

The program is available to youth ages 13 to 19. The cost to attend is $20 and can be done online at For information, call 309-663-8306.   

Refuge Food Forest topic of upcoming

The Refuge Food Forest in Normal will take center stage in an upcoming event hosted by the University of Illinois Extension. Several staffers within the Extension will guide visitors on the ins and outs of the local amenity, located at One Normal Plaza, 701 Lincoln Ave.

The tour will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28. Bill Davison, nutrition and wellness educator, will be among the speakers at the event. “The community has really come together to support this project,” Davison said in a statement.

“Volunteers have contributed thousands of hours of labor and have spread 21 dump truck loads of mulch to help manage this unique urban orchard.”

There is no cost to attend, but U of I staffers are requesting interested persons register in advance. For information, visit or call 309-663-8306.

Heartland hosting food protection certification course          

The University of Illinois Extension is hosting a two-day food protection manager certification course next month at Heartland Community College, 1500 W. Raab Road, Normal.

State regulations require food establishments have at least one food protection manager on staff, and he or she needs to update the certification at least once every five years.

The course touches on such issues as food safety, personal hygiene, cross-contamination and allergens. Upcoming sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.

The cost to attend is $125 per person and includes all materials. To register online, visit


Permanent recycling containers installed in downtown      

Four new permanent recycling receptacles have been placed in strategic spots in downtown Bloomington, following a series of efforts from the Ecology Action Center and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

The combined cost of the receptacles is $4,610 and is being covered through an IPCF grant. The EAC has placed the containers at a highly trafficked area — the four corners of the McLean County Museum of History.

New monkeys join Miller Park Zoo population

Two new monkeys recently joined the Miller Park Zoo, officials announced recently. The monkeys, part of the Francois Langurs sub-species, are named Kuantan, 10, and Ping, 12.

They are half-siblings and share the same father. Spectators can see Kuantan and Ping at the Katthoefer Animal Building.

In a statement, MPZ Director Jay Tetzloff said the additions were logical ones for the facility. “Everyone likes primates, so it worked out great that the newest additional also fills a void in the animal diversity we show our guests,” Tetzloff said.    


Man arrested on allegations of cocaine distribution  

A 35-year-old Normal man was arrested Thursday, Aug. 16, on suspicion of distributing cocaine. The Bloomington Police Department’ vice and street crimes units arrested the man after a drug investigation involving the sale of illegal narcotics.

According to BPD officials, the man was in possession of 7 grams of cocaine at the time of arrest. The man has been transported to the McLean County Jail.

New food pantry to serve college students  

Several local organizations, working in tandem, have announced plans of opening a new food pantry designed specifically to meet the needs of struggling college students.

First United Methodist Church is taking a leadership role with School Street Food Pantry, 211 N. School St., Normal. The pantry will be available to students attending Heartland Community College, Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University.

The pantry will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays, beginning Sept. 21. Students will be required to show a school ID to obtain items from the pantry.


–McLean County News Briefs–