McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

A referendum question asking whether the Bloomington Election Commission should be dissolved will be placed on the ballot in early November.

McLean County

Museum unveiling new permanent exhibit Saturday        

The McLean County Museum of History will take the wraps off a new permanent exhibit this weekend that pays homage to the various professions residents have worked in prior generations. The exhibit, “Challenges, Choices and Change: Working for a Living,” opens at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the museum, 200 N. Main St.

The exhibit highlights the contributions of more than 80 local workers and their daily on-the-job experiences.

Displays showcase the contributions of such workers as pioneer merchants, railroaders, craft workers, factory workers, computer technicians and entertainers. The displays will feature vintage photographs, video clips and interactive elements.  

U of I Extension holding first-ever Fall Garden Patch        

The University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardeners group in Livingston County will host a program, Fall Garden Patch, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Extension’s Livingston County office, 1412 S. Locust St.

The program will focus on fall gardening tasks and preparing for spring bulbs. Attendees also will have an opportunity to participate in a terrarium make-and-take demonstration. The cost is $25. For information, call 815-842-1776 or visit  


New city ordinance permits drinking while shopping           

License-holding retailers in Bloomington can give their customers an opportunity to sip on alcoholic beverages while shopping, following the recent passage of an ordinance.

The City Council on Monday, Aug. 27, passed the so-called sip-and-shop ordinance after delaying action early in the month.

The council’s adopted ordinance carries several provisions. Qualifying businesses, for instance, can only make accommodations for sipping and shopping if food is the primary source of revenue.

One business classification — gas stations — are prohibited from offering such a service. City officials began debating the merits of such an ordinance after a local retailer, Green Top Grocery, asked that it be allowed to boost sales.

Voters will decide on election commission’s fate           

Bloomington voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on the state of their autonomous election commission in November, following a pivotal decision last week.

McLean County Judge Paul Lawrence on Thursday, Aug. 30, ruled a referendum question asking whether the Bloomington Election Commission should be dissolved will be placed on the ballot in early November.

If city residents decide to unwind the nearly century-old BEC, election-related matters could be folded into McLean County clerk’s office. The clerk currently handles election issues in all other cities, villages and townships across McLean County.

Fundraising efforts for new all-inclusive playground          

Plans of creating an all-inclusive playground geared toward children of all abilities is close to a fundraising target, according to organizers involved in the project.

As of late August, $220,000 reportedly has been raised for Harmony Park, which would be included within Rollingbrook Park, 1002 N. Hershey Road. The playground project — which will feature such amenities as sensory panels, fencing and specially designed swings and merry-go-rounds — has an estimated price tag of $300,000.

City DPW crews install new traffic signals         

Crews with the city of Bloomington’s department of public works activated new traffic signals on two municipal roadways on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

The new signals have been installed at Ireland Grove Road and Streid Drive. City officials earlier this year made the decision to install the signals after hearing residents’ concerns and evaluating traffic volumes and drivers’ habits in the surrounding area.


Ross Dress for Less to open in October   

National discount clothier Ross Dress for Less will open its new Normal store in mid-October, company officials announced recently.

Ross is assuming retail space, 200 Greenbriar Drive, formerly occupied by Dick’s Sporting Goods. In 2016, Dick’s relocated to larger retail space within Bloomington’s Colonial Plaza, at a site formerly occupied by a Kmart.

Annual Light the Night event set in Uptown Normal  

The sixth annual Light the Night event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, in Uptown Normal in the Trail East parking located at the corner of College Avenue and Constitution Trail Boulevard.

Throughout the event, any cyclist without lights will receive a free front and rear LED light. Bikes need to be on hand at the event to have the lights installed. For information, call Town Planner Mercy Davison at 309-454-9590.


Red Cross marks National Blood Donation Day

The American Red Cross invites the community to help save lives at blood drives planned the week of National Blood Donation Day, Wednesday, Sept. 5.

For the third consecutive year, media personality Dr. Daliah Wachs has worked to enlist all 50 states in promoting blood donation.

After hearing about an emergency need for more donors, she decided to establish a National Blood Donation Day and ask each state governor to join her by proclaiming the service day in their home state. 

“Giving blood is a wonderful way to serve your community and help patients at the same time,” said Laura McGuire, external communications manager for the Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region. “With the Red Cross recovering from a critically low blood supply during much of the summer, now is the perfect time to give.”    

Blood and platelet donations are needed every day for patients with many serious medical conditions. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

To learn more about blood donation, including eligibility information, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS 800-733-2767. If you were deferred from donating in the past, you may be able to donate again.



–McLean County News Briefs–