Early voting up at least 131 percent in county
Numbers were still being tallied late this past week, but early voting in McLean County increased at least 131 percent, according to preliminary estimates.
More than 7,200 presidents in Bloomington, Normal and other municipalities in the county cast ballots by Thursday, Nov. 1, and more were expected in the final days leading up to election day, before the cutoff for casting early ballots. In the last gubernatorial and midterm election in 2014, a total of 3,100 county residents cast early ballots.
Judge receives heightened security after ruling
McLean County Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill is receiving added security after enduring more than a dozen threats associated with a ruling.
Hill this summer awarded custody of a 4-year-old child to her mother, which was widely covered on social media. In the following months, Hill received threats via social media, letters sent to the courthouse and voicemails.
McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage’s office is providing Hill with the added security and reportedly is in the process of investigating the threats. In Illinois, threatening a public official is considered a felony and can carry with it a prison sentence of up to five years.
Man found on sidewalk dies of gunshot
A man has died of gunshot wounds after being found unresponsive on a city sidewalk in Bloomington in the 1300 block of North Oak Street.
According to Bloomington Police, the department received multiple calls of gunshots about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. When police arrived, the man was found unresponsive and was transported to a local hospital.
The man, who sustained injuries to his chest, died at the medical facility. Police have been investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jeff Engle at 309-434-2371 or Detective Paul Jones at 309-434-2548.
Thousands of ecstasy pills, $1,500 cash seized
Bloomington Police seized 2,500 ecstasy pills and $1,500 cash on Thursday, Oct. 25, at a home in the 100 block of South Main Street.
Two Bloomington men, age 40 and 39, have been arrested on suspicion of the offenses, which are felonies. According to department officials, the drugs and cash were confiscated after officers on the SWAT team obtained a search warrant of the premises.
Motorists expect lane changes on Regency Drive
Bloomington Public Works crews are resurfacing Regency Drive, between Oakland Avenue and Empire Street.
Once complete, the lanes will be changed to a single lane in each direction, with a center two-way turn lane. Additional lane changes will be made north of Empire Street to match the new single southbound lanes.
While much of the heavy lifting associated with the work is at or near completion, public works crews will continue final phases through the remainder of November.
City officials are reminding motorists traveling through the area to allow extra time, be extra alert and watch for construction workers.
Proposed tax levy could lower tax rate
Town of Normal’s property tax levy corresponding to the next fiscal year could result in a reduction of about 1 percent in the tax rate, according to preliminary estimates.
During a recent discussion of the municipal budget, town officials have indicated the municipality is promised to levy about $13 million to fund operations.
If the plan moves forward, estimates reveal the average homeowner — one with a home assessed at $165,000 — would pay $7.50 less on the municipal line item of the next tax bill. Further details will be coming down the pike in the coming months.
Town eyeing land purchase for new Fire Station
A two-acre parcel of land at Hershey and Shepard roads could be home to a new station for the Normal Fire Department, based on plans under review.
Town officials are planning to purchase the land for $450,000 in an overture officials said is aimed at improving response times.
If the project does move forward, the new station would replace an existing facility on College Avenue. Town officials have been reviewing options, particularly as response times east of Veterans Parkway have been scrutinized.
Public Works will begin leaf collections this week
Normal’s public works crews began picking up leaves this week and will continue the service through the next six to eight weeks as colder temperatures continue setting in. In the coming weeks, DPW officials are asking residents to remember protocol to ensure the leaves are picked up promptly and properly.
Leaves should be raked to the back of the curb, on the grass, or to the shoulder of the roadway. Leaf piles should not exceed 3 feet in height.
Additionally, no leaves should be raked into gutters or the street. For more information, visit the town’s leaf collection page at www.normal.org.
–McLean County News Briefs–