McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is limiting visitors due to a flu outbreak in the region. (Photo courtesy of OSF Healthcare)

McLean County

Drug overdose deaths declined in 2018        

As 2018 came to a close, McLean County officials revealed encouraging statistics concerning the years-long epidemic of overdose-related deaths related to fentanyl, heroin and other highly addictive opioids.

Representatives from the McLean County Coroner’s office last week revealed 28 overdose deaths were reported at the close of the year.

By comparison, there were 40 overdoses linked to opioids in 2017. Last year, law enforcement agencies and private organizations throughout the county and region began a series of new initiatives to try combating the complex problem.   

OSF St. Joseph limiting visitor access amid flu outbreak        

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington has joined a small group of other Central Illinois facilities and is putting a call out to visitors thinking of visiting a loved one in the hospital.

St. Joseph representatives are asking the public to limit the visits in the hopes of clamping down on the spread of the influenza virus, which has been on the rise.

According to information from the local medical center, OSF admitted more than two-dozen people with flu-related symptoms over several days around the turn of the new year.  

Museum to host its next Lunch and Learn session Jan. 10        

The McLean County Museum of History will host its next Lunch and Learn lecture series at 12:10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the facility, 200 N. Main St.

In the next installment, Ray Wilson, professor emeritus in physics at Illinois Wesleyan University, will discuss Hiroshima, Nagasaki and a workable moral strategy around achieving and preserving world peace.

The museum’s Lunch and Learn sessions are free and open to the public. For information, call 309-827-0428.

McLean County’s 43rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards luncheon will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Local commissions to host Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards luncheon        

The human relations commissions serving Bloomington and Normal are again teaming up this month and hosting McLean County’s 43rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards luncheon from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12.

The two commissions will honor five persons or organizations for actions the commissions’ leaders believe demonstrate King’s values and legacy. Tickets are $25 per person. For information, visit  


Police investigating armed robbery at Walgreens          

A man entered Walgreens, 909 S. Main St., at 8:08 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to information from the Bloomington Police Department.

A news release from the agency said the man approached an employee, wielding a knife, as he demanded the cash. He fled the store on foot after taking the cash.

According to surveillance footage, the suspect is described as a black man, wearing all black clothing and covering his face with a scarf. No injuries were reported during the robbery.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Steve Moreland at 309-434-2359 or

Police receive “shots fired” calls on Market Street

Bloomington Police received multiple calls of shots being fired in the 700 block of East Market Street about 6 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5.

According to department officials, no injuries have been reported in relation to the incident. Police are asking anyone with information to call the department at 309-820-8888.

Champaign-based pizza chain closes local eatery       

Garcia’s Pizza, a Champaign-based pizza chain with multiple locations in Central Illinois, has reportedly closed its Bloomington eatery at 608 N. Main St.

The company reportedly has not put out a formal announcement or placed signage on the doors making the closure official, but the store has not been open since the new year. Attempts to reach a staffer for confirmation via the Bloomington store’s published phone number by press deadline have been unsuccessful.   


Town of Normal officials fill vacant assistant city manager post     

Officials in the town of Normal are kicking off the new year by filling a vacant post high on staffing flow chart. Eric Hanson has been named the assistant city manager in Normal. He currently serves as a city administrator in Ballwin, Mo.

“We are extremely pleased to have Mr. Eric Hanson join the town of Normal in this leadership role,” City Manager Pam Reece said in a statement. “We are extremely fortunate to have attracted someone with his local government experience and with his vast vision and passion to assist the town in achieving our goals.”

Hanson’s resume also includes stints as city manager in Monmouth, Ill., and Indianola, Iowa.  



–McLean County News Briefs–