McLean County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music has received a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. (Photo courtesy of IWU)

McLean County

Bloomington-Normal jobless rates up nearly 1 percent        

The number of jobless claims filed in the Bloomington-Normal statistical area increased 0.9 percent in December, in year-over-year comparisons.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the number of jobless claims in the region in the last month of 2018 rose to 4.5 percent, up from the 3.6 percent the year prior.

A total of 4,400 persons in the Bloomington-Normal area filed jobless claims with the IDES. Bloomington-Normal was not the only Illinois area to report increased claims last month; 12 other metro areas across the state also reported rises.

Heartland alumni group seeks award nominees

The Heartland Community College Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the Distinguished Alumni award. According to organizers, the annual initiative is designed to recognize notable Heartland alumni who demonstrate exceptional achievement in the profession and make a positive impact in the community.

“We encourage co-workers, family members, friends and professors to consider taking a few minutes to nominate a former Heartland student who deserves to be honored,” Chris Downing, executive director of the association, said in a statement.

Nomination forms are available at and are due Friday, March 29. They can be emailed to Gena Glover at   


District 87 named in study for increase in segregation          

Bloomington School District 87 was among a group of area Central Illinois systems named to a recent study on segregation in Governing, a trade magazine geared toward professionals working in municipal and education sectors.

According to the magazine, District 87 once had schools with a majority white population, but the scenario has since flipped, rather than shifting to a more integrated mix. Local education officials have indicated they are looking into the issue and will attempt remedies in the years ahead.

Billy Tyus

Another professional from Decatur filling top city post          

After a series of vetting exercises, Bloomington officials found a new deputy city manager in the same place they found the top-in-command city manager, in Decatur. Mayor Tari Renner and the City Council have named Billy Tyus to the deputy position, effective Thursday, Feb. 7.

Tyus, who will receive a salary of $152,500, has been serving as Decatur’s interim city manager.

Last year, Bloomington officials appointed Tim Gleason to the city manager post. Gleason also hails from Decatur. When he relinquished his city manager position in Decatur to come to Bloomington, Tyus assumed Gleason’s former position on an interim basis.

IWU’s School of Music awarded Illinois Arts Council grant           

Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music recently earned a $14,700 grant from the Illinois Arts Council agency in support of programs and music events on campus and in the broader Bloomington-Normal area.

Victoria Folse, interim director of the school of music, said the grant funding is notable because of the community outreach component. “(It) allows the school of music to have a greater artistic presence in the community and makes quality programming available for individuals and families in the region,” Folse said in a statement.


New supplement retailer opening in development     

In the coming weeks, a new retailer, Supplement Superstore, will occupy a space in a multi-tenant development at 115 Veterans Parkway. The business will be situated alongside several dining establishments, including CoreLife Eatery and the Original Pancake House.

Supplement Superstore’s business model includes such consultative services as workout plans and expertise on diet and nutrition.   

Plans for new fire station moving forward     

After months of discussion at Town Council meetings, Normal officials are moving forward on a plan to construct a new fire station on a 1.7-acre parcel at Hershey and Shepherd roads on the northeast side of the community.

Residents living near the site have expressed concerns about noise and other quality-of-life issues, but the council last week opted to move forward on the proposal, pointing to a broader comprehensive plan and aspirations of improved response times.

Amendments to come to 5-year consolidated plan     

Normal officials are in the process of considering several changes to a five-year consolidated plan, according to a notice posted on the town’s website.

The plan, in particular, touches on long-range planning and its tie-in with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements.

The current iteration of the consolidated plan is nearing the end of its cycle and is about to undergo review.

Details of changes under consideration will be discussed in greater detail at a meeting and public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Normal Public Library, 206 W. College Ave. For information, call the town’s planning and zoning department at 309-454-9590.



–McLean County News Briefs–