McLean County news briefs

Registration is now open for 4-H archery classes being held at the McLean County Fairgrounds this month. (Photo courtesy of Illinois 4-H)

4-H dog obedience, agility classes available

All 4-H members enrolled in the dog project area are invited to participate in Dog Obedience & Rally and/or Dog Agility Classes that will be held at the McLean County Fairgrounds, 2301 W. Market St., Bloomington.

These classes will be held Monday nights starting April 22 thru July 22 (no class on the week of Memorial Day and July 4).  Class times are as follows: obedience and rally at 6-7 p.m. and agility at 7:15-8:15 p.m.

The cost is $10 and includes all 12 weeks of classes.

First-time participants must come with your dog to registration. Registration will be held on Monday, April 15, between 6-7 p.m. at the McLean County Fairgrounds in the Mini Expo Building. Bring a copy of your current rabies vaccination for the 4-H staff to keep to participate in the workshops.  If you don’t have a lead or training collar, a recommendation will be made and some will be available for purchase.

If you have participated in Dog Obedience or Dog Agility in the past fill out the information at and bring a copy of current rabies vaccination on the first night of class (April 22).  You do not need to attend registration on April 15.

If you have any questions, contact Kaitlyn Prehoda at or 309-663-8306.

Archery workshop coming to county fairgrounds


Register now for the April 4-H Archery Workshop on Monday, April 22, offered by state certified 4-H archery instructors at the McLean County Fairgrounds in the West Expo Building, 1106 Interstate Drive, Bloomington.

It will be a level 2 workshop and times are 6:15-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Participants must have completed a Level 1 Archery Workshop before they can participate in a Participation space is limited and registrations will be accepted on a first-registered, first-served basis. Register for sessions you are certain you are able to attend and notify Kaitlyn Prehoda ( or 309-663-8306, if you discover you are unable to attend a session you originally signed up for.

All equipment will be supplied; a $2 fee for materials will be charged per workshop.

If 4-H members and parents are available to come early to help set up or stay late to put equipment away the instructors would appreciate their help.

Participants must be enrolled in 4-H, in a Shooting Sports SPIN Club, and enrolled in Archery as a 4-H project to attend this workshop.  Additionally, they need to complete a medical form and release of liability form and return it to the Extension Office or bring the completed forms to the workshop.

To enroll in 4-H, a McLean County Shooting Sports SPIN Club, and an archery project visit:


Input sought for housing and community development needs

The City of Bloomington and Town on Normal are working to improve housing and neighborhoods, with approximately $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding received each year to drive that work forward.

In partnership with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, the city and town are working on a five-year plan to allocate those scarce resources to best meet the needs of the communities.

To aid the communities in making good investments, input from residents is being sought via a brief survey.

The survey is available online at in English, Spanish and French. Paper copies and survey drop boxes are located at various locations throughout the community. Visit for an up-to-date list of drop box locations.

Contact the following representatives from the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, Town of Normal and City of Bloomington for more information: Lauren Gibson, community planner, McLean County Regional Planning Commission, 309-434-6836 /; Taylor Long, associate planner, Town of Normal, 309-454-9642 /; and Jennifer Toney, grants coordinator, city of Bloomington, 309-434-2342 /

Police chief announces retirement this summer

Clay Wheeler, Bloomington police chief

Police Chief Clay Wheeler announced last week his intention to retire. His last working day is anticipated to be June 21.

“When I became Chief in May 2018, I planned on serving in this capacity for some years,” explained Wheeler. “However, serious family health issues have led me to change those plans. My wife was diagnosed with cancer a month after I took over as chief, and while she is well on her way to recovery, her struggle with cancer has led me to this decision. It is time to put family first and go enjoy life.

“I have proudly served 31 years in Law Enforcement, 28 in the community in which I grew up,” Wheeler continued. “Bloomington is a fantastic place to grow up and a great place to raise a family. The Bloomington Police Department is full of dedicated professionals that will continue to proudly serve this fine community.”

City Manager Tim Gleason said, “It is with regret that I’ve accepted Chief Wheeler’s retirement notice. He has served this community well and led the department with honor and integrity. However, I understand family comes first. While this will be a time of transition for the department, I have full confidence in our dedicated team of public safety professionals.”


 Healthcare providers reach out about immunizations

Advocate Children’s Hospital and its partners in pediatrics at NorthShore University HealthSystem are proactively reaching out to parents whose children are not immunized for measles.

Thousands of letters have been sent to pediatric patients across Illinois encouraging parents to call their pediatrician immediately and get their children immunized.

On April 9, on the campus of Advocate Children’s Hospital-Park Ridge, the two chief medical directors, Frank Belmonte, D.O., (Advocate Children’s Hospital) and Michael Caplan, M.D. (NorthShore University HealthSystem) held a media conference to explain the initiative and why it is critical that parents react quickly and vaccinate their children.

For the past 20 years, it appeared that the measles had been eliminated. Unfortunately, the highly contagious childhood disease is back.  In fact, in the first three months of 2019, the United States has seen more cases than in all of 2018.  It is the second largest outbreak in decades.

The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is critical in protecting the community from the spread of measles. When you immunize your son or daughter, you are not only protecting them, you are protecting the most vulnerable children and adults around them.


 Pritzker names new members to Council on Women and Girls

Gov. J.B. Pritzker named 21 new members of the Illinois Council on Women and Girls at a reception in Springfield. Formed in 2018, the council’s mission is to advise the governor and the General Assembly on policy issues impacting women and girls in Illinois.

“The new members of the Illinois Council on Women and Girls will help Illinois become a national leader in addressing issues impacting women and girls,” said Pritzker. “For decades, I’ve been committed to making sure that the voices of women and girls are heard in our debates, and I look forward to listening to the Council and its members to advance our shared priorities.”

Pritzker named Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton as chair of the council.

The new members of the Council are Pamela Althoff, Amanda Basso, Candace Coleman, Sylvia Collins, Rochelle Crump, Brandy Donaldson, Veronica Espina, Theresa Forthofer, Monique Garcia, Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Aileen Kim, Ines Kutlesa, Jennifer Lee, Maaria Mozaffer, Wendy Pollack, Dr. Vidyha Prakash, Nikita Richards, Drella Savage, Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, Rhonda Thomas and Amina Zaffer.

The council consists of 21 members. The governor, the president of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives are each able to appoint four public members to the council.

The reception included speakers from across the state who congratulated the new members and celebrated the Council. The reception’s featured guests included girls from Springfield’s Boys and Girls Club, I AM E.N.O.U.G.H, a Springfield program seeking to empower young women and girls from the Springfield Girl Scout Troop.