McLean County news briefs

The Manor at Ewing Cultural Center in Bloomington is now open for the season for tours. (Photo courtesy of Illinois State U.)


 Historic manor open now for summer season

Mimicking the arch found on the manor’s front door you’ll also find three archways leading into the courtyard area between the Manor and the stable. Select your favorite archway to frame a different part of the Ewing Cultural Center.

The Manor at Ewing Cultural Center is now open for free public tours from 4-6 p.m. Mondays from May to October. The last tour leaves at 5:30 p.m. Tours take approximately an hour.

Tours will not be available on Memorial Day or Labor Day.  Although there is no charge, donations are accepted. Tours for groups may be arranged on other days for a fee, depending on the availability of the facility.

Built between 1928-1929, the Manor celebrated its 90th anniversary in the fall of 2018. A time capsule placed by Davis and Hazle Buck Ewing was opened to celebrate the event. Time capsule contents will be on display for guests to view. Mrs. Ewing donated the property to the Illinois State University Foundation upon her death in 1969.

Climbing stairs is required to take the tour. Parking is located across the street at St. John’s Lutheran Church. For more information contact Toni Tucker at 309-438-6333 or go online.


High school community theater returns this summer 

Don’t miss an opportunity to witness one of the finest high school theater groups in central Illinois with summer theater productions in Normal.

The town’s parks and recreation web site states, “Our mission is to provide local high school students the opportunity to practice their craft in an outdoor, community setting.”
All performances will be at the Connie Link Amphitheatre, 621 S Linden St, Normal.

A full schedule of performances is found at
Restroom facilities as well as wheelchair seating are available. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Some rental chairs are available at the music theater performances.

Audience members are encouraged to bring insect repellent and a flashlight. Concessions will be available.


Local leaders hold Education to Employer Summit

McLean County Chamber of Commerce is coordinating an Education to Employer Summit on May 20.

Join school district officials, local employers, and community leaders for an afternoon discussion on building the talent pipeline in McLean County on Monday, May 20 at 4 p.m.  at Heartland Community College.

Participants will join conversations on innovation and collaboration between education and industry, how we are hitting the mark in producing students capable of performing in the modern world, and how a shared vision of strengthening our workforce will build a stronger community.

Registration is free. Go to for more information.



Wildlife Prairie Park, River City Club hosting Train Day

Wildlife Prairie Park in Hanna City is celebrating Train Day on Saturday, May 11 and Pekin’s River City Model Railroad Club will be there, providing operating displays and answering questions.

The day-long festivity is an annual event, this year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the park’s Wildlife Prairie Park Railroad. Besides the displays and model train layouts from the River City Model Railroad Club and other regional groups, there will be half-priced train rides on the Prairie Zephyr all day.

Other activities include a Train Scavenger Hunt, CAT Rail Car Giveaways, train merchandise for sale, a rail car display and crafts and games for kids.

The Wildlife Prairie Park Train Museum will be open in the Depot and there will be animal programs, as well.

The River City Model Railroad Club donates their time, displays and efforts to highlight and promote the hobby of model railroading to all.

For information, contact Rick Stephenson at 309-339-2896 or

American Red Cross encourages blood donations

The American Red Cross needs donors to give blood during Trauma Awareness Month

and throughout the year to help ensure that trauma centers are prepared the moment an injured

patient arrives.

Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to help meet the needs of trauma patients and

others with serious medical conditions. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading

the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS


In thanks, all those who come to donate blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross now

through June 10, will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply;

see More information and details are available at

Major traumas can quickly deplete a hospital’s blood supply. By giving blood, platelets

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-

800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

 Prairie Rivers Network names new exec director

The Prairie Rivers Network Board of Directors has appointed Elliot Brinkman as the organization’s new executive director. Brinkman, a seasoned member of the staff, assumes this leadership role at a time of significant growth and optimism for the state-wide environmental organization.

“Elliot brings a wealth of knowledge and commitment to the organization and our mission to protect water, heal land, and inspire change,” Board of Directors President Jon McNussen said.

With over eight years of experience as the organization’s water resources specialist, Brinkman is well versed in its programs and goals. Last December, he assumed the role of interim director, demonstrating a steadfast resolve in ensuring the organization’s strength and stability during the transition.

“This organization has been a leader on environmental issues for over 50 years, and with our talented professional staff and strong network of members and supporters, we will honor that legacy as we continue to evolve and expand our work to protect the water, rivers, and wildlife of Illinois,” Brinkman said

As Illinois continues to face environmental challenges like climate change and threats to water and wildlife, Prairie Rivers Network states its commitment to these issues. “There are tremendous opportunities to contribute to a healthier environment and better quality of life for all Illinois residents, “ the organization states on its website. PRN is the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.


Dept. on Aging marks Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month in Illinois and the state’s Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging its more than 2.7 million older adults to “Connect, Create, and Contribute” in their communities. That’s the theme of this year’s recognition, which emphasizes the importance of engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.

In Illinois, people 85 years of age and older is the fastest growing segment of the older population, and by 2030, individuals 65 years of age and older will increase to represent almost 25% of Illinois’s population.

Throughout the month of May, the Department on Aging encourages members of the Aging Network and local communities to raise awareness of programs and services available for seniors at ceremonies, events, fairs, and other activities throughout the state.

For more information about programs and services to assist older adults in Illinois, their families and caregivers, log on to the department website at: or call the Department on Aging at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 1-888-206-1327).