McLean County news briefs

The summer concert series at the Connie Link Amphitheatre in Normal comes to a close this weekend.


CPR/AED/First Aid class teaches lifesaving skills

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center will offer a Heartsaver® CPR/AED/First Aid class Wednesday, October 9, from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center, 1111 Trinity Lane, Bloomington.

Heartsaver CPR/AED/First Aid is a “first responders” course for anyone who wants to learn basic CPR and First Aid skills, as well as proper AED use.  It is approved by DCFS for day care providers.

It covers how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies, including cardiac arrest and choking for adults, children and infants; how to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke in adults; and breathing difficulties for children.  Certification is valid for two years.

This class is not intended for health care professionals. A CPR certification card will be emailed after successful completion of the hands-on first aid skills and manikin practice.

Class fee is $65, and registration is required. Please visit to register.

Museum program: How lessons from 1860 apply to today

What insights does the 1860 presidential election provide for the 2020 Election?

The topic and question is explored with Robert Bradley, emeritus professor of Politics and Government at  Illinois State University, at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 at the McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main St., Bloomington.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln unexpectedly won the presidency, a major political party died, and a new one formed. Will one or both major political parties disappear in 2020? What type of party will replace either or both of the parties? And will a third party become a national force in 2020? Parallels between the two presidential elections will be drawn and whether 2020 is likely to become a critical election like the 1860 election will be discussed.

Bring your lunch and enjoy the free Lunch and Learn series on the second Thursday of each month, September through May. This program is a collaboration between the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Red panda at Miller Park Zoo gives birth

Miller Park Zoo’s pair of red pandas, “Ernie” and “Masala,” are the proud parents of three cubs born at the facility on June 16. The litter consists of one male and two females

The birth of these panda cubs is the first ever bred and born here at Miller Park Zoo.

Miller Park Zoo’s new Red Panda cubs made their public experience last week. The cubs were born in June. (Photo courtesy of Miller Park Zoo)

At present, the cubs are spending time with mom, Masala, and will be introduced to dad, Ernie, once they are a little bit older.

A typical litter is one to four cubs, and the gestation period is 4 months. Surprisingly, red panda fossils have been discovered in North America that date as far back as 5 million years.

Today, however, red pandas are only found in small, isolated mountain territories above 4,000 feet in China, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Burma.

“We’re very excited to announce the birth of these red panda cubs,” explained Jay Tetzloff, Miller Park Zoo Director. “We’re all looking forward to watching them grow up, and with the species being endangered it is significant from a conservation standpoint.”

The cubs can be seen with their mother on exhibit starting this week.

A new red panda exhibit is in Phase I of the Zoo’s Master Plan. The Miller Park Zoological Society is currently fundraising for implementation of the Plan.


Summer outdoor concert series winding down

Lisa G and the Good Reasons will perform the last show of the summer in the Sounds of the Connie Link Amphitheatre Concert Series on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on and enjoy the free summer performances of the “Sounds of the Connie Link Amphitheatre” Concert Series. Overflow parking is available at Underwood Park.

For inclement weather information, call our HOTLINE at (309) 433-3434, #3.


 Heartland College sees increase in freshmen class

Heartland Community College has seen new undergrad student enrollment grow for the 2019-20 school year.

Enrollment numbers at Census Day (the 10th day of classes) show an increase of 7 percent in the number of undergraduate students new to Heartland and an increase of 3.7 percent in number of credit hours they are taking.

“It’s encouraging to see more new faces beginning their college career at Heartland,” said President Keith Cornille. “As we continue our strategic enrollment management efforts we hope to see enrollment growth continue as the college continues its premier transfer preparation and also adds new Work Ready certification programs targeted at those in the community seeking to change or advance their career opportunities.”

The 1,554 new Heartland students make up the school’s largest freshman class in four years.

“The biggest jump in new student numbers comes from freshmen who took dual credit College NOW classes,” said Sarah Diel-Hunt, vice president of Enrollment and Student Service. “We are seeing more students get their start on college courses in high school and then bring those credits to Heartland. Some of these students earn enough dual credit to complete their associate’s degree just one year after high school.”

The college also saw an increase of students who re-enrolled in Heartland after an absence of three or more semesters away.

Although the incoming class of students was larger, numbers were down among continuing students with a slight overall decrease in total number of students (-1.3 percent).


AmeriCorps Funds Now Available from Serve Illinois

The Serve Illinois Commission (Serve Illinois) today announced that funding is available for agencies interested in administering AmeriCorps programs in the state.  The grant places AmeriCorps Members in communities to improve education and health care, protect public safety, safeguard the environment, provide disaster relief, and promoting civic engagement through service. Last year, Serve Illinois’ AmeriCorps programs invested over $100 million into Illinois communities and served nearly 400,000 people.

“Each year, AmeriCorps members dedicate a year of their lives to get things done in Illinois,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “Members work with disadvantaged youth, veterans and their families, people with disabilities, the homeless, and many other individuals who need a helping hand to succeed.”

Serve Illinois administers the AmeriCorps state programs in Illinois and is charged with enhancing and supporting community volunteerism.  Serve Illinois is funded, in part, by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and currently supports 46 AmeriCorps programs throughout the state.

AmeriCorps members receive student loan deferment and training.  Full-time members are also eligible to receive a modest living allowance and health insurance.  Members who successfully complete their service receive an educational award to help pay for college, graduate school, vocational training, or to pay off student loans.  If the member is 55 or over, they may transfer the education award to a child, grandchild, or foster child.

Serve Illinois will host mandatory webinars in September and October for those interested in applying.  Webinar details and information about the application process are available at  Applications are due by November 17, 2019.  Funded programs will begin their work in July or August 2020.