McLean County news briefs

Comlara Park will host the annual Fall Colors Family Day on Oct. 19. (Photo courtesy of McLean County


 Fall Colors Family Day features hayrides

Comlara Park, 13001 Recreation Area Drive, will be the location to celebrate fall with activities for all ages on Saturday, Oct. 19. The activities go from 1 to 9 p.m.

The schedule for the day is as follows

  • 1 – 4 p.m. children’s games and pumpkin decorating
  • 4 p.m. pumpkin decorating judging (ages 12 an under)
  • 4 p.m. Halloween bag decorating contest (ages 12 an under)
  • 1-4 p.m. tic-tac-toe, bean bag toss, cookie decorating, firetrucks
  • 1 – 5:30 p.m. Hayrack rides, marshmallow/hotdog roast
  • 1:30 p.m. marshmallow toss
  • 2:30 p.m. bean bags toss tourney (ages 16 and older)
  • 3:30 p.m. relay races
  • 4:30 p.m. little goblins candy hunt (ages 12 and younger)
  • 5 p.m. marshmallow eating contest
  • 5:30 – 7 p.m. trick or treating in the campground
  • 7 – 9 p.m. haunted trail hayrack rides, $1 per person

From more information, call 309-434-6770.



Get ready to be spooked along the Haunted Trail

The Constitution Trail provides the perfect setting to for scary and spooky pre-Halloween entertainment.

The Haunted Trail takes place on two weekends in October.

The Not So Scary Haunted Trail will be Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 10-12 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Scary Haunted Trail will be Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The scary weekend is recommended for people 13 and older or children accompanied by an adult.

Participants should line up behind Normal City Hall Annex at 100 E. Phoenix Ave.

The haunting begins after crossing Vernon Avenue and continues to the Connie Link Amphitheatre (approximately one-quarter mile).

Be prepared to be spooked by sound and lighting effects (strobe lighting is included), spooky creatures and displays. Persons with conditions that can be aggravated by strobe lighting should not attend this activity. Free face painting and hot chocolate will be at the end of the trail.

There is a strict limitation to 1,600 adults and children per night. As soon as the maximum has been reached the trail will be closed.

There is a $2 per person charge. The first weekend only canned food donations will count towards a free admission. Canned food donations will also be accepted the second weekend but will not count toward free admission. Donations will go to a local food pantry.

Pets, skates or bikes are not permitted along the trail.

The dirt trail portion is not accessible to strollers and wheelchairs due to the uneven and narrow terrains.

Parking is available at the Parks and Rec Office, 100 E. Phoenix, and Chiddix Jr. High, 300 S. Walnut. A shuttle will transport you back to City Hall Annex and the Chiddix parking lots.

There is a $2 per person charge. The first weekend only canned food donations will count towards a free admission. Canned food donations will also be accepted the second weekend but will not count toward free admission. Donations will go to a local food pantry.


Plans made for new multicultural center location

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz announced the location for the new campus Multicultural Center during his annual State of the University Address. The center will be located in the current Instructional Technology and Development Center, 301 S. Main St., Normal.

Illinois State University plans a new multicultural center in the current Instructional Technology and Development Center, 301 S. Main St., Normal. (Photo courtesy of ISU)

The existing university-owned building provides a large and readily adaptable space for programming and services.

Current plans call for the new Multicultural Center to be in place and functional by the fall of 2020.

Input from multiple campus stakeholders and information on multicultural centers at other campuses helped to shape the vision for Illinois State’s center. Last spring, the University’s Multicultural Center Taskforce made recommendations to the President’s Office regarding the spaces, services, and staffing for the center.

“Given our strong desire for the campus community to fully embrace our value of diversity and inclusion, the Multicultural Center Taskforce held focus groups across campus to obtain feedback from students, faculty, staff, and community members,” said Levester Johnson, Illinois State vice president for Student Affairs. “It was essential that many voices were represented throughout the process in order to identify the needs of our students and determine solutions to best meet those needs.”

The Instructional Technology and Development Center is currently the home of Illinois State University’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT). During his State of the University Address, Dietz also announced that CTLT will be temporarily moved to Williams Hall, while a permanent CTLT space is created within Milner Library.


IDPH urge residents not to vape during

As the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to investigate respiratory illnesses associated with vaping, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike are urging members of the public not to use e-cigarettes or vaping devices.

People who continue to use e-cigarette products despite this warning should not buy these products off the street, modify e-cigarette products, nor add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

The Center for Disease Control’s investigation has not identified any particular e-cigarette product or vaping device that is causing acute respiratory illnesses.

In addition to the general warning of the risks associated with vaping, IDPH is warning of the increased risks associated with vaping by adolescents and young adults. According to the CDC, nicotine found in e-cigarettes causes harm in the brain development of youth who vape, and those young people may be more likely to progress to traditional cigarettes.

IDPH is conducting a survey to try to understand if vaping habits are different among people who have become sick after vaping, compared to those who have not become sick. It is an anonymous survey that takes only a few minutes and asks basic questions about the individual’s vaping habits. The survey can be found here:

In addition to these efforts, Gov. Pritzker supports moving forward this veto session with strong and effective legislation to ban flavored vaping products, which are particularly targeted at young people. Vaping products are illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase in the state of Illinois under legislation the Governor advocated for and signed into law this year.

If you have vaped or used e-cigarettes and are experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, cough, or other respiratory symptoms, seek immediate medical attention and let doctors know you have vaped.

No nicotine products are safe. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes, contact your doctor or call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937).


Fall trout season opens statewide on Oct. 19

The 2019 Illinois Fall Trout Fishing Season opens Saturday, Oct. 19 at 57 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout the state.

An early opportunity at select trout sites —the Fall Catch-and-Release Fishing Season — will open Oct. 5 at locations marked with an asterisk (*) in the list below. No trout may be kept during the catch and release fishing period, but anglers can keep trout after the opening of the regular season beginning Oct. 19.

The Illinois catchable trout program is funded by those who use the program through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps and through the Illinois Fish Management Fund.

The IDNR has added one new site for Fall Trout Fishing in 2019, Kaufman Lake in Champaign, maintaining the stocking of rainbow trout to 67,000 fish in the fall season. Rock Springs Pond in Decatur will be temporarily removed from stocking due to a maintenance project at that site.

No trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from Oct. 1 until the fall trout season opens at 5  a.m. Oct. 19. Anyone attempting to take (harvest) trout before the legal harvest season opening will be issued citations.

All anglers —including those who intend to release fish caught before Oct. 19 — must have a valid fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.

Illinois fishing licenses and Inland Trout Stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. Check the IDNR website at:

Fishing licenses and trout stamps also can be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at

The 57 locations that will be open for Fall Trout Fishing Season are listed here