McLean County news briefs

Illinois Wesleyan University,1211 Park St., Bloomington, will hold a fall open house at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. (Photo courtesy of IWU)


The Four Italian Tenors to perform at BCPA

For the first time in the United States, The Four Italian Tenors perform the greatest Tenor Arias and Songs of all time, in unique arrangements, created particularly for their U.S. Debut Tour.

Their performances are captivating, exhilarating, passionate, engaging and mesmerizing.

Hear this new generation of world class Tenors explore and present these classic works with panache, verve and vivacity, all in their own inimitable style.

Be transformed to the land of Italy, and bathe in its rich culture with the sounds of The Four Italian Tenors.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Tickets: $45/ $35/ $25/ Student $10

Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (309) 434-2777 or in person at the Ticket Office located at 600 N. East St., Bloomington.

New minimum wage law to be discussed

With the new Illinois minimum wage law changes taking effect next year, the McLean County Chamber of Commerce has heard concern and interest from many local business owners regarding how this change will affect your business, both financially and legally.
Join the McLean County Chamber of Commerce from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 2203 E Empire St, Bloomington, to learn more about important details of this new law, how you can prepare your business and how to avoid potentially very punitive measures for failure of compliance on you and your business.
There will also be time provided for open discussion and sharing of ideas on how business owners can be organized their approach to optimizing their business to take on these changes.

For more information, contact the Chamber at 309-829-6344 or at


Cannabis in the Workplace class helps prep employers

Heartland Community College is presenting a workshop to help Illinois employers prepare their businesses for the marijuana legalization measures going into effect at the beginning of the new year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Heartland will present Cannabis in the Workplace: Your Policies and Communications. The class will explore how new legislation affects companies and their employees.

“With Illinois’s upcoming legalization of cannabis, the re-evaluation of drug-free workplaces and safety policies is becoming a priority for employers,” said Angie Coughlin, Heartland Community College Director of Continuing Education Outreach and Professional Development.

At the workshop, Illinois State Sen. Jason Barickman will provide the need-to-know background on Illinois cannabis legislation and respond to questions attendees have about the state’s legalization measures.

Business professor Terry Lowe will discuss how employers can identify gaps in company policies and help participants work to map an effective communication plan for employees.

For more information, or to register for the Cannabis in the Workplace program, contact Heartland Community College at 309-268-8160 or visit Cost is $15. Pre-registration is required.

Program for developmentally disabled students marks 10 years

The Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) is celebrating ten years of providing students with developmental disabilities a pathway to independence.

Operated by Student Access and Accommodation Services, the HALO program provides a higher education experience for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and other learning challenges. The goal is to help students transition to the next level of independence in a supportive yet challenging environment.

When launched in 2009, Heartland’s HALO program was one of only three in the state of Illinois, joining Elmhurst College in the Chicago suburbs and Lewis and Clark College in Godfrey. Today, HALO students come to Heartland from all directions, including Clinton, Peoria, and Pontiac.

Students pursue a variety of coursework, including: cooking, money management skills, reading, technology, math, social development, health and wellness, and independent living. Outside of academics, HALO students develop the soft skills necessary for successful transition to adulthood. Upon completion of the program, a non-degree credential is awarded.

Today, HALO partners with Bloomington-Normal-based agencies like Marcfirst and Bridgeway to connect students with job shadowing, job coaching, and career opportunities.


 Town sets up schedule for leaf collection

Vacuum leaf collection for residents in Normal will begin Monday, November 4, 2019. Leaves should be raked to the back of the curb on the grass or to the shoulder of the roadway. Keep leaf piles no higher than three feet for safety.

The town says to not rake the leaves into the gutter or street.

The equipment used is a vacuum machine that is designed to collect leaves only. Items other than leaves, such as sticks, may cause clogs and possible equipment malfunction.

There are five zones throughout the town. Crews may take several days to pass through a single Zone. High volume, equipment malfunctions and/or bad weather can also slow down collection. Be reminded that collection is not a weekly event.

For daily updates on which Zone the leaf crews are currently working on, or to determine which Zone you live in, please check our website,, our Leaf Collection page.

During the seven to eight weeks that the leaf vacuum is running, do not place leaves in bags or cans for landscape waste collection. Other types of landscape waste, such as weeds, flowers or garden plants, should still be placed in open bags/cans or carts at the curb.

If you live in an area where cars are regularly parked in front of your residence, place the leaves at the edge of your driveway or as near to the driveway as possible.

Open burning of leaves is against the law.



 IDNR announces schedule for grant funding 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) have announced anticipated application deadlines for competitive grant programs for Illinois Fiscal Year 2020.

Grant program goals vary by program and include natural resource protection, management, and enhancement; recreational amenity and open space acquisition and development; museum capital improvement; and, environmental education. Eligible applicants vary by program and may include local governments, non-profits, universities, and individuals.

For all IDNR grant programs, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will be posted on or before the posted date on the Illinois Catalog of State Financial Assistance, available at this link:

Each NOFO will include eligibility information, application instructions and links to application materials.

To apply for ICF grants, visit

For information on IDNR grant programs, including FY 2020 deadlines and program information, click here:

To subscribe to IDNR’s grant opportunities email list, click here: