McLean County news briefs


Davis Mansion will get dressed up for Christmas

Christmas at the Mansions in Bloomington:  The 2019 “Christmas At the Mansions” event in Bloomington Saturday, Dec. 7 from 2 to 7 p.m. will feature two of Illinois’ most beautiful historic homes.

The event will include special holiday tours of the historic David Davis Mansion, home of Judge David Davis, his wife Sarah and their family as they celebrate “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.” Holiday revelers also will be invited to tour the stately Ewing Manor as part of the Christmas at the Mansions event in which both homes will be elegantly decorated for Christmas.

Tour tickets may be purchased in advance for $15 at the David Davis Mansion Visitors Center, Casey’s Garden Center, The Garlic Press, HyVee, or either Schnucks location in Bloomington-Normal.

Tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $18 and will only be available at the David Davis Mansion.

Miller Park Zoo lighting up for the holidays

Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington will be lit up at night on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7 beginning at 5 p.m. each night.

At this seventh annual event and witness over hundreds of luminaries around the entire Zoo.

Admission to the event is $3 per person (ages 3 and up) for members, $7 per person (ages 3 and up) for non-members, under the age of 3 get in for free.

Get into the holiday mood and stop by Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington for it Wild Lights display on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7 beginning at 5 p.m. each night. (Photos courtesy of city of Bloomington)


Chamber of Commerce marks Small Business Saturday

The McLean County Chamber of Commerce is excited to partner with the Small Business Development Center to help celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30 from clock

12:01 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Participating locations will have shoppers visiting their store in order to enter to win one of our fabulous prizes, or the cash grand prize.

There’s no cost to participate and you don’t have to be a Chamber member or client of the SBDC to join in.

Register and you’ll be set to take part in McLean County’s first ever Shop Small – Win Big Sweepstakes.

 City officials will present review of local economy

Join the McLean County Chamber for the conclusion of its  four-part “State of” series with the State of Bloomington-Normal on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at  Illinois Wesleyan University, 1312 Park St, Bloomington.

This conversation with mayors and city managers, will feature Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner, Normal Mayor Chris Koos, Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason, and Normal City Manager Pam Reece. The panel will discuss local issues important to the business community including cannabis regulation in jurisdictions, sign code amendments, the sports complex, and more.

For more information, call 309-556-1000 and go to



 Registration now open for Breakfast with Santa event

The town of Normal Parks and Recreation Department invites residents to come for breakfast and a visit with Santa Claus beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8 at the Parks and Rec Center at 100 E Phoenix Ave., Normal.

Families can enjoy a buffet-style meal followed by Christmas carols and a special visit from Santa with plenty of time for photos.

Each child will receive a small gift along with a special surprise for those on Santa’s Nice List.
Pre-registration is required. Tables are assigned in advance, so you need to notify the department if you would like to be seated with another family.

Go to to register and call 309-454-9540 with questions.

The town of Normal is hosting a breakfast and a visit with Santa Claus on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8. Registration is now open. (Photo courtesy of town of Normal)


Illinois Wesleyan University names next president

S. Georgia Nugent, Ph.D., president emerita of Kenyon College, will lead Illinois Wesleyan University as the institution’s 20th president.

Nugent, who joined the university as interim president in August 2019, becomes the first woman to serve as President of Illinois Wesleyan. The Board of Trustees announced her appointment Nov. 14.

“I originally arrived at Illinois Wesleyan as interim president, planning only to be on the campus for one year,” Nugent said. “But I quickly came to love the institution, its mission, and its people — faculty, students, staff and alumni. I felt that we could work together to build a stronger Illinois Wesleyan University for the future.”

Board Chair Timothy J. Szerlong said, “Georgia’s influence on the Illinois Wesleyan community was evident from the day she arrived on campus. Her wealth of experience in higher education, her engaging leadership style, and her unwavering commitment to academic excellence gives our Board of Trustees every confidence that she will have a profound impact in shaping the future of IWU.”

Presidential Search Committee Chair W. Thomas Lawrence added, “As our Interim President, Georgia has exhibited strong leadership skills in an honest and transparent manner that have won her the respect of the University community.”

While serving as Illinois Wesleyan’s president, Nugent will continue to assist with some CIC projects, as an advocate for the value of liberal arts education.

Nugent is married to Tom Scherer, who practices international law.


Red Cross hosting blood drives during  holiday season 

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets.

While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give now through Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Additionally, those who come to give Nov. 27-30 will receive an exclusive long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last.

Here are some tips from the Red Cross on how to make donating blood easy.

  • It’s quick and easy to find a convenient blood drive. Search for drives by ZIP code and make an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, online at, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
  • Donors can save time by completing a RapidPass®. The entire donation process only takes about an hour, but donors can save time with RapidPass. Pre-donation reading and health history questions can be completed online to save about 15 minutes.
  • Donors will get important health information. Donors receive a mini-health screening to help determine eligibility that includes blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin readings. First-time donors will also find out their blood type soon after donating.

As schedules fill with holiday parties, shopping and fun with friends and family, many blood and platelet donors delay giving. Unfortunately, that may lead to delays in treatments for patients relying on blood. Right now, there is a critical need for type O blood donors.

The Red Cross is thanking those who come to give through Dec. 18 with a $5 Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at