McLean County news briefs

Skye Schumaker


Town hosting American Red Cross blood drive

The Town of Normal and the Normal Police Department are joining to present a blood drive for the American Red Cross on Thursday, Dec. 11

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the multipurpose room at 11 Uptown Circle.

For an appointment, call the Red Cross at 800-Red-Cross (800) 733-2767 or visit

You can save up to 15 minutes in the process by using RapidPass.  Go to for more information.

When you go to give blood, bring a photo ID and or your blood donor card, or two other forms of identification.

Town to hold public hearing on block grant plan

The Town of Normal is required to craft and adopt a five-year Consolidated Plan and annual Action Plan detailing the goals for and use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in the community. The 2020-24 Consolidated Plan summarizes all public and stakeholder input collected over the past eight months and details priorities and objectives for spending over the course of the next five years.

The 2020-2021 Action Plan describes CDBG-funded projects and activities proposed for the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This will be the first year of the Town’s new five-year Consolidated Plan.
The Town’s annual entitlement grant for program year 2020-2021 is estimated to be approximately $396,000. In addition to the entitlement grant, the Town expects to have $2,000 in program income and approximately $369,304 in carryover funds from the prior program years.

The Consolidated Plan and Action Plan were prepared in accordance with regulations established by HUD for CDBG entitlement communities.
A public hearing will be held to solicit comments on the proposed Consolidated Plan and Action Plan on Tuesday, Dec. 17, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Café on the first floor of the Normal Public Library at 206 W College Ave., Normal.

Public comments on the proposed plans will be accepted through Saturday, Jan. 11, Written comments should be submitted to the Town Clerk’s Office on the second floor of Uptown Station (11 Uptown Circle, Normal, IL 61761) or via email to



 4-H Foundation awards $49,000 scholarships

The Youth Education Committee of the Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliates awarded 10 Illinois 4-H members with its Leadership, Citizenship, and Professionalism Award at a ceremony held in Champaign. In addition to the award, the winners participate in an elite leadership training.

The winners included Hannah Barger, Pope County; Alexander Ford, DuPage County; Julia Heller, Ogle County; Kaleb Hemrich, Richland County; Danielle Lynn, Hamilton County; Jennifer McConnaughhay, Marion County; Seth Mitchell, Richland County; Josh Rossi, Grundy County; Skye Schumaker, McLean County; and Sara Timm, Marion County.

Presenting the scholarships on behalf of the Illinois Farm Bureau was Jenny Webb, Farm Bureau membership and program specialist. In addition to her work in Farm Bureau, Jenny is a McLean County 4-H alumna and former Extension staff member.

Normal Police Department and ISU police delivered more than 65 Thanksgiving Baskets to deserving families throughout Bloomington-Normal. The event came to be through generous donations to Normal Police Benevolent and Protective Association (PB&PA Unit 22). (Photo courtesy of the Norma Police Dept.)

Heartland offers special express enrollment week

Heartland Community College is scheduling a fast-track enrollment period for the week of Dec. 16-20 , from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on  Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.

During this week, students will be able to complete their Heartland application, complete any required placement testing, meet with an academic advisor, prepare to register for classes and get answers to financial aid questions.

Students need to bring with them a photo ID (for residency and Testing Center check-in), SAT/ACT/PSAT scores, if you have completed those tests within the past two years, and any official/ unofficial college transcript(s) if you have previous college coursework.

For more information, call contact Jennie at 309-268-8401 or go to



Time to register for the Youth Goose Hunt,

Youth interested in participating in the annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt, sponsored by the IDNR, may register now for the hunt scheduled for Jan. 19-20, 2020.

To register for a drawing to participate in the hunt, youth hunters must phone in to the IDNR at 217-785-8060 by the registration deadline of Friday, Jan. 3, 2020.

The youth goose hunt will be held at private waterfowl hunting clubs in the Canton area in Fulton County. A lottery drawing involving all youth who phone in to register will be conducted Jan. 6, 2020, and youth hunters selected will be notified by mail.

First-time applicants will be given a priority over previous participants in the drawing. The hunt is open to youth ages 10-17 at the time of the hunt.

 IEMA highlights holiday safety in December

With the holiday season in full swing, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering tips to help people stay safe now and into the new year.  From decorating the tree to traveling to grandma’s house with a sleigh full of new toys, be sure to take simple steps to keep your family safe.

Decorating —Whether decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve, candles and strings of colored lights create a festive atmosphere but it’s important to be careful when using them.

Candles should never be left unattended, and placed far away from flammable materials.

Candles should also be placed on stable furniture in fire-safe holders that will catch dripping wax.  Holiday lights and electrical decorations should bear the name of an independent testing lab to prove they were safety tested.

 Heating —Chimneys, fireplaces and wood and coal stoves should be regularly inspected and cleaned when necessary.  Additionally, furnaces should be checked every year by professionals to ensure mechanical parts are functioning properly and that nothing is blocking the flue.

Malfunctioning furnaces increase both the fire and carbon monoxide risks.

Under Illinois law, homes should be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of each sleeping area.

The detectors should be tested monthly to ensure they’re functioning and the batteries are still good.  Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or attached garage because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Shopping — Whether shopping online or in the store, be sure to utilize smart shopping techniques this holiday season. If shopping online, connect with care.

Make sure your home wireless network is password protected, and set strong passwords that make it hard for cyber criminals to guess.

During the holidays, scammers may send fake emails requiring you to click a link for a special offer.  Shop online through trusted retailers to avoid these scams, and do not click on links from unknown senders.

Travel — When traveling, whether by car, train or plane, be sure to utilize smart travel tips.

If traveling by car, remember to pack an emergency supply kit with essentials for all your passengers.

Fill out an emergency communications plan and let your in case of emergency (ICE) contact know your plan.  Also, before you hit the road, check local road conditions and avoid traveling during winter storms.

If traveling by plane for the holidays, be sure to review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security screening tips.

When packing for your flights, consider a small emergency kit that includes a flashlight and spare USB power bank.

Follow IEMA on Facebook ( and Twitter ( for additional #HolidaySafety preparedness information. You can also find additional information on emergency preparedness at