McLean County news briefs

The Bloomington Farmers’ Market is indoors now to April from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Grossinger Motors Arena. Santa is coming to the market on Saturday. Kids have one last opportunity to tell Santa their Christmas wishes. The visit is sponsored by the local NAACP. (Courtesy of Bloomington Indoor Market)


Library offers app to access online magazines

With a library card issued by Bloomington Public Library, patrons have immediate and free access to 167 digital magazines via RB Digital.

These magazines appear exactly as their physical counterparts though some include extra features such as clickable links and printing capabilities. Go to this link to learn more and download the app:


Get creative with the online video library

The Normal Public Library invites patrons to get holiday craft ideas on Creativebug.

They’ve uploaded tons of new tutorials for the month of December, including several that are perfect for the holidays.

Creativebug is an online video library of hundreds of art and craft classes and tutorials taught by creative professionals, all free to access with your NPL card. Go to the library’s website, click on “Online Learning and Resources”, and scroll down to “C” for Creativebug.


Annual IWU scholarship guarantee Increases to $30,000

McLean County high school graduates admitted to Illinois Wesleyan University are now guaranteed a total scholarship package of at least $30,000 per year as recipients of the McLean County Scholarship Guarantee.

The Illinois Wesleyan Associates –– a group of local community and business leaders and IWU alumni –– have raised more than $1.1 million over the past two years to support the McLean County Scholarship, enabling the annual award to increase by $3,000, from $27,000 to $30,000 for incoming students.

Over the course of four years, incoming McLean County Scholarship recipients will receive no less than $120,000 in aid, up from $108,000. Depending on the academic status of the student, it is likely they could be eligible for even more scholarship monies.

Established in 2018, the McLean County Scholarship represents an institutional commitment to recruit and retain McLean County’s top students.

In 2019, 42 incoming McLean County students enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan, a 56 percent increase from 27 McLean County students in 2017.

Students who are residents of McLean County graduating from a McLean County high school in 2020 are eligible for the scholarship with their official Illinois Wesleyan University application. No additional application is necessary.

Prospective students must be admitted (without restrictions) and live in on-campus housing to be eligible for the scholarship. Transfer students who attended a McLean County high school are also eligible for the McLean County Scholarship. More information can be found at:

Health officials encourage people to mind food safety precautions during the holiday festivities


Public invited to take IDOT traveler survey

The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on the state’s transportation system through its annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey, available today through Dec. 31. The survey is available online by clicking here or visiting

“The public’s input is vital for the health of our transportation system. We look forward to learning about your travel preferences, what you think we are doing well and how you’d like us to improve,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Illinois is the heart of this country’s transportation network, its importance to national commerce as well as safe travel for the motoring public can’t be understated. We want to hear from you.”

The annual survey, conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, seeks feedback on topics ranging from road conditions and ice-and-snow removal to commuting habits and driving behaviors. Questions also ask travelers for feedback about the IDOT website, the state’s rest areas and passenger rail use.

The Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey has been conducted annually since 2001. A copy of the 2018 survey and results, as well as data collected from past years, can be viewed here.

For IDOT updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOT_Illinois or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on

  Having a safe holiday in terms of food handling, prep

Many people look forward holiday gatherings centered around gift-giving and special meals, whether those are casual buffets or a sit-down holiday meal.

But one thing you do not want to go with your meal is bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

“While most healthy people recover from foodborne illness, typically called food poisoning, in a day or two, others can suffer severe illness, including a condition where the kidneys stop working,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “This holiday season, I recommend following several food safety steps to help prevent foodborne illness.”

The four main steps for food safety are:

  • Clean – Clean your hands, surfaces, and utensils with soap and water before cooking. After cleaning surfaces where raw poultry has touched, also use a sanitizer.
  • Separate – Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat and foods that are ready to eat.
  • Cook – Use a thermometer to check if the turkey is cooked. You cannot tell just by looking if it is fully cooked. Turkey should be cooked to 165° F
  • Chill – Do not leave foods at room temperature more than two hours. After you are done eating, divide the remaining food into small containers and either refrigerate or freeze. Leftovers are safe in the refrigerator for up to four days.

An easy rule to remember is to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. After being cooked to a safe temperature, hot foods should not be allowed to get cooler than 140° F.

Cold foods should not be allowed to become warmer than 40° F. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40° F and 140°F. This range of temperatures is commonly referred to as the “Danger Zone.”

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after consuming contaminated food or drinks. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Those at risk of more severe and even life-threatening foodborne illness include older adults, infants, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

If you become ill, especially with severe symptoms, or if you are at risk for more severe disease, seek care from a medical provider to ensure a proper diagnosis and appropriate management.

More information on Food Safety During The Holidays can be found on the IDPH website.