McLean County news briefs

Joe Olson


 Ice rink to be named after former hockey director 

The Bloomington Ice Center will host a dedication ceremony for the naming of the rink within the center to be named the Joe Olson Ice Rink, on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 9 a.m. at the Bloomington Ice Center, located at 201 S. Roosevelt Ave., Bloomington.

The event will honor longtime Hockey Director Joe Olson who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, and who was instrumental in building the youth and adult hockey programs at the Ice Center since its 2006 opening.

“This has been a tough year for family, friends and all who knew Joe,” says Bloomington Ice Center Manager Michael Hernbrott, adding, “We are excited to help make Joe’s legacy known to all who skate at the Joe Olson Rink in the Bloomington Ice Center.”

Following the dedication there will be a free open skate and skate rental until 10:30 AM for all that attend.

Donations to the Bloomington Recreational Youth Hockey, of which Joe helped grow, Scholarship Fund are welcome.

For more information on the Bloomington Ice Center’s programs, classes, and events, contact the City of Bloomington’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department at 309-434-2260, or visit

 Nitsch Theatre Arts community presents ‘Frozen Jr.’

Enjoy the culmination of Nitsch Theatre Arts Stage Kids participants as they perform “Frozen, Jr.” on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 4 and 5 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

The Saturday show is at 6:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2:30 p.m.

General admission is $11. The BCPA Ticket Office will not be selling tickets for this event. Tickets will only be available online at

The Stage Kids philosophy is “learning by doing” so acting, movement, and vocal fundamentals are taught through the production process. Students participate in a 12-week workshop that results in a musical production.

The Stage Kids production is a joint venture between the BCPA’s Creative Circle and Nitsch Theatre Arts.


Bloomington Ice Center, located at 201 S. Roosevelt Ave., Bloomington. 


 Explore current diet trends at Extension program

University of Illinois Extension and the Eureka Public Library invite you to kick off your New Year with the “Exploring Current Diet Trends” class this January.

The program will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9 at the Eureka Public Library.

Dieting is nothing new to the U.S., but various diets fly in and fade away. So what’s trending? What really works? Keto, Whole 30, Paleo and Intermittent Fasting are just a few of the popular diets trending on various social media platforms.

Learn the pros and cons, evidence and the safety of these diets to walk away empowered to lead a healthy lifestyle.

To register, contact the Eureka Public Library at 309-467-2922. “Exploring Current Diet Trends” is taught by University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator and Registered Dietitian Jenna Smith. Eureka Public Library is located at 202 S. Main St. Eureka.

For more information on this program, contact Jenna at 309-663-8306 or email her at For additional Extension programs in your area visit us online at

Illinois writers appear in Downstate Story publication

Ten new short stories by Illinois and Midwestern writers are featured in the 2019 edition of Downstate Story, Peoria’s only literary magazine for fiction. Downstate Story is now published only on the Web at

The writers in this issue are:  Loren Logsdon of Eureka;  Marie Anderson of Western Springs; Duke of East Peoria; Connie Cook Smith of Canton.; Pepper Bauer of Mapleton; Grazina Smith and Jessica Gorogianis, both of Chicago.;  Audrey Carli of Iron River, Michigan.; Arlene Shovald of Salida, Colorado.; and Ralph Hayes of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Most of these outstanding writers have long lists of publications in other literary magazines, and some have authored books.

Published by Downstate Story, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, the annual publication aims to present original fiction by Illinois writers and writers with ties to Illinois and the Midwest as a quality alternative to today’s mass-market publishing.

For this Web edition, readers are asked for donations to help defray publishing costs. All writers are paid for their work.

Downstate Story’s Facebook page can be accessed at

  LaHood, others ask Air Force to consider Peoria for new C-130Js

Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth sent a letter to the United States Air Force secretary in support of the 182nd Airlift Wing at the Peoria International Airport in Peoria for the current Air National Guard C-130J Recapitalization.

Over the last two budget cycles, Congress has appropriated and authorized the creation of 16 new C-130Js.

“We support our men and women serving at the 182nd and the Illinois National Guard and with a strong military presence in the state of Illinois, we believe the recapitalization of C-130J aircraft will further strengthen the value of the 182nd Airlift Wing to our national security and Illinois’s long-lasting partnership with the United States Air Force,” the letter stated.