McLean County news briefs

The Abraham Lincoln display at the McLean County Museum of History. (Photo courtesy of McLean County Museum of History)


 Second Golf simulator opens at Prairie Vista

Due to customer  demand Prairie Vista Golf Course has opened its second Indoor Golf Simulator on site at 502 W. Hamilton Road in Bloomington, Illinois.

“This simulator from Foresight Sports easily accepts both right and left hand golfers while still

providing the same extremely accurate results all delivered in 4k resolution,”

said city of Bloomington Superintendent of Golf Operations Jason Wingate, adding golfers can play some of the great courses from around the world like: Pebble Beach, Celtic Manor, Medinah and more.

Tee times are booked by the hour and can be shared with up to four golfers per bay. Players can

enjoy a selection of food and beverages from the concessions area while they play.

Prairie Vista is open seven days per week beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at the last booked tee time. To book your time, call 309- 434-2217.


ISU hosts International Fair this weekend 

The 49th annual International Fair at Illinois State University will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb.  22, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center.

The event is free and open to the public.

Hosted by the United International Association (UIA), the event provides the Bloomington-Normal community with a unique exposition featuring food, music, and entertainment from around the world.

Visitors  will be able to sample and purchase a variety of ethnic foods and snacks throughout the day.

Approximately 25 student groups and community organizations will host country- and

region-specific displays and booths featuring a variety of clothing, artwork, and cultural artifacts.

Performances of traditional music and dance will take place on the main stage from student

and community performers.

“The International Fair is an incredible tradition for our international student organizations,” said Assistant Director for International Studies and Programs Matt Schwab. “It gives the international students who are here an opportunity to educate our community about different aspects of their home country or culture, and gives domestic students who may not otherwise be able to travel or go abroad an opportunity to immerse themselves in something unique and


Those who need special accommodations to participate can contact the Office of International Studies and Programs at 309-438-14

Bill Kemp, museum librarian, Guy Fraker, author and historian, and Greg Koos, McLean County Museum of History interim executive director, with the new historic legal document that is added to the Abraham Lincoln collection.  (Photo courtesy of McLean County Museum of History)cou


 Invaluable Lincoln document donated to museum

The McLean County Museum of History is pleased to announce the donation of a remarkable Abraham Lincoln document by retired Bloomington attorney and Lincoln scholar Guy Fraker.

The legal pleading—running one and one-half pages in Lincoln’s own hand—dates to the fall of 1851 and offers a fascinating window into the 16th’s president’s law career and his deep connections to McLean County.

The museum is timing the announcement of this once-in-a-lifetime gift to the week of Lincoln’s

birthday (Feb. 12). On Saturday, Feb. 15, the museum unveiled the document in a public program.

In this pleading, Lincoln summarizes the claims of his client, Robert H. Rutledge, regarding an

aborted real estate deal involving 160 acres on the southern edge of Downs Township in McLean County.

At issue was neighboring landowners Jesse Funk’s demand that Rutledge honor an alleged contract to sell the acreage.

The case would conclude two years later when the McLean County Circuit Court ordered Rutledge to sell 80 of the 160 acres in question. Prior to Fraker’s acquisition of this

pleading and his subsequent research, historians were unaware of Funk v. Rutledge.

Many of the McLean County Circuit Court records from Lincoln’s era were lost in the great Bloomington fire of 1900.

“The donated pleading is fascinating on many levels,” said Guy Fraker, author and historian. “It not only speaks powerfully to Lincoln’s ties to McLean County; it says a lot about the importance of land in nineteenth century Illinois.”

This case is also interesting because Rutledge was cousin to Ann Rutledge of New Salem, who,

legend has it, was Lincoln’s first love.

The document was acquired by Fraker in 2008 from Marilyn Townley, widow of Judge Wayne Townley, Jr. His father, Wayne, Sr., also a Bloomington attorney, had acquired the pleading well before World War II. Wayne Townley, Sr. was a Lincoln collector and scholar in his own right.

The museum will store this pleading in one of its secure, climate-controlled archives.

Four Seasons Gardening – Colorful Conifers

Get ready to add “shock & awe” to your landscape all season long with colorful conifers of all sizes. Did you know some conifers change colors through the seasons?

Working with all-yearlong foliage color can be challenging. Martha Smith, horticulture educator will show you how to re-think your landscape to bring out the best foliage display during a webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 25 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Registration is free and can be found at


Nominations sought for Volunteer Service Awards

The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) is accepting nominations for the annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.

These awards recognize individual volunteers and businesses and highlight the importance of community service in Illinois.

“Each year, millions of Illinoisans take time out of their busy lives to help their neighbors,” said Scott McFarland, executive director of Serve Illinois. “These volunteers are helping keep children safe, keeping our environment pristine, helping people find jobs, and so much more. They improve and save lives each and every day, and with these awards, we recognize the best of Illinois.”

Serve Illinois will present individual awards to one youth (18 years and younger), one adult (19-54-years-old), and one senior (55 years and older) in each of Serve Illinois’ five volunteer network regions across the state (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central, and Southern).

Serve Illinois will present National Service Awards to one AmeriCorps member, one Senior Corps member, and one for-profit business in each of the five service regions.

Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by Feb. 21. Visit for nomination forms and more information. Serve Illinois will host a ceremony on April 21 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield to honor recipients.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state.