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Clauses Seeking Mandatory Participation In 20-Year Solid Waste Recycling
Plan Cause 6-1 Approval Vote
Normal Town Council members voted to approve a resolution moving forward a 20-year materials recovery and
solid waste management plan along with the City of Bloomington and McLean County. The governing body’s
decision seemed to agree with everyone, but one provision within the document led Council Member Scott Preston
to cast a lone dissention leading to a 6-1 vote.
While the entire group appeared favorable toward the long-term plan, the issue which prompted Preston to
oppose it was a set of clauses concerning recycling for multi-family housing, commercial operations, and recycling
of construction and demolition materials recycling was included.
In each of those clauses, an ordinance mandating the communities and the county set certain recycling
benchmarks if voluntary participation doesn’t help residents contribute in the program. That one item prompted
Preston to disagree.
“I was not in favor of language that took a stance and advocated for ordinances by the Town as well as the City if
certain benchmarks are not met,” Preston said afterward. Preston said had the mandated benchmarks come with
an explanation of why they were being considered, Preston said he would still have voted down the resolution.
“I didn’t like the plan has a recommendation of mandating,” Preston added. “The rest of the plan is the
culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people for the past two years. It’s an ambitious goal to be looking 20
Preston said he commended Michael Brown, executive director of the Ecology Action Center among those who
put the 26-page report together over the last couple of years. There are a lot of great things in the plan,” Preston
added. “The recommended ordinances were the sticking point for me and that was why I couldn’t vote for this.”
Brown explained after the meeting that some small companies and renters do offer recycling but the percentage
of companies that do that “isn’t as high as it could be. That means there’s a significant room for improvement.” He
added rental companies told him that if they were mandated to provide recycling to help the community, to do so
would “actually level the playing field” for those companies compared to complexes or companies who have
Wayne Aldrich, director of public works for the Town, said he has been contacting private companies which
provide recycling services to apartments and multi-family dwelling operators.
City Manager Mark Peterson told Council members during the session the McLean County Landfill “is pretty
much done. They are beginning a closure process. He added the plan “tries to move the needle on the Town’s
Council Member R. C. McBride told Brown and Aldrich during the meeting that establishing a 20-year plan “is a
Jay Tummula Gets Human Rights Commission Appointment: Council members unanimously approved the
appointment of Jay Tummula to the Town’s Human Rights Commission. Tummula is filling a vacancy left by the
resignation of Mandava Rao, the result of Rao moving from the community. Tummula will serve a full four-year term
which will expire March 31, 2022.
Tummula moved to the U. S. 17 years ago to take a job with IBM. From there, he joined State Farm as an
analyst in the field of information technology, his current job. He is co-chair of the Minority and Police Partnership,
and a volunteer with Ecology Action Center and Community Health Care Clinic. Tummula is married and has two
Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:
• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of Jan. 16, 2018.
• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Jan. 31, 2018
• A resolution authorizing the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with McLean County for centralized
• A resolution approving a lease amendment for the Heartland Theatre Company at the Community Activity
• An ordinance abating the levy of 2017 property taxes for Special Service Area Number One.
McLean County Board Report
Recording Secretary: Judith A. LaCasse
No meeting this week
Spider Saloff February 24th concert benefits Autism McLean
From Gershwin to Cole Porter, a renowned interpreter of the Great American Songbook, Spider Saloff, will appear at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Memorial Center at 7:30 p.m. on February 24. The event is a unique fundraiser for Autism McLean.
Saloff is famed for her jazz stylings that have captivated audiences from New York to Chicago clubs, plus international appearances in London, St. Petersburg and Poland. She has appeared at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institution, Ravina Music Festival and Chicago’s Auditorium Theater. In New York she performs at Birdland and Feinstein’s, in Chicago at the Green Mill and the Jazz Showcase.
The New York Times says Saloff has “a wicked way with a lyric and a glint of self-controlled mischief.” In hometown Chicago, the Chicago Tribune wrote that she is “Slyly sophisticated, easily accessible, Saloff stands as a kind of ideal.”
Autism McLean is celebrating its 15th year supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in McLean County. It offers recreational activities, educational grants, family support, summer camps, resource information, and more, while working to increase community awareness and local opportunities for people with autism. The organization is all volunteer, with a board and active members including local educators and families with individuals on the autism spectrum. The “Autism Friendly Community” campaign is an Autism McLean outreach initiative that works to spread autism awareness and community inclusion.
Besides the concert, a silent art auction, featuring items from local and nationally recognized artists plus works from individuals on the autism spectrum, will accompany the event.
Tickets are available through Eventbrite at https://autismmclean
ssgala.eventbrite.com or www.autismmclean.org. General event seating tickets are $35, a sponsorship table of four is $250. Concert sponsorships enable all proceeds from ticket sales to benefit Autism McLean. The concert is a cabaret style event, with intimate seating around the stage. Illinois Wesleyan University’s Memorial Center is at 104 E. University in Bloomington.
For more information, contact Mike Matejka at 309-208-1120. For information on Spider Saloff, see www.spidersaloff.com
HCE Units to learn ‘Fish Facts’ at February meetings
McLean County Home and Community Education groups will be studying “Fish Facts” in their February unit meetings. The Fact Find will be 100 Years of History: Normal and Town and Country.
Other programs and workshops: Feb. 12, 1-4 p.m., making a Whatchamacallit Bag, McLean County Extension office, 1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington, call Lynda, 309-821-1266 for fees, supplies; Feb. 19, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Community Service Day, making eyeglass cases for developing nations or your own project, Farm Bureau Auditorium, 309-826-9559; Feb. 19, 2-3:30 p.m., Read and Share discussion of “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware, McLean County Extension office, 309-825-6558; Feb. 27, 1-3 p.m., local leader lesson – “Making Your Dollars Stretch” by a University of IL Extension Educator, Farm Bureau Auditorium, 2243 Westgate Dr., Bloomington.
The public is welcome at all meetings and programs. Individual units meet as follows:
Eastsiders: 9 a.m. Feb. 2; McLean County Extension Office; lesson by Delilah Finnegan and Fact Find by Phyllis Wallace; hostesses are Doris Hern, Judy Crist, Sheila Wells and Deb Luedeke; 309-310-9205.
Normal: 9:15 a.m. Feb. 5; Evergreen Place, Normal; lesson by LaVonne Schultz and Fact Find by Doris Kurtock; 309-452-4189.
Downs: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 6; Downs Fire Station; lesson by Becky Toohill; lunch served after meeting; 309-661-9251.
Dry Grove: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 8; Denny’s Restaurant, Normal; lesson by Ann Bevins and Fact Find by Judy Mohr; members to bring volunteer hours; 309-963-5552.
Money Creek: 11:30 a.m. Feb. 12; Lexington Community Center; lessons by Helen Leake; bring sack lunch; 309-365-4681.
Towanda: 7 p.m. Feb. 12; Towanda Community Building; lessons by Valerie Dotson; hostesses are Jeanie Wager and Connie Carstens; 815-579-1650.
Dale: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 14; breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Bloomington; lessons by Lois Thompson; 309-829-8975.
Lexington: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19; Lexington Community Center; lesson by Mary Lou Schuler and hostess is Joan Harer; 309-365-8055.
Night Owls: 7 p.m. Feb. 21; Parmon House, Bloomington; lesson by Jodi White; 309-808-0740.
91st Annual McLean County Amateur Art Competition-Exhibition
This year’s 91st Annual McLean County Amateur Art Competition-Exhibition will open on Sunday, March 4th,
with an awards ceremony and continues in the MCAC’s Brandt Gallery through April 21. University of Illinois
Springfield instructor and Gallery Director Jeff Robinson will juror.
New for 2018, we have moved the application form to an online version. This format allows a faster turnaround
time for contacting artists regarding submission acceptance/refusal, email reminders of pick-up dates and exhibition
information, and clarity in reading entry forms.
To Enter the Amateur Show
1) Log onto www.mcac.org . Under the “Exhibitions” drop down, click on “Amateur Show Entry.”
2) Complete the form and click submit.
3) The submission form will automatically be sent to the artist’s email. Print off one copy of this document for
your records and securely attach one copy to the back (upper left corner) of each submitted artwork.
4) Drop off work to MCAC within the specified timeframe along with $1.00 cash for each entry.
More information is available on the website.
February 22 pruning lesson will put more fruit on your trees
An essential strategy for producing tree fruits is yearly pruning during the dormant season. Proper pruning can
increase fruit quality, reduce the occurrence of diseases, and improve the longevity of the tree, but many tree
owners are apprehensive about the process. This winter, University of Illinois Extension is providing a workshop
with hands-on pruning experience. The session will help owners make informed decisions on how to follow up with
a yearly routine and exactly what limbs to prune.
A session on pruning will be held at the Refuge Food Forest 779-799 E. Lincoln Street, Normal from 1 to 3 p.m.
on Thursday, February 22. Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, Bill Davison, and Horticulture Educator
Kelly Allsup will cover pruning and training young apple trees. The Refuge Food Forest installations feature a wide
variety of apple trees to hone your skills.
Participants are encouraged to bring loppers and pruning shears if possible; limited quantities will be provided for
use on site. This is an outdoor program. Dress appropriately to work outdoors and handle appropriate equipment.
In the event of inclement weather, an alternate site or date will be provided.
Registration is $10 per person and you will find registration online at go.illinois.edu/RegisterLMW or by
contacting the Extension office before the event date. For additional questions, please contact Extension program
coordinator, Reid Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 663-8306.
The Immigration Project And Ywca Help Celebrate Love On Valentine’s Day
YWCA McLean County and The Immigration Project have teamed up for the second year to host Couples Day
on Wednesday, February 14 from 10-11:30 a.m. This event will provide an opportunity for couples who are afraid of
separation due to legal issues to talk with a professional regarding immigration and a path to citizenship.
Last year, the event was able to provide consultation to six couples and help three of them start immigration
applications. This year the goal is to fill all 12 available appointments and help six start applications.
Thalia Novoa, Department of Justice accredited representative for The Immigration Project stated “The path to
citizenship is a minimum six and half year journey, but this journey is necessary to ensure you can stay with your
The Couples Day consultations will allow those who are lawful permanent residents or a U.S. Citizen and their
spouse to come for an inexpensive consultation to help determine path to citizenship. A consultation fee of $30
cash or money order is due at the time of your appointment.
“Taking this first step is really hard and courageous,” said Novoa. “The people we are helping are your family,
friends, and neighbors.”
To make your confidential appointment or for questions, please call The Immigration Project at (309) 829-8703,
YWCA Circle Of Women Fundraiser to be held Feb. 23 at Double Tree
On Friday, February 23, 2018, YWCA McLean County will host its annual fundraiser luncheon, Circle of Women,
from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at DoubleTree by Hilton, 10 Brickyard Drive, Bloomington.
Each year hundreds of women gather to demonstrate the power of the circle by raising funds for YWCA McLean
County. All of the money raised each year stays local to McLean County. Last year, the group raised more than
$60,000 and has a goal to raise more than $80,000 this year.
In the February 08 2018
Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Normal Town Council Report
Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Mystery Photo, Legal Notices, Obituaries, Service Directory, School and Senior Information, and Classified advertisements
Pick up a copy for these stories and more.
Immanuel Bible Foundation’s Men’s Lenten Breakfast to be held March 7
Tickets are available for Immanuel Bible Foundation’s 2018 Men’s Lenten Breakfast. The celebration will be from 6:00-7:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington.
One of the oldest and best-known traditions at Immanuel Bible Foundation is the Men’s Lenten Breakfast. Dr. Harold Martin, longtime Senior Pastor at Bloomington’s Second Presbyterian Church and one of the founders of Immanuel Bible Foundation, started the event in 1953. It has been held annually ever since.
Speaker for this year’s event, the 65th year, will be Ambassador Tony P. Hall. Three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, former US Ambassador and US Congressman Tony P. Hall is one of the leading advocates for hunger relief programs and improving international human rights conditions in the world. Mr. Hall has been an outspoken advocate for fighting domestic and international hunger and he has initiated legislation enacted into law to fight hunger-related diseases in developing nations.
Tickets, which include breakfast and the speaker, are $20 each and can be purchased online at www.ibfoundation.org, by contacting Annette Klinzing at 309-452-6710 or at Broadview Mansion, 1301 S. Fell Ave., Normal, during office hours of 9-11 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
Immanuel Bible Foundation, based at Broadview Mansion, seeks to enrich the community through faith and study, music and art, and historical preservation.
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Yang, to speak at Normal Library Wednesday, March 7
At Normal Public Library, education and storytelling have always gone hand-in-hand. For Gene Luen Yang, graphic novelist, teacher, and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, these elements have formed the foundation of his career.
At 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, Yang will round out a day of lecturing with a visit to Normal Public Library, where he is expected to speak about convergences. Following the lecture, Mr. Yang will take questions and sign books. Earlier in the day, Yang will address students at both University High School and Illinois State University.
As the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang’s chosen platform is the Reading Without Walls Challenge. Reading Without Walls encourages readers to engage with texts that challenge their norms: from diverse characters to unfamiliar subjects to unusual formats. To celebrate this initiative, Normal Public Library will be challenging its patrons to break the ingrained barriers of their reading habits by participating in Reading Without Walls. Each patron who reads three books that It the challenge’s criteria will be entered into a drawing to win a prize basket.
Yang himself is no stranger to breaking barriers. His book American Born Chinese, which explores the conflicting cultural identities of its narrator as he finds the stark realism of his life merging with the extraordinary world of Chinese mythology, was the first graphic novel to be nominated for the National Book Award.
The Reading Without Walls Challenge is emblematic of Yang. As both an educator and creator, Yang is constantly seeking to unite seemingly disparate elements. In previous lectures on the topic of convergences, Yang spoke about how comics have acted as a catalyst for the merging of different aspects of his identity. From uniting his interest in both drawing and writing, his Eastern and Western influences, and his work as both a cartoonist and teacher, Yang explained how comics have brought harmony to his life.
He also recommended the artform for anyone seeking peace and equilibrium.“You can read them; you can write them; you can draw them; you can do all of the above. Comics have done wonders in my life,” Yang said.
Yang’s visit will take place at 7 pm in the Community Room. Normal Public Library’s Reading Without Walls Challenge will begin on January 3rd.
To learn more about or connect with the Normal Public Library visit normalpl.org, facebook.com/normalpl, or follow us on Twitter at @NPLTweets.
Valentine’s Big Band Dance, February 11
Illinois State University Jazz Ensembles I and II will present their annual Valentine’s Big Band Dance from 6–9 p.m. Sunday, February 11, at the New Lafayette Club, located at 1602 South Main Street in Bloomington. Admission is $15 per person, and tickets will be sold at the door only. Attendees are required to dress nicely (no jeans or T-shirts).
The ensembles, which are directed by Tom Marko, will feature classic big band music from the 1930s and 1940s. A wide variety of ballroom dance styles like cha-cha-cha, rhumba, waltz, swing, salsa, and samba will also be included. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m., and a cash bar will be available.
All proceeds from the event will go to support student jazz activities at Illinois State University, including guest artists, travel, purchase of music, and more.
WCTU to hold School & Community Coloring, Poster, and Essay Contests
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Normal is sponsoring the McLean County and Tazewell County Coloring, Poster, and Essay Contest’s that promote abstinence and present a message about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.
It is important to note that entries on the local, or county level, are due on February 15, 2018. Local winners will be announced and monetary awards presented in each category before summer 2018 school vacation. First place entries will be forwarded to the state contest by April 15, and the national contest by June 1.
Topics for the essay contests are as follows: Division I (grades 4-6, 200-300 words), “How Could Alcohol Hurt Your Family?”; Division II (grades 7-9, 300-500 words); “What Are the Harmful Effects of Heroin Use?”; Division III (grades 10-12) “Tobacco Use: Dangers and Damage”. For more information and rules in each contest, please call Loreta Jent at 309-963-4521.
2017 McLean County Final Multiplier Announced
McLean County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to
Constance Beard, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier”, is the method used to achieve uniform
property assessments among counties, as required by law. This equalization is particularly important because
some of the state’s 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college
districts, fire protection districts). If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among
taxpayers with comparable properties would result.
Under a law passed in 1975, property in Illinois should be assessed at one-third (1/3) of its market value. Farm
property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization
procedures, but with farmland assessed at one-third of its agriculture economic value. Farmland is not subject to
the state equalization factor.
Assessments in McLean County are at 33.31 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2014,
2015, and 2016.
The equalization factor currently being assigned is for 2017 taxes, payable in 2018. Last year’s equalization
factor for the county was 1.0000.
The final assessment equalization factor was issued after a public hearing on the tentative factor. The tentative
factor issued in October 2017 was 1.0000.
The equalization factor is determined annually for each county by comparing the price of individual properties
sold over the past three years to the assessed value placed on those properties by the county supervisor of
If this three-year average level of assessment is one-third of the market value, the equalization factor will be one
(1). If the average level of assessment is greater than one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be less
than one (1). And if the average level of assessment is less than one-third of market value, the equalization factor
will be greater than one (1).
A change in the equalization factor does not mean total property tax bills will increase or decrease. Tax bills are
determined by local taxing bodies when they request money each year to provide services to local citizens. If the
amount requested by local taxing districts is not greater than the amount received in the previous year, then total
property taxes will not increase even if assessments increase.
The assessed value of an individual property determines what portion of the tax burden a specific taxpayer will
assume. That individual’s portion of tax responsibility is not changed by the multiplier.
Hamilton’s Jeremy McCarter to Speak at IWU Founders’ Day
Convocation Feb. 21
Jeremy McCarter, co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution, will give the keynote speech at Illinois Wesleyan
University’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium (1210 N.
Park St., Bloomington). The event will mark the 168th anniversary of IWU’s founding, and is free and open to the
McCarter studied history at Harvard. He went on to work with the Public Theater in New York City, which was the
place where Hamilton made its off-Broadway debut. McCarter made an arrangement to put his friend, Hamilton
creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, in touch with the theater, and the two of them watched Hamilton launch into the
cultural success that it is today.
Using the narrative structure of the musical itself as a guideline, Miranda and McCarter joined forces to
document how Hamilton’s impact as a cultural phenomenon in a tense political climate has birthed a kind of
modern-day revolution in and of itself. Their book, Hamilton: The Revolution (popularly referred to as the
Hamiltome), received the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Nonfiction in 2016 and became a New York Times
No. 1 Bestseller.
After moving to Chicago with his wife and daughter two years ago, McCarter set out to continue that kind of
discussion through his new production company, the Make Believe Association.
McCarter’s address at IWU complements the University’s annual intellectual theme, The Evolution of Revolution.
Look Photography - Bloomington - Normal's
Best Look in Sports Action Photography
Normal Community Ironmen, Normal Community West Wildcats, Ridgeview Mustangs, University High School Pioneers, Central Catholic Saints, Lexington Minutemen, ElPaso Gridley Titans, Illinois State University Redbird, Illinois Wesleyan Titan, State Farm Holiday Classic, McLean County Tournament, HOI Conference, Heart of Illinois
Historic North Street
coming next to the Historic
All seats $7• Refreshments $1
Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Friday, Feb. 9 • 7:00 PM
Sunday, Feb. 11
Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern
culture. NR / 102 min. In Hebrew & Arabic w/ subtitles.
Night of the Living Dead
Saturday, Feb. 10 • 7:00 PM
Sunday, Feb. 11 • 1:00 PM
George A. Romero’s film is one of the great stories of independent cinema. A deceptively simple tale of a group
of strangers trapped in a farmhouse who find themselves fending off a horde of flesh-eating ghouls newly arisen
from their graves. After decades of poor-quality prints, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD can finally be seen for the
immaculately crafted film that it is thanks to a new 4K restoration. NR / 96 min.
Need artwork for your home or office?
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Irish Heritage Society to present Lee Murdock Saturday, Feb. 17
Join the Irish Heritage Society as they present Lee Murdock for a musical celebration of Ireland at 6:30 pm on Saturday, Feb. 17th at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1706 RT Dunn Road, Bloomington. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.
Best-known for his interpretations of local and Great Lakes songs, Murdock has also spent many years researching and performing songs from Ireland and the Irish-American immigrant experience. In fact, Murdock’s musical influences span over five centuries, from ancient Celtic harp melodies to piano rags written by the likes of Scott Joplin, to more contemporary American music.
Be ready to join in a boisterous chorus of a famous Irish Pub song, share the sly joke in a humorous old ballad, followed along to a soft Irish air or vigorous dance tune from the Emerald Isle. Follow the Irish across “The Big Pond” with songs of the Irish immigrants who settled in Chicago and the Midwest. Murdock’s will round out the concert with an anthem honoring the Irish folks who labored to build the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and story and tune from the Irish who settled on Michigan’s Beaver Island, a setting so much like their homeland.
Lee Murdock has published 21 albums or musical books to date, and has performed all across the United States and Canada, from his home in Chicago’s far western suburbs, near DeKalb.
Guitar World Closes After 48 Years
by Steve Robinson
After 48 years, one of Normal’s oldest businesses known for helping people of all ages either develop or nurture
their love of guitar music closed its door for the last time on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Guitar World, 129 E. Beaufort St.,
a fixture since the days when Carlos Santana, Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, and the late Harry
Chapin were hot on the music scene, closed its doors for the last time after 48 years in business on Wednesday,
Jim Bland was part of a partnership when the shop opened in 1970 and has owned the store outright since 1978
after buying out that partner. He changed the store’s name from Ax-In-Hand. The original store sat in a little building
behind the Normal Post Office with the store front facing Broadway across from the original offices of The
Normalite. That location is now where a garage exit from Uptown Commons leading onto Broadway can be found.
The store’s original name came from a slang term musicians use to describe their instrument. “’I’ve got to take
my axe to a job’ is how musicians would explain” an upcoming gig, Bland said. The store’s name was changed to
Guitar World in 1978. The store moved to its current location in 2008.
Bland said one of the drawbacks to closing the store will be its affect will have on local guitar instructors and
those who want to learn from them. In the age of the internet, where do-it-yourself learning is possible, he said
closing his doors puts those instructors at a disadvantage for finding students. Bland said those teachers aren’t
being sought out as much by students as they used to by those wanting to learn.
“When we started here, we had 105 people teaching lessons,” Bland said. He said that number has shrunk to
Bland said among the notables who walked through his store’s door was Steve Howe from the 70’s group Yes.
Bland said Howe walked in when he was touring and performing at what is now Grossinger Motors Arena in
Downtown Bloomington. “He bought some strings, some picks, and a tuner, and a strap because he had a day off
from touring and was going to St. Louis to jam with some friends,” Bland explained.
Bland said Howe explained to him he “just likes to shop at little local shops when he’s on tour.”
That wasn’t the only brush with famous musicians the store had. Bland said a backup musician for 70s artist
Freddie Fender came into the shop when Fender was performing at Illinois State University’s Braden Auditorium.
The backup man came into the shop with a guitar in need of repair: One of its chords was duct taped to its base.
The musician had been playing it in that condition and found the shop to get it fixed. At the time of that visit, Fender
had a Top 40 hit playing called, “Wasted Days And Wasted Nights.”
The store hasn’t just seen the famous or members of an entourage stop by, Bland said. It has, mostly by word of
mouth, earned some notoriety itself away from home. Former students who once took lessons at the store who now
earn a living in the music industry, have mentioned the little shop where they first learned chords.
Bland said his son, Jim Jr., came in contact with an unidentified man who told the son he knew of his father’s
store because of his friend, Mike Patterson. Patterson, as it turned out, continued on in the music business working
his way to becoming historian for Shure Microphones, and as a college student in the 1990s, used to shop at Guitar
Bland said it has gotten too expensive to maintain his store, a fact that was the chief reason for his decision to
close. But although the store will be gone, Bland will continue to operate a second business, GW Audio, which will
set up and operate sound systems at area events, as well as do installation of sound equipment.
Bland said he’ll miss regularly meeting with folks coming through his shop, “seeing all the people.” He added, “I
just want to say thank you for all the support that they’ve given me for years,” Bland said. “I know things change,
and we were always available to help people who came to us, and we were able to help them with any problems
and that’s what we’re here for.”
Theresa Rose to address Women Changing the Face of Agriculture
conference March 9th
Theresa Rose, motivational speaker and mindfulness expert, will help prepare young women for success with
her keynote speech during the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture (WCFA) conference at the University of
Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on March 9. Rose will share strategies and her unique productivity techniques to
simplify schedules and redesign lives.
Additionally, women involved in all facets of agriculture are encouraged and invited to attend a personal growth
and development event with a team building component led by Rose on Thursday, March 8, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Following this, participants are invited to a professional networking reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost to
attend is $50. The event will be held at The City Center, 505 S. Chestnut St., Champaign. Please register by March
1 at bit.ly/2DULNRO.
Rose has received many prestigious awards and accolades throughout her career. She has written four award-
winning books on top of her successful career as a professional speaker. She did a TEDx talk in Sarasota, Fla.,
and has been honored by the Minnesota National Speakers Association and the National Speakers Association.
Women Changing the Face of Agriculture provides career advice and direction for young women in high school
and college who are thinking about a career in agriculture. At the conference, women learn more about careers in
the industry, network with women from across the country, and interact with others interested in similar careers. To
learn more about the conference, visit womenchangingthefaceofagriculture.com.
“The power women have in this community is enormous,” said Kristen Kubsch, Circle of Women planning
committee chair. “It is fundraising events, such as Circle of Women, that help YWCA McLean County continue to
exist and support our community. The power of giving is what makes this event a success.”
At the event, honorary co-chairs Mandy Dartt and Felicia Shaw will spotlight programs and services offered
through YWCA and the impact they have in our community. Highlighted programs will include Adult Services,
Empowerment and Prevention Services, Mission Impact and Young Wonders Early Learning and Youth
During the luncheon, attendees can participate in the Purse-n-ality raffle. The raffle features purses/bags loaded
with items from local favorites. Purses are still being collected, but current items to look forward to are selections
from Curves, Destihl, DoubleTree Hotel, Children’s Discovery Museum, Gingerbread House, Holiday Inn & Suites,
Nick’s Clips, Refine 309, Stave, Spec Around Town, and more. Some new and hot designers who have donated
purses include Chicago boutique/ designers Laudi Vidni and Tamara Mellon. Raffle tickets are $5 for one, $10 for
three and $20 for five. You must be present to win.
For more information about YWCA Circle of Women, to become a sponsor, donate to Purse-n-ality or to make
your reservation, please visit www.ywcamclean.org/circle, contact Brandi Kimball at 309-662-0461, ext. 298 or
Guitar World’s Bland: Music Students Cheated By Lack Of
By Steve Robinson
In an industry that has everything from loud and flashy to quiet and soothing, Jim Bland will tell you that it was
the lessons musicians took and/or studied early on that probably got them where they are today.
Those lessons came by receiving instruction from others at places like his business, Guitar World, 129 E.
Beaufort St. which closed Jan. 31 after 48 years of selling and repairing equipment and offering a place for
teachers to tutor students.
Now 72, Bland offered a few thoughts regarding a trend he saw related to musicians and teaching them. And
from what he says, you get the idea he’s not wild about it.
He said the opportunities for people who teach instruments like guitar “are becoming more and more limited in
town here. There’s only 2 or 3 places that will teach guitar now.” The reason Bland said, is people are finding other
means for getting those lessons, primarily via the internet.
“Without students, you don’t get growth,” Bland said. “They’re the future to the store. Once they get interested in
music, they would use the store to get strings fixed” and help students take care of other related needs.
“By playing and having a store that I went to when I was young to take lessons taught me to do stuff with the
guitar,” Bland said. It also taught him how to be able to repair guitars.
Putting strings on a guitar, Bland said, is a learned skill. It’s something that, as he sees it, is an in-person lesson
that needs to be taught in order to be handed down. Doing it through watching videos on the internet doesn’t get
the job done, he said.
Videos, Bland said, may be teaching kids to play guitar, that is, play the instrument itself, but the students in
watching those videos, aren’t learning technique used in playing it. That’s the distinction Bland said is missing from
the process. That distinction, he suggests, is where in-person instruction, such as what Guitar World offered, is
Learning guitar through the internet also fails to help people learn how to play music with others, he added. “I
was a taught player,” he explained. “I learned to read the music and understand how the music works.”
Bland said he’ll miss getting excited to see students becoming excited themselves about understanding their
lessons and playing correctly as a result of those lessons. Bland has worked weekends since 1961 in the music
field in one capacity or another and still maintains contact with people he taught guitar to when they were kids at
In the early days of his career, Bland recalled, he used to give 12-15 lessons by weekend day and then spend
weekend nights playing gigs. “The money in those days wasn’t what it is today, but doing that was how you learned
Bland said people appear more interested in getting involved in the music business without giving serious
consideration to the effort needed. “They want to be stars after seeing TV talent shows,” Bland said.
When he encounters students or musicians with that mindset, Bland said he generally asks the person, “How
many 18-hour days straight can you work?” He said that kind of life comes complete with “sleeping in a car or truck
or hotel, eating fast food.” He said the end result of that existence is that both social and family life take a hit and
suffer from it.
“That’s a hard life... it’s a hard life,” Bland states. Being an Army veteran taught Bland to prepare for the rigors of
a musician’s life when it came to being on the road, he added. Today’s musicians, when they hear Bland’s words of
caution, mostly have the same response: “’Well, I won’t have to do that,’” Bland reports, echoing a refrain he said
he heard often.
Bland said he’s not shocked by younger musicians who give him that reaction because he understands it will
take those musicians experiencing the road life firsthand for that shock to set in once they’ve experienced it for a
while, especially the first time.
Bland and his wife of nearly 40 years, Karen, have three children, eight grandchildren, and four great-
grandchildren. There’s an irony with that many kids for Bland: None of those folks on the family tree play guitar.
“They’re all basketball players,” he said smiling.
Jim Bland settled in to help others learn music 48 years ago, first at his store’s predecessor, Ax-In-Hand, which
he owned with a business partner when it opened in 1970, and he has owned the current business solo for the last
40 years, if not all for others’ benefit but also, hopefully, for their enjoyment from having learned to play.
In turn, he and our community enjoyed the results of the service he provided. Here’s hoping he and his family
enjoy his retirement.
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