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by Steve Robinson

Council Approves Hiring Search Firm
To Assist In Finding Next City Manager

By a 6-1 vote, Normal Town Council members approved a resolution accepting a proposal from GovHR USA to assist the Town in recruitment and selection of a new city manager. To pay their $20,000 fee the Town needed to have an adjustment in its general fund account approved by the Council. Council Member R. C. McBride cast the lone opposing vote.
McBride stated he was concerned about the scope of the search and wondered if the Town would have been able to conduct it more expediently. Mayor Chris Koos explained one of the reasons the firm was being hired was for its skills involving background work on applicants.
The expense will cover costs incurred by the Northbrook, Ill.-based firm which would include professional fees, reimbursable expenses and advertising costs. The Town is hiring the firm in light of City Manager Mark Peterson announcing he will retire next March after 30 years with the Town, 20 of them at that post when he steps down.
GovHR USA was founded and is headed by Heidi Voorhees, who has worked in the field of recruiting and municipal consulting since 2006. GovHR’s proposal includes a national search process which is slated to begin in the middle of this month and take roughly 12 weeks from start to finish.
Audit Report, Financial Statements Presented, Approved: Council members received the results of the annual audit conducted by Warrenville, Ill.-based accounting firm Lauterbach & Amen. The report’s details, as presented to Council members by Jamie Wilkey, a principal with the firm, explained the audit of the Town’s financial and procedural operations received positive marks. The audit process took six months to complete.
Wilkey complimented Town officials with “being well prepared and professional,” adding the audit turned up no negative conclusions. This was the first year for this firm to conduct the audit. “A clean audit doesn’t happen by accident,” City Manager Mark Peterson told Council members. He said obtaining that result was a credit to the Town’s staff.
Council members also unanimously approved a resolution accepting the audited financial statements and the audit report, which covered Town documents in the period that ended March 31. Council members also unanimously approved a resolution to accept the Federal Compliance Audit Lauterbach & Amen did for the Town covering the period that ended March 31.
Annual Financial Trends And Conditions Report Presented: Andrew Huhn, Town director of finance, presented the annual Financial Trend and Conditions Report to Council members. The Town’s total outstanding debt at the end of fiscal year 2016 was $92.20 million, partly the result of an $8,835,000 bond issue that year used to help pay for some community capital projects and supporting construction of a new fire station, which is close to completion.
Huhn explained while the Town has the lowest tax rate among eight nearby communities, including Peoria and Champaign, and is the result of the Town’s spending habits and maintaining a watchful eye on its tax levy.
Included in the mix of positives and negatives which filled the report was good news concerning an increase in property value, which saw a 3.1 percent jump from the previous year; A two point drop in the unemployment rate, sliding to 3.8 percent; and property tax rates, which continue to stay lower than other larger downstate cities in spite of a small increase last year.
The negatives were found to surround transportation, specifically air travel and Amtrak. Both Central Illinois Regional Airport and Uptown Station saw decreases in use in the past year.
Council OKs New “Stop For Pedestrians” Signs For Constitution Trail: Council members unanimously approved a motion authorizing use of signs reading, “Stop For Pedestrians In Crosswalk” to be placed at crossings on Constitution Trail at Locust St., Willow St., Lincoln St., Shelbourne Dr., and Raab Rd. Town Staff recommended the signs be used as part of the Town’s support of Town’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The signs would be placed in advance of the trail crossing in the center of the roadway.
Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:
Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of Aug. 21, 2017.
Approval of Town of Normal Expenditures for payment as of Aug. 30, 2017.
A resolution to approve bids award a contract to Bloomington-based Stark Excavating Co., Inc. in the amount of $132,714.75 for sidewalk improvements on Beech St. , Fell Ave. , and University St .
A resolution waiving the formal bid requirements for a sole source provider and authorizing the execution of a contract with Richmond, British Columbia, Canada-based WhiteWater West Industries Ltd. for professional engineering services and refurbishing of the Fairview Family Aquatic Center drop slides.
A resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Tampa-based Benefit Technology Resources for the acquisition of the bSwift benefits administration system.
A resolution to waive the formal bidding procedure and accept a quote from Central Illinois Truck to repair a 2004 Pierce Fire Engine in the amount of $69,374.
A resolution authorizing a third amendment to the billing service agreement with Riverview , Mich.-based AccuMed Billing Inc. for ambulance billing.
An ordinance amending parking restrictions on Orr St. between Hanson Dr. and College Ave.
An ordinance amending Division 14 of Chapter 22 of the Code of Ordinances to change distance requirements for video-gaming establishments.

McLean County Board Report
????, Chairman
Recording Secretary:  Judith A. LaCasse

No meeting this week

The Booth Brothers to Perform September 15 at Calvary Baptist Church to benefit Midwest Food Bank
The Booth Brothers are coming to Bloomington/Normal. This trio, known for their harmony-drenched vocals and warm, easy voices, are coming for an exciting musical event on Friday, Sept. 15, at Calvary Baptist Church, 1017 N. School Street, Normal.  
Ronnie Booth, Michael Booth, and Paul Lancaster make up this award-winning trio. Their God-given talent has garnered them numerous awards including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Trio of the Year, Favorite Artist of the Year and many others. The Booth Brothers have a unique ability to communicate through song and humor.  They appreciate the opportunity to meet their friends and fans through their appearances on the Bill Gaither Homecoming tours and their own touring schedule. 
This concert will begin at 7 pm with doors open at 6 pm.  Tickets to the concert may be purchased at, Midwest Food Bank’s Bloomington or Peoria divisions, or Calvary Baptist Church, Normal.  100% of ticket sales and go directly to MFB.  The cost of the tickets are $15 and $20.  Note: Children living at home can attend free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
To acquire additional information regarding this exciting musical event, call Midwest Food Bank at 309-663-5350.  Make plans now to join the Booth Brothers at Calvary Baptist Church, Normal, on Friday, Sept. 15, for an awesome event filled with a life changing message.

In the Spetember 07 2017 Printed Normalite:
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Bill Linneman
Europe 1956

Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
Time to think about bringing the house plants back inside

The Spectator
by Jim Bennett
A Closer Look at Jewish Women Gymnasts

Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Many school finding plans hatched over the years

Classic Colcalsure
Down on the Farm

Normal Town Council Report
Council Approves Hiring Search Firm
To Assist In Finding Next City Manager

Unit 5 School Board Report
by Steve Robinson
  Unit 5 Board, Superintendent, Experience Virtual Classroom At Normal West

McLean County Board Report

by Steve Robinson

No meeting this week

Capitol Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
News from the Capitol


Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Historic Barickman-sponsored school funding reform signed into law

Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
ISU Hosts School’s Legends

Best Look Magazine


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Mystery Photo, Legal Notices, Obituaries, Service Directory, School and Senior Information, and Classified advertisements

Pick up a copy for these stories and more.

Unit 5 School Board Report

by Steve Robinson

Unit 5 Board, Superintendent, Experience Virtual Classroom At Normal West
Prior to their Aug. 23 meeting at Normal Community West High School, members of Normal-based Unit 5 School Board and District Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel were given a chance to have a classroom experience not many students, teachers, or administrators have an opportunity to encounter regularly. They sat in Room 223 and got a first-hand opportunity to experience being in a virtual classroom.
In this room, there are two large viewing screens which 30 students face and a large one located behind them which a teacher can use to continue conducting a session without having to look over their shoulder.
The room was set up by Normal-based zdi, an audio-visual company. The equipment needed in the room is set up for a two-way hook-up so that someone off Normal West premises and class members can interact. All that takes is a computer with a microphone and an iPhone. Cameras mounted on the room’s walls follow the room so that they can instantly pick up on a student or teacher speaking. A camera in the back of the room is trained on the instructor.
The demonstration Daniel and Board members sat in on involved interacting with Aaron McArdle, chief executive officer of zdi. He was in his van driving to a location in town when the demo began but parked so he could carry on a conversation with the group. That, in itself, was the point of the demonstration --  that teachers could bring experts into the classroom to kids directly using this technology.
 Facial recognition technology in the room picks up on how many people are in the room, explained Christine Street, an account executive with zdi. Street stood at the front of the class, as a teacher might, during the demonstration.
Unit 5 spent roughly $750,000 on the technology, Street said. Teachers applied for licenses with zdi which allows them to conduct meetings. Some 900 licenses were applied for and obtained, with each teacher being able to use their own personal logon to enter the system.
The money used for the purchase came from what money remained from the district’s $96.7 million fund used to construct Cedar Ridge Elementary School and Benjamin Elementary School, and George L. Evans Junior High School, Daniel said. Voters in 2008 approved a referendum for construction of those schools.
 Daniel said because of the capability this system provides, school administrators will be able to save travel time to and from certain large group meetings. They can now hook in and be present from their own office when needed. “More experts will come talk to these kids because of this,” Street told Board members.
Board Member Barry Hitchins mentioned to the gathering he’d like to see the school keep track of how much use the equipment gets – that is, how often teachers and administrators book the room. Daniel explained Normal West’s administrative staff has responsibility for bookings.
This appears to be the latest way to bring the real world kids will soon inherit into their lives. They are clearly exposed to technological advances which means this sort of communication can only increase their desire for knowledge. Getting it this way appears to add to that.

Nolte Scholar in Health Education to speak on health and aging Sept. 21
Robin Mockenhaupt, chief of staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is the Nolte Scholar in Health Education and will present “Making the Healthy Choice the Normal Choice” at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 21, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.
In her role as chief of staff, Mockenhaupt provides leadership to the chief executive, senior management team, staff, and board of trustees, and is responsible for foundation-level, cross-functional teams and operations.
Mockenhaupt joined the Foundation in 1999 and has worked in program, program management and administration. From 2003 to 2005, she was deputy group director for the Health Group and also served as its interim director in 2004. As a senior program officer, from 1999 to 2003, she worked in the areas of health behavior, obesity and chronic disease management.
Before joining the Foundation, Mockenhaupt spent 16 years with AARP in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in health and aging, managing Health Advocacy Services and the National Resource Center on Health Promotion and Aging. She co-authored the book Healthy Aging, and has held positions at Focus Technologies in Washington D.C., the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University, and the National Health Screening Council in Bethesda, Maryland.
A member of the American Society on Aging, Mockenhaupt also sits on the editorial review board for Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging, and is a member of the George Mason University College of Health and Human Services Advisory Board. Mockenhaupt received a Ph.D. in health education from the University of Maryland.
The talk is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series. The series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.

Lunch and Learn ‘Small Business: The Catalyst of McLean County’ with Karen Bussone Sept. 14
Karen Bussone, new director of the Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan will explore the role and importance of small business in McLean county at the Lunch and Learn to be held Thursday, Sept. 14 at 12:10 pm in the Gov. Fifer Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides free assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in McLean County Karen has been a Visiting Professor for Illinois Wesleyan University the past ten years, where she developed team-based collaborative classrooms while teaching courses across various disciplines including marketing, management, entrepreneurship, and financial management.
Bring your brown bag lunch to the Museum’s series, featuring engaging and enlightening topics for discussion. Join us the second Thursday of every month from September through May for a new topic to explore and discuss. The programs are held in the Museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom from 12:10-12:40 p.m. These programs are free and open to the public and sponsored by Illinois Wesleyan University and the McLean County Museum of History.

Women To Women To Host Community Conversation Sept. 19
Illinois Prairie Community Foundation’s Women to Women Giving Circle will host a Community Conversation on Early Intervention from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Illinois State University Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main St., Normal.
Women to Women is looking to add new voices and foster collaboration within our community to help address this issue. Nonprofit organizations in Central Illinois and others interested in improving the lives of women and girls are invited to attend.
Admission is free and no reservation is required.
The event also introduces Women to Women’s grant focus for 2018 – programs that seek to offer early intervention to children ages 0-5 and their parents to pave the way for girls to achieve their highest potential. W2W encourages interested nonprofits to work each other to address a need and submit a grant together. The grant application window will be open for one month starting in early October.
About Women to Women Giving Circle - In the last seven years, the Women to Women Giving Circle has granted more than $245,000 to local programs and projects that encourage advancement and opportunities for women and girls. The group creates community conversations on issues that impact women and children through twice-yearly forums. More information is available at under the Women to Women tab.
 About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation - Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 21st year, encourages and facilitates philanthropy in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties by connecting donors who care with causes that matter to them. The Foundation currently manages assets of $15 million in 143 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds.

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Images from recent games are available for viewing and purchase

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

 Uptown Normal image - Turnabout

Historic North Street

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coming next to the Historic
Normal Theater
All seats $7• Refreshments $1
Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Hotline: 454-9722
Saturday, Sept. 9 • 7:00 PM
Presented in partnership with Further Jazz, Inc, featuring a post-film concert by the Glenn Wilson Chasing Trane ensemble. Chasing Trane is the definitive documentary film about an outside-the-box thinker with extraordinary talent whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. This smart, passionate, thought-provoking and uplifting documentary is for anyone who appreciates the power of music to entertain, inspire and transform. Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the times, Chasing Trane brings John Coltrane to life as a fully dimensional being, inviting the audience to engage with Coltrane the man, Coltrane the artist. NR / 99 min.

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Barn Dinner Theatre to Rebuild in Goodfield
It was Labor Day 1975 when Chaunce and Mary Conklin began work on the Barn Dinner Theatre in Goodfield. So it’s only fitting that on Labor Day 2017, we share the exciting news!
Mary Simon is partnering with Abby Reel, former Barn II employee & local farm girl from Congerville, to rebuild the Barn at it’s original location! The new vision for the “Barn III” is to provide the same quality entertainment in a unique, adaptable venue that will not only house the Conklin Players, but open the barn doors for weddings, community events, musical artists, comedians and more!
While it is too costly to save the old barn the plan is to reclaim the wood and rebuild the structure to resemble the original Angus cattle barn inside and out (with a few much needed updates!)
Today marks the beginning of Abby and Mary’s “Barn Raising Campaign” - we are working hard to make this new venue happen, but we can’t do it alone!  We need your help! Please consider a gift of any size to “The Barn III” - every penny donated will go directly back into the rebuild. You can donate at the new website:
Thank you all for your continued support of the Barn II Dinner Theatre and Conklin Players. As Mary used to say after every performance at the Barn, “We’ll see ya real soon, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise!”

The Salvation Army and Midwest Food Bank Partner to Serve Hurricane Survivors
The Salvation Army and Midwest Food Bank, a long-time disaster partner, are working together to add emergency supplies to the growing relief operations supporting those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Midwest Food Bank will be collecting items to sort into food boxes and hygiene kits.  These supplies will be delivered to disaster sites by Midwest Food Bank, where they are distributed to those in need by The Salvation Army.
Mike Hoffman, Director of Operations for Midwest Food Bank, shared that “Since Hurricane Katrina, The Salvation Army and Midwest Food Bank have partnered together to deliver over 275,000 food boxes to disaster events. By working together, we can support survivors in a coordinated fashion.”
Midwest Food Bank at 2031 Warehouse Road in Normal is accepting donations Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM:
Acceptable Items
Non-Perishable Food - Food items must be packaged in sturdy cans, boxes or bags.  Avoid items packaged in glass. Acceptable items include:
Canned meals (soup, stews, chili), Tuna (or other canned meats), Boxed instant meals (mac n cheese, hamburger helper), Peanut butter, Canned fruit, Canned vegetables, Canned or bagged beans, Pasta & spaghetti sauce, Rice, Cereal, Healthy snacks, Baby Supplies (Baby supplies may include formula, food, bottles, pacifiers, diapers and wipes),   Hygiene Products, Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Razor, Deodorant, Hair brushes and combs, Feminine hygiene products, Body wipes, Hand sanitizer
Unacceptable Items
Water and beverages, Clothing, Chocolate and other candies., Perishable items, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and pastries, Flour or sugar.
To make a financial donation to support the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to, call 1-800- SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.
No used clothing or bottled water can be accepted. Right now, disaster areas are overwhelmed with those two commodities. But, you can always donate clothing and additional used items to your local Salvation Army Family Store, which helps support Salvation Army programs in your community.
The Bloomington-Normal Division of Midwest Food Bank has added some evening and weekend volunteer opportunities to help package the Disaster Relief boxes. To see the available times and sign up, visit bloomington.midwest
For the latest information please go to and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at and

Wild Ones to explore Restoration of Woodland Properties September 11
The Illinois Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones will host Bob Szafoni will speak on the restoration of woodland properties on Monday, September 11 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Mennonite Church of Normal, 805 S Cottage Ave.
Woodlands are a natural community type intermediate between forests and savannas which typically support an oak-hickory tree canopy. Woodlands have the potential to support numerous species of native plants and animals, some quite rare, but are under threat by several factors. Many examples are in private ownership in Illinois and these landowners are key to maintaining and improving woodlands for conservation purposes. The presentation will cover aspects of assessing land and vegetation, setting realistic management goals and implementing a stewardship vision for the land.
Bob Szafoni has over 30 years experience in natural areas identification and stewardship.  He has written and/or implemented stewardship on woodlands as well as other natural community types statewide.  He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from University of Illinois and is retired from the IL DNR where he served as the Illinois Natural Areas Program Manager for over 10 years.  Prior to that he was an IDNR Natural Heritage Biologist (covering McLean County for a time!) and has worked at the Illinois Natural History Survey.  He currently is an ecological consultant as well as manages his own woodland in East Central Illinois.
This event is free and open to the public. The Mennonite Church of Normal is a handicap accessible building.
Wild Ones is a national non-profit organization of local chapters promoting the use of native plants in home and urban landscapes. For more information on our local chapter, Illinois Prairie, please visit our website at

GFWC Woman’s Club to meet September 12
GFWC Illinois Mclean County Woman’s Club will meet on Tuesday, September 12, 6:00 p.m., at 2012 E Lincoln, Bloomington, across from Westminster Village, in the club house, for a Salad Supper.  Members are asked to bring a salad to share and their own table service. 
A meeting will take place after the salad supper. The new club year and club  projects will be discussed all women are welcome.  Call 452-3711 for information.

McLean Co. Genealogical Society to meet Sept. 19
The September 19, 2017 meeting of the McLean County Genealogical Society will be held in the Courtroom on the second floor at the McLean County Museum of History Building, 200 North Main, Bloomington. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. with a short business meeting followed by a PowerPoint presentation by Jan Heuer from The Fort in Lexington, IL. She will talk about the The Fort and its holdings. This is a valuable resource that will be of interest to all genealogist.
The public is invited to attend and refreshments will be served.
For additional information, please contact Eleanor Mede at 309- 454-2688.


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