Page 1

2008 | IMAGESMCLEAN.COM | VIDEO TOUR ONLINE TM

OF McLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS

IN THE FUNNY PAGES Normal native creates syndicated comic strip

A WALK IN THE PARK – AND MORE Constitution Trail bustles with cyclists and walkers

A Wind-Wind Situation SPONSORED BY THE McLEAN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


2008 EDITION | VOLUME 8 TM

OF MCLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS

8 McLEAN COUNTY BUSINESS CO NTE NT S F E AT U R E S 8

12

18

24 Biz Briefs

Demand for renewable energy sparks interest in the county’s airy resources.

27 Chamber Report

A WALK IN THE PARK

D E PA R TM E NT S

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT

4 Almanac: a colorful sampling of McLean County culture

17 Portfolio 29 Health & Wellness

The Central Illinois Regional Airport provides a substantial economic benefit to the region’s traveling community.

30 Education

IN THE FUNNY PAGES

35 Community Profile: facts, stats

Michael Jantze sometimes gives a wink to his hometown of Normal, Ill., in his popular comic strip, “The Norm.”

33

The Mitsubishi plant in Normal is exporting its automobiles to more than 25 countries.

A WIND-WIND SITUATION

On any given day, you’ll see locals cycling, walking and jogging all over Bloomington and Normal.

14

22 A Customized Mitsubishi

31 Arts & Culture and important numbers to know

A FISH STORY Whether it’s used for a leisurely excursion or for a state-record catch, Lake Evergreen is an angler’s paradise.

MCLEAN COUNT Y

ON THE COVER Twin Grove wind turbines Photo by Wes Aldridge

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

1


TM

What’s Online

More lists, links and tips for newcomers O F M C LE AN CO U NT Y, I LLI N OI S

IMAGESMCLEAN.COM

SENIOR EDITOR KIM MADLOM COPY EDITOR JOYCE CARUTHERS ASSOCIATE EDITORS LISA BATTLES, SUSAN CHAPPELL, ANITA WADHWANI ASSISTANT EDITOR REBECCA DENTON STAFF WRITERS CAROL COWAN, KEVIN LITWIN, JESSICA MOZO DIRECTORIES EDITORS AMANDA KING, KRISTY WISE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS DAN MARKHAM, GRETCHEN MONTI, CINDY SANDERS, BETSY WILLIAMS ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER TODD POTTER INTEGRATED MEDIA MANAGER CLAY BANKS SALES COORDINATOR SARA SARTIN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS WES ALDRIDGE, ANTONY BOSHIER, MICHAEL W. BUNCH, IAN CURCIO, BRIAN M CCORD PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT JESSY YANCEY CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEITH HARRIS WEB DESIGN DIRECTOR SHAWN DANIEL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR NATASHA LORENS ASST. PRODUCTION DIRECTOR CHRISTINA CARDEN PRE-PRESS COORDINATOR HAZEL RISNER SENIOR PRODUCTION PROJECT MGR. TADARA SMITH PRODUCTION PROJECT MGRS. MELISSA HOOVER, JILL WYATT SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS LAURA GALLAGHER, KRIS SEXTON, VIKKI WILLIAMS LEAD DESIGNER JESSICA BRAGONIER GRAPHIC DESIGN CANDICE HULSEY, JANINE MARYLAND, LINDA MOREIRAS, AMY NELSON WEB DESIGN RYAN DUNLAP WEB PRODUCTION JILL TOWNSEND DIGITAL ASSET MANAGER ALISON HUNTER COLOR IMAGING TECHNICIAN CORY MITCHELL AD TRAFFIC SARAH MILLER, PATRICIA MOISAN, RAVEN PETTY CHAIRMAN GREG THURMAN PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER BOB SCHWARTZMAN EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RAY LANGEN SR. V.P./CLIENT DEVELOPMENT JEFF HEEFNER SR. V.P./SALES CARLA H. THURMAN SR. V.P./PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS CASEY E. HESTER V.P./SALES HERB HARPER V.P./VISUAL CONTENT MARK FORESTER V.P./TRAVEL PUBLISHING SYBIL STEWART EXECUTIVE EDITOR TEREE CARUTHERS MANAGING EDITOR/BUSINESS MAURICE FLIESS PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR JEFFREY S. OTTO CONTROLLER CHRIS DUDLEY ACCOUNTING MORIAH DOMBY, DIANA GUZMAN, MARIA McFARLAND, LISA OWENS, JACKIE YATES RECRUITING DIRECTOR SUZY WALDRIP DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR GARY SMITH MARKETING COORDINATOR AMY AKIN ONLINE SALES MANAGER MATT SLUTZ IT SYSTEMS DIRECTOR MATT LOCKE IT SERVICE TECHNICIAN RYAN SWEENEY HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER PEGGY BLAKE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR NICOLE WILLIAMS SALES SUPPORT MANAGER/ CUSTOM MAGAZINES PATTI CORNELIUS

WEB SITE EXTRA

MOVING PICTURES

PLUS SEARCH OUR ARCHIVES Browse past issues of the magazine by year or search for specific articles by subject. INSTANT LINKS Read the entire magazine online using our ActiveMagazine™ technology and link instantly to community businesses and services.

VIDEO TOUR INSIDE LOOK Join us on a virtual tour of McLean County through the lenses of our award-winning photographers at imagesmclean.com.

EVEN MORE Read full-length versions of the magazine’s articles; find related stories; or read new content exclusive to the Web. Look for the See More Online reference in this issue.

ILLINOIS: A GREAT PLACE TO GARDEN Illinois has a moist, temperate, continental climate. Snow is common until mid-April. The growing season is from about 150 days in the northern part of the state to about 205 days far south. Find out more at imagesmclean.com.

FARM FRESH IN THE MIDWEST Images of McLean County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at info@jnlcom.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: McLean County Chamber of Commerce 210 S. East St. • Bloomington, IL 61701 Phone: (309) 829-6344 • Fax: (309) 827-3940 E-mail: info@mcleancochamber.org www.mcleancochamber.org VISIT IMAGES OF M C LEAN COUNTY ONLINE AT IMAGESMCLEAN.COM ©Copyright 2007 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

Magazine Publishers of America

Member

MCLEAN COUNT Y

Custom Publishing Council

Traditional Midwestern cuisine can be summed up in three words: simple and hearty. Dairy, especially cheese, is a staple in many dishes. Get a taste of regional cuisine at imagesmclean.com.

A B O U T T H I S M AG A Z I N E Images of McLean County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is sponsored by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. In print and online, Images gives readers a taste of what makes McLean County tick – from business and education to sports, health care and the arts.

“Find the good – and praise it.” – Alex Haley (1921-1992), Journal Communications co-founder

jnlcom.com

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

3


Almanac

On Solid Ground The American Institute of Architects turned 150 in 2007, and its AIA Illinois chapter celebrated the milestone in an eye-catching way. It created a Great Places collection on a www.illinoisgreatplaces.com Web site, with pictures and detailed information about 150 interesting architectural structures throughout the state. Representing Bloomington on the site is the David Davis Mansion, while Normal was recognized for the Normal Theater. Other recognized Illinois landmarks include the Abraham Lincoln Home, Wrigley Field, Sears Tower, the Illinois State Capitol and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio.

Drivers Wanted

PHOTO COURTESY OF PETE GUITHER

The golf courses in Bloomington-Normal are way above par, and that’s a good thing. The twin cities ranked among the top five in a 2005 Golf Digest survey of the nation’s best cities in which to play golf, and the magazine also gave a four-star rating to Prairie Vista Golf Course. Other top venues in the two cities include Crestwicke Country Club, the Golf Learning Center, Highland Park, the Illinois State University Golf Course, Ironwood, Royal Links and The Den at Fox Creek.

Much Ado About Something The lady doth protest too much, except when the Illinois Shakespeare Festival arrives each year in Bloomington. Illinois State University sponsors the annual summer festival that stages three open-air plays on the grounds of historic Ewing Manor in Bloomington. Approximately 12,000 people attended the 2007 event that included performances of Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V and Love’s Labour Lost. The festival has been staged in McLean County for 30 years, and at Ewing Manor since 2000. The event has been acclaimed in the Chicago and New York media, and discussed in scholarly Shakespeare journals as far away as England.

4

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


McLean County | At A Glance POPULATION (2005 ESTIMATE) McLean County: 161,202 Bloomington: 69,749 Normal: 49,927 LOCATION McLean County is in central Illinois, midway between Chicago and St. Louis. BEGINNINGS McLean was named in honor of 19th-century congressman and U.S. Sen. John McLean. FOR MORE INFORMATION McLean County Chamber of Commerce 210 S. East Street P.O. Box 1586 Bloomington, IL 61702-1586 (309) 829-6344 Fax: (309) 827-3940 www.mcleancochamber.org

McLean Co.

24

Lexington

39

Hudson

74

55

Anchor

Towanda Cookesville

Normal MCLE AN Bloomington

122

Stanford Downs

Saybrook

150

51

McLean 136

Ellsworth

74

Heyworth

9

Arrowsmith

LeRoy

54

Modals of Transportation Need a ride? Be patient because The Uptown Normal Multimodal Transportation Center is slated to open in the summer of 2009. Construction is scheduled to start in April 2008 on the center that will be located just west of the Children’s Discovery Museum. It will bring together the services of Amtrak trains, Amtrak High Speed Rail, buses, airport shuttles and taxis. The building will also include a 280 car-parking garage. Amtrak services already make Chicago a comfortable day trip for McLean County residents, and that trip will become even faster once the highspeed rail service becomes available at the multimodal transportation center.

Oh Rubbish It is an unusual exhibit, but it gets kids and adults thinking about cleaning up the environment. Oh Rubbish is an exhibit at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal that informs visitors about the world’s environmental problem of too much trash. The display’s message is to get children and adults thinking about reducing, reusing and recycling, and rethinking the way they deal with garbage. One of the exhibit highlights is a walk through a lifelike landfill to see trash and junk that shouldn’t be there.

MCLEAN COUNT Y

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

5


Almanac

Fast Facts ■ McLean County is the nation’s largest producer of corn and soybeans. ■ The McLean County Fair takes place over five days in early August at the Interstate Center.

Is That Abe Talking? Abraham Lincoln spent a lot of time in Bloomington-Normal, as evidenced on a new audio CD that is available to the public. The McLean County Museum of History is sponsoring the CD that features local writer and performer James Keeran as the voice of the 16th president. Keeran, as the president, talks about 17 sites in Bloomington-Normal that played a role in Lincoln’s life. Those sites include the courthouse, the Miller-Davis building where Lincoln practiced law, and the Kersey Fell Law Office where friend Jesse Fell encouraged him to run for the presidency. The CD includes an accompanying booklet of photographs, tour directions, maps and commentary about the 17 sites. The McLean County Museum of History CD sells for $19.95.

Get Swept Up On the list of ice sports, broomball isn’t mentioned very often. But it is becoming a popular activity at the Pepsi Ice Center in Bloomington, where the game features rules and strategies like hockey as well as some from soccer. Ice hockey is still the star at the Pepsi Ice Center, which offers training to aspiring players and youth and adult league competition. Skating lessons are available for all skill levels. The center, located at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum, can be rented for birthday parties and other events.

MCLEAN COUNT Y

■ Upper Limits Rock Gym has more than 20,000 square feet of climbing surface, making it one of the largest climbing gymnasiums in North America. ■ A radio broadcasting tower in downtown Bloomington mimics the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. ■ State Farm Insurance, the largest property insurer in the United States, is headquartered in Bloomington. It is McLean County’s largest employer with more than 14,000 workers locally.

SEE MORE ONLINE | For more Fast Facts about McLean County, visit imagesmclean.com.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

7


Wind turbines rise high above cornfields in the Twin Groves Wind Farm through the efforts of the Horizon Wind Energy project.

8

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


A Wind-Wind

Situation DEMAND FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY SPARKS INTEREST IN McLEAN COUNTY

STORY BY KEVIN LITWIN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WES ALDRIDGE

I

f Chicago is known as the Windy City, perhaps McLean should be called the Windy County – but for altogether different reasons. McLean is home to Twin Groves Wind Farm, a collection of 120 tall, windmill-like turbines that stand on private farm properties. The wind farm spans 50 square miles in the rural townships of Arrowsmith, Cheney’s Grove and Dawson, with the turbines channeling wind energy for electrical power that is sold to utility companies. And now, another 120 turbines are being erected throughout the same sections of eastern McLean County, with

MCLEAN COUNT Y

those windmills scheduled to be operational by January 2008. When complete, Twin Groves will be the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi. The 240 turbines will be able to produce enough electricity to meet the average annual needs of 120,000 households. “There are an estimated 57,000 households in McLean County, so several surrounding communities will also be served by this project,” says Bill Whitlock, senior project manager of Horizon Wind Energy, which owns Twin Groves. “The electricity is being produced locally so a lot of money

goes into the area economy, and this is clean energy. The fuel is the wind, which is free. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Wind power is among the renewable energy resources gaining interest across the country. McLean County is an ideal spot for such a wind endeavor because it is situated on the Bloomington Moraine, a high piece of extensive ground that features some of the most hardy and consistent winds in all of Illinois. “You need winds blowing at constant speeds, and the turbines must be located close to high-transmission power lines that can transport the electricity – we I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

9


have both in McLean County,” says Mike Swartz, manager of the McLean County Farm Bureau. Nearly 130 landowners lease their property for about $5,000 per turbine per year, with Horizon paying for the land-use rights. “When all 240 turbines are running in early 2008, we will be paying local farmers in excess of $1 million annually to use their land,” Whitlock says. Swartz says farm landowners obviously welcome the money that Horizon Wind Energy is paying out each year. “Farm land historically has a low rate of return on investment, with farmers lucky to make a 2 to 4 percent profit during a year,” he says. “So getting an additional $5,000 annually is a great help. And perhaps what’s best about the turbines of Twin Groves Wind Farm is that they are all on rural land in open spaces. It’s not like the turbines are next door to a large residential community or a rural suburb.” In some of the same fields where the turbines are located, McLean County farmers are growing corn and soybeans –

Now Ear This McLEAN COUNTY REMAINS NATION’S TOP CORN PRODUCER

O

h, grow up – and up and up and up. McLean County is still the largest producer of corn in the United States, as has been the case for the past 20 years. In fact, the county is the largest single producer of corn in the entire world. “That’s a pretty impressive statistic when you think about it,” says Mark Lambert, communications director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “It’s nice to be a world leader in anything, and McLean County’s expertise is in corn.” Lambert credits the abundant corn yields to the county’s large geographical size as well as the knowledge and experience of the

MCLEAN COUNT Y

also sources for renewable energy. “McLean County has certainly been blessed with many opportunities for alternative energy,” Swartz says. “We have some of the richest soils in the nation and regularly rank among the top corn and soybean producing areas. As travelers drive through the county and see corn and soybeans growing in the fields, they are seeing fuel in the process of being made.

local farming community. “McLean County also is lucky enough to have some of the most fertile soil in the world for agriculture,” he says. Farms throughout the county annually produce a robust average yield of about 150 bushels an acre, and those numbers are going up all the time – especially nowadays. “In 2006 and 2007, corn acreage has been on the increase because of the rise in demand for ethanol, and we don’t see that demand changing anytime soon,” Lambert says. “There is probably a 10-15 percent increase in corn acreage due to ethanol, and that particular industry is only going to get bigger as the push continues to develop alternative energy sources.” Lambert adds that McLean County is also strong in the corn market due to its geographic location. It is situated in the central United States and has easy access

“McLean County can claim to make a significant contribution when it comes to providing alternative fuels, whether it’s wind, ethanol or soy diesel,” Swartz says.

Above: Bill Whitlock, senior project manager of Horizon Wind Energy, stands in front of wind turbines in a cornfield at Twin Groves Wind Farm.

to major shipping routes. “There are three interstates (39, 55 and 74) that service McLean County and the Mississippi River is less than a three-hour drive away,” he says. “For example, a lot of the corn goes down the river to be exported overseas as livestock feed, and white corn is grown here and then trucked to Mexico and Chicago for tortilla production. McLean County is truly a corn supermarket to the world.” – Kevin Litwin

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

11


AWalk

in the

Park

McLEAN COUNTY’S OUTDOOR SPACES ARE FABULOUS PLACES

12

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


STORY BY JESSICA MOZO PHOTOGRAPHY BY WES ALDRIDGE

F

olks in McLean County are far from what you’d call couch potatoes. On any given day, you’ll see them cycling, walking and jogging all over Bloomington and Normal. That positive energy and sense of good health are in part thanks to the abundance of outdoor activities McLean County offers. Bloomington and Normal boast nearly 60 parks combined, and the two communities share a well-loved 24-mile linear park called the Constitution Trail. “The parks and recreation departments [of Bloomington and Normal] do surveys, and the Constitution Trail always comes out as the most popular park in both communities,” says Dan Steadman, a Bloomington dentist and member of Friends of the Constitution Trail. “It gets people out of their cars, and it’s easily accessible. I ride my bike to work on it.” Named in celebration of the 200th birthday of the United States Constitution in 1987, the Constitution Trail is a former abandoned railroad that was transformed into a paved trail for walking, jogging, biking, in-line skating and cross country skiing in winter. Friends of the Constitution Trail is a group of 170 community members that works for the expansion and beautification of the trail. “We have paid for signs along the trail, bought trees and paid for one of the picnic shelters,” Steadman says. “Most of our projects are funded by membership and donations.” Thanks to the community’s enthusiasm for the Constitution Trail, it hasn’t stopped growing since its grand opening in 1989. “The reaction to the trail has been amazing. We can’t build onto it fast enough,” says Dean Kohn, Bloomington Parks and Recreation director. “Normal is looking at adding three or four more miles to their part of the trail, and so are we. Every time a new park or subdivision is developed, we look for ways to connect it to the trail.” Trail users enjoy natural scenery and wildlife watching along the path and take advantage of picnic shelters, rest areas and drinking fountains (for people and dogs) that dot the trail. There’s even a Trailside Farmers’ Market in Normal on Tuesday evenings that features local vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and meats. Wildlife commonly spotted along the trail includes deer, peregrine falcon, migrant birds, beavers, turkeys, foxes and great blue heron. Many private gardens also add to the trail’s appeal, including a Japanese Garden and Audubon Garden near Towanda Avenue and a restored prairie south of Colene Hoose Elementary School. “The Constitution Trail is very much a part of the quality of life in Bloomington and Normal,” Kohn says. Numerous other recreational facilities also enhance McLean County’s quality of life. Bloomington is home to three 18-hole golf courses, four lakes, Frisbee golf and spray parks with water features. Normal boasts a par 72 championship 18-hole golf course, a 10-field softball complex, a community activity center and two aquatic facilities – Fairview Family Aquatic Center and Anderson Aquatic Facility. “They have exciting water features and slides and get a

MCLEAN COUNT Y

The Constitution Trail is a 24-mile trail system that stretches throughout the park systems of McLean County and is a favorite of walkers, joggers and cyclists.

tremendous amount of use,” says Gary Little, Normal Parks and Recreation director. “We also have one of the nicest disc golf courses in central Illinois at Maxwell Park.” In July 2007, Normal’s Champion Fields hosted the American Softball Association’s 14 and Under Class-A National Tournament, which drew 130 softball teams from all over the country. “We had to compete with other communities to bring that tournament here, so we’re extremely excited about it,” Little says. “Softball and baseball are big in this community.” Normal Parks and Recreation also operates two indoor facilities where people can escape the summer heat – the Children’s Discovery Museum and the historic Normal Theater. “We’ve built a new outdoor theater for small concerts and other activities along Constitution Trail on South Linden Street,” Little says. The outdoor theater opened for community events in early fall 2007. “People here really appreciate [the parks and recreation opportunities],” Little says, “and we enjoy seeing them outside having a great time.” I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

13


The

Sky

is the

Limit

CENTRAL ILLINOIS REGIONAL AIRPORT HAS MORE FLIGHTS, TRAVELERS AND SERVICES

14

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


The terminal at Central Illinois Regional Airport makes it easy for passengers to check in for flights, which are better priced than surrounding markets.

STORY BY BETSY WILLIAMS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WES ALDRIDGE

C

entral Illinois travelers weary of overwhelming airport crowds and high prices are taking pleasure in the easy, low-cost experience offered at the Central Illinois Regional Airport. With fares that are 25 to 35 percent lower than those of the surrounding markets, CIRA provides a substantial economic benefit to the McLean region’s traveling community, including major corporations, educational and health institutions. “We work very closely with area businesses, and partner with the city of Bloomington, town of Normal and McLean County to maintain this high level of service to the community and our customers,” says Paul Harmon, chairman of the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority. Harmon says CIRA enhances area businesses. With approximately 20 outbound and 20 inbound commercial flights daily, the airport continues to experience significant growth in passenger activity, breaking all records in 2006 and 2007. The numbers are expected to increase now that AirTran has launched non-stop flights to Las Vegas four times each week. Those flights join AirTran’s quadweekly schedule to Orlando and daily flights to Atlanta. Other airlines serving the airport include Northwest Airlink, American Eagle, United Express and Delta Connection. Increasing the number of flights in and out of an airport can be extremely competitive, says Carl Olson, airport MCLEAN COUNT Y

director. CIRA is up to the challenge. “We are constantly working to strengthen and expand the level of air service, with our goal being to serve the community and be an asset,” Olson says. Passengers are served from a modern new terminal featuring a public business center, wireless service, conference rooms, retail and restaurant service, and a VIP lounge. The airport’s signature free parking and shuttle service for passengers, hotel shuttles, rental car availability and a customer rewards program all enhance the experience of flying in and out of CIRA. The future may bring even more enhancements to the airport vicinity as hotel companies consider projects in the area. This outstanding service hasn’t just happened; it is the result of careful planning and strategic use of federal and state grants. With funding provided through federal and state airport improvement programs, a new 24/7-manned fire station is in the planning stages. If constructed, the fire station will serve the community as well as the airport, building on the excellent relationship between the airport and local leadership. “The operation of our airport demonstrates that we want to be an asset to the community, to serve the community and to help the community grow and prosper,” Olson says. “We want to help make the community a strong place.” I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

15


16

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Portfolio

Family Recipe for Success RIBS, SEAFOOD AND HOMEMADE SOUPS, SALADS AND SAUCES PLEASE CUSTOMERS

uality food that is good every time is the hallmark of the Ozark House, a family-owned Twin Cities restaurant that recently celebrated its 35th year in business. Founded in 1972 by Ike and Marguerite Weaver and their sons, Larry and Jay, Ozark House is still a family business. Larry and his wife, Connie, who have worked together since they married more than 32 years ago, are the current owners/operators. The popular eating establishment boasts 72 menu items ranging from babyback ribs, which are hickory-smoked for eight hours, to fried chicken, all cooked and served by the restaurant’s 30 employees. Connie credits the restaurant’s success to the fact that you won’t find an Ozark House on every corner. “We’re not a chain,” she says. “Everything we make is homemade, from our salad dressings to our soups to our pasta sauces. We are committed to consistent quality.” Especially popular are Prime Rib Nights on Fridays and Saturdays, but get there early because “we sell out of prime rib almost every week,” Connie says. Also a crowd-pleaser is the extensive seafood selection, including Icelandic cod, channel catfish, lobster and shrimp. Only the best USDA choice filets and ribeye steaks are served, with all the trimmings. For those looking for lighter fare, the menu also offers several items, as well as choices for children and daily specials. The circular bar adjoins a restaurant that seats 150, plus a banquet room that will hold up to 175 patrons for special events. The Ozark House Web site, www.ozarkhouserestaurant.com, now features coupon specials that can be printed and redeemed for extra savings. MCLEAN COUNT Y

WES ALDRIDGE

Q

Barbecue ribs and the seafood griller are Ozark House signature entrees.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

17


Portfolio

Normal in the Funny Pages M

Same Company • Same Great Service • Brand New Look

Allied Waste, through one of our operating companies (American Disposal), provides garbage collection services in McLean County. Our 26,000 employees are proud to announce that our companies will now operate under the same name, Allied Waste Services. Soon, you may notice one of our new garbage trucks in your community. We are excited about this change, but it is important we communicate one thing that will not be changing – our commitment to you, our customer. Customer service is our business – that remains unchanged.

ALLIED WASTE SERVICES OF BLOOMINGTON

2112 W. Washington St. • Bloomington, IL 61704 (309) 827-8631

18

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

ichael Jantze sometimes gives a wink to his hometown of Normal, Ill., in his popular comic strip, “The Norm.” “It’s funny. I’ve always tried to keep some connection between Normal and my present life,” says Jantze, who created “Normal State” while in college, a strip that became “Normal, u.s.a.” in syndication. When that concept ended, Jantze turned his attention toward creating a more personal strip. “When it came time to name the character and the strip, I guess I’d spent too many years with ‘Norm’ to walk away completely, so I named the new character Norm, too,” Jantze says. “I’ve even included little ‘Easter eggs’ in the strip to old friends and businesses around the town.” Jantze, his wife, Nicole, and their children, Harrison and Colette, live in San Anselmo, Calif., a town he describes as having the same kind of wellbalanced atmosphere as Normal. “Central Illinois, McLean County in particular, Normal exceptionally, was the perfect place to grow up; it has the perfect blend of agriculture, industry and education,” Jantze says. “I grew up with one foot in Sugar Creek and the other in the libraries at ISU and Normal Public. In junior high, I used to bike across town to check out 8mm reels of Charlie Chaplin and W.C. Fields films at the public libraries. I checked out every book and magazine article I could find on cartooning and animation.” Jantze pulled “The Norm” from syndication to develop other projects, but the strip still thrives online and has been compiled into books published in several countries. His current projects include developing “The Norm” for both television and cell phone content.

Normal native Michael Jantze is the creator of the popular comic strip “The Norm.”

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Twin Cities Give Double Shot of Blues uring summer, the usual sounds of tractors in the fields by day and crickets by night mix with the cool sounds of the blues during two Twin Cities festivals. Nothin’ but the Blues Festival happens the third weekend of July each year at the Bloomington Tri-Lakes just off U.S. 51. The sloping yard creates a natural amphitheater just perfect for this annual event that features Grammy and W.C. Handy award winners and nominees. Performers have included such notables as KoKo Taylor, John Primer, Dona Oxford and Clayton Joseph Chenier, with styles ranging from boogie-woogie to Cajun. Arrive hungry, because the food at this festival goes great with the blues – walleye and catfish, gumbo, ribs, corn dogs, ice cream and cotton candy. During the fourth weekend in August, the Uptown Normal Business Association hosts the Sweetcorn Blues Festival. While blues may be featured, corn is the real star of this downtown arts and crafts festival. Normal’s public works employees leave at 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings to pick a total of around 18 tons – or 50,000 ears – of corn. Ears are shucked downtown by 50 Boy and Girl Scouts earning merit badges and then placed in a drilled galvanized trashcan, submerged in boiling water heated by an antique steam tractor. The cooked ears are dumped into troughs and smothered in butter, and then purchased by festival-goers for 25 cents an ear. What isn’t shucked is sold by the dozen. “And we always sell out,” says festival organizer and Normal employee Steven Westerdahl. Those attending the Sweetcorn Blues Festival also enjoy sidewalk sales, crafts and a flea market. Uptown Normal’s Sweetcorn Blues Festival celebrates its 20th year in 2008.

WES ALDRIDGE

D

Blues band Rooster Alley performs at the Pantagraph’s sixth annual Nothin’ but the Blues Festival.

MCLEAN COUNT Y

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

19


Portfolio

ll roads connect one place to another, but the 2,248 miles that make up Route 66 connect people. For Dr. Terri Ryburn, the trip she took on Route 66 with her parents from Illinois to California as a 5-year-old has led to a lifelong connection with the historic byway and its people. That trip “was a fabulous adventure,” she says. “It was a picnic out for every meal, sleeping out under the stars. Just magical.” That childhood experience literally has directed her life. She has gone from compiling the Illinois Route 66 history in a multiple property documentation for National Register nominations to actually owning a historic gas station/ apartment on Normal’s Pine Street – the Illinois 4 alignment of 66. “I did that work in 1995 as part of my dissertation,” she says. “Who knew that one day I would actually own a building on Route 66?” The Tudor-style building is significant because it is one of only three

20

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

known Route 66 gas stations with two apartments on the second floor. Ryburn, who has traveled the full length of the highway “four or five times,” is seeking photographs so the National Register-listed building can be restored with appropriate elements. The property has connected her with many people, hearing from folks all over the country, including a man in Texas whose father once lived in the gas station apartment. When remodeled, the circa-1930, building will include a Route 66 visitor center, restaurant, gift shop, bed and breakfast and tea room. Ryburn is hopeful that her first customers will be 89-year-old former Bloomington mayor Walt Bittner and his wife of 66 years, who had their first date in the building’s restaurant. “Pavement is pavement,” Ryburn says, “but when you view Route 66 with personalities and history, it comes alive.”

WES ALDRIDGE

New Kicks for Route 66 A

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Visitors Wild for the Zoo

I

n existence since 1891, Bloomington’s Miller Park Zoo is home to hundreds of animals, ranging from New Guinea Singing Dogs (Superintendent John Tobias’ favorites) to pallas cats, part of the Animals of Asia exhibit. Though they’re the size of house cats, you won’t find any of these in a home. “They’re small cats with a big attitude,” says Tobias, who has been zoo superintendent for 15 years. Excitement at the zoo reached new heights in the summer, when a wild American eagle stopped by and Beauty, one of two resident eagles, laid two eggs. Although the eggs did not hatch, it was “an exciting, interesting time, and it revived people’s interest in wildlife and the zoo,” says Tobias, noting that the zoo’s Web site with its “eagle cam” had more than a million hits during the period. Meanwhile, attendance is up; the 10-year average exceeds 103,000 annually. The most popular exhibit is the sea lions, which are fed at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day in a narrated routine, although the reindeer are in big demand in December. The Tropical America Rainforest, the zoo’s newest exhibit, features plants and animals native to the rainforests of Central and South America. It is filled with colorful birds in free flight, three mammal exhibits and viewing areas with feeders that are surrounded by tropical flowers, a waterfall and bridge. Expanding from almost three acres to more than eight, nearly a half-dozen major exhibits have been added during the past decade. The zoo moves from the expected to the exotic, with a variety of snakes, bugs and birds to wallabies, sunbears, lemurs, Sumatran tigers and red pandas. The Miller Park Zoo is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For hours and admission information, visit www.millerparkzoo.org. – Stories by Betsy Williams MCLEAN COUNT Y

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

21


Business

A

Customized Mitsubishi NORMAL PLANT EXPORTS VEHICLES AROUND THE WORLD

STORY BY BETSY WILLIAMS

I

mported goods may be the norm for most United States consumers these days, but the Mitsubishi plant in Normal is bucking that trend by exporting its automobiles to more than 25 countries. This unusually high rate of auto exporting demonstrates the ability of the 1,800-employee facility to adapt its product line to fit the unique demands of the respective countries. For instance, a Galant – one of the four models produced in Normal – exported to Saudi Arabia requires different components than one going to Kuwait. “Vehicles going to Russia require a full-sized tire, so those vehicles must have a larger trunk space,” notes Dan Irvin, corporate communications and public relations director. “We have to be flexible to accommodate these changes, which we are able to do because we have stamping on site and a flexible system of body shop assembly.” From the time a roll of steel enters the fully integrated facility until it rolls

off the assembly line as a finished vehicle, employees and robots will have approximately 15 hours invested in each of the almost 100,000 vehicles produced annually. “We build four different models here, so each of those is totally unique, and then we have the Galant that is exported with different components,” Irvin says. “Our people are trained to do all of these different jobs on all of these different vehicles. Obviously, we have refined computer information systems that keep track of these individual changes, but it is the masterful job our employees do to keep track of this that makes this plant operate so efficiently.” Situated on 636 acres, the 2.4 million square-foot facility is a friend to the environment. Mitsubishi was the first to utilize fully recyclable polypropylene for injection-molded bumpers. The packaging used by Mitsubishi and its suppliers (15 of which are located in McLean County) is 98 percent return-

able, reusable packaging. “When a part is designed for a vehicle, we design a container for that part, and we send the container back to the supplier to be reused,” Irvin says. “We work to be environmentally responsible. In 2006, we recycled in excess of 20 tons of material.” Working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the company has set aside 3.1 acres for restoration with prairie grass and indigenous wildflowers, increasing the Central Illinois prairie grass percentage by 400 percent. “It is a global commitment of Mitsubishi Motors to manage our resources, not only to protect the environment in general, but to contribute to the health and safety of our neighbors and employees,” Irvin says. As the company’s only North American manufacturing facility, the plant acts as an economic catalyst by contributing about $270 million annually to the local economy in taxes, salaries and benefits.

Right: Mitsubishi plant in Normal produces four models, each capable of being customized for export.

22

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


MCLEAN COUNT Y

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

23


Business | Biz Briefs

WES ALDRIDGE

SNACKS AT HAND It used to be that residents of Beer Nuts’ hometown enjoyed a perk denied customers shopping in stores around the country. They could choose from a wider selection of packaged nuts along with ball caps and T-shirts in the outlet store at the company’s front door in Bloomington. Nowadays anyone who craves the sweet and salty snack is just a click away from www.beernuts.com, where the original glazed peanuts, pecans and almonds, and the new Spicy & Hot Peanuts and Bar Mix can be purchased. Boxers and beer mugs are available, and so are computer screensavers and wallpaper with the nostalgic red-andwhite logo. “We’ve recently licensed Target and Wal-Mart to carry some of our clothing,” sales and marketing coordinator Georgia Dawson says. The nuts may not be homegrown, but the Beer Nuts company is. The glazing recipe came with a confectionary shop that Edward and Arlo Shirk purchased in 1937. Two more generations of Shirks are active in the business today.

Specs Around Town is an optical boutique that specializes in stylish eyewear.

EYES ON YOU Specs around town, and country too: Julie Kubsch is often seen wheeling about in a lime green VW, license plate BUGEYZ4, bringing an eclectic assortment of eyewear to customers at home or work. Specs Around Town carries 15 eyewear lines, many not available elsewhere in central Illinois. “We seek out unique items,” Kubsch, a licensed optician, says. “Our customers are fun people who enjoy their eyewear.” 24

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

Shoppers can also drop by her boutique to peruse such lighthearted jewelry as magnifier pendants and necklaces for readers that complement stylish or funky frames and lenses. Youth styles are also available The boutique is located in Bloomington’s historic downtown in a restored building that features local artists’ work. Kubsch is an ardent supporter of nearby businesses and cultural attractions, promoting them in her shop and on the Specs Around Town Web site.

GROWING AGRIBUSINESS McLean County is home to GROWMARK, a supplier of agriculture products and services in the Midwest, northeastern U.S. and Ontario. Organized as a cooperative, GROWMARK, with 380 employees, is owned by many of the 250,000 farmers it serves. Producers can purchase feed, seed, chemicals, fertilizer, propane and countless other products needed to grow the nation’s food supply through GROWMARK’s member cooperatives. Vehicle owners who want to drive on alternative fuels can find ethanol blended gasoline and soy-based biodiesel at Fast Stop stores, including eight locations in McLean County. GROWMARK is rooted in the Farm Bureau, which organized it to provide petroleum for the tractors that replaced horses in the 1920s. Their latest joint venture is AgriVisor, a grain and livestock market advisory service. “We are looking at what expanded services we can offer by working together,” says Amy Bradford, corporate communications manager. MCLEAN COUNT Y


STAFF PHOTO

LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR Since 1922, Bloomington has been home to State Farm, the nation’s leading auto and home insurer. As it grew and prospered, the company expanded its horizons and now also offers property and life insurance, banking services and mutual funds. Associates, numbering 15,500, work for the corporate office, State Farm Bank and the Illinois zone office in three locations downtown and on the east side. After hours, they put the company’s Good Neighbor philosophy into action by volunteering in their central Illinois communities. Associates and retirees help check children’s car seats, build Habitat for Humanity homes, register people to vote, send packages to troops overseas and coach youth sports. “State Farm’s mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams,” says company spokesman Jeff McCollum. “We achieve our mission through the products and services we offer and through our involvement in and commitment to the community.”

State Farm Insurance employees are active volunteers in their communities.

QUALITY PAYS OFF In 1925, a group of Illinois farmers began selling insurance part-time to their neighbors. Eighty-one productive years later, COUNTRY Insurance & Financial Services, with 2,200 employees in Bloomington, operates in 40 states and takes in $3 billion in revenue. COUNTRY’s property and casualty and primary life and health companies have earned A.M. Best Company’s A+ Superior rating for more than 65 years. Not only is COUNTRY a financial success, the quality service it delivers has earned recognition that matters to customers. As of 2007, COUNTRY ranked first in Illinois with the fewest customer complaints seven out of the last eight years, according to the Sate Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “The good marks we get for customer service are directly related to our location,” COUNTRY spokesman Jay Verner says. “We’re straightforward, down-to-earth and reliable. It’s not difficult to find those traits in McLean County.” – Gretchen Monti MCLEAN COUNT Y

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

25


Look, a tall purple rectangle!

When you talk to your child you build vocabulary, so everyday moments become learning moments. For more tips, visit bornlearning.org

26

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Business | Chamber Report

They’re Here To Serve CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WORKS TO PROVIDE TANGIBLE BENEFITS TO MEMBERS

MCLEAN COUNT Y

list is the chamber’s health insurance program. As a member of the Employees Coalition for Healthcare Inc., the chamber and ECHI are charged with the mission of ensuring small- to medium-sized chamber-member employers access to quality health care at affordable rates. By insuring more than 300 members and 4,000 employees, the program allows the chamber and ECHI to collectively bargain for minimal renewal rate increases and prevents them from being priced out of the health insurance market. Members get preferred rates, negotiated renewal rate increases, an

expanded choice of plans and a proven track record when it comes to the competitive and often confusing world of health insurance. “Only chamber members are eligible to participate in ECHI,” stresses Malone. The chamber is a partner with McLean’s Economic Development Council and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, all working together through “Think Tank” committees that outline and implement various economic development initiatives, resulting in a vibrant approach to community development. – Betsy Williams

WES ALDRIDGE

I

n the competitive world of business support, the McLean County Chamber of Commerce provides value-added components for the allimportant member investment. “Ours is not a ‘party’ chamber,” says Michael Malone, chamber executive director. “We are engaged in real community change and improvement.” Integral to that community change is leadership, and the chamber has worked for years to create a deep pool of leaders who become involved in the chamber’s comprehensive efforts. While some communities may struggle with leadership development, McLean is able to take advantage of the business acumen of company CEOs from the insurance, automotive and agribusiness sectors. The chamber has worked to develop an annual community leadership program that brings up to 34 potential leaders into the community spotlight with a handson program. “Our participants ride on combines in cornfields, they serve as mentors in the schools, they participate in job shadowing, and they develop a group project that will be different from year to year,” Malone says. The chamber’s major focus deals in governmental affairs, where they work with local and state governments in creating and/or defeating ordinances and legislation that will complement or harm the business community. Workforce availability is a primary factor in business success. The McLean County Chamber’s workforce development program ranges from basic skills development to graduate programs in business and nursing. With 1,200 members and 41 board members, Malone and his staff respect their members’ time. “We have established a communications structure that provides targeted, topical e-mails to our members, dividing them into subgroups with varying interests,” Malone says. It may be timeconsuming, but this is one of the ways that Malone and his staff maximize a member’s investment. At the top of a tangible benefits

McLean County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Malone and his staff work with members to bring positive change to the community.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

27


ROBERT HORENKAMP, DDS & ASSOCIATE JOHN ZIMDARS, DDS » Preventive dentistry by a gentle, caring team » New laser technology with drill-less dentistry » Cosmetic dentistry » Laser whitening and home whitening » Complete dentistry for the entire family

GENERAL

DENTISTRY Robert Horenkamp, DDS & Associates

www.horenkampdentistry.com

405 South Prospect Rd. | Bloomington, Illinois 61704 New patients welcome | Saturday hours by appointment

28

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Health & Wellness

A Healthy Prognosis FACILITIES PROVIDE McLEAN RESIDENTS WITH TRIPLE DOSE OF HEALTH CARE

G

MCLEAN COUNT Y

cardiac bypass surgery. The new Oscar Mandel Cohn Neuro/ Vascular Angiographic Suite, named in Cohn’s honor following his $1.5 million donation, allows St. Joseph’s physicians to conduct minimally invasive procedures treating a wide variety of vascular issues, including stroke, carotid artery disease and aneurysms. These catheter-based procedures reduce risks and recovery time. McLean’s health-care offerings include Carle Clinic, with more than 250 health-care team members offering complete quality-first services. A convenient care department provides medical attention for minor illnesses or injuries while specialists address virtually all areas of health-care needs including allergies, audiology, general surgery, pediatrics, orthopedics, oncology and obstetrics. – Betsy Williams

St. Joseph Medical Center is one of the Top 100 Cardiac Hospitals.

PHOTOS BY WES ALDRIDGE

etting the proper care does not stop with the doctor’s appointment. It is the followthrough that really matters. And that is the focus that Normal’s BroMenn Regional Medical Center has taken with its new “Spirit of Women” designation. “Statistics show that women direct 85 percent of the health-care dollars in the United States,” says Sherry Galbreath, BroMenn marketing specialist. “Women take care of themselves and of everyone else – their children, their husbands, their parents. Women are the caretakers.” Becoming one of the nationally designated Spirit of Women facilities means that BroMenn is given a variety of tools to work educationally and specifically on the needs of women. Launched in 2007, the program offers a clinical component, plus gender-specific seminars and classes. “The goal is for women to take action about their health care, not just getting the screenings, but then doing something after those screenings to make sure their issues are addressed,” Galbreath says. As a result, a new action element has been spawned. Known as “healthertainment,” these seminars are “not just clinical and educational, but also fun,” says Galbreath. For instance a seminar may link dermatology and digital photography. “We can teach about skin problems and also give a lesson on how to shoot pictures and improve them.” In addition to BroMenn, McLean County’s health-care system includes St. Joseph Medical Center, established in 1888. St. Joseph is operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF) and is a part of the OSF Healthcare System. For nine years running, the hospital has been ranked among the top health-care facilities in the nation, according to Verispan, a health-care informatics joint venture firm. The hospital entered the new millennium as one of the Top 100 Cardiac Hospitals in the nation for its consistently high quality care in the area of

BroMenn Regional Medical Center launched a “Spirit of Women” program.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

29


WES ALDRIDGE

Education

Illinois Wesleyan University is one of McLean County’s four higher education insitutions.

Aiming Higher and Higher AREA COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES BRING AN ADDED DIMENSION TO COMMUNITY

H

igher education is unquestionably an integral part of McLean County’s past … and its future. The community’s history is closely intertwined with the area’s four academic bastions – Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Lincoln College and Heartland Community College, which offer a variety of degree options. For Illinois State University, the rich tradition of excellence began 150 years ago. “We’re actually the oldest public university in the state,” says ISU President Al Bowman. “As a matter of fact, the town of Normal took its name from us. We were a ‘Normal School,’ which is a European term for a teacher’s college.” ISU has come a long way since opening its doors in 1857 with less than 20 pupils. Today, more than 20,000 students seek undergraduate and graduate degrees in 160 different majors and minors. Although Bowman says the demand is there to increase enrollment, the vision of ISU is to instead focus on growing the university’s reputation to that of Ivy League standards. “Our strategic goal is to continue to increase the selectivity of our admission process and to expand the number of academically ranked programs,” he says. “We’ve made good progress on both fronts.” Recently, Business Week magazine rated the College of Business undergraduate programs in the top 50 in America. The university’s accounting graduates have placed ISU in the top 10 based on national CPA exam pass rates, and U.S. News & World Report has consistently included ISU’s College of Education on its top 100 list. 30

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

Helping pave the way for success is the relationship fostered with other academic institutions. “We have seamless articulation agreements that allow students to transfer right into a major after earning a community college degree,” Bowman explains. At nearby Heartland Community College, nearly 70 percent of the credit students take that path, according to President Jonathan Astroth. The remaining 30 percent of Heartland’s nearly 5,000 credit students, he adds, are working toward specific vocational skills to move directly into their chosen field. The school also enrolls 6,500 non-credit students who take classes of interest without pursuing a certificate. “I think we’re an important piece of the fabric of a community,” Astroth says. “Historically, community colleges provide higher education opportunities to those who might not have otherwise had that opportunity.” With the projected growth in student population, Heartland is embarking on Phase II of its campus plan. The $60 million project, scheduled for completion in 2010, includes the addition of an instructional building; a large child care center to alleviate the current wait list and serve as a practicum site for early childhood majors; a fitness and recreation facility; expansion of the current student center; a new athletic complex; and a spacious community education venue that will house the Challenger Learning Center. “We’re always trying to balance the needs of taxpayers with the needs of students,” Astroth says. “We think this is a good project and that it’s good for the community.” – Cindy Sanders MCLEAN COUNT Y


Arts & Culture

A Growing Audience THANKS TO PARTNERSHIPS, ATTENDANCE SOARS AT ARTS EVENTS IN BLOOMINGTON

MCLEAN COUNT Y

of our downtown and our community,” says Bruce Marquis, executive director. “I know we will continue to generate excitement throughout central Illinois. I am grateful to the community members creating the foundation of support, to the Cultural Commission and to our more than 200 volunteers who continue to be excited.” Part of that excitement is due to the impressive lineup of performances. The schedule includes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Hal Holbrook in “Mark Twain Tonight,”

the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Suzy Boggus, the Robert Cray Band and many more. Outside the conventional performance spectrum are comedian Kathy Griffin and author David Sadaris, who tours only one month of the year. “We try to be responsible with the resources given to us, and we work to get something of interest to a broad sector of our population,” Aalberts says. For more information on programs and the performance schedule, visit www.cityblm.org/bcd. – Betsy Williams

WES ALDRIDGE

T

he Bloomington community has come together, much like the instruments blending in an orchestra, to form a comprehensive and impressive arts program with the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts serving as conductor. “You can see a live performance practically any day of the week in this community,” says BCPA marketing director Joel Aalberts. “BCPA is the anchor of our cultural district.” Following a 2006, $15 million renovation of the Shrine Temple, a 1920s historic 1,200-seat theater, attendance of BCPA programs has soared. That trend is expected to continue with the completion of Festival Park – the largest green space in downtown Bloomington, which will feature an amphitheater for outdoor performances. Rounding out the Cultural District is the renovation of a former doctor’s office for a Creativity Center, the only facility of its kind in Illinois outside Chicago. When complete, the center will offer space for music and art lessons, rehearsals – anything that will help promote the arts. “We’ve been trying to develop a broader arts mind in the community, and the numbers are phenomenal,” Aalberts says. He credits the rise in attendance in part to BCPA’s partnerships with schools (90 schools and 10,000 students attended BCPA performances last year), children’s theater, three summer youth projects, the youth symphony, the community concert band, the Academy for Music and the Arts, Illinois State University, Twin Cities Ballet, nine theater groups – the list goes on. Building arts support requires recognizing that today’s children are tomorrow’s patrons. “When you get people accustomed to coming to the theater when they are young, they’ll come when they are older,” Aalberts says. “The city leadership and the donors saw how important the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is to the quality of life and the economic vitality

The newly renovated theater in the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts has many exciting national artists on the bill for the 2007-08 season.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

31


32

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y

questions

Š 2002 American Cancer Society, Inc.

answers 8 0 0 . A C S . 2 3 4 5 / c a n c e r. o r g


Sports & Recreation

A Fish Story REEL IN A STATE-RECORD CATCH OR ENJOY A MYRIAD OF LAKE AND PARK RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

W

hether it’s used for a leisurely excursion or for a state-record catch, Lake Evergreen is an angler’s paradise. The last two state-record saugeyes, a hybrid of the walleye and sauger, were pulled out of Lake Evergreen. And even bigger versions are known to swim under the surface, not yet hauled in by the thousands of anglers who fish the 925 acres of surface water. But with plenty of piers, shoreline access and boating opportunities, Lake Evergreen is just as welcoming MCLEAN COUNT Y

to the less-competitive anglers. Lake Evergreen is a man-made reservoir in McLean County, designed to meet the recreational and water needs of the community. Its waters are stocked by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, with 925 10-inch muskies and 40,000 2-inch saugeyes added annually as part of the state’s fisheries management program. Those species, plus largemouth bass and crappie, are the most frequently targeted fish at the lake. Besides the state record saugeye, a 9-pound, 11.88-

WES ALDRIDGE

Anglers fishing for saugeye, largemouth bass and crappie enjoy excursions onto Lake Evergreen.

ounce fish caught in 2001, the lake is also known for its trophy muskie. And the best is yet to come. “We know there are ones that weigh more than the state record,” says Mike Garthaus, a fisheries biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “The same goes for muskies.” Lake regulations limit boats to 10 horsepower motors or less, keeping the power boats away in deference to small fishing boats, canoes and kayaks. The decision is beneficial for the anglers who remain. “It makes it more angler friendly,” Garthaus says. “You’re not going to have the lake to yourself, but there are plenty of places out there to go fishing.” The lake is surrounded by Comlara Park, a 2,200-acre area maintained by the McLean County Parks and Recreation Department. The park is larger than half the state parks in Illinois. Access to the park and the lake is free, though there are fees for many of the other activities available at the park. They include swimming at a 2-acre beach, camping (both primitive and RVstyle), boat rentals and biking, hiking and equestrian trails. More than half the 250,000 visitors annually come from McLean County, with residents of surrounding counties and the metropolitan Chicago area comprising most of the rest. Though peak season is March through September, the park remains open year-round. Cross country skiing and ice fishing are popular activities during the cold Illinois winters. “All of these elements together draw people to the park,” says Bill Wasson, McLean County’s director of parks and recreation. “We feel we offer a high quality outdoor experience, close to home.” – Dan Markham I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

33


Bev Edgerton, Realtor “Opening Doors to Dream Homes” • Certified Relocation Specialist • Member of the 50 Million Dollar Club • Ambassador for McLean County Chamber of Commerce

2203 Eastland Dr., Ste. One • Bloomington, IL 61704 bevedge@aol.com • www.bevedgerton.com

CONSIDER US HOME

(309) 862-4100 www.candlewoodsuites.com (888) CANDLEWOOD

34

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Community Profile

MCLEAN COUNTY SNAPSHOT Expansion Management has rated Bloomington-Normal as one of 72 metro areas with a five-star quality of life, giving the community high marks in areas such as standard of living, schools and commuting time.

McLean County Unit 5 Schools (K-12), 452-4476

MEDICAL FACILITIES BroMenn Regional Medical Center, 454-1400 OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, 662-3311 Carle Clinic-Bloomington/ Normal, 664-3333

Olympia Unit 16 (K-12) 379-6011

UTILITIES Cable Insight Communications 454-3350

Ridgeview Unit 19 (K-12) 723-5111

Electricity

Tri-Valley Community Unit School District 3 (K-12) 378-2351

Corn Belt Energy Corp. (800) 879-0339

ISU Laboratory Schools

Natural Gas

Thomas Metcalf School 438-7621

AmerenIP, (800) 755-5000

AmerenIP, (800) 755-5000

Corn Belt Energy Corp. (800) 879-0339

EDUCATION

University High School 438-8346

Public Schools

Special-Needs Schools

Phone

Bloomington Public School District 87 (K-12), 827-6031

Hammitt School (ages 4-14) 452-1170

El Paso Telephone, 527-4500

El Paso/Gridley Community Unit District 11 (K-12), 527-4410

Hammitt High School (ages 15-21), 452-1790 Higher Education

Heyworth Community Unit School District 4 (K-12) 473-3727 LeRoy Community Unit School District 2 (K-12), 962-4211 Lexington Community Unit School District 5 (K-12) 365-4141

Heartland Community College 268-8000 Illinois State University 438-2111 Illinois Wesleyan University 556-1000 Lincoln College 452-0500

Nicor Gas Co., (888) 642-6748

Frontier, (800) 921-8101 or (217) 854-6067 Gridley Enterprises, 747-2221 Verizon, (800) 483-4600 Sewer Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District, 827-4396 Water Bloomington Water Dept. 434-2426 Normal Water Dept., 454-9563 THIS SECTION IS SPONSORED BY

Family owned and operated

A McLean County favorite since 1971

Pizza • Pasta • Sandwiches • Salads Dine-in • Carry-out • Delivery • Catering www.avantisnormal.com 407 S. Main • Normal, IL 61761 • (309) 452-4436

The area code for McLean County is 309.

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

35


PUBLIC GOLF COURSES Bloomington Indoor Golf Club 662-6439 The Den at Fox Creek 434-2300 Golf Learning Center, 829-4653 Hazy Hills, 726-9200 Highland Park, 434-2200 Illinois State University 438-8065 Indian Springs, 475-4111 Ironwood, 454-9620 Prairie Vista, 434-2217

NUMBERS TO KNOW City Hall – Bloomington 434-2509 City Hall – Normal, 454-2444 McLean County Government 888-5001 Parks & Recreation Department – Bloomington 434-2260

Visit Our Advertisers Afni, Inc. www.afniupsourcing.com

Eastland Suites www.eastlandsuitesbloomington.com

Allied Waste Services www.disposal.com

Family Community Resource Center www.thefcrc.org

Avanti’s Italian Restaurant www.avantisnormal.com

Health Alliance www.healthalliance.org

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano www.biaggis.com Bloomington Cultural District www.artsblooming.org Bloomington Public Library www.bloomingtonlibrary.org Bromenn Healthcare System www.bromenn.org Candlewood Suites www.candlewoodsuites.com CEFCU www.cefcu.com Central Illinois Regional Airport www.cira.com Commerce Bank www.commercebank.com

36

Heartland Bank www.hbtbank.com Horizon Wind Energy www.horizonwind.com Illinois State University www.illinoisstate.edu OSF Saint Francis Medical Center www.osfhealthcare.org OSF Saint Joseph Medical Center www.osfstjoseph.org Remax Choice www.bevedgerton.com Robert D. Horenkamp DDS www.horenkampdentistry.com

Core Construction www.coreconstruct.com

State Farm www.statefarm.com

Country Insurance www.countryfinancial.com

The Parkway Shopping Center www.theparkwayads.com

Eastland Mall www.ishopeastlandmall.com

Town of Normal www.normal.org

I M AG E S M C L E A N . C O M

Parks & Recreation Department – Normal 454-9540

FOR MORE INFORMATION McLean County Chamber of Commerce 210 S. East St. Bloomington, IL 61701 Phone: 829-6344 Fax: 827-3940 www.mcleancochamber.org Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 3201 CIRA Drive Ste. 201 Bloomington, IL 61704 Phone: 665-0033 (800) 433-8226 www.bloomington normalcvb.org

Sources: www.bloomington normalcvb.org, www.cityhall.ci. bloomington.il.us, www.mcleancochamber.org, www.bnbiz.org

MCLEAN COUNT Y


Images McLean County, IL: 2008  

Situated in central Illinois, McLean County is less than three hours from Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The county is anchored by Blo...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you