Four central Illinois communities will share more than $400,000 in federal housing money to help families with job-training, education and more. 

State Farm has spent more than $33 million since 2015 on updating its corporate campuses in Illinois.

Next year the state will have a new way to dispose of dead bodies where no next of kin is found or families don’t have the means to pay for a burial… and it could benefit students.

Budding entrepreneurs will compete for financial investment and in-kind services in the Startup Showcase on Friday in Bloomington.

Illinois has awarded more than $22.5 million in federal tax credits to help fund 20 new affordable housing developments.

Efforts are underway in Bloomington to preserve what's left of the central Illinois city's brick streets.

Officials of a city in central Illinois are creating a community board to review public complaints against its police department.

An Illinois zoo is heading a program that breeds snow leopards as part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan, which was created after the leopard population began declining in the 1970s.

Republicans in the Illinois Senate have elected Sen. Bill Brady to serve as the chamber's minority leader.

The city-owned arena downtown Bloomington in central Illinois has a new name: Grossinger Motors Arena.

A central Illinois man charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a woman more than 100 times in a Bloomington hotel room has pleaded not guilty.

Weather experts say data show Illinois had a cool and rainy May this year. Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel says the statewide average temperature during May was 61.9 degrees. That's eight-tenths of a degree below normal.

The Miller Park Zoo in central Illinois is seeing increased attendance and revenue for the second year in a row.

Flickr Creative Commons/Vince Alongi

A celebration of life will be held this weekend for a 22-year-old soldier from central Illinois who was killed in Afghanistan.  The public visitation for Sgt. Josh Rodgers of Bloomington begins Saturday morning at Eastview Christian Church in Normal. Afterward there'll be a celebration of life, followed by a procession at 2:30 p.m. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Beverly & Pack

The military says a 22-year-old soldier from central Illinois has been killed in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense released a statement saying Sgt. Josh Rodgers of Bloomington was among two soldiers killed this week as a result of small arms fire in Nangarhar Province.  The military says the fatal incident is under investigation.

Former McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorensen has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge, admitting he defrauded a Chicago consulting firm of nearly $500,000.  Sorensen entered the plea during a short hearing in Chicago federal court. 

A man suspected of multiple stabbings in central Illinois in August 2015 has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.  36-year-old Jason Hopkins sat at a table in a courtroom Tuesday but didn't participate in the hearing. The state and his lawyer agreed that he was too severely mentally ill to grasp the criminal nature of his actions.

Woodford County Jail

EUREKA, Ill. (AP) - A Bloomington high school teacher has been charged with first-degree murder in her husband's stabbing death.

Bond is $1 million for 30-year-old Sarah Mellor of Bloomington, who teaches Spanish at Bloomington High School. Prosecutors say 31-year-old Mark Mellor of Bloomington was stabbed late Saturday during an argument with his wife at a private campsite in rural Woodford County. Sarah Mellor remains jailed at the Woodford County jail in Eureka.

 Prosecutors say relatives drove Mark Mellor from the campsite to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. Sunday. The McLean County coroner said preliminary autopsy results found he died from a stab wound to the chest.

A Bloomington man running for Congress has successfully sued to keep his name on the ballot.

David Gill is running as an independent, and failed to file the number of valid signatures required by Illinois law.

That number is much higher than it would be if he were running as a Democrat or Republican, and a federal judge on Thursday ruled that Gill must remain on the ballot.

A Bloomington physician running for Congress as an independent candidate has filed a lawsuit challenging the signature requirement.  

David Gill is seeking a U.S. House seat in the 13th District, which covers an area from central Illinois to near St. Louis.   

State election officials found Gill fell short of the 10,754 required valid signatures as an independent. His lawsuit filed this week alleges "severe and overly burdensome" signature requirements for independents. Democrats and Republicans need fewer than 740 signatures.  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A mental health evaluation has been ordered for a central Illinois man who is charged with murder in his parents' stabbing deaths.

Springfield psychiatrist Dr. Terry Killian was appointed to examine 25-year-old Brian Petersen of Bloomington to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial. A judge set Petersen's bond at $6 million Monday after he was charged in the deaths of his mother, 63-year-old Nancy Petersen, and his father, 68-year-old Bruce Petersen.

Illinois State University

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A father and son from Chicago have been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a woman visiting Illinois State University during orientation for incoming students.

19-year-old Shawn Childs Jr. is charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault. Shawn Childs Sr. is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver for allegedly putting ecstasy in the woman's soda during the alleged incident Tuesday.

 McLean County Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist said Thursday when the alleged victim went to her room after feeling ill, she was followed by Childs Jr. and sexually assaulted. She reported the attack the following morning.

Todd Ryburn / Flickr/Creative Commons

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A new Lincoln exhibit at the McLean County Museum of History explores the 16th president's earlier life as a lawyer and his political activity in Bloomington.

 The exhibit opening May 21 examines Lincoln's work as an attorney in McLean County and the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit. 

walter_bean / Flickr/Creative Commons

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Veterinarians in central Illinois say canine influenza has sickened dozens of dogs in the Bloomington and Normal area over the past few days. 

Veterinarians are urging dog owners to keep their animals away from other dogs and take their dogs to the veterinarian if they show symptoms.

 Dr. Kirsten Pieper of the Animal Emergency Clinic of McLean County says the most important thing pet owners can do is keep their dogs at home until the outbreak is under control. 

Taaalia / Flickr/Creative Commons

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Active and retired firefighters in central Illinois are working to locate and honor the graves of 75 firefighters. 

Bob Willis and others combed Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington on Saturday and marked the location of certain graves with a GPS device. Willis, a retired Bloomington firefighter, recently took over project started by the Bloomington-Normal Firefighter Club 25 years ago. He is working to update grave locations at several cemeteries in the area.

The Illinois Supreme Court says the case against a shoplifter who lived in Normal is absurd, illogical and unjust.  

Jesse Bradford was arrested in 2012 for stealing two DVDs, a hat, shoes and a bottle of Dr. Pepper from a Walmart in Bloomington. He was convicted of burglary,  a felony that carries three to seven years in prison.

U.S. Cellular Coliseum

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - The city of Bloomington has chosen an Iowa company to operate the city-owned, 7,000-seat U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

 City Manager David Hales on Wednesday said Ames, Iowa-based VenuWorks was chosen for the job. He recommended the city council vote Monday to hire the firm. It would replace Central Illinois Arena Management, which didn't seek to renew its contract. That company managed the coliseum since it opened a decade ago. Its contract expires April 1. 

There have been ongoing disputes between Central Illinois Arena Management and the city.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Several central Illinois residents say people headed to a rally in Bloomington for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drove over graves and headstones. 


The Trump rally on Sunday at the Synergy Flight Center was across the street from East Lawn Memorial Gardens.

More than 3,000 people attended the rally. Charlotte Twyford of Downs said she has two relatives buried in the cemetery. She said headstones were broken and noting some people attending the rally had "a total disrespect for the graves." 

storyvillegirl / Flickr/Creative Commons

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A birthing center is under construction in Bloomington-Normal that would be the second in Illinois and the first outside of the Chicago area.

The Bloomington-Normal Birthing Center is to have prenatal education, yoga and exercise classes, two exam rooms, a nurses' station and three birthing center rooms. Each of those will have a labor and birth tub and bathroom.

A group of child care providers from the Chicago area descended on the Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency in Bloomington to push for more money. During an Illinois Department of Human Services public hearing, the group pushed for what it calls a "fair" wage of $15 an hour. Sharon Norwood of Chicago, one of the child care providers speaking at the hearing, says the state budget stalemate is cutting into her wages.