Bloomington City Hall. (WJBC file photo)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012:
Bloomington aldermen are again struggling with how much money to set aside for a transitional housing project for recently paroled women. As you recall, an initial plan last year to set aside a few hundred thousand dollars in federal Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funds for the Labyrinth Project caused a stir, with aldermen later opting to allocate just $10,000. Now, city leaders are trying to carve up a $587,000 wish list of projects -- and a big chunk for Labyrinth isn't looking too likely. "Big numbers like $150,000 seem like kind of a lot to put towards one project," Alderwoman Jennifer McDade said. Most aldermen on Monday appeared to support more traditional uses -- building rehabs, for example -- for whatever CDBG funds the city gets next year. The final list of projects will be presented in February, with money released in spring.
Bloomington Police Chief Randy McKinley spent another day dealing with the aftermath of last week's minor crash involving one of his top aides, Assistant Chief Bob Wall. McKinley has stressed that Wall did not receive any preferential treatment after the crash, in which Wall admitted to having a few drinks but passed a field-sobriety test. Wall was charged with leaving the scene of an accident. McKinley said that test was conducted within one hour of the crash, and he said further disciplinary action is possible against Wall. I don't have any super-secret facts in this case, but I'm glad to see McKinley trying to get ahead of this one in the public eye. It would have been terrible for media outlets to discover this crash independently, rather than through a press release, as many did last Friday. Secondly, I worked with Wall fairly regularly during my previous life as a reporter and always found him very accommodating and friendly. Of course, there's nothing there to clear him or to implicate him, but there's enough to not rush to judgment.
WMBD 31's Jacob Long reports on a tragic development in a fatal crash Sunday night near Weston. It turns out the two people killed in the crash were Eldon and Stephanie Kaeb, parents of nine children who had just left a family gathering and were heaeded to Wisconsin when they crashed near Weston in Yates Township. The couple, from rural Arrowsmith, leaves behind nine children ranging in age from around 6 to early 20s and a family farm, WMBD reports. The children are staying with family, and the cause of the crash between the Kaebs' vehicle and a semitractor trailer truck is under investigation. Autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday.
Colleen's Food for Thought blog takes a closer look at food trucks, one of the hottest trends in food service and a topic that's flared recently in the Twin Cities. That's because of a dust-up over whether food trucks would be a welcome addition to Uptown Normal's business environment, or one that would unfairly eat into the bottom lines of places like D.P. Dough and The Rock. Colleen talks to Big Daddy's Dawgs owner Jeff Dziubla, who has been bringing a mobile version of his brick-and-mortar restaurant to places like Illinois State football games. Colleen also talks with city officials in Bloomington and Normal, as well as D.P. Dough owner Ryan Fiala, an opponent of food trucks. "Mobile vending is a wonderful concept for areas where foodservice options are limited or non-existent," he said. "Conversely, in a developed and still rapidly developing area like Uptown Normal, they represent a zero-sum game by taking business from brick-and-mortar restaurants who have invested in the Uptown area."
Retiring U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson doesn't like all the negative advertising he's seen in the 13th Congressional District race, where three candidates are vying to replace him. It has been ugly; Democrat David Gill has faced a ridiculous ad claiming he wants to kill Medicare, and Republican Rodney Davis has been falsely tied to the George Ryan scandal. With the proliferation of spending from third-party groups not directly affiliated with the campaigns, it's tough to put any real pressure on those behind the negative ads. "The 13th District in Illinois has become in many ways a cesspool for negativity," Johnson said Tuesday, the Champaign News-Gazette reports. "I gave up this seat because of family circumstances, I don't in any way regret my decision. But I do regret the level to which this campaign has descended."
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.