Charlie Schlenker

GLT Assistant News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.

While the Peoria area is showing job growth, it still lags national averages.

Illinois colleges and universities have been under pressure for years from smaller graduating classes, out-of-state competition and changing demographics. Private higher education institutions in the state face the same challenges public schools do and a couple extra.

A federal judge in Peoria has sentenced a Washington, Ill., man to more than 13 years in prison for child pornography.


State Senator Jason Barickman concedes a new law he co-sponsored to prevent further trauma to some sexual assault victims might not be enough to assuage victims' concerns.

A former TV hunting show host from East Peoria has admitted poaching and smuggling a deer. Federal prosecutors said forty-one-year-old Christopher Brackett used to host "Fear No Evil" on the Outdoor Channel. Brackett admitted killing two bucks in Indiana in 2013 within minutes of each other when state rules said he could only take one in a season.

Illinois State Police

Memorial funds have been established to aid the family of a slain Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy. 

Bloomington Police Department

 A Peoria man is one of two people arrested in connection with a Bloomington gun death last October. 27-year old Trevonte Kirkwood of Bloomington died after someone shot him in the back October 30th on North Oak Street in Bloomington.


The gas tax increase in the new state budget went up 18 cents per gallon. But, there is so much deferred maintenance on Tri County roads Peoria County Engineer Amy McLaren says the tax would have to go up dollars per gallon to catch up.

Creative Commons

Illinois farmers have planted less than half of their corn crop this year because of frequent spring rain. Usually they are done by now.

A board member for Peoria Community Against Violence says he’s happy the General Assembly approved a measure to require fingerprints on firearm owner ID cards or FOID cards. Bobby Ford says that will help screen out people who should not be owning guns.  But, Ford also says that’s only part of the problem in gun violence.

The Mayor of Peoria says any potential revenue growth from gambling in the Peoria area would come from a land based casino in Peoria. Jim Ardis says the approval of land based casinos in other Illinois cities raises the possibility of moving the Par-A-Dice riverboat onto the land.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says he’s pleased a capital bill passed the General Assembly during the spring session.

Autonomous Stuff vehicle
WCBU Staff

The streets of Peoria this summer will be a testing ground for driverless vehicles.

GOP Rep. Darin LaHood says President Trump's strategy of blocking his staff members from testifying before Congress will not work.

Rauner Attempted to Drop Out of Governor's Race

Dec 14, 2018

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner tried to get out of running for re-election this year. In an interview with ABC television in Chicago, Rauner says he knew it would be difficult to win.

Two people died and two others were seriously injured Wednesday night when a semitrailer truck on Interstate 74 crashed head-on into a school bus carrying Normal West girls basketball players back from a game in Champaign. None of the students were critically injured.

There were 11 people on the Unit 5 bus, including eight students, Crabtree, a coach, and the bus driver, authorities said. They were returning from a JV girls basketball game earlier Wednesday night at Champaign Central High School. The team included freshmen, sophomores, and one junior.

The Illinois Supreme Court has quelled a two-year legal effort by media organizations to make certain information public in the Kirk Zimmerman murder case. One justice has also filed a dissenting opinion.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is calling for the Trump administration to go to the bargaining table with China over tariffs.

2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion Karthik Nemmani lists his home as McKinney, Texas. Until last year, though, he lived in Bloomington-Normal.

State Farm Insurance is announcing an auto rate decrease for Illinois. The Bloomington-based company says the average decline for Illinois rate payers will be 2.9 percent.

Illinois Wesleyan University is hoping to boost the number of students it enrolls from McLean County by significantly raising financial awards for those students.

An ISU professor has recently found himself in demand to help explain the sexual harassment scandal facing the nation.

John Pryor is a distinguished professor emeritus of psychology who developed a test in the 1980s that predicts who is likely to engage in sexually harassing behavior.

Pryor says some studies indicate a link between harassment and power, and that those in positions of power may feel they have the right to abuse others.

Republicans and Democrats are each blaming the other party for the impasse that has caused government funding to expire and a partial government shutdown to loom on Monday.

A solar power developer has filed applications for what would be the first three solar farms in McLean County.

Illinois State and other colleges and universities appear to have dodged an unfavorable measure that has now been removed from the GOP tax plan.

There are 9,000 fewer workers in Bloomington-Normal than there were seven years ago, according to Economist Mike Doherty of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

The issue of legalizing recreational use of marijuana is rising in profile this year. There are two bills in the General Assembly. Several Democratic candidates for governor have embraced the proposal, saying it would bring badly needed revenue to the state and reduce black market and gang control of an existing industry.

Illinois is now in year four of fairly low farm income and no turnaround is in sight, according to Farm Bureau Chief Economist Mike Doherty.

An Illinois State University political science professor says a Bloomington alderman's proposal to reduce the mayor's agenda-setting power is a disservice to the city.

Plans to introduce new, high-speed rail passenger cars in Illinois are in motion, but a spokesperson for Amtrak says it could be two or three more years before they are in place.