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.

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.

Illinois State University had another great recruiting year, with a 1.2% increase in total enrollment and the largest freshman class in 33 years. It's another stable year. Several other schools throughout the state continued years of enrollment drops.

The college school year is young, yet already three Illinois State University students have applied for emergency aid after coming out to their family as LGBTQ.

NPR Illinois and WGLT host the sixth Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse. 

Kennedy Slams Rauner For Intentional Damage To State

Jun 27, 2017

One of the Democratic Candidates for Governor is accusing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of purposefully wrecking Illinois.

Speaking recently in Normal, Chris Kennedy said Governor Rauner intentionally used the budget deadlock to target social services.

A Special Olympics Illinois athlete has died.

Special Olympics Illinois President and CEO Dave Breen said the athlete suffered a medical emergency during a Summer Games swimming competition.

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has chosen its new music director. He is Ken Lam, currently the director of the symphony in Charleston, South Carolina.

State and Bloomington-Normal Economic Development officials have found a probable buyer for the former Mitsubishi auto plant.

Immigration reform has risen and died many times over the terms of the last two Presidents. It's front and center this year with Donald Trump's insistence on building a wall on the border with Mexico.

Three years ago, the Senate passed a bill with 14 Republicans crossing the aisle in favor of comprehensive immigration policy change. The House did nothing with the bill and and the issue went dormant, not for the first time in recent memory.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated

At least one tornado struck Pontiac, Illinois Wednesday night causing heavy damage and at least three injuries. Information is still being collected by fire and law enforcement officials, though some reports indicate children were among those injured when a mobile home was destroyed. The Fire Department said overnight "some injuries appeared to be somewhat serious."

Since the announcement that Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing in Normal would close, GLT News has been checking in to see how workers and their families are coping. Like most of the people working at the soon to close plant in Normal Jerry Harcharik faces uncertainty.