... to The Salvation Army of McLean County for raising $529,045 during its fall campaign, exceeding its set goal of $515,000.

Red Kettle donations accounted for $217,713, below the kettle goal of $255,000, but the mail appeal and online gifts totaled $311,331, exceeding that goal of $260,000.

The Make a Difference campaign accounts for nearly a third of The Salvation Army's annual operating budget of $1.8 million.

Year-round programming includes Safe Harbor homeless shelter, food pantry, comprehensive emergency assistance, case management to help people out of poverty and an after-school program.

To those who donated, those who volunteer and those who work on the campaign, we thank you.

Up, up and away

... This week's lift-off of Falcon Heavy, the SpaceX rocket carrying a mannequin and Tesla car to Mars and beyond, was a sight to behold.

Not only did the boosters separate as planned, propelling the rocket and its cargo into far space, but the three reusable boosters landed, as planned, at Cape Canaveral and on a floating barge.

It's been more than 60 years since a rocket first launched into space, and the vast majority of attempts have come from government or military organizations.

To see a private venture pull it off plus successfully land reusable boosters is something worth celebrating. 


... to Home Sweet Home Ministries and Trinity Lutheran Church for their second successful "Night in a Car" program that draws awareness to homelessness.

Home Sweet Home CEO Mary Ann Pullin said 200 to 250 people are homeless in Bloomington-Normal on any given night.

Many of us overlook the homeless, or forget the hour-to-hour struggles they have for shelter, warmth and food. The Night in a Car program reminds us that not all Twin Citians share in our bounty.


... to State Farm, for its $383,000 two-year grant awarded to Heartland Community College Foundation for career training, career coaching and program developments to meet community labor needs.

"This is our latest effort to help support the professional and educational needs of our community and make a sustained, positive difference in the lives of our neighbors in the Bloomington-Normal area," said State Farm Vice President Annette Martinez.

The Twin Cities owe a great deal to the largesse of the county's largest employer. We thank State Farm for being a good neighbor.


... to federal court overseers who are trying to make things right by having a DeWitt County woman sell her ill-gotten goods as a way to make restitution.

The woman is accused of taking money from a medical practice and spending it on high-priced clothing, accessories, electronics, a stethoscope and 2½ pounds of coffee.

The woman will be asked to pay more than $370,000 in restitution.


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