NORMAL – Normal CornBelters outfielder Bobby Rinard has seen the bright lights of Manhattan. But he’s grateful to be playing here, thank you very much. Being here has given the 23-year-old a chance to concentrate on his and the team’s efforts this season.

When Rinard graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011, he was drafted by the New York Yankees, who assigned him to their Class A affiliate, the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League. In one respect, Rinard was able to contribute to Staten Island’s success last season, helping the short-season affiliate win that league’s championship.

But in another respect, being on Staten Island meant Rinard was just a ferry ride away from Manhattan – and all its temptations. As a result, “I got obsessed with the big city and what there was to do,” Rinard said. “Nothing closed ‘til 5a.m. I didn’t exactly get enough rest I guess you could say.”

In effect, being so young and let loose in the Big Apple taught Rinard a lesson or two but he didn’t heed those lessons fast enough.

Lesson #1 for Rinard during his first year was that minor leaguers are considered adults. “In the minors, you’re treated more as adults, whereas in college ball, you had a curfew and it was more structured,” Rinard said. “But in the minors and here, it’s all on the individual to take care of themselves and being prepared.

”You get out what you put in,” Rinard explains what turned out to be Lesson #2 for him.

“There I was,” Rinard said. ”I was playing baseball for the New York Yankees organization – of all teams – it was a great opportunity, and I screwed it up for myself. It’s one of those things that, where if I could go back and do things differently, I can tell you that I would do almost everything differently, as far as everything away from the field.

“Being here has helped me to develop a steady routine, or a proper routine for myself in order to be prepared for a long season, and be prepared day-to-day to perform to the best of my ability,” he explained.

That preparation includes a regimen of proper rest, working out, nutrition, and diet – “all those things kind of go into it,” he explained.

“I look at being in Normal as a new opportunity to prove to myself that I have grown up and that I can handle myself,” he said. “Being here is working in my mind. It’s a blessing to be in Normal, Illinois playing for the CornBelters, in my opinion.”

Statistically through last Sunday, Rinard has had 65 at-bats in 22 games, batting .292, scoring 12 runs and has 19 hits including one double and one home run, driving in six RBIs. He has been walked nine times.

Those stats would be more were it not for a hamstring pull he suffered on opening night of the season at The Corn Crib against Windy City. The injury had Rinard laid up until just before the Frontier League All-Star Game in mid-July.

“We’ve been watching his playing time because of his leg still being tight from the hamstring and all,” explained Normal Manager Chad Parker. “But, when he is in there, he is a very, very good player for us.

“He’s a great clubhouse guy,” Parker said of Rinard. “He keeps everybody loose. He’s a fun guy to have around. He’s been an extremely good asset for us.

Rinard appears to have heeded what was important for him in order to have a shot at a successful playing career. He even can claim being part of a championship team in the process. He can also claim there were costs involved – something he now understands a little better as he works toward helping the CornBelters and, possibly, someday, returning to the Class system again and one day possibly, the majors.

On another subject, the team has conducted some player transactions again this past week, signing infielder Jason Thompson, and releasing shortstop Robert Brooks and infielder Noberto Susini. Normal also exchanged infielders with the Schaumburg Boomers, trading K.C. Judge to the Boomers in exchange for J.B. Brown.

Finally, the softball game between members of Normal Fire Department Local 2442 and Bloomington Fire Department Local 49 – a contest billed as “The Battle of the Bravest,” to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association – was played on Sunday before the CornBelters’ scheduled doubleheader against River City. BFD won the game, 15-11.

The CornBelters have been on the road this week, spending Tuesday-Thursday at Southern Illinois before moving on to Evansville for three games Friday-Sunday. After a day off Monday, Parker’s troops return to The Corn Crib Tuesday for a six-game homestand, starting with the Washington Wild Things for three games Tuesday-Thursday, Aug. 7-9. Friday-Sunday, Aug. 10-12, the River City Rascals return to town.

By Steve Robinson | July 27, 2012 - 10:17 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

NORMAL – Being rare and special events, golden anniversaries are a time to look both back at the past, and forward toward more time to be spent together. On July 26, roughly 250 people, including 39 guests visiting from Asahikawa, Japan, packed the Redbird Ballroom the Carol Reitan Conference Center at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel to celebrate the milestone and do just that.

Among the visitors making the trip which began July 21 were Toshimitsu Uede, the first foreign exchange student to BHS in 1967; Asahikawa Mayor Masahito Nishikawa; Akira Otaka and Maki Oto, chiefs of the international affairs division; Yukio Mitsui, chairman of the City Council; Yasuaki Arai, vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Minoru Yamada, chairman of the Sister Cities Committee in Asahikawa; and various members of Asahikawa’s Sister Cities Committee.

During their six-day, the Japanese visitors took tours of a local farm; the Mitsubishi Motors plant; Miller Park Friendship Bridge; Normal City Hall and Uptown Station; and artists’ galleries in Downtown Bloomington. They were also present for the dedication of teahouse at Japanese garden at Constitution Trail; attended a luncheon for former exchange students; had the option of doing some shopping in Uptown Normal or golfing at Prairie Vista Golf Course; and attended a cultural program at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. They also took a trip to Springfield to see the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Lincoln’s Tomb.

At the farewell dinner on July 27, patrons sat around tables draped with linen tablecloths with tall floral centerpieces, listening to speakers talk about both the history and the future of the relationship between the communities.

Prior to the beginning of the dinner, those invited gathered in the corridor outside the Conference Center’s Redbird Room and were able to see how the history of the relationship developed and grew through photos and newspaper clippings displayed on poster board which rested on easels throughout the area outside the ballroom.

Former Bloomington Mayor Judy Markowitz led off the evening’s program by explaining to the guests that at the time the relationship between the communities began, with resolutions passed by the City Councils of Asahikawa and Bloomington to become Sister Cities, she was a 24-year-old single college grad working and living in the community of Nagano, in the alps of Japan, teaching English in a Japanese junior high school. She was living with a host family who had an apple farm, but she said she spoke no Japanese and her hosts spoke no English.

Passing those resolutions were the beginning of promoting “an industrial, cultural, and economic exchange, and promoting a friendship that will last until the end of time,” Markowitz said.

Markowitz explained that she was asked to make a weekend visit to Asahikawa at the request of then-Bloomington Mayor Bob McGraw, “asking her to be a personal emissary to bring greetings and extend our best wishes for a continuing friendship.”

“I was honored and thrilled to be asked to travel to Asahikawa,” Markowitz said. She arrived for that first exchange on Nov. 30, 1962. Markowitz said that first trip included meeting that city’s mayor; visiting a middle school and a pulp mill; and visiting with 20 young area Asahikawa residents.

“The weekend in Asahikawa was a total success,” Markowitz said. “I honestly felt that I had known these new friends much longer than just the actual 48 hours I was with them. When I departed, I felt as though we were all good friends, and that they would be most happy to welcome any of our students visiting them in the future, just as we were welcoming their students here to Bloomington-Normal.”

Markowitz ended her speech by proposing a toast to “continuing visits and friendships for the next 50 years.” Some participants at the dinner could be seen standing, facing each other, and clinking their glasses and toasting one another at that part of the dinner.

Earl Kingman, a past chairman and current Sister Cities Committee member, said he and his wife fell in love with both the people and the culture of Japan when he was stationed at Yokota Air Force Base. “While there, my wife and I fell in love with the people and the culture,” he said.

He said the single most important activity of the organization between the communities has been the high school student exchange because students “stayed in the Sister City for nearly a year and lived with host families so they gained in-depth knowledge of the language and culture.

“Friendships between students, host families, and others have lasted a lifetime,” explained Kingman, who has served on the committee for 33 years. He said nearly 150 high school students from both the Twin Cities and Asahikawa have participated in the program since it was founded. When they were recognized by Kingman, about four people who took part in the exchange program when they were students stood to be recognized.

“We’ve hosted many junior high and high school students and adults,” said Rich Strle, current chairman of the Sister Cities Committee, addressing the gathering. “We’ve always enjoyed meeting and interacting with the folks from Asahikawa,” Strle’s involvement began 17 years ago when his daughters got involved in it during their junior high school years. Strle’s daughters, Danielle and Greta, visited Japan as part of the exchange program when they were in high school.

“It’s a big responsibility to take care of someone else’s child and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Strle said. “I’m proud of how well we prepare our students when they go to visit Asahikawa as junior high and high school students and how proud of what they learn and the experience they have during their stay.

“Most of all, I’m proud of the relationship we share with our counterparts from Asahikawa,” Strle said.

Yamada, Asahikawa’s Sister Cities Chair, told the gathering through a translator his delegation appreciated the efforts of the local committee in planning and preparing for his group’s visit. “The hospitality extended to us has left an indelible mark in our hearts,” he said.

Yamada told the gathering the mutual student exchange program are “going stronger than ever” with the high school program now in its 45th year, and the junior high program in its 27th year. He added the exchange program has helped the youth of his country “build global perspectives and achieve great personal development.”

“There can be no doubt that the last 50 years have brought the American and Japanese cultures in some, but not all ways,” said Bloomington Mayor Steve Stockton. “Our cultures are converging because of ease of travel, movies, television, and global businesses.” He said clues to the unification of culture between countries can include how people dress and use of similar technologies.

“As we plan for the next 50 years of our Sister Cities relationship, we must look for ways to share our advantages with wider audiences in our Sister Cities,” Stockton added. “Entertainment, education, sports, and other functions will no longer be as constrained by distance. Benefits will be available to the average citizen, and not limited to only those who can afford the time and cost to travel overseas.”

“We hope that your visit was enjoyable and that you enjoyed getting to know us as much as we enjoyed getting to know you,” Normal Mayor Chris Koos said. “You have honored us with your presence and your gifts of friendship, which we accept with gratitude and humility.

“For 50 years, Asahikawa and Bloomington-Normal have been changing the lives of our citizens through the Sister City program,” Koos said. He added that the elected officials who participated in events this week have learned that although their communities are 9,000 kilometers apart, the needs of our citizens are quite similar.

”Having traveled to Asahikawa, I found it to be a truly wonderful place, and I look forward to the day I will return,” Koos said. “My hope is that the friendship forged between the citizens of Normal and Asahikawa will grow throughout the years, and that it stands as a shining example of the power of communication and acceptance among people of different backgrounds and traditions.”

NORMAL – Yasel “Chico” Gomez is hoping his time with the Normal CornBelters will aid him to mature as a player and help him to, someday, advance toward the majors.

The 22-year-old is six classes short of his degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla., where he was studying for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.

Right now though, he is concentrating on whatever position the CornBelters need him for. Trained as a shortstop, he has been playing a little bit of everything, most notably second base, filling in for injured Pat McKenna. But as of a couple weekends ago, Gomez found himself on the disabled list due to a hamstring pull on his right leg. He’s looking to be back by the end of the month.

Gomez signed with the CornBelters after Manager Chad Parker saw him at a tryout in March in Fort Myers, Fla. prior to the start of the season. Being a CornBelter is Gomez’s first assignment as a professional.

But getting signed “has been difficult,” said Gomez, whose nickname is Chico. “I was undrafted, so I’d been to, I’d say, 8-15 tryouts with other teams, but they never gave me a chance to put my time in out there. But I’m glad Parker did.”

Gomez admits he was rusty at the Fort Myers tryout because he hadn’t put much time in practicing beforehand. He said Parker advised him to get his workouts started again and go to a Frontier League tryout in Pennsylvania for Parker to give him another evaluation.

“Parker saw me again at the tryout there, and that’s where he signed me,” Gomez said.

Gomez grew up in a baseball atmosphere, he said, with a father who had grown up playing ball in his native Cuba. Gomez said American baseball scouts want to see if prospects have five specific tools to be good enough to make it in the game here. He said two of those tools are good height and a strong arm. “But in Cuba, it’s not that way,” Gomez said. “In Cuba, if you’re short and can throw a baseball, you play baseball.”

Going into his high school years, Gomez was the top prospect as a shortstop in Miami. But, once he reached his junior year, his physical growth halted. “Because I stayed kind of short, scouts didn’t really care about me anymore,” explained Gomez, who stands 5 foot-8, and weighs 180 pounds. That would frustrate anyone in that situation who was trying to make it into organized ball, no doubt.

The scouts would also try discouraging him for not having enough speed, Gomez explained. Before encountering Parker at Fort Myers, Gomez said he had been to tryouts assembled by the Miami, Boston, and the N.Y. Mets, to name but a few teams. But the result at those tryouts always ended the same way: With Gomez being told he had talent, but the clubs continuing to withhold their interest in him.

“It was frustrating,” Gomez said. “I was about to quit. I told my parents I’d give it one more chance,” and if it didn’t work, he’d go home to Miami. The Fort Myers tryout resulted in his becoming a CornBelter.

As of last Sunday, Gomez had played in 46 games, and was batting .272. Up to that point, he had scored 15 runs; garnered 44 hits, including three homers, 13 doubles, and three triples, while driving in 17 RBIs. He has been walked by opposing pitchers 10 times.

So far, Gomez said he is loving his time in Normal, but still dreams of – in 3-5 years’ time, if not sooner – getting to the Majors. But for now though, he said he is working on taking his game “one game at a time, one at-bat at a time,” and learning not to rush a play or get too frustrated or irritated with himself when the game isn’t going so well.

“Obviously, we’re not having a great season,” Gomez said, “But the fans are still coming out and supporting us, which I think is really great.”

Gomez’s injury forced Parker to shake up his lineup which partly explains the results of the most recent rocky road trip to Schaumburg and Windy City, and the most recent home stand against London and Southern Illinois. After beating Southern Illinois,

3-2, on Sunday, the CornBelters were 1-10 in their first 11 games since the second half of the season started after the Frontier League All-Star Break.

“He’s a guy who can play all positions on the field,” Parker said. “He’s got a good arm and swings the bat extremely well. Because of that, I wanted to see how he could handle the professional game. He’s done very well with it.

“He’s got good, quick hands, a strong arm, and he’s fast, so he can move around” and help the team at a variety of positions, Parker added. “All of that turns into professional talent. He has professional talent.”

For now though, Gomez said he intends to continue his hard work and try not to get so frustrated with himself when either he or his teammates are at low points. That strikes me as an attitude that will, hopefully, help Gomez continue to reach new heights, both in his game and in life.

As for their coming schedule, the ‘Belters will have wrapped up three games at The Corn Crib against Southern Illinois earlier in the week before going to Rockford July 25-27. They will have played two games on July 25 – the completion of a weather-suspended game followed by the regularly scheduled game. The RiverHawks hold a 3-2 advantage over Normal thus far this season.

“We’re very comparable to Rockford,” Parker said in judging his and Rockford. “They really swing the bats well and when our pitching is doing well, we can hold them down. But if our pitchers aren’t doing well, they get to us.”

When they return to The Corn Crib Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29, they will host three games against River City, including a doubleheader on Sunday, starting at 5p.m. Parker adds that while the River City series will be crammed into two days time, he and his players will enjoy getting Monday, July 30 off to rest.

In fact, Monday’s home game hosting Southern Illinois was the last game the CornBelters will play on a Monday this season. “We’re looking forward to getting those extra days off and being fresh and playing our best ball in August,” Normal’s skipper said.

On another subject, some members of our local police departments took a break from their work last Sunday to play in a “Hometown Heroes” softball event at The Corn Crib. The event was to help raise money for Special Olympics Illinois. Game 1 had Bloomington Police squaring off against Illinois State University Police. BPD won that game, 15-8. In game 2, members of the McLean County Sheriff’s Office tangled with Normal Police Department. The Sheriff’s officers beat NPD, 17-9.

In fact, now that law enforcement has had their turn, members of Normal Fire Department Local 2442 will play members of Bloomington Fire Department Local 49 in a game billed as “The Battle of the Bravest,” at The Corn Crib on Sunday, starting at 2:30p.m.

By Steve Robinson | July 17, 2012 - 10:10 pm
Posted in Category: Sports, The Normalite

NORMAL – Some unfinished business leads off this week’s column:

The Frontier League All-Star Game at The Corn Crib was a smash hit, with 5,251 fans filling the stands and enjoying the league’s mid-season showcase event.

Even though the Western Division lost, 9-6, it was great to be able to see folks cheering and giving their loudest appreciation for Normal’s Pat Trettel as he drove in two runs. He was among four players who got hits in the Western Division’s half of the eighth inning. Normal Pitcher Rich Mascheri received warm applause and plenty of cheers, too, as he took to the mound in the sixth inning.

Following the contest, Bill Lee, the commissioner of the Frontier League, addressed the crowd who were sitting in their seats still, some of them, waiting for the post-game fireworks. “Folks, we hoped we’ve put on a great show for you tonight,” Lee started. “A lot of home runs, a lot of runs, great pitching…It was a great night for everybody, and the weather was spectacular.

“Our three days here in Normal have been wonderful,” Lee continued. “We thank all of you for that. We thank the CornBelters for all their hard work.

“You have a wonderful community and we’re just proud to be a part of it right now. Thank you for allowing us to come to your community to bring our premier event to you,” Lee concluded. His speech was followed by more of the warm applause the players, coaches, and league staff had experienced that whole week for the job they did in bringing and entertaining us during the one-of-a-kind event.

The citizens of Washington, Pa., home of the Washington Wild Things, outside Pittsburgh, will be next to experience this three-day event as Lee also announced the 2013 Frontier League All-Star Game and Home Run Contest will be held at Consol Energy Park.

On another subject, time for some other items from my All-Star Game Notebook. ITEM #1: Have you ever wondered about big leaguers who played in the Frontier League? In the interview with Mike Veeck, who gave the keynote speech at the All-Star Game luncheon last week at the Marriott in Uptown, he mentioned a couple of names we’d all be familiar with whose careers started in independent ball. Famed right fielder Darryl Strawberry, who had a 17-season career in the majors from 1983-1999 – most of it with either the New York Mets (8 seasons) or the New York Yankees (5 seasons), — began his playing career with the St. Paul (Minn.) Saints, a team Veeck has a stake in.

Veeck also mentioned Kevin Millar, who was a third baseman and outfielder, and had a 12-season career with Florida (now Miami), Boston, and Baltimore from 1998-2009, also began his playing days in the Frontier League. Cubs fans even got to see a former independent leaguer when shortstop Rey Ordonez played for them in 1994, the last year of a nine-year career, that included seven years with the Mets and one season at Tampa Bay before arriving at Wrigley Field.

ITEM #2: Frontier League Commissioner Lee tells me the league is going to wait a while before considering expansion. He said the league is looking at West Virginia, where, he explained, there are a couple of markets interested in joining. He said it may be the 2014 or 2015 season before any new teams join.

“We want to expand and do it correctly,” Lee told me. “We want to do it so that the new teams that come in have the best chance to succeed.”

On another subject, Since the All-Star festivities ended, Normal has made some transactions of note. The CornBelters have received right-hand pitcher Mitch Mormann from the Abilene Prairie Dogs of the North American League for a player to be named later. They have also signed two other right-handed pitchers Drew Provence and Rich Ruff; and catcher Bubby Williams.

Normal also traded center fielder Alvaro Ramirez to the Southern Illinois Miners, completing a transaction that was started earlier in the year. Ramirez was hitting .277 and had managed 12 stolen bases thus far this season. The CornBelters also sent pitchers Marshall Schuler and Estevan Uriegas to the Gary (Indiana) South Shore RailCats of the American Association.

In turn, the CornBelters received first baseman Ernie Banks, Jr. and outfielder

K. C. Judge. Ramirez being sent to Southern Illinois was part of an agreement that would secure Normal receiving Banks because Banks’ Frontier League rights had belonged to Southern Illinois.

The team has also placed infielder Yasel Gomez on the 14-day injured list, retroactive to July 16.

On another subject, the road trip continues for Manager Chad Parker and the CornBelters, as they will have spent the first part of the week at Windy City Monday-Wednesday. They will play six games at The Corn Crib starting July 19. First, they will play host to the London Rippers Thursday through Saturday, followed by three games hosting Southern Illinois Sunday-Tuesday, July 22-24. They will visit Rockford July 25-27, and return home for a two-day, three-game series against River City, Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29. The teams will play a double-header on July 29, with the first game starting at 5p.m.

Lastly, on another subject, you will hear a different public address announcer for the remainder of the season at The Corn Crib when the ‘Belters return. Craig Fata will take over those duties, replacing Jerry Harcharik. Harcharik’s last turn at the P. A. microphone was during the Frontier League All-Star Game.

NORMAL – While Monday’s Normal Town Council meeting marked a new beginning for the Town – holding their Council session in a new facility for the first time in over 35 years – it was also the last one Jason Chambers would attend as a Normal Council member.

The 90-minute session – the first one to be held in the new Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station along the Uptown roundabout, – began with marking the new era that was beginning and closed honoring their longtime friend and colleague.

Mayor Chris Koos began the meeting before the Council even began the business of the night by welcoming roughly 40 people who attended the session, pointing out a number of the features in the room, such as remote-control cameras which would help televise the event; and the new audio-visual equipment embedded in the ceiling making presentations easier to see.

“We just hope that with all of this that it is a better experience for everyone involved – for you, for the Council, for the media,” he said.

Prior to the end of the meeting, his fellow Council members wished Chambers well on his last night at a Council session. Chambers has been on the Council for nine years. He won election as McLean County State’s Attorney in March, and had been waiting, trying to decide since then when to step away from the Council and move toward his new position. Prior to the close of the Council’s July 2 session, Chambers formally announced he would resign from the Town Council at the end of this month.

Chambers is unopposed in the race for McLean County State’s Attorney in November. After Chambers’ last day as a Council member — July 31, — the Town has 60 days to select a successor.

“Best wishes to you as you start your new career in public service in a very important job,” Council member Adam Nielsen said to his long-time colleague.

“It has been an honor serving with you,” Koos told Chambers. “We wish you well.”

“I certainly want to thank, first, the mayor, who appointed me in 2003,” Chambers began. “I certainly appreciate the trust you have in, and the guidance you have given me. I’d like to thank the entire Council. You have been great people to work with.”

He thanked Town Staff, and the people of the Town of Normal “for the trust they had by electing me,” and his family, including his wife, Jessica, and their three children, who sat in the audience.

He added that he has often been asked what was he most proud of from being on the Council. He said his answer would be that every member of the Council he has been serving with are his friends. Following his remarks, Chambers’ fellow Council members gave him a standing ovation.

Co-Op Grocery Organizers Make Pitch: A group of 100 people desiring to organize a Grocery Cooperative in Normal were represented by two speakers at the session. Elaine Sebald and Larry Maschoff, chief organizers for Green Top Grocery Cooperative, addressed Council members, attempting to convince Council members that the community could use to a co-op grocery store. The location the group is considering placing the new venture would be on the ground level of the College Avenue Parking Deck.

Sebald and Maschoff’s pitch was part of a request for the Council to consider giving the group $20,000 for a market study which would help indicate whether such a store would work in that part of town.

As part of their presentation, Sebald and Maschoff showed a map of Normal drawn up by the U. S. Department of Agriculture which classifies Uptown Normal as a “food desert” because there are no grocery stores within a mile of it.

Sebald said 32 counties in central Illinois lose $3.9 billion when they buy food that’s not grown locally. She said buying just 15 percent of one’s groceries and produce that is grown locally would generate $639 million annually for the local economy.

Sebald and Maschoff explained the U. S. currently has 350 grocery cooperatives, and there are groups across the country trying to establish 85 more. Maschoff said enough interest has grown in bringing Green Top Grocery Cooperative to the area that they have received 12,000 monetary donations.

Next month, Council members will consider giving the group the $20,000 they are seeking for their study. Maschoff told Council members even if Green Top Grocery Cooperative were to find there is no market for their service in Normal, the Town could still use the results from the survey they perform to show to other potential future groups wanting to establish a grocery of some sort in that part of town.

Such a store would be available for use by all residents of Normal, but the cooperative’s shareholders would be eligible for dividends, Maschoff explained, answering a question from Council member Chuck Scott.

Sebald and Maschoff explained Green Top Grocery Cooperative is being mentored by an Urbana-based grocery cooperative called Common Ground. Green Top Grocery Cooperative’s store would have 6,000 square feet of space and could employ roughly 40 people.

Nielsen asked City Manager Mark Peterson what sort of effort the Town had done in getting other traditional grocery companies to consider using the College Avenue Parking Deck. Peterson said the Town has had talks with other groceries, but they had all been brief.

Community Cancer Center Expansion Approved: Council members unanimously approved a resolution which amended a site plan for the Community Cancer Center, 407 E. Vernon. Among the additions to the property Center officials were looking to make included adding a two-story addition to the south end of the current building; and expand space in their parking lot to 225 slots from the current 101.

Council members also passed an ordinance related the Center’s request when they unanimously approved an ordinance rezoning the land the Center sits on to Public Lands and Institutions from the current zoning of Office District.

Liquor Commission Approves Minutes: Council members, meeting as the Normal Local Liquor Commission, met briefly before the regular Council session, and unanimously approved minutes from three previous meetings: A regularly scheduled meeting on March 19; and two special meetings called on April 2 and July 2.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of July 2, 2012.

• Approval of Town of Normal Expenditures for payment as of July 11, 2012.

• A motion to reject the bids for repairing and repainting Elevated Tank #3.

• A motion to accept bids and award a contract to Bloomington-based Stark Excavating, Inc. in the amount of $121,313.90 for the Church Street Reconstruction Project from University St. to Franklin Ave.

• A resolution authorizing execution of a First Amendment to Participation Agreement with Illinois State University for Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network.

• A resolution accepting for maintenance wet bottom and dry bottom detention basins in Eagle’s Landing Subdivision.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of a Second Amendment to an amended and restated development agreement – Normal Main LLC.

• An ordinance amending Section 25.1-6(D) of the Town Municipal Code regarding disposition of abandoned property – donation to non-profit agency.

• An ordinance amending the FY2011-12 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget.