Jeff Crabill and State Farm

By:  Diane Benjamin State Farm is currently conducting employee training about participating in protests.  The will fire any employee involved in what they consider uncivil protests.  State Farm has a financial stake since they insure many people and businesses. Jeff Crabill is a lawyer for State Farm.  Even though there was a large gathering yesterday […]

New feature: The Moron Award

By:  Diane Benjamin Ever seen kids throwing a fit in a store when mommy won’t buy them what they want?  Ever seen mommy buy it just to shut them up? The local babies won’t get “mommy” to comply.   Our leaders know giving into terrorists only makes them stronger.  The mom who buys them something to […]

Can Tari be stopped?

By:  Diane Benjamin Had enough of “Right Fit” yet? I remember Tari telling the Council they HAD to buy the Sugar Creek Packing property to keep anybody else from buying it.  (Like anybody else was interested)  $245,000 subverting capitalism. Tari bought the old Mennonite Hospital property so he could control who built there.  When the […]

Let It Go . . Let It Go

By:  Diane Benjamin Partial list of empty buildings in downtown Bloomington: CII East Front and Center and the building to the west Former Clark and Barlow Peoples Bank Elks Former Pantagraph building Ensenberger Condos – 6 for sale on Zillow A large variety of smaller spaces are also empty Bloomington doesn’t need another one! State […]

Update: What is the status of State Farm’s downtown building?

WGLT is reporting the sale fell through so State Farm is going to demolish the building. https://www.wglt.org/post/state-farm-demolish-downtown-building-after-sale-falls-through?fbclid=IwAR2BOK_3V4EJPy45fon0FcQ0xNezwaPwmPlKJHOKwlCiDAm38ozCOBYExEY#stream/0 By:  Diane Benjamin According to this story from May, the 7th, 8th, and 9th floors were pre-leased:  https://blnnews.com/2019/05/22/state-farm-bldg-3-floors-leased/ Guth and Associates of Champaign no longer shows this listing on their website.  In early March, when the pending sale […]

News: State Farm Downtown building

By:  Diane Benjamin H/T a Reader Rental space is being marketed by a CHAMPAIGN COMPANY.  Still no word on who is in the process of buying the building.  The rent is a lot cheaper than Uptown!  (click to enlarge) The real estate brokerage company is Guth and Associates.  Their website only lists one broker – […]

State Farm becomes better neighbor!

By:  Diane Benjamin In case you didn’t see the update to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/12/21/state-farm-not-a-good-neighbor/ I received a call from a claims supervisor on Christmas Eve.  She had obviously either read or heard about the story. On December 26th I received a call early from the guy I had been working with.  I just signed the release […]

Supporting Downtown Neighborhoods +

By:  Diane Benjamin With the change to twice yearly bulk waste pickup, areas around downtown now look like this: The owner could call the City for pickup and pay $25 per bucket, or they can wait to be tagged by the City.  The tagged mess still won’t be picked up immediately because the City is […]

Epidemic of at risk kids

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington Council meeting last night did not produce much to report.  We did learn from a lady during public comment that Bloomington has an epidemic of at risk kids.  Holly (didn’t catch the last name) volunteers many hours at the Boys and Girls Club.  They currently serve almost 1000 kids and […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin YMCA, State Farm, and now Specs Around Town are just some businesses who have or will be leaving downtown Bloomington. City of Bloomington:  Whatever you are doing is causing flight from downtown. Downtown is for bars, restaurants, lawyers, and government.  Until Bloomington quits trying to make downtown something it isn’t, the few businesses […]

What’s wrong with Bloomington?

By:  Diane Benjamin Everybody knows the streets aren’t being fixed.  Bloomington can’t even find money in the budget (that has skyrocketed under Tari Renner) to invest in infrastructure.   https://blnnews.com/2018/03/26/nice-pantagraph/ They will happily raise your taxes though to pay for a couple of roads.  Yesterday we learned there was a “disconnect” ordering tickets for the One […]

State Farm: Armed Guards

Another employee told me tonight the guards will be visible Monday. __________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin I’m hearing reports that State Farm will have armed guards at all doors starting today.  Tomorrow a wave of displaced workers starts exiting the company. (Anybody else find it ironic our kids don’t get the same security at school?)  There […]

Facts: Local jobs disappearing

By:  Diane Benjamin Last week the local media reported the low local unemployment rate.  Here’s an example from WJBC:   http://www.wjbc.com/2018/03/15/bloomington-normal-jobless-rate-remains-lowest-in-state-2/ They must be afraid to report the rest of the story: https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMU17140100000000001?amp%253bdata_tool=XGtable&output_view=data&include_graphs=true This chart is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics These numbers are the actual number of people employed – in thousands. In the […]

Update: Fly on the Wall: State Farm

Update:  4/2/18 Company video this morning with no Tipsword and no mention of him either.  Hum __________________________________ Flying around, chatter was heard about Ed Rust returning to State Farm briefly to confront Tipsword and Senior Management on how they are handling things.  Word on the street is Rust was escorted out of the building. Lots […]

No major cuts!

By:  Diane Benjamin Questions for the Council:  Last November you held a retreat.  EVERY program the City is forcing people to pay for was presented. See PDF page 34 and following:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14932 There are 15 pages of programs ranked from HIGH priority to Low priority. It looks like cutting programs died the day they were […]

How bad are Normal’s finances?

By: Diane Benjamin What we do know: The freshman class this year at ISU was down 9.3%     https://blnnews.com/2017/09/07/numbers-lie/ State Farm has cut employees and is cutting more Normal has a budget deficit (local media reports) The Normal Library has decided not to build new – the library WAS the centerpiece of Uptown 2.0  (local […]

State Farm is leaving downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from a reliable source that State Farm is not  remodeling their downtown Bloomington building.  It will be empty in mid January. Grand Cafe is not going to re-open. Maybe you can help compile a list of businesses no longer downtown. Lancasters Chocolatier Mueller, Reece & Hinch Attorneys Who else? Anybody open  […]

State Farm News!

By:  Diane Benjamin State Farm has an Employees Activities group, it sounds similar to the City of Bloomington except the activities aren’t during working hours.  One activity I know they organize is golf tournaments. This message was on the SFEA site today: The SFEA area is going through a redesign and all SFEA activities for […]

Morale cratering at State Farm

By:  Diane Benjamin It’s not hard to find someone at State Farm willing to talk.  The employees have no idea whether they will have a job tomorrow, 3 months from now, or 6 months from now.  I’m told 2018 is going to be worse for downsizing than 2017 was. Keep your eyes on this site:  https://www.thelayoff.com/state-farm […]

Even State Farm doesn’t want to be downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve received several reports from citizens about State Farm leaving their building in downtown Bloomington.  One person just commented they are in the process of moving out the last group now. When did the evacuation start? Why isn’t that public knowledge? Did the Bloomington City Council know? Is the City of Bloomington  […]

What is up with State Farm?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve talked to numerous people about what is really going on at State Farm.  One felt Ed Rust protected Bloomington-Normal, but he is no longer there.  The new management has no reason to be loyal to Bloomington-Normal. Another person told me State Farm has serious internal problems that are making them un-competitive.  […]

From a SF employee:

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are excerpts from an email I received yesterday from a current State Farm employee: So…the story about State Farm. There are a lot of management level employees in our IT shop.  Percentages of people whose jobs will move or be eliminated range from about 20% to 50% depending on the area […]

UPDATE: State Farm Exodus

A reader sent me this:  https://atlanta.curbed.com/2017/9/7/16264644/state-farm-atlanta-perimeter-dunwoody-development-construction He added this:  It looks like we are headed for a chalk outline of BN taxpayer… See this story too:  From a SF Employee ________________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin State Farm announced to their employees they will be moving 7% of IT out of Bloomington and cutting management company wide […]

The silence is deafening

By:  Anonymous All over Bloomington-Normal, no one is talking about the worst kept secret. It seems almost everyone knows, but no one is talking. State Farm is planning to downsize, likely before year-end. This is no secret. In fact, it’s echoing throughout the halls of the insurance giant, as well as the local business community […]

Guest Writer on State Farm announcement

With the news release of State Farm displacing 4,200 employees in various locations throughout the country, here is what a little research has produced. The following link offers additional general information from a neutral source which includes more details than the Pantagraph article. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2017/05/04/450094.htm Last year it was announced that the Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington […]

WOW! YEAR-OLD financial statements

By: Diane Benjamin Bloomington finally released the financial statements for April 30, 2016. The TIF report still hasn’t been released and neither has a separate audited statement on the Coliseum. Maybe another year? Two? At this point, what difference does it make? It’s much easier to read the information from the Comptroller’s site. Total Full […]

Miscellaneous!

By:  Diane Benjamin 1) State Farm is expanding again – in Atlanta.  They are building an office for up to 10,000 employees:  http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/watch-crews-implode-dunwoody-office-building/iZnPJmTxmPswgoj4gJwEeL/ 2) Cities 92.9 is holding a Bloomington mayoral debate next Wednesday.  They showed total disregard for church activities that normally happen on Wednesday evenings, but worse – Wednesday evening services during the […]

Part 2: The End of Bloomington/Normal as We Know IT

See Part 1 here:  https://blnnews.com/2016/10/09/the-end-of-bloomingtonnormal-as-we-know-it/ Part 2 by: Lawrence Butts Illinois State University . The bubble that higher education is currently riding high on is about to burst. The first question that will be asked is “ISU is doing great, they fill their enrollment every year – how are they in trouble?”  Yes, for the […]

Destroying Illinois, one business at a time

By:  Diane Benjamin State Farm isn’t growing here.  Formally local jobs now exists in other states.  Send Mike Madigan a thank-you card. A recent report rated all 50 States from Best to Worst for business. See this story:  http://chiefexecutive.net/2016-best-and-worst-states-for-business-full-list/ Celebrate now – Illinois is number 48.  Businesses and jobs will never return to Illinois as […]

Heartland abates taxes too

By:  Diane Benjamin Big corporations do two things: Hire people Negotiate taxes Because of an extensive well-funded legal department, corporations weld a lot of power not available to small business. It’s impossible for free market competition to exist when the biggest entities use their money and connections for perks available only to them. Here’s the […]

More CIRA stuff

By:  Diane Benjamin TAXPAYERS own the Central Illinois Regional Airport, but you know very little about the management or financial position. See the CIRA website here:  http://www.cira.com/  (Under “City Information” – Mitsubishi is still listed) It has ZERO transparency!  There are no links to financial information, agendas, minutes of meetings, or who is on the […]