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Listen now: 5 Central Illinois zoo animals test positive for COVID

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A Sumatran tiger is shown at the Miller Park Zoo on Feb. 12, 2020. Five big cats began showing signs of COVID-19 on Nov. 20.

Welcome back to another episode of 'Long Story Short' where we recap Central Illinois news from Lee Enterprises' journalists. We're back after a short break for the holidays.

This week, reporters Sierra Henry and Kelsey Watznauer discuss how Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington had to close its big cat house after a Sumatran tiger and four snow leopards began showing signs of COVID. Bloomington education reporter Connor Wood also joined the podcast to discuss Illinois State Report Cards and how local schools did.

To learn more about any of the stories mentioned on this week's podcast, visit,, or and check out subscription information to consider supporting #localjournalism.

Subscribe to "Long Story Short" for free on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Music by Podington Bear.

Stories mentioned on this week's 'Long Story Short' podcast:

Applications available for remaining Decatur COVID-19 small business grant funds.

Mattoon congregation finds new beginning after fire.

Supply chain a new hurdle for Bloomington-Normal businesses.

Rodney Davis opts for House run; Gauging the winners in new Illinois redistricting map

Decatur-based soldiers notified of likely 2023 deployment.

COVID vaccines for Bloomington zoo animals could be on the way.

McLean County urges testing after 383 new COVID cases reported, new variant looming.

McLean County educators lukewarm toward state test data.

Report Card: Attendance and absenteeism during pandemic a concern (Decatur).

State data gives snapshot of Coles County students.

Illinois State women basketball storm their way past Missouri Baptist

Redbirds get to enjoy MVC lead for a month after rallying to down Missouri State in OT.

Illinois opens Big Ten schedule at home against Rutgers.

Illinois overcomes adversity, Notre Dame for win.

100 Decatur kids get new shoes.

Bloomington-Normal Hanukkah traditions adapt, keep hope.

Sierra Henry's 5 most memorable stories of 2021

Another crazy year has flown by and I would be lying if I said choosing my top five most memorable stories was easy. These lists, which we do every year in December, are always difficult. How can I sum up all the good, hard work we do in just five stories?

This is my second year with The Pantagraph, so I decided to choose five in-depth pieces that spoke to me and our readers. Some are heart-wrenching, such as the memories Jelani Day's friends shared with me. Others are more light hearted, like my story looking at Steak 'n Shake and all the fun Bloomington-Normal residents had eating at the restaurant when it was in its heyday. 

There are many reasons I am proud to work for this organization. Our work is not only a reflection of ourselves as reporters, but of this community. I hope everyone can continue enjoying all the great work we do every day to provide quality local journalism to our readers. Thank you to all of our subscribers and readers for the support.

Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.


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