Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Neighborhood House Coat Drive

                                                  Neighborhood House Coat Drive


  The Neighborhood House needs help collecting new and gently used coats and other winter wear for their 31st Annual Coat Giveaway. Coats are needed for children and adults of all sizes.  Last year Neighborhood House was able to give away over 500 coats to people who couldn’t afford to buy them.  Businesses, churches, schools and civic groups are encouraged to help collect coats that are in good shape that will benefit families this winter.  



Coats will be distributed Thursday, October 27th, from 6:30 am to noon
 For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please contact Lisa Bisbee
    (309)-674-1131 or lisak@nhpeoria.org


Pekin Hospital Recognized for Medical Excellence and Safety

Pekin Hospital is the recipient of two Medical Excellence Awards and one Patient Safety Award from CareChex®, a division of Comparion® Medical Analytics, one of the nation’s largest privately held health care information services companies.
Pekin Hospital is being recognized as “Number One in the Market for Medical Excellence” in the areas of women’s health and gall bladder removal, and “Number One in the Market for Patient Safety” in the area of pneumonia care.
“We are honored to receive this recognition for medical excellence and safety,” said Pekin Hospital CEO Bob Haley. “These awards reflect our passion for providing a superior health care experience that earns the trust of the communities we are so privileged to serve.”
Part of Progressive Health Systems, Pekin Hospital is a 107-bed medical center serving Central Illinois since 1913. For more information visit pekinhospital.org.

Chamber Connection

Check out this weeks Chamber Connection HERE!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mashie's Booking for Christmas

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Celebrating 120 Years of Service

Neighborhood House marked its official 120th Anniversary on September 14th with a ribbon cutting for a new childcare playground.  
     With the help of people like you, Neighborhood House raised $73,000 in 2014 to purchase the playground equipment. The house also received large donations from Ameren Illinois, CEFCU   and Kreiling Roofing to help cover turf, fencing and the playground structure.  Unfortunately, the project was stalled for two years because of sinkholes in the parking lot, which is a problem for many south side businesses.
     After core samplings and getting clearance from engineers, more than 60 skilled laborers and carpenters volunteered their time to install the playground in July, saving an additional $16,000.  Now children at Neighborhood House have a beautiful and safe place to play. 
  

ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE OFFERS “CODE BREAKERS” CLASS FOR GRADES 4-6

Calling all future coders, programmers, and designers!

Students in grades 4 through 6 can join the Code Breakers class to learn the basics of coding languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS through a series of web projects and design challenges each day and be on the way to becoming the next tech star! The class will meet on Monday evenings beginning October 10 through November 21 (no class on Halloween) from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in Hickory Hall on the ICC North Campus, located at 5407 N. University in Peoria.


“Learn the basics” projects will be available on a Black Rocket website to share with friends and family. Whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or the high school student who just made $1 million dollars for programming in his bedroom, this course has the essentials you need to begin your journey. 

            Cost is $149. To register, visit icc.edu/youth or call (309) 690-6900. 

HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS AND SENIORS INVITED TO ICC “COLLEGE NIGHT” WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19

              Area high school students and their parents are invited to Illinois Central College’s “College Night” on Wednesday, October 19, from 5:30-7:30 pm, in the ICC CougarPlex (the facility which encompasses the Lorene Ramsey Gym). “College Night” brings representatives from more than 80 colleges and universities and from a dozen different states, as well as representatives from the armed forces, to one convenient location.
College reps will be on-hand to visit with students and their parents about programs, the admission process, scholarship and financial aid opportunities, as well as answer other questions students and parents may have.
This year, ICC will offer an additional service called StriveScan to streamline the College Night experience. StriveScan allows students to preload their program and career interests, as well as their contact information to receive a personal QR code. Participants may then print out or show their QR code on their cellphone to representatives of the colleges and universities from which they would like more information. Students may register in advance for a code by visiting StriveFair.com and selecting “ICC Transfer Day and College Night 10/19/16” from the drop-down list.
Those interested in enrolling at ICC may choose to attend one of two “ICC Admissions Overview” sessions (5:45 pm or 6:30 pm) in the CougarPlex Classroom. ICC admissions representatives will share information on the application process, what tests to take, and when applications are due. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions following the session. Financial Aid representatives also will be on hand for one-on-one consultations.
Campus Housing will also offer tours from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Students and parents can tour the student housing complex, ask questions about campus life, and receive information about leases.

               For more information, including the most up-to-date listing of colleges and universities attending, visit www.icc.edu/CollegeNight.

Yoga Happens Here

Representatives of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin joined with Paula Bayer and her friends and family to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Yoga Happens Here.  Located at 405 Court Street, Yoga Happens Here teaches clients how to relax with yoga.  Open Monday through Saturday, more information is available at www.yogahappenshere.com or by calling 282-6112.  You can see a few pictures from this event at:  https://goo.gl/photos/zBJF5JEBEeXjyJUD9

September Biz Barometer






Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chamber Board Passes Transportation Resolution


Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce

Board of Directors

September 14, 2016



Resolution of Support for

Illinois Transportation Legislative Initiative



            WHEREAS, transportation infrastructure is critical to the safety, quality of life and economic vitality throughout Illinois; and

            WHEREAS, the transportation system in Illinois is comprised of a seamless network of state highways, county highways, city streets, and township roads, as well as transit, rail and other alternative forms of transportation; and

            WHEREAS, citizens are reliant upon the vast and seamless network of public roads to carry business, products, services, postal delivery, parcel delivery, utilities, school bus, agriculture, emergency services; and,

            WHEREAS, the users of this system of public roads in Illinois pay for the upkeep and improvement of those public roads through highway user fees; and

            WHEREAS, local government is responsible for over 88% of the public road mileage in Illinois carrying 40% of the traffic in the state, thereby contributing 40% of the highway user fees collected by the state, including both motor vehicle revenue paid to the Secretary of State and motor fuel tax paid at the fuel pump; and

            WHEREAS, in 2014 only 21.5% of those highway user fees were returned to reinvest in local roads, which was $577 million less than the 40% generated by local roads, which received $561 million in MFT distributions; and

            WHEREAS, the continual reinvestment of highway user fees in the basic maintenance that is necessary for every part of the highway network is absolutely essential for those benefits of safety, quality of life and economic vitality to continue; and

            WHEREAS, the State of Illinois has not approved a transportation capital program that maintains support of ongoing funding for that continual reinvestment since 1999 and yet local roads in Illinois have experienced costs for basic county highway maintenance in 2014 that were 2.4 times greater than they were in 2000 and those costs continue to climb while local governments are forced to defer and even suspend the most basic maintenance on their local roads; and

            WHEREAS, the number of commercial vehicles along with their sizes and weights continue to grow due to the competitive world market requiring improvements to the local road system to safely accommodate such increase in the number, sizes and weights of commercial vehicles in relation with all other highway users; and

            WHEREAS, it is critical for every local government to improve their local roads in order to continue to be an effective part of the seamless highway network that allows Illinois to supply its produce, products and services to the world market competitively; and

            WHEREAS, the state’s economy continues to face pressures that would be mitigated by a public infrastructure capital construction initiative to provide workers throughout Illinois, from highly urbanized to rural areas, with employment, along with jobs associated with capital infrastructure improvement, such as equipment and material suppliers; and

            WHEREAS, it is important to focus on the entire transportation system, including local and state roads, interstate highways, bridges, public transit, airports, waterways and freight rail because no partial component operates without other systematic elements of the transportation network.

            NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce does hereby notify the Governor, Legislators and the IDOT Secretary that we request the adoption and implementation of the Illinois Transportation Legislative Initiative to Benefit the Economy and the Citizens of the State of Illinois; and this Illinois Transportation Legislative Initiative specifically requests:



  1. The Illinois DOT Secretary will seek input from and collaborate with County Engineers, Municipal Street Officials, Township Highway Commissioners and Transit Officials to develop an Illinois Transportation Plan to immediately begin to address the needs of our Illinois transportation system using the funding distribution of 80% Highways/20% Transit with the highway funding sub split of 60% IDOT/40% Local Roads, distributing formula; and
  2. The Governor and General Assembly will adopt and ensure implementation of an Illinois Transportation Bill that requires the distribution of all highway user fees and additional transportation investment at the same funding distribution through the existing MFT distribution formula as identified above.



            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon adoption, signed copies of this resolution shall be forwarded to:

• The Honorable Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois

• The Honorable John Cullerton, President of the Illinois Senate

• The Honorable Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives

• The Honorable Christine Radogno, Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate

• The Honorable James Durkin, Minority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives

• The Honorable State Senators & Representatives of our area

• Randy Blankenhorn, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation



PASSED THIS 14TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER 2016





/s/  John Franks III, President of the Board of Directors


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Commerce Bank Ribbon Cutting

Representatives of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin congratulated Commerce Bank on the grand opening of their new Pekin branch at 2012 Court Street.  The new facility is one of the most technologically advanced Commerce branches in the country.  In honor of the grand opening, branch manager Fred Blanchard presented a $500 donation to Alisha Dault, manager at the Miller Senior Center. You can see more pictures from this event at:  https://goo.gl/photos/CiFcYtT28Q4de1nk7

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Veteran's Drive


Save the date for the BikeConnect HOI Regional Bicycle Plan Open House!

Wednesday October 5
Gateway Building – Peoria Riverfront
200 NE Water St. – Peoria
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm 
BikeConnect HOI is a regional bicycle planning process being led by Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC). Come see the map of recommended bicycle network improvements to connect communities in our region. See the recommended action items for strengthening bike transportation in our region. Let us know your feedback!

For more information about the BikeConnect HOI Open House, please contact Nick Hayward of TCRPC at nhayward@tricountyrpc.org or 309-673-9330. And, please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. Thanks and hope to see you there! 

Bartons Earmark Seven-Figure Gift for Proposed Sustainability Center at ICC

               Funding for a future sustainability center at Illinois Central College will receive a sizable boost, thanks to a seven-figure donation from Glen and Polly Barton.
In his letter to the College this summer to formalize the gift, Glen Barton said he and his wife were impressed by what they had seen and heard about the proposed project and believed it would be a good addition to the College and local community.
The ICC Board of Trustees approved naming a future facility the “Barton Sustainability Center” at their regular meeting on September 15.
“We are very grateful to the Bartons for their generous donation in support of a sustainability center,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Their lifelong commitment to education and community service is inspirational, and we hope to appropriately honor this gift through the students and community members we serve.”
A proposed $7.5 M facility would eventually house some of the College’s academic program concerning sustainability and serve as a community resource center for green building and sustainable development.
“We are delighted to formalize our plans to name a future sustainability center in honor of the Bartons,” said Stephanie Holmes, Interim Executive Director of the ICC Educational Foundation. “The Board’s action tonight to approve a facility name is a tangible and public recognition of the Bartons’ dedication to their community and to the enduring impact their gift will have on future generations.”
               ICC’s Board of Trustees is currently reviewing the best site upon which to build a future sustainability center.

            For more information about sustainability initiatives at ICC, visit https://icc.edu/about-icc/sustainability/. For information on giving to the ICC Educational Foundation, visit http://icc.edu/about-icc/educational-foundation/

Carr celebrates 10 years at Hanson’s Peoria office

Dennis Carr, P.E., a civil engineer at Hanson Professional Services Inc.’s Peoria office, recently celebrated 10 years of service with the firm. 
Carr joined Hanson in 2006 and has provided planning, design and construction observation services for roadway and bridge projects, including the Warehouse District revitalization, Washington Street improvements and base roadway repairs for the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing, all in Peoria; the West Main Street and Seminary Street overpasses in Galesburg and the East Main Street underpass there, which soon will be under construction; and the Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) project in Champaign and Urbana, which will begin construction this fall. 
He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering in 2007 and 2012, respectively, from Bradley University and is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois.

Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The Peoria regional office is located at 7625 N. University St., Suite 200, Peoria, IL 61614. The office may be reached by phone at (309) 691-0902.  

Illinois American Water "Imagine A Day Without Water" Contest

Illinois American Water is inviting 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms within the Company’s service area to participate in an “Imagine a Day Without Water” art contest. Winning students will win their classroom a $100 donation. Artwork may also be featured in a future bill insert and other communication pieces.

“It’s hard to imagine even just one day without water. We need water to make a cup of coffee, grow fruits and vegetables, and manufacture nearly every product we use in our daily lives. We also need water to fight fires and for public health. While essential, few people understand the fundamental value of water and the systems that bring water to and from homes and businesses all day, every day,” said Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water. To help educate Illinois American Water’s youngest customers, the Company is partnering with the Value of Water Coalition on the 2nd Annual “Imagine a Day Without Water” event launched today, Sept. 15, 2016. All across the nation, events and activities will take place to highlight the important, and often taken for granted,
role our drinking water plays.

Participation in the “Imagine a Day Without Water” art contest is easy. Students are asked to draw a picture and write one sentence that describes what water service and a day without water means to them. Teachers can find instructions and materials online at www.illinoisamwater.com, in the “Learning Center” area of the site. Learn more about “Imagine a Day Without Water” here http://imagineadaywithoutwater.org/

Winner(s) of the art contest will be announced in November. Last year’s winning artwork can be viewed on the Company’s Facebook page. By submitting an entry the student, teacher and school are agreeing to have the submission, including identification information like name, school, etc. to be used in Illinois American Water materials. All entries should be sent to External Affairs Manager, Karen Cotton, at 7500 North Harker Drive, Peoria, Illinois 61615 by Oct. 13, 2016. Questions can be directed to karen.cotton@amwater.com.

Employer Business Needs Workshop

The Central Illinois Regional Employer Services Team presents the
Employer Business Needs Workshop


Two opportunities to attend


Thursday, September 22, 2016
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

@ Peoria Gateway Building
200 NE Water Street, Room 201
Peoria, IL 61602

Friday, September 23, 2016
8:00 am to 10:00 am

@ Fondulac Bank
201 Clock Tower Drive, 2nd Floor
East Peoria, IL 61611



Presenting agencies include:


·         Career Link
·         Illinois Central College
·         Greater Peoria Economic
Development Council

·         Illinois Dept. of Employment Security
·         Illinois Dept. of Human Services, Div. of Rehabilitation Service (DRS)
·         Pekin Chamber of Commerce



The workshop is designed to provide the business community with valuable information about potential cost saving resources.  Information being covered includes:

*Unemployment Insurance Laws and recent updates*


·         Access to Talented Labor Force
·         Apprenticeships
·         Career Transition
·         Business Effectiveness
·         Business Retention and Expansion
·         Incumbent Worker Training
·         Job Postings
·         Labor Market Information
·         Leadership Development
·         On-the-Job Training
·         Rehabilitation Technology Service
·         Work Opportunity Tax Credit





Sponsored by CENTRAL ILLINOIS REGIONAL EMPLOYER SERVICES TEAM
Please register for this event by contacting 
David Vaughn, Career Link, 309-321-0293 DVaughn@careerlink16.com or
Tory Davis, IDES, BSM, 309-472-9881 Tory.Davis@Illinois.gov.
 

Mashie's Pub & Eatery PaintNite

Friday, September 16, 2016

Chamber Week: History of Executive Directors

The management staff position with the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce was originally called secretary or managing secretary.  Eventually the designation was changed to executive director.  These people have served in that position: 



1916-1920       Phil H. Sipfle

1920-1923       James H. Braucht

1923-1925       Leonard D’Ooge

1925-1929       Ormond F. Lyman

1929-1938       John S. Patterson

1938-1941       Francis O. Neer

1941-1945             Ross E. Anderson

1945-1952       Britt B. Blair

1952-1953       A.W. Tarter

1953-1959       R.J. Lindley

1959-1962       Paul E. Burkhardt
1962-1970       R.H. “Bud” More
1970-1984       Leland S. “Lee” Williams

1985-1987       Ralph T. Brower

1987-1989       Kevin L. Rosner

1989-1993       Willard E. Birkmeier
1993-1996       Charles H. “Chic” Renner
1996-2001       Carol A. Shields

2001-present   William T. Fleming

Chamber Week - More History


The more things change, the more they stay the same


            For over 20 years the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee has worked with a number of agencies, organizations, and governmental units and representatives to advocate for the construction of Veterans Drive.  This road will extend from Illinois Route 29 on the south, and then along the City’s easterly border, eventually connecting with Interstate 474 on the North.  The Chamber believes this project is of vital importance to the community’s economic prosperity. 

            The Pekin Association of Commerce’s annual report for the year ended March 31, 1928 also noted the importance of roads.  The report from the Good Roads Committee stated:  “The most important project before the committee was the speeding up of action on the paving of the proposed State Route 164 (Pekin to Tremont and Mackinaw).  The new road will be of great assistance to the communities on the East, and the route will mean a marked extension of the Pekin trading area.  Your committee has held several meetings with representatives of the communities along the route, and many right-of-way disputes and differences have been satisfactorily adjusted.  At this writing it is practically assured that the contract for Route No. 164 will be let within the very near future.”

            The report went on to note that the newly paved section of Route 9, Pekin to Morton, was opened to the public last fall.  “In the opening of this route, the committee is able to see the final results of its many months of work performed several years ago when the right-of-way for the new road was under discussion.”     

New Illinois Law Limits Non-Compete Agreements

The Illinois legislature enacted new legislation invalidating non-compete agreements for certain employees. Effective January 1, 2017, employers are prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employees who earn $13 an hour or less.

The “Illinois Freedom to Work Act” (S.B. 3163) will make any non-compete agreement "illegal and void" if entered into on, or after, January 1, 2017 if it prevents a low wage employee from:
  • Working in a specified geographic area;
  • Working for another employer for a specified time; or  
  • Working for another employer that performs similar work. 
The law does not apply to agreements to protect confidential information, or not to solicit customers or employees, or to agreements entered into before January. 1, 2017.

If your company has post-employment competition restrictions with low-wage earners, you should seek legal guidance given this new Illinois law.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chamber History


The History of Chambers of Commerce


As long as commerce has existed, traders have banded together.  The purpose of these first associations was to seek common protection against enemies and marauding bands of robbers.  Later they established codes to govern the conduct of trade, and still later, they attempted to exert influence on legislation.  These early associations of traders have little in common with the modern Chamber of Commerce.

The history of Chambers of Commerce, as an institution representing the interests of business, dates back to the end of the 16th century.  In 1599 the Board of Marseilles, France appointed a commission of four merchants and granted it the status of an advisory body on trade matters.  The commission was “in charge of increasing the town’s prosperity.”  Some time later the commission was named a Chamber of Commerce.

King Henry IV issued a decree whereby he legitimized the institution, which in the course of time became totally independent.  He also asked the chambers for “recommendations to revive the economy of the kingdom.” 

In the early 18th century Chambers of Commerce, as advisory institutions, were established in other French cities.  Clearly establishing their purpose, King Louis XIV asked the chambers for proposals to “increase trade in France and outside the Kingdom.”

In Germany, the first chamber was established in 1665 in Hamburg.  It was an institution similar to a Chamber of Commerce and called a Kommerzdeputation.  In 1866 it was named a Chamber of Commerce.

The first Canadian Chamber of Commerce was formed in the year 1750 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  A group of merchants joined together to form the "Association for the Benefit of Trade." 

            The first Chamber of Commerce in the United States was organized in New York in 1786.  From 1890 the growth of the chambers in the United States was rapid.  Today, there are over 5,000 such organizations in the country. 

The Galena Chamber of Commerce, organized at a meeting of merchants on February 2, 1838, was the first Chamber of Commerce in Illinois.  Though it has not been in continuous existence, a business organization in one form or another has been in Galena since that time.  According to the 1878 History of Jo Daviess County, “... the Chamber of Commerce exercised a powerful and beneficial influence on the business interests of Galena.”

Chambers of Commerce today have only a faint resemblance of the old “board of trade” and “booster clubs” of even a half-century ago.  Changes are more than one of refinement - the basic philosophy of Chamber operation has changed. 

In recent years, Chambers of Commerce have become more involved in economic development, urban renewal, and planning, with some of the larger Chambers adding specialist to their staff.



History of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce


            In October of 1893, a group of like-minded businessmen incorporated the Citizen’s Improvement Association of Pekin.  The organization was formed for the purpose of “advancing the business interest and promoting the commercial growth of the City of Pekin.”  The five directors that were selected to control and manage the corporation for the first year were:  Everett W. Wilson, George Herget, Jesse B. Cooper, Henry Block, and Joseph V. Graff.

            A second business association, the Pekin Retail Merchants Association, was organized in 1900 with Ferd Pauley as President and Fred Helm as Secretary.  The purpose of this organization was to promote better business practices and systems. 

            In 1910 the Citizen’s Improvement Association of Pekin changed its name to the Commercial Club of Pekin.  In 1911 they merged with the Pekin Merchants Association, but retained their name as the Commercial Club of Pekin.

            In 1916 the name of the organization was changed to the Association of Commerce of Pekin, Illinois.  Phil H. Sipfle was the managing secretary, and Maude M. Smith was hired as the office secretary on May 27, 1916.   

Smith retired in 1961, after 45 years of service to the organization.  However, she continued to attend the annual meetings into the 1980s.  Her attendance was noteworthy, as she had never missed an annual meeting since she was hired by the organization in 1916.

            In 1962 the name of the organization was changed to the Chamber of Commerce of Pekin, Illinois.  In 1978 the name of the organization was changed to the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.


The Retail Project


Chamber Connection

Check out this week's Chamber Connection here! 

MORTON COMMUNITY BANK OPENS CHAMPAIGN-URBANA LENDING CENTER

Veteran Central Illinois banker Leon Hinton has joined Morton Community Bank as Market President for Champaign-Urbana.  Hinton will be based at the Lending Center the Bank has opened at 301 N. Neil Street, Suite 105, in downtown Champaign.

“Leon knows the Champaign-Urbana market extremely well,” said Bob Dittmer, Group President and Chief Lending Officer of Morton Community Bank.  “He was a Senior Vice President at a regional bank headquartered in the market for almost 17 years and, most recently, served at President and COO at another Central Illinois bank.”

Dittmer noted that while the lending center is new, Morton Community Bank has been doing business in the Champaign-Urbana area for many years.  “We already have a substantial business lending portfolio in this market and we see great potential to increase our service in the Champaign-Urbana area.  Leon will be assembling a talented team of colleagues to accomplish this goal,” said Dittmer.

“I am truly excited to be able to work with my Champaign-Urbana clients again representing a customer focused, responsive, strong bank,” said Hinton. “Customers prefer working with a bank that employs local people who know the community, are active in it, and can use their community knowledge to make sound lending decisions.”


Morton Community Bank and its Hometown Community Banks’ divisions with 38 locations offer comprehensive banking services for both business and personal clients.  For more information, visit www.hometownbanks.com

ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE THEATRE SEASON OPENS WITH SIX PERFORMANCES OF THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES SEPT. 23

            The Illinois Central College Theatre Program 2016-2017 season of four shows gets underway with the comedy farce The House of Blue Leaves, which opens on September 23 for six performances in the main stage theatre of the ICC Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus.
Written by John Guare, The House of Blue Leaves takes place in 1965 on a day when the Pope visits the home borough of a middle-aged zookeeper. The show portrays events that take place in the main character’s family on this day, which turns out to be an explosive combination of a lifetime of dreams and realities.
The show takes place September 23-25 and September 30-October 2. Performances on Fridays and Saturdays begin at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 pm.
The lead character in The House of Blue Leaves, Artie Shaughnessy, is a songwriter with visions of glory. He toils by day as a zookeeper and suffers in seedy lounges by night, plying his wares at piano bars in Queens, N.Y., where he lives with his wife. On the day the Pope is making his first visit to the city, Artie's son goes AWOL from Fort Dix, stowing a homemade bomb intended to blow up the Pope in Yankee Stadium. Mix in a mistress along with a visiting school-chum-turned-successful-Hollywood-producer with his starlet girlfriend in tow, the protagonist’s promise of glory evaporates amid the chaos of ordinary lives.
Cast members in The House of Blue Leaves, their roles and their hometowns include: Austin Shaw of Washington as Artie Shaughnessy; Andrew Gray of Washington as Ronnie Shaughnessy; Vanessa Hesh of Pekin as Bunny Flingus; Gillian Strachan of East Peoria as Bananas Shaughnessy; Amilia Dierks of Morton as Corrinna Stroller; Brit Pearl of Hannah City as Head Nun; Daisy Breitbarth of Metamora as Second Nun; Cass Bermijo of Green Bay, Wisc., as Little Nun; Alek President of Rushville as M.P.; Nate Elder of Dunlap as The White Man; and Francis Drew of Peoria as Billy Einhorn.
The ICC production is directed by Doug Rosson. The show is rated PG-13 for adult themes and is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Tickets cost $7 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens.
The show is the first of four in the 2016-2017 ICC theatre season. Other shows include:
·        Murder at Café Noir by David Landau, a comedic “whodunit” tribute to the Bogart era which includes audience interaction/participation and four special Friday and Saturday “dinner theatre” performances. Nine performances between November 11-20 in the studio theatre. Rated G for all audiences.
·        The Bone House by Marty Chan, a bone-chilling and suspenseful, immersive thriller which delves in to the public’s fascination with serial killers. Six performances between February 24-March 5 in the mainstage theatre. Rated R, no one under 18 admitted.
·        Suburbia by Eric Bogosian, a young, tough suburban drama examining the lives of a group of rage- and angst-ridden 20-somethings in a small town. Eight performances between April 14-23 in the studio theatre. Rated R for adult themes and language.

Tickets for all shows other than the dinner theatre performances of Murder at Café Noir cost $7 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens. The four dinner theatre performances of Murder at Café Noir begin at 6:30 pm on only the Fridays and Saturdays during the run of this show. All tickets to the dinner theatre performances cost $20 per person and include a buffet-style meal. Tickets for these four dinner theatre performances must be purchased at least four days in advance. A menu is available at http://icc.edu/arts/news/noir/.


Season tickets cost $24 for the general public and $16 for students and senior citizens. Season ticket purchasers who choose to attend a dinner theatre performance of Murder at Café Noir must pay an additional $15 per person for the dinner.

               For tickets or more information, visit ArtsAtICC.com or call the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (309) 694-5136.