Monday, October 21, 2019


Goodwill of Central Illinois held its 6th annual Patriot Awards on October 16, at Goodwill Commons in Peoria. Each year the organization presents awards of patriotism to a veteran, a citizen, an organization and an active member of the military.
The Washburn American Legion Auxiliary Unit 661 took home the Business/Association Patriot Award. Johanna Wagner was presented with the Patty Fuchs Citizen Patriot Award. Michael Gilmore received the Veteran Patriot Award and Senior Master Sergeant James “J.P.” Hall garnered the Military Patriot Award and the General Wayne A. Downing Award.
Award sponsors included: Associated Bank, Vonachen Group, The Wyman Group, Sharp Payroll and Total Income Tax Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, PNC Bank, Komatsu, ATOL Charitable Trust, PJ Hoerr, Peoria Disposal Company (PDC), CIAN, The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and JPG Real Estate.
Goodwill’s free programs are possible through the sale of your donated items. Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois serves 21 counties within Central Illinois. Goodwill offers employment services, veterans’ support services, operates a veterans’ home and employs more than 300 people. For more information visit Goodwill’s website at

October Biz Barometer

Friday, October 18, 2019

Miller Center Ribbon Cutting

Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce joined with Alisha Dault, Director of the Miller Center, and Pekin Park District employees and board members for a ribbon cutting.  The event celebrated the completion of a renovation project at the Miller Center.  The work included new floors, ceiling, lighting, ventilation and many other updates.  Dan Pfeifer, President of the Board of Directors of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, read a proclamation congratulating the Miller Center and naming October 17, 20919 Miller Center Day in the City of Pekin.  You can see more pictures at

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Goodwill to Hold Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois will hold its eleventh annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans. Goodwill, along with other local social service agencies, expect to serve between 150 and 200 homeless veterans with food, winter supplies, educational seminars and medical services.

WHAT: 11th Annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

WHEN: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE: Dozer Park, 730 S. Jefferson, Peoria

Goodwill funds their free services through the sale of donated goods. These services include: job placement assistance and training, veterans’ support services, a 15 bedroom veterans’ home, youth mentoring and youth career planning programs and more.

Goodwill of Central Illinois is a non-profit organization supporting individuals and families who are working to better their lives. For more information on retail stores, donation centers and free services, visit the website at or call the Administrative Offices at

(309) 682-1113.

Ronald McDonald House art Gala


Art Gala Logo
You are cordially invited to our first ever Art Gala to help beautify the Peoria Ronald McDonald House!


Enjoy live art demonstrations and special pop-up entertainment throughout the evening. Plus, you can m eet award-winning artist Jeff Hanson whose work will be featured in the live auction. Jeff has pledged to raise $10 million for charity by the time he is 30! Tickets are available

“We love these works and know they will brighten the lives of those who will be staying at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House. Each work has been chosen to create a fun, healing environment for the children, their families, and all who will care for them.”
- Art Gala Committee

Individuals, couples, families, friends or businesses can sponsor one or more works of art or make a cash donation to help us purchase the works. Each individual or group will be recognized for the thoughtful gift of art with a plaque displayed next to your sponsored piece(s). The Art Gala features over 100 original artworks created by dozens of regional artists.
Doors Open: 5:30 pm
Heavy Appetizers: 5:30-7:30 pm
Art Bidding: 6:00-7:30 pm
Live Auction: 7:30 pm
Attire: Creative, Semi-Casual

Rusty Hall, Pianist

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Lowell & Leslie Koons Quartet
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Cousin Eddie
8:30 pm-10:30 pm

Special Guests: Kim Blickenstaff, Host
Auctioneer:  Dan Campbell, Raising Paddles
Event Chair: Brian Tibbs
Honorary Co-chairs: Doug & Eileen Leunig, Big Picture Initiative

Online Bidding will be available through a mobile app.

Angel Sculpture by Karl Geckler
Community Room Paintings
To see more room rendering previews, check out our gallery here.

$100 each; $175 for two
Sponsorships with multi-ticket benefits are available.
Purchase tickets here.
Hotel & Parking:
RMHC room blocks are reserved at the
Pere Marquette for $119 + tax & fees and Mark Twain for $89 + tax & fees. Parking is available in the Scottish Rite lot. Look for Art Gala parking signs.

Contact Kelly Thompson, CEO
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois
Don’t miss one of the most fun, entertaining and inspiring events of the fall season.

Sponsored by:

Maui Jim Logo
Float Logo


This event needs your support. 

To learn more about how you can help our Peoria and Springfield Ronald McDonald Houses in 2019, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois, at 309-401-2525 or Together, we can make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of sick children and their families!

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a supportive place for families to stay while their child is receiving medical care and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. We provide families with private bedroom and bathroom, home-cooked meals and more to help ease the stress they face during a medical crisis. For more information, visit, follow RMHCCI on Twitter (@RMHCCI), Instagram (@RMHCCI) or on Facebook.
Terry Clark, (left) pictured here with Julie Lock of the Dax Foundation.
Terry Clark, (left) pictured here with Julie Lock of the Dax Foundation.
Terry Clark, (left) pictured here with Julie Lock of the Dax Foundation.
Terry Clark, (left) pictured here with Julie Lock of the Dax Foundation.
Terry Clark, (left) pictured here with Julie Lock of the Dax Foundation.

Friday, October 11, 2019

October Puttin' on Pekin Recap

Fifty chamber members and guests attend the October 11 Puttin' On Pekin breakfast held at the Avanti's Dome.  Emcee Jeff Brooks (Pekin Public Library presented Gail Nitchting (CEFCU) with the early prize, and Justin Ellis (GIVSCO) with the late prize.  Sean Garrett, Jill Sitter and Kenneth Diana accepted the Spotlight on Business for East Court Village / Cullinan Properties from Chris Valentine (NRG Powerton). Charity Gullett and Rachelle Smith accepted the Sunshine Award from Blake Hunter (Steger's Furniture) on behalf of the Community Improvement Project of Pekin.  Mark Rennick, the marketing specialist for the Greater Peoria EDC presented information on the Shop Local 365 campaign and The Big Table event - two initiatives that have been organized by the GPEDC and the area chambers of commerce.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Illinois American Water Engineer Named Central Illinois ASCE Young Civil Engineer of the Year

Illinois American Water Peoria District Sr. Project Engineer Josh Harken has been
named the Young Civil Engineer of the Year by the Central Illinois Section of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The award is presented annually to a civil engineer under the age of 35 who has demonstrated leadership in public service and engineering.

The award was presented at ASCE’s Central Illinois Section annual banquet on Sept. 26, 2019 in recognition of Harken’s excellent performance and demonstrated leadership potential in civil engineering; high character and professional integrity; and dedication to serving the community.
Harken, who has been with Illinois American Water since 2018, is an instrumental member of the Peoria District engineering team and oversees projects in the Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln areas, as well as surrounding communities.

Trip Barton, Illinois American Water Peoria District Engineering Manager, supported the recognition, stating Harken was “very deserving of this award.” He continued, “Josh not only contributes to critical investments we are making in the local water infrastructure, but he also champions efforts to encourage local youth to consider engineering as a career. This is so important to the future of our nation’s infrastructure.”

Prior to joining Illinois American Water Harken worked at Farnsworth Group, Inc. Harken earned his
bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from Bradley University in 2007 and 2013, respectively.

About Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

CASA Par 3 Challenge

Many thanks for another successful
Par 3 Challenge & $1Million Hole in One Shootout!
Together we are making a difference
in the lives of children!

Par 3 Scramble
·     1st Place - KB Elliott Financial Advisors (-11): Jeff Doeden, Kyle Portugal, Bill Ott, Mark Greskoviak
·     2nd Place - Prairie Home Alliance (-10): Steve Jackson, J.R. Runkel, Kevin Pogue, Tadd Vonachen
·     3rd Place - Lynch Aluminum (-9): Ken Lynch, Corey Lynch, Jason Lynch, Matt Lynch

Putting Game
·     1st Place - Connor Co. (19 aces): Stan Collins, Tucker Kennedy, Chad Whittington, Sam Hoerr
·     2nd Place - Lynch Aluminum (15 aces): Ken Lynch, Corey Lynch, Jason Lynch, Matt Lynch

Hole in One Shootout
·     Closest to Pin: Kyle Portugal 20' 7"
·     2nd Closest to Pin: Kevin Pogue 31'

For more information about CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit visit our website or follow us on social media.

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