Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
When Carrie Smith and sister Stacey Hayes woke up the morning of Labor Day, they were hopeful. But, the women had no idea they would make history, with years of hard work sleuthing paying off. At 7:11 a.m., little more than an hour after Clue 7 released, the sisters made their discovery at Pekin’s Riverfront Park: the first year in 43 years the Pepsi Marigold Medallion was hidden at this location.
Cluemeister Gary Gillis said he had never hidden the Pepsi Marigold Medallion in this area before because of a lack of landmarks that could mislead hunters. The area was essentially too unique. After seeing the Riverway Road sign just adjacent to the Spalshpad, the Cluemeister felt inspired. Key components directing hunters to the location included phrases such as a “panoply of sounds” and the stanza “Look for a 2006 winner of a Presidential Freedom award. Find two books of an historian’s work. You'll be in the thick of your reward.”
Sisters Carrie and Stacey have been avid hunters through the years, coming close to discovering the Medallion many times. Their late grandfather originally introduced them to the hunt years ago. Carrie and Stacey were elated to make their discovery and become part of Pekin’s history. The hunters will ride in the Marigold Festival Parade this Saturday at 10:00 a.m., and keep the $1500 cash prize from Pepsi.
The Pepsi Marigold Medallion Hunt is an annually tradition, part of the Pekin Marigold Festival honoring the life and legacy of Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen. Seven clues released this year Monday, August 30th through Saturday, September 4th, with the last clue released 6:00 a.m. on Labor Day. The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and Pekin Marigold Festival invite the Central Illinois community to read this year’s clue interpretations on the their blog and social medias and plan to participate in next year’s hunt!
Pictured here - Cluemeister Gary Gilles, Stacey Hayes, Carrie Smith, and 2021 Festival Chairman Josh Hafliger.
Pictured here - Cluemeister Gary Gilles, Stacey Hayes, Carrie Smith, and 2021 Festival Chairman Josh Hafliger.
Friday, August 27, 2021
The Pepsi Marigold Medallion Hunt Begins Monday, August 30th with a $1500 Cash Prize
It’s not often hundreds of people from one city compete in a scavenger hunt for a single item. But for the City of Pekin, it’s an annual occurrence. For the past 43 years, the Pekin Marigold Festival has opened with the hunt for the Medallion: a small disc hidden within the community, found only by interpreting a series of mystic yet poetic clues.
Long-time Cluemeister, Gary Gillis, will release 2021’s first clue on Marigold Festival social media and the Pepsi Marigold Medallion blog Monday, August 30th at 12:00 p.m. Hunters should be quick to begin deciphering, as the clues release daily with each subsequent clue becoming more revealing. The grand prize for finding the 2021 Pepsi Marigold Medallion is $1500 cash!
This year’s Medallion is a fused glass piece, created by Pekin Community High School 2021 graduate Savanna Schultz. It will be carefully camouflaged and protected in a bag or paper that could mislead hunters, then hidden by an unknown person in the community. Efforts are taken to secure the medallion against the elements and wildlife that may try to investigate the small package. Instructions for how to claim the medallion are within the package, including the secret phone number to contact the Cluemeister.
Over the years, the hunt has become a tradition for Pekin families and a hallmark of the close of summer. The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce invites Pekin's amateur detectives and determined sleuths to get out in the community and participate in this free event that is fun for everyone.
How to play -
Watch for clues to be released at 12:00 p.m. daily Monday, August 30th through Saturday, September 4th. The next clue releases Labor Day at 6:30 a.m. The first three clues traditionally reflect a broad, general location within Pekin. Additional clues will reveal specific details on where to look within the general location. The clues are clever and will require hunters to use their knowledge of Pekin to decipher where the Medallion is hidden. Clues will continue to be released until the Medallion is found. Hunters can call 309-346-HUNT to have a real-time update of the status of the Medallion.
More about the Pepsi Marigold Medallion - The Pepsi Marigold Medallion will be found on PUBLIC property, either within or contiguous to city boundaries, or property owned by a Pekin public body.
It is NOT hidden in any seasonal plantings or landscaping in Mineral Springs Park or elsewhere, on any golf course, inside the PCHS stadium’s fenced area, inside the Dragonland fenced area, inside any school facility, or on the property of the Pekin Archery Range or the UAW High rise. While it might be hidden on school property, it will not be hidden in shrubs, bushes, or plantings immediately against the schools. The Medallion is not hidden within the landscaping at the Pekin Public Library or near the Pekin Federal Prison's perimeter fence.
Hunters do not need to dig up or climb up to find the Medallion. The chosen hiding place is always selected with safety and accessibility given the highest consideration.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Governor Pritzker Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Healthcare Workers, Pre-K-12 Teachers and Staff,
Higher Education Personnel and Students to Slow Spread of Delta Variant
All Illinois Residents Required to Wear Masks Indoors, Regardless of Vaccination Status
Downstate Communities with Lower Vaccination Rates Experiencing Sharp Increase in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
CHICAGO – As COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates across the state continue to increase, particularly in downstate communities with the lowest vaccination rates, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike today announced vaccination requirements for individuals in high risk settings. All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees in all of these settings and higher education students who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week, and DPH and ISBE may require increased testing in certain situations.
The Governor and Dr. Ezike also announced a statewide indoor mask mandate for all Illinois residents, regardless of vaccination status, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to increase. The masking requirements are effective Monday, August 30th.
The public health requirements come as regions with low vaccination rates continue to see a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations. In IDPH region 5, Southern Illinois, with the lowest vaccination rate in the state at 44 percent, only 3% of ICU beds are available as the region experiences the highest case rate in the state. Since August 1st, local health departments across the state have reported 27 COVID-19 outbreaks at schools and currently hundreds of schools are being monitored for potential COVID-19 exposures.
“The quick spread of this disease in Illinois and across the country is holding us all back from the post-pandemic life we so desperately want to embrace, and it’s harming the most vulnerable among us,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help – and Illinois is taking action to keep our communities safe.”
“Unlike the wave of COVID-19 we saw earlier this Spring, we’re now seeing our hospital resources stretched thin with some areas of Illinois reduced to only a handful of available ICU beds,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The vast majority of hospitalizations, as well as cases and deaths, are among those who are unvaccinated. This has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We have safe, proven, and effective tools to turn the tide and end this pandemic. But until more people are vaccinated, masks are the order of the day and will help us slow the spread of the virus.”
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pritzker administration has implemented policies and guidelines in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to slow the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of residents. With the Delta variant causing a rapid increase in infection rates across the state and nation and downstate hospitals in Illinois approaching capacity for hospital and ICU beds, employees in high risk settings will now be required to receive the vaccine or be subject to routine testing. Earlier this month, the administration announced that employees at all State-run congregate facilities would be required to be vaccinated.
To lower the number of breakthrough cases that require hospital admission, the majority of whom are 65 and over or immunocompromised, all healthcare workers, including workers at public and private nursing homes, must get vaccinated. Teachers and staff at pre-k-12 schools as well as personnel and students at higher education institutions are required to receive the vaccine. Workers and students in applicable settings must receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by September 5, 2021. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose.
Workers who do not receive the vaccine or those who opt out for medical reasons or based on a sincerely held religious belief must follow a routine testing schedule to detect cases early and prevent further spread. Testing will be required a minimum of once per week in schools and healthcare facilities. The frequency of testing may be required to increase in the event of positive cases.
Healthcare, school workers, and higher education personnel and students attending in-person classes who do not provide proof of vaccination will be prevented from entering healthcare and educational facilities unless they follow the required testing protocol.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been available for healthcare and nursing home workers since December 15, 2020, and open to teachers since January 25, 2021. To increase ease of access for all residents, the Pritzker administration established 25 mass vaccination sites across the state that were run by members of the Illinois National Guard (ILNG) who administered 1,869,755 shots to residents across the state. Additionally, teams of ILNG members supported over 800 mobile vaccination clinics across the state on top of an additional 1,705 state-supported mobile sites that focused on communities hardest hit by the pandemic, young residents, and rural communities.
The administration also launched vaccination clinics in communities experiencing high case rates. Clinics were set up in central locations within communities including schools and houses of worship and were also present at community events and, most recently, the Illinois State Fair and upcoming Du Quoin Fair.
Building on these efforts to make access to the COVID-19 vaccine equitable and easy, the administration has offered support to every school district in the State in the form of free mobile vaccination events. So far, the administration has hosted 138 school-focused event with another 163 scheduled for the coming days and weeks.
To slow the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, all Illinois residents over the age of two will be required to wear a mask in all indoor settings, effective Monday, August 30th. The requirement is applicable to both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents statewide. Countless studies have demonstrated the efficacy of masks at preventing the spread of COVID-19, with the CDC identifying at least 10 that confirm the benefit of universal masking via community level analyses – including two U.S. states – in addition to observational, economic, epidemiological, and cross-sectional survey studies. A small sampling can be found below:
- “Community Use of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment of State Mandates In The US” found an estimated overall initial daily decline in new diagnoses of 0.9% grew to 2.0% at 21 days following mandates.
- “Trends in County-Level COVID-19 Incidence in Counties With and Without a Mask Mandate — Kansas, June 1–August 23, 2020” studied a Kansas executive order requiring mask wearing in public spaces from which county authorities could opt out. The estimated case rate per 100,000 decreased by 0.08 in counties with mask mandates but increased by .11 in those without.
- “Association of Country-wide Coronavirus Mortality with Demographics, Testing, Lockdowns, and Public Wearing of Masks” evaluated 169 countries on per-capita mortality on potential predictors including age, gender, obesity prevalence, temperature, urbanization, smoking, duration of the outbreak, lockdowns, viral testing, contact-tracing policies, and public mask-wearing norms and policies. Duration of mask wearing by the public was negatively associated with per-capita mortality from COVID-19.
While face coverings are not required outdoors, masks are strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor settings like festivals and concerts as well as for activities that require close contact with people who are not vaccinated.
These latest vaccine, testing, and mask requirements are a floor in the state’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employers, schools, and other organizations can take additional health and safety steps to help bring an end to the ongoing pandemic. Governor Pritzker previously announced more stringent requirements regarding vaccination and testing for state employees at state run 24-7 congregate living facilities to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents. Leaders in the private sector are encouraged to follow suit.
Vaccination is the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to normal life. All Illinois residents over the age of 12 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost and proof of immigration status is not required to receive the vaccine. To find a vaccination center near you, go to vaccines.gov.
Monday, August 23, 2021
Greater Peoria Area Focuses on Putting Central IL Back to Work
The concept is simple: on September 1, each participating organization will place purple balloons outside of their business to signify they are actively hiring! An ongoing list of participating businesses is maintained on the GPEDC website. Upon registration, companies will be added to this list provided this form is completed, conﬁrming your participation prior to August 16th.
Media coverage will be key in the success of the Hiring Extravaganza and attracting qualified candidates. Spread the word throughout your communication channels by utilizing:
- Social Media (your Facebook and/or Instagram page)
- Your website
- Business partners and contacts via email
- Customers – walk in or virtual
Friday, August 13, 2021
Back to Business Grant Program Announced
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois. The first in a series of economic recovery programs set to launch by the administration, B2B will offer small businesses access to funds that can help offset losses due to COVID-19, bring back workers, and take continued steps to rebuild amid the fallout from the pandemic. The program builds on last year’s Business Interruption Grant program, which provided $580 million to small businesses and childcare providers across the state.
The application portal opens on August 18.
- $250 million to small businesses across the state that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, including the following set-asides.
- $100 million – Businesses located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs). You can view the map here.
- $30 million – Arts and Entertainment businesses that didn’t receive Shuttered Venue Operators grants
- $25 million – Restaurants and taverns that didn’t receive the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
- $25 million – Hotels
- $25 million – Businesses that didn’t receive a BIG grant due to exhaustion of funds
- Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000 per business and can be used to cover a wide range of operations/staff/overhead costs
- Up to $250,000 for hotels
- Businesses with revenues of $20 million or less in 2019 and a reduction in revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19
- $35 million or less for hotels
- Priority will be given to the following categories:
- Hard-hit industries (see eligibility guidelines for a full list of priority industries and their definitions)
- Hard-hit areas – DIAs comprising of 176 zip codes
- Businesses who have yet to qualify for state funding or federal assistance (including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), business Interruption Grant (BIG), Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), and more)
- Businesses that had less than $5 million in revenue in 2019
- Learn about eligibility guidelines
How to apply:
- Application Portal opening August 18.
- Applications can be tracked in real-time
- Allies for Community Business (A4CB), DCEO's grant administrator, will begin accepting applications on Wednesday, August 18, 2021
- Documentation needed:
- Business owner ID (ITIN business owners eligible)
- Business’s 2019 AND 2020 Federal tax returns
- Two (2) business bank statements – one from the period April through December 2020, and most recent statement
- Prepare for the application process early by learning about the information and documents required
- Application is also available in: Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic (coming soon)
- List of Frequently
U.S. 24 Lane Closures Begin Aug. 16
Ahead of bridge reconstruction near Mapleton
MAPLETON – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that the left lanes of U.S. 24 in both directions just west of Mapleton will close Aug. 16.
The closures are necessary to construct a traffic crossover ahead of the reconstruction of the eastbound U.S. 24 bridge over Little Lemarsh Creek, which will begin in 2022. Crossover construction is expected to be complete in October.
Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. To avoid the work area, when feasible, use of alternate routes should be considered. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits, refrain from using mobile devices and be alert for workers and equipment.
Over the next six years, IDOT is planning to improve more than 3,500 miles of highway and 9 million square feet of bridge deck as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, which is investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation. Accomplishments through Year Two included approximately $5.2 billion of improvements statewide on 3,020 miles of highway, 270 bridges and 428 additional safety improvements.
For more information on IDOT projects, click here. For IDOT District 4 updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOTDistrict4 or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on GettingAroundIllinois.com and www.gettingaroundpeoria.com.
Paul Wappel 217.685.0082
Kim Hoskins 309.370.1743
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Amazon Announces Fulfillment Center in North Pekin
Amazon purchases 100,000 warehouse in North Pekin with plans to open distribution center in 2022.
Pekin, IL- Amazon Prime deliveries will be arriving a little bit faster for Pekin area residents.
Sunday, August 8, 2021
Elisabeth Sandoval Crowned 45th Miss Marigold
The Pekin Marigold Festival is proud to introduce Elisabeth
Sandoval as the 45th reigning Queen to represent the community of
Pekin over the next year.
Pekin, IL- Miss Elisabeth Sandoval was crowned the 45th Miss Marigold queen after competing against four other young women Saturday night. Caroline Manning won first runner-up. Second runner-up was Gabrielle Rueschhoff. This year the pageant also awarded a Community Service Award to both Emma Michael and Elisabeth Sandoval, an Academic Achievement Award to Elisabeth Sandoval and Talia Bianchi, and Miss Congeniality to Elisabeth Sandoval.
Sandoval was overcome by emotion on the stage as the emcee announced the title of Miss Marigold.
“I spent thirteen years dreaming about this moment, and it turned out to be so much more than anything I could’ve ever imagined. But it’s only the beginning,” said Elisabeth Sandoval. “I couldn’t be more proud to represent and serve Pekin for the next year.”
Elisabeth Sandoval is a member of the National Honor Society and a National Scholarship recipient. She was invited to join the James Scholar Honors Program at the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana where she will attend college this fall. Sandoval is the youngest graduate of the R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy. During the pageant, Sandoval sang her own rendition of Billie Joel's "Vienna".
For the first time in the pageant’s history, the daughter of a former Miss Marigold Queen has won the title. Shannon Sandoval, then Tebben, won the title in 1991. Reflecting on the new history being made, Shannon Sandoval remarks her heart feels full.
“The Miss Marigold pageant has always held such a special place in my heart,” says Shannon Sandoval. "I grew up attending from the time I was five years old, and when I was crowned I thought it couldn’t get any better. But now my daughter has also grown up with the pageant and watching her achieve her dream of being Miss Marigold is really just indescribable.”
More about the Miss Marigold Pageant- The Miss Marigold Pageant focuses on awarding scholarship money to savvy, goal oriented and aware young women from our community. Contestants will compete in the areas of interview, community service, on-stage question, talent, and evening gown. The young woman chosen to reign over this year's festival will receive a $2,500 scholarship and have an active role in a variety of community events throughout her year-long term.
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Pekin’s Sunset Hills Golf Course Helps Host Largest Disc Golf Tournament in History
Pekin, IL- This week kicks off the largest tournament in Disc Golf History: the 11th Annual Discraft Ledgestone Insurance open, right here in Pekin.
|Thousands of discs are set up outside of Sunset Hills Golf Course |
in anticipation of the near 2,000 players arriving for the tournament.
The tournament, which is expected to host 1,975 players, is the second richest tournament in the world and has a projected professional payout of $132,000. A portion of proceeds from the event will continue to go towards the Ledgestone and Discraft donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Easter Seals, South Side Mission of Peoria, and more. The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the tournament will provide an estimated $2.3 million in Direct Economic Impact and bring over 2,500 overnight attendees to the region this year.
Tournament Director of Ledgestone, Nate Heinold, states, “I hope to make this the US Open of Disc Golf.” He remarks the area has continued to be a great destination to accommodate all the tournament’s needs and looks forward to seeing it continue.
Interviews with pro-players commenced Wednesday morning, with hot topics of discussion being why they love the area and about how they handle pressures to perform in a professional sport.
|Nate Heinold of Ledgestone Insurance reflects on his goals |
for the tournament during Wednesday's press conference.
Previous World Title holder Paige Pierce said, “[The sponsors] want their players to hold their head up high and… support disc golf. There’s no pressure to win an event.” Peirce went on to say her hope is to continue to inspire the growth of the sport.
Renowned champion disc golfer Paul McBeth remarked, “It’s inspiring to play for more than just myself.” Representing his own 501c foundation, McBeth reflected on the impact playing for charitable contribution has on the sport. The Paul McBeth Foundation aims to create sustainable play worldwide.
About Ledgestone- Ledgestone Insurance has proudly been the title sponsor for this tournament since the tournament's inception in 2011 and their involvement continues to grow. Ledgestone Insurance is a huge supporter of disc golf and specializes in personal and commercial insurance, including a niche within the disc golf industry.
Contact: Brittney Hogue
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
A Healthy Workplace Event
Do you have a PPP? (Post Pandemic Plan)
Tuesday, August 24 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
JUMP Trading Simulation & Education Center, Auditorium A
1306 N. Berkeley Ave., | Peoria, IL
Most of us have heard the phrase, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” OSF HealthCare Business Development/Employer Relations, will be hosting a panel discussion on where we are, what we have learned, and what we can do moving forward, 18 months into the global pandemic. Panelists will include Occupational Health Physician Dr. Robert Ayers; Vice President Workforce Management, Shelley Nguyen; and Epidemiologist, Alex Bowers.
Do you have a plan? Join us for a panel discussion and find out!
Breakfast will be available starting at 7:45a.m. Presentation will begin at 8:15a.m.
For questions, please contact Zak Edmonds at Zak.S.Edmonds@osfhealthcare.org / (309) 303-3882 or Kelsey Horst at Kelsey.D.Horst@osfhealthcare.org / (270) 210-2951.
Please register by August 22 at osfhealthcare.org under “Attend a Class or Event.
Illinois Central College Opens Aug 7 and 14 for In Person Enrollment
To assist potential and current students, Illinois Central College will be open Saturday, August 7 and 14 from 9 am to 1 pm on its East Peoria campus. During these special Saturday hours, services are available in Access Services, Admissions, Advising, Enrollment, Financial Aid, Testing, and the Bookstore.
Following current IDPH and CDC guidelines, face masks will be required inside buildings on all campuses.
“Opening the two Saturdays before the start of the fall semester allows students the opportunity for easier access to the college. ICC is committed to removing barriers for students to help move their futures forward,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “This allows those with limited availability during the week or those needing assistance with enrollment to receive the help they need on campus.”
In addition, ICC Student Services is also offering virtual extended hours Monday through Thursday until 6 pm through August 19. Regular on-campus hours during the week are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm.
For more information and to view extended student service hours, visit icc.edu.
Savant Among the Top 50 Registered Investment Advisor Firms in the Nation
BLOOMINGTON & PEORIA, Ill. (Aug. 2, 2021) — Savant Wealth Management, a nationally recognized, fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in Rockford, with additional locations in Bloomington and Peoria, continues to be recognized throughout the financial services industry as a top ranked registered investment advisor (RIA) firm.
About Savant Wealth Management
Savant Wealth Management, formerly known as Savant Capital Management, is a leading independent, fee-only firm serving clients for 30 years with more than $10.5 billion in assets under management and assets under advisement. Savant Wealth Management offers investment management, financial planning, retirement planning, and family office services to financially established individuals and institutions. Savant also offers corporate accounting, tax preparation, payroll and consulting through its affiliate, Savant Tax & Consulting.
Neither rankings and/or recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, publications, media, or other organizations, nor the achievement of any professional designation, certification, degree, or license, or
any amount of prior experience or success, should be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Savant is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Rankings published by magazines, and others, generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized adviser. Rankings are generally limited to participating advisers. Unless expressly indicated to the contrary, Savant did not pay a fee to be included on any such ranking. No ranking or recognition should be construed as a current or past endorsement of Savant by any of its clients. (click here for participation criteria/methodology, to the extent applicable).