Showing posts from July, 2011

Avanti's Dome Celebrates 1st Year

The Avanti's Dome Events & Sports Center of Pekin held an open house on July 28, 2011 in celebration of their one-year anniversary. Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting as part of the celebration. The open house included free food, drinks and gifts, as well as door prize drawings. General Manager Steve Brown proudly showed off the numerous improvements that have been made to the facility during the past year.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Hosts Diamonds Event

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois is proud to announce Peggy Collins as this year’s Diamonds Event honoree. Girl Scouts of Central Illinois in partnership with Udry Jewelers will host their Diamonds Event on Thursday, August 11, from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Pekin Insurance Lodge, located at 2505 Court Street in Pekin. The event will honor Peggy Collins, Vice President of Group and Claim Services at Pekin Insurance. Proceeds from the event will support local Girl Scout programming.  “We are thrilled and honored to recognize Peggy Collins for her outstanding service to her community,” says Pam Kovacevich, CEO for Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. “The Diamonds Event gives us an opportunity to say thank you to her for being a role model to our Girl Scouts.”  Peggy Collins has worked at Pekin Insurance for 37 years, beginning as clerk typist in 1974. During her time at the company, she has served as president of the Central Illinois FLMI Society as well as co-chairperson for t

Taste of Peoria on August 10th

The Taste of Peoria at the Peoria Riverfront on August 10, 2011.  This is the 30th anniversary of the event.  The raindate is August 11th.  The Taste of Peoria has become downstate Illinois’ premier outdoor food festival capturing the diversity of Peoria’s dining industry.  Since 1981, the area’s finest restaurants have introduced local residents and tourists to the truly international cuisine available in the area.  Historically, the Taste has been enjoyed by tens of thousands, growing each year in both attendees and restaurant participation. Over 30 local restaurants will be present to give Peoria a taste of some of their most popular menu items.  This year we welcome back many of our favorites as well as many new restaurants joining the event for the first time.  For only $1, $2 or $3 per sample, these restaurants will provide a taste of their most popular menu items to a crowd of more than 20,000 local residents. The Taste of Peoria is organized by PACE - Peoria Area Community

Pekin Hospital to Offer Diabetes Education Workshop

Pekin Hospital is pleased to offer an adult diabetes education workshop on August 22, 23, and 24.   The series of three classes will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. in the 4 South Education Classroom at Pekin Hospital. The classes are designed to provide information on managing adult diabetes and to help diabetics learn and develop the skills of self-management of diabetes therapy.   Topics covered in the sessions will include:    v   the importance of diabetes control and the factors that influence this control v   how to plan meals according to food selections and serving size v   the possible complications associated with diabetes v   why exercise will benefit your health and make you feel good Workshop speakers will include a Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Dietitian, Registered Nurse, Registered Pharmacist, Exercise Specialist, and Registered Medical Technician. Class fees are $60 per person (one guest may accompany the registrant at no extra cost).   The $60 includes all

Tazewell County Jaycees Raise Money for JDRF With Trivia Night

The Tazewell County Jaycees will be hosting a Trivia Night on Thursday, August 11 th starting at 6:30pm at EP’s Timeout ( 1011 E. Washington St. ) in East Peoria to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). A two to ten person team will be able to play 8 rounds of 10 questions for $10.00 per person or $5.00 per person for Jaycees.   Registration begins at 6pm with play starting at 6:30pm .   Throughout the evening a 50/50 raffle will be conducted along with door prizes being awarded.   The winning team will be awarded a traveling trophy, free admission and 2 free pizzas from EP’s Timeout at the next trivia night. If you would like to reserve a table for your team please contact the Tazewell County Jaycees at .   Please note that reservations are preferred, but not required. The Jaycees provide individuals between the age of 18 and 41 the opportunity to develop personal and leadership skills while serving their community.   The Ta

August TCGHS: Lincoln's Friends on the Underground Railroad

Dale Kuntz presents Abraham Lincoln's Friends on the Underground Railroad in Tazewell County .  The story of the Underground Railroad in Tazewell County is both exciting and interesting! Find out who Mr. Free was! Learn what Julius Bascomb did! See how Abe Lincoln got involved in Tazewell County cases dealing with slavery! View maps and photos of places spread all across Tazewell County involved in the “ flight to freedom!" Slavery touched Tazewell County during the first half of the 19th century. The Underground Railroad was part of that. Fugitive slaves fled north to freedom. Some Tazewell County folks helped them in their flight. Others aided in their capture and return. Tempers flared, guns discharged, and families split up.   The meeting will take place Tuesday, August 9th at 7:00PM at the TCGHS Ehrlicher Research Center, 719 N 11th Street in Pekin.  The regular membership meeting will follow his presentation. For more information about TCGHS or the meeting phone 3

Driving Around Town

On a drive around Pekin, you can't help but notice the beautiful flower beds and some of the businesses who have made improvements.  Check out some of the pictures at:

Bard Optical Celebrates 70 Years In Business

Bard Optical will celebrate 70 years in business in August. Opened by Dr. A. Arthur Bard in 1941 in downtown Peoria, Diana Hall purchased the practice in 1981 and has grown Bard Optical to 18 locations in Central and Southern Illinois. Each office and the full-service optical lab are locally owned and operated.

TCRC Service Recipients Complete "Trek" Across America.

For the past few months, the developmentally disabled adults who are served by the Tazewell County Resource Centers’ Business Services Department have been participants in a “Trek Across the Country.” Starting in Los Angeles on March 1st and ending up in Portland, Maine on July 1st, 132 individuals took a virtual tour of the country – walking laps around the building for a combined total of 4,306 miles and along the way learning about the people, places, and things that make up our country. The “Trek” was capped off by a celebration on July 15th.    Libby Holbrook, TCRC’s Vice-President of Clinical Services and Quality Improvement, reports that everyone had a great time. “We posted maps of the country and highlighted our route and milestone destinations so everyone could check their progress.” The “Trek Across the Country” was an innovative way to combine education and exercise into a fun activity, but crossing the United States was only the first step. “We’re headed to Western

Chamber Moves to New Address

Not our physical address but our website and e-mail addresses!   We have begun our migration to a new website domain name and new e-mail addresses. We're still working out a few of the transitional kinks, but please update your records and begin using the new addresses. Our e-mail addresses are now our first names (Bill, Jamie, Diane, Brittney, or Info) Our website is now at (Pekin Public School District 108 will continue to use the domain).

Scherer Named to Chamber Board

Paul Scherer was recently appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Board of Directors of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.   He is an Assistant Vice President for Heartland Bank and Trust Company and oversees both their Court Street and Broadway banking centers.   He has been with Heartland Bank since 2008 and has over 13 years of lending experience. Scherer graduated from Tremont High School then earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics at Illinois State University.   Following college he worked as a collections specialist then moved into retail banking as a Branch Manager and most recently holding the dual role of Branch Manager and Mortgage Loan Originator.   He is an Ambassador for the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and Superintendent of the Northfield Christian Fellowship Sunday School Department.   Paul and his wife Jenn live in rural Pekin with their two children, Hannah, 12 and Jacob, 9.   He enjoys softball, golf, disc golf, and family outings.  

Women's Fund First Tuesday Event at Simply Inspired Events

The next First Tuesdays will be held on Tuesday, August 2 , from 5 to 7 pm at Simply Inspired Events located at 820 Adams Street, Peoria, IL 61602.   The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois invites area women to a monthly networking opportunity for Peoria-area women. Step out of the heat and celebrate the spirit of giving by meeting other dynamic women who are passionate about empowering women and children in our communities.  Become part of a national movement towards Women’s Philanthropy.  To automatically receive First Tuesdays’ invitations, call The Women's Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Illinois at 309 674-8730 or email and ask to receive the ‘E-vite’, an online invitation, for First Tuesdays. Appetizers and beverages will be served and door prizes awarded. Donations will be accepted to further the work of the Women’s Fund.

Community Foundation of Central Illinois Announces Three Grant Program Opportunities

The Community Foundation of Central Illinois (CFCI) is currently accepting grant proposals for three different grant programs from non-profit organizations within a 50-mile radius of Peoria, excluding McLean County. The following grant programs have opened up their application processes.   For more information on these programs please go to the Community Foundation of Central Illinois website: The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois is currently accepting applications until September 1 for the Success Grant program.   Grants may be used to initiate new programs or support existing programs from October 2011 through September 2012 .  Primary participants or beneficiaries must be women and/or girls in central Illinois.  The Community Foundation of Central Illinois is currently accepting proposals until September 1 for the Community Grant program.   Newly revised grant g

House of Hope Merges

 The Tazewell County House of Hope has consolidated with The Center for Prevention of Abuse. The merger was announced and celebrated at July 14th event at Pekin Country Club. The House of Hope has operated as an emergency shelter for battered women and children since 1998 in Pekin, Illinois. The Center for Prevention of Abuse has operated an emergency shelter in Peoria, Illinois, and has offered many additional services in the entire tri-county area since 1976.  The Center's Pekin outreach office is located at 401 Court Street.  The consolidation of the House and The Center will enhance services for victims of violence and abuse. Services for House of Hope residents will be integrated with the broad range of programming offered by The Center. Plus, administrative operations will be more efficient under one management system.  The House of Hope shelter in Pekin will now be known as the Carol House at the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

Associated Bank Announces the Installation of Exterior Signage at Select Area Branches

Associated Bank announced today that new exterior signage has been installed at select area Associated Bank branches as part of the Bank’s footprint strategy. New exterior signs were installed at the following Peoria locations: Knoxville, Pioneer Parkway, Brandywine Drive, and NE Jefferson Avenue. New signs were also installed at the East Peoria Washington Street and North Fourth Street branches, as well as the Pekin South Fourth Street branch. Associated’s footprint strategy involves a four-year plan to significantly upgrade the condition of many of Associated’s traditional branches, in-store branches and ATMs, and to optimize the placement of these physical distribution points in relation to consumer and business opportunities. Associated Bank is proud to unveil the new exterior signage at our branches,” said David Stein, Executive Vice President, Retail Banking. “Part of our goal is to demonstrate our commitment to the communities we serve by refreshing existing facilitie

Applebees Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast for Pekin Riding Club

The Pekin Riding Club is holding a special flapjack fundraiser on July 23, 2011 from 8 AM to 10 AM   in conjunction with Applebees in Pekin, IL.   The Pekin Riding Club invites anyone with an interest in equine events to help support our group as we raise funds to help keep our shows fun and safe for our members.   Members of the group will be present to answer questions about our organization, our shows and our horses. Tickets for the special event are $5 each and can be purchased ahead of time through the Pekin Riding Club email or by calling 309-258-9234.   Tickets will also be available at the door for anyone who would like to attend. The Pekin Riding Club is a membership-based, non-profit organization that is open to horse enthusiasts of all skill levels.   The fun shows run all summer, boast a wide variety of classes and are free to spectators who wish to attend.   The Fun Shows are held on the Pekin Riding Club grounds, located at 11401 IL

Big R is now in Pekin

Come to the opening Thursday, July 14th to be one of the first to explore their huge selection from 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM. The store is located at 3315 Court Street. Mark your calendars for the GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION which will be August 26, 27 and 28th. Jerry Gibbs, CEO, said "It is always a thrill when we open a new store and we’re especially excited about Pekin. Our newest location provides great new opportunities for area residents. We are also proud to have refurbished an existing building and kept it on the tax rolls." Jerald Sherman, CFO of Big R, said "We have had our eye on Pekin since 2004. Leigh Ann Matthews of the City of Pekin was able to quickly organize a meeting with all of the correct officials. Pekin is very fortunate to have a strong and business friendly economic development team in place. Maloof Realty supported our efforts by facilitating and negotiating a deal with the property owner that fit our budget." Opened in 1965, Big R provides qu

Who is Hometown Media Solutions?

One of our newest chamber members is Home and Lifestyles Magazine, part of a Hometown Media Solutions and Eagle Publications, Inc., a family of companies focused on advertising and marketing. Eagle Publications is a family owned business that got its’ start in Collinsville, Illinois in 1992. Tammy & Marty Norton began publishing a local direct mailed newspaper and eventually evolved into local easy to read, easy to use telephone books. In 2010, Eagle published 26 ‘Hometown Phone Books” in various areas in Illinois and Kentucky. In the fall of 2010, Hometown Media Solutions was incorporated to take the company in additional directions. We offer individual direct mail programs through flyers and postcards as well as direct mailed magazines … Home and Lifestyles. Home and Lifestyles is mailed free through the Post Office to the top 70% wage earners in these markets. The magazines, have allowed Eagle to expand to cities like Effingham, Mattoon-Charleston, Bloomington, Champaign

Timbercreek After Hours

Timbercreek Rehab and Health Care hosted the July 7th Business After Hours. There was plenty of great food and refreshment for those who ventured out on a rainy summer evening.

Kari Schmidt Earns Certification as a Professional in Human Resources

Kari Schmidt, Human Resource Generalist at Pekin Insurance, recently earned certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). The certification, awarded by the HR Certification Institute, signifies that Kari possesses the theoretical knowledge and practical experience in human resource management necessary to pass a rigorous examination demonstrating a mastery of the field. "Certification as a human resource professional clearly demonstrates a commitment to personal excellence and to the human resource profession," said Mary Power, CAE, Executive Director of the HR Certification Institute. To become certified, an applicant must pass a comprehensive examination and demonstrate a strong background of professional human resource experience. The HR Certification Institute is the credentialing body for human resource professionals and is affiliated with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world's largest organization dedicated exclusively to t

Jaycees Raise Money for Camp New Hope

The Tazewell County Jaycees will be hosting a Trivia Night on Thursday, July 14 th starting at 6:30pm at EP’s Timeout (1011 E. Washington St.) in East Peoria to raise funds for Camp New Hope in Neoga, IL.   Camp New Hope, Inc . is a non-profit organization founded by families of people who have developmental disabilities, and running some of the best recreational programs available for special needs.  Their Summer Camp and Year 'Round Respite programs are well respected.  They always look for ways to have fun, stay active and be connected to the community, like our bowling program, and the Young Athletes program, and many others.  They have been serving people who have developmental disabilities for over thirty years. Their campers have widely diverse needs and abilities. Individuals using wheelchairs are comfortable there and they have camping for people of all ages over 8 years old, including adults. A two to ten person team will be able to play 8 rounds of 10 questions f

CEFCU Receives Superior Rating

CEFCU received a 5-Star or "Superior" rating – the highest rating awarded – by BAUERFINANCIAL, an independent organization that has been analyzing the performance of all financial institutions since 1983.  This rating indicates CEFCU is a safe, financially-sound credit union that is operating well above our regulatory capital requirements, having a capital to assets ratio of over 9%.  BAUERFINANCIAL rates credit unions based on asset quality, capital adequacy, profitability, historical trends, reserves, regulatory compliance, and liquidity.  As of the end of May, CEFCU’s assets were over $4.6 billion.  Members' savings reached over $4.1 billion, and loans outstanding totaled $3.3 billion.  CEFCU savings plans are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a U.S. Government Agency.

Hacienda Fuentes Cantina & Grill Opens

Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Pekin Mayor Laurie Barra, welcomed Hacienda Fuentes Cantina and Grill to Pekin with a ribbon cutting on July 6th.  Owners Victor, Gilberto, and Jamie were joined in the ceremony by their employees, family and friends.  The Hacienda Fuentes Cantina & Grill is located in Sunset Plaza at 2912 Court Street.  They are open for lunch and dinner, offering dine-in and carryout and can be reached at 346-1610.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Serve Illinois Newsletter - Summer 2011

The newest edition of Serve Illinois' newsletter has arrived.  In this edition you can read about the upcoming National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, Loyola University earning a place on the President's Community Service Honor Roll, how Belleville AmeriCorps is changing Southern Illinois, and much more.  To read a digital version of the newsletter and to learn more about the Serve Illinois Commission, please visit .

Fireworks Video

Many thanks to chamber member Bill Neff Video Productions who produced a couple of condensed versions of our July 4th Honor America Celebration brought to you by Timbercreek Rehab and Health Care. Check them out on his You Tube page and watch them in 1080HD! Thanks Bill. BillNeffVideo  

July 4th Fireworks Thanks

Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make the 64th edition of the chamber's July 4th Honor America Celebration brought to you by Timbercreek Rehab and Health Care a huge success. And thanks to all who came out and enjoyed the show.  See some of the pictures from the event at

Speakeasy Upcoming Art Events

Next Saturday is a BIG day for art fans and friends..... Saturday July 9th from 8am-noon at the River Front Market!! Help Tracey Boettcher Kick ALS with Artists Against ALS Quick and Easy Make it and Take it Art Classes for Children and Adults will be taught by local artists in order to help the Boettcher Family. $5-$10 Donations for most classes. Designer Sherri Swanson will teach Tear and Tie T-shirt design. Artist Pam Miller will teach Polymer Clay Pendant Sculpture Mary Keltner will teach Children's Creative Painting Amy Boettcher will teach painting on glass and wood as well as a variety of other activities! Local artists have donated original works to be sold as well. Donated $10 or more and get a chance to win  a $1,200 hand made one of a kind guitar from Barry Cloyd's private collection! Saturday July 9th from 6-8:30pm-William Butler exhibit opening reception!! Butler's paintings on canvas, paper and large wood cutouts will be on

This Week With the Chamber

Read what is happening this week with the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce by clicking here:

Spirit of the Past Antiques

Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce joined Pekin Mayor Laurie Barra to welcome a new Pekin business - Spirit of the Past Antiques. Located at 215 North 5th Street, they kicked off their grand opening weekend on July 1st with a ribbon cutting and open house. Owned by Dan and Debi Bruns, they are now open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Spirit of the Past Antiques is an antique mall featuring antique and vintage items from a wide variety of dealers. Their motto is Antiques, Artisans, and Amazing Things. More info is available on their website at .