Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Practice Physician Joins Pekin Hospital's Medical Staff

Pekin Hospital is pleased to announce that Kurt Warkenthien, M.D., recently joined its medical staff and is now accepting new patients at ProHealth Family Medicine, Suite I of Park Court Medical Center at Pekin Hospital.   

Board certified in Family Medicine, Dr. Warkenthien began his medical career when he graduated from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.  He then completed a Family Practice residency at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. 

Prior to joining Pekin Hospital, Dr. Warkenthien was a family practice physician at Golden Rule Family Practice in Naperville, Illinois. 

His areas of interest include treating male and female patients from one day to 100 years of age, with a strong emphasis on preventative medicine. 

As a father of five children, he is an avid golfer, movie buff, and a sports enthusiast.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Warkenthien, please call (309) 346-1102.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Membership Renewals

Thanks to the following members who recently renewed their investment in the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce: 

Amanda's Closet ~ Ameren Illinois Utilities ~ American Fire Service ~ Bagley & Miller, Attorneys ~ George Beres ~ Champion Fitness Physical Therapy ~ CJ's Café ~ Commerce Bank ~ Elks Lodge ~ Enviro-Dry ~ Fred Lawrence and Sons Fire Equipment ~ Glesne Family Dentistry ~ Golf Green Lawn Care ~ Hallmark House Nursing Center ~ Harbor Light Hospice ~ Heartland Chiropractic Center ~ Herget Bank ~ Illinois Collections Unlimited ~ J & J Consulting Firm ~ Jim Maloof Realtor ~ Kriegsman Warehouses ~ Linde Group ~ Little 'Ades' Bicycle ~ Midwest Generation Powerton Station ~ Miller, Hall, & Triggs ~ Moehle, Swearingen & Umholtz ~ Neal Chiropractic Clinic ~ Pekin Community Bank ~ Pekin Hospital ~ Pekin Park District ~ Pekin Veterinary Clinic ~ Professional Towing & Recovery Operators ~ Les Pulfer ~ Ray Dennison Chevrolet ~ Redbrand Credit Union ~ Glen Rittenhouse ~ Sprint/ Wireless Express ~ State Farm Agency - Julie McElwee ~ Steger's Furniture ~ Dr. Dennis Stoller, DDS ~ The World of Vitamins ~ Charles Thomas, Attorney ~ Eric White

Pekin Area Business Expo '12

Join us for the

Pekin Area Business EXPO ‘12

Saturday, January 14th

9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Avanti’s Dome Events & Sports Center of Pekin

Free Admission – Free Parking

Exhibits by over 70 Area Businesses

Entertainment on Stage
  9:30 am     YWCA of Pekin’s Coalition for Equality: 19th Annual Martin Luther
                       King  Jr. Celebration featuring the Fantastic Jones Family, a gospel
                       group from Springfield, Illinois
10:30 am     Pekin Park District Dance Classes
11:00 am     Classical Dance Academy
12:00 pm    Signsations
  1:00 pm     Kuk Sool Won of Pekin

Door prize drawings throughout the day donated by Exhibitors
Grand Prize Drawing: $250 Visa Gift Card, Sponsored by Illinois Collections Unlimited

Thanks to our sponsors:  Midwest Generation - Powerton; Allegra Print & Imaging; Pekin Insurance; Pekin Daily Times; 101.1 Jack FM; 98.5 KISS FM; 96.5 ESPN; WWCT 99.9; CEFCU; Fun on the Run; Illinois Collections Unlimited; and, Adams Outdoor Advertising.

Biz Barometer

Pekin's economy continues to show signs of improvement.  The employment numbers are better than last month and significantly better than last year:

  • Pekin’s unemployment rate is down from 9.6% in October to 9.3% in November
  • Pekin’s unemployment rate is down from 10.9% in November of 2010 to 9.3% in November of 2011
  • There were 16,456 employed in Pekin in November of 2011, an increase of 709 (+4.5%) compared to November of 2010
  • Peoria regional unemployment is down from 9.3% in November of 2010 to 7.9% in November 2011
  • There were 191,943 employed in the Peoria region in November 2011, up 6,650 or 3.6% compared to November of 2010
The State of Illinois disburses sales tax receipts back to the municipalities each month.  Generally there is a lag of about two months from the time the purchase is made until the sales tax is distributed back to the the municipality.  So, the December disbursements from the State to the City of Pekin are generally those sales taxes collected by merchants in October. 

Sales Tax receipts are up in the four large municipalities in Tazewell Country.  Comparing the 12-month period ending in December of 2011 with the 12-months ending in December of 2010:

  • Pekin up 1.8%  
  • Morton up 8.1%
  • East Peoria up 6.7%
  • Washington up 5.4% 
These are apples-to-apples comparisons, and only include the "municipal tax" and not any special taxing district or home rule taxes. 

While employment and sales trends are positive, the housing market continues to lag behind. 
  • Residential units sold in Pekin through November of 2011 are down 7% compared to the same period in 2010. Of the four large Tazewell County municipalities, only Morton is ahead of last year's sales, with a 1.3% growth.
  • Through November of 2011, the average sales price of residential units in Pekin was $106,033, which is 3.4% lower than the average sales price for the same period last year.  However, Pekin is faring better than the other large Tazewell communities, with all of them reporting larger drops in the average sales price.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in November on a seasonally adjusted basis.Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.4% before seasonal adjustments.

Sources:Illinois Department of Employment Security; Illinois Department of Revenue; Peoria Area Association of Realtors; Bureau of Labor Statistics

County-wide Chamber After Hours

The Chambers of Commerce in Tazewell County (East Peoria, Morton, Pekin and Washington) invite their members to the annual county-side Business After Hours on Thursday, January 12th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria.  Fondulac Bank is the host.  There is no need to RSVP, just bring your business cards for networking!

Business After Hours January 5th

Join us for Business After Hours on Thursday, January 5th from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.  The host is Riviera Tan, 2133 Court Street.  Come enjoy the networking, refreshments, door prizes and meet owners Anna and Yancy Green and their staff.  Admittance is free for chamber members and their guests, but a reservation is appreciated.  Call 346-2106 or email

Upcoming Chamber Events

January 2 – Chamber office closed
January 3 – Ambassador Meeting
January 4 – Member Promotions Comm.
January 4 – Executive Committee Meeting
January 5 – Pekin 1st Committee
January 5 – Business After Hours
January 10 – Member Services Committee
January 11 – Transportation Committee
January 11 – Board of Directors Meeting
January 12 – Tazewell Chambers After Hours
January 14 – Pekin Area Business Expo
January 16 – Chamber office closed - MLK
January 18 – Marigold Festival Committee
January 31 – Business Advocacy Committee

IDES Sends Rate Determination Notices

 On December 15, 2011, the 2012 Annual Contribution Rate Determination notice was mailed to employers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The recession caused Illinois and 20 state workforce agencies to have federal loan balances at the start of 2010 and 2011, triggering a credit reduction in the federal unemployment tax for 2011 that is payable in January 2012.  Earlier this year, legislation to avoid the need for continued reliance on federal loans passed the Illinois House 114-0 and the Illinois Senate 53-1. The bi-partisan support was earned after months of negotiation with lawmakers and leaders with the business and labor communities. Had the agreement not been reached, 2012 taxes for many employers would have been higher. 

The legislation allows Illinois to sell bonds to pay off the loan. Managing the debt this way is similar to refinancing a mortgage. It saves money because the interest rate on the bonds is anticipated to be lower than the federal interest rate.  As a result, the federal tax rate for 2012 and beyond would also return to its normal level, with the credit reduction not expected to recur. This allows for an overall savings of more than $400 million over the next eight years. Businesses that have not laid-off workers will see larger savings.  

The IDES is also requesting employer assistance in a renewed effort to prevent fraud. Employers are required to report persons hired or rehired within 20 days of their first day of payroll. Employees can be reported at under the category of EMPLOYERS. Click on REPORT NEW HIRES. Be prepared to provide your Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN), and the name, address, social security number and hire date of the employee.

Pekin Hospital to Offer Diabetes Education Workshop

Pekin Hospital is pleased to offer an adult diabetes education workshop on January 23, 24, and 25.  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 are designed 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 $70 per person (one guest may accompany the registrant at no extra cost).  The $70 includes all three classes.  Class size is limited.  Registration deadline is January 16, 2012.  To register, please call (309) 353-0719.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Welcome New Member: Dreamscapes Landscaping

Dreamscapes Landscaping, LLC, 425 Ann Eliza, Pekin, IL 61554; phone: 309-267-0619; Mitch O'Shaughnessy, owner.;  Dreamscapes Landscaping is a full-service lawn and landscape company offering year-round services, including snow removal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IDOT D-4 News Release - Traffic Cameras Website

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) District 4 along with its partner agencies, the Illinois State Police (ISP), the City of Peoria and the City of East Peoria police and public works departments announces a new website which will provide detailed traveling conditions to Peoria area motorists.

“This website will be an asset to motorists as well as law enforcement and first responders,” said Joe Crowe, IDOT Region 3 Engineer. “You will be able to see up to the minute traffic conditions at more than three dozen locations, in addition to work zone updates, railroad crossing alerts, and much more.”

Information you will be able to access from your personal computer or mobile device includes:

·         Camera images

·         Dynamic sign messages

·         Roadway weather information

·         Roadway speeds and congestion levels

·         Construction activity

·         Incidents

·         Status of railroad crossings in East Peoria

44 cameras provide images which are updated every three minutes; eight counting stations collect data and calculate average vehicle speeds and volumes; seven dynamic message signs display current messages; and 10 weather stations display roadway surface temperatures, air temperatures, precipitation levels, and wind speeds.

The website will also contain data from five message boards located around Bloomington and two cameras located on the I-39 Abraham Lincoln Bridge near LaSalle-Peru.

Welcome New Member: Security Finance

Security Finance., 404 North 5th Street, Pekin, IL 61554; phone: 309-347-8339; fax: 309-347-8343; Tony Gordon, Manager; Shain Kell, Supervisor. Business Hours: Monday 9am - 6pm, Tuesday - Thursday 9am - 5pm, Friday 9am - 6pm. Security Finance is a consumer loan company with emphasis on delivering a high quality of professional and personal service, ensuring satisfaction with each and every customer experience. Security Finance specializes in installment loans and tax preparation.

Pekin Hospital Participates in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure Program

Pekin Hospital is participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure program.  The program provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.

Under the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure treatment guidelines, heart failure patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants while in the hospital.  They also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.  These standards of care are outlined in the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure.

“The full implementation of national heart failure guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Lee Schwamm, M.D., National Chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.  “The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Pekin Hospital implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients.  Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With The Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it.  That’s resulting in improved survival.”

“Pekin Hospital is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines– Heart Failure program will help us accomplish this by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for these patients,” said Kevin Andrews, Pekin Hospital CEO.

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure helps Pekin Hospital’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes.  The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools.  This quick and efficient use of guideline tools will enable Pekin Hospital to improve the quality of care it provides heart failure patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks.  According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure.  Statistics also show that, each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chamber Seeking Events Manager Applicants

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking applications for the position of Events Manager. Qualified applicants are encouraged to review the job description at, and submit a letter of application and resume to:

Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
Attn: Bill Fleming
402 Court Street,
 Pekin, IL 61554

Application deadline is January 4, 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome New Member: Whiz Kidz Academy

Whiz Kidz Academy., 1605 Florence Avenue, Pekin, IL 61554; phone: 309-347-5121; email:; website:; Shelly O'Connell, Owner, President; Missy Deppert, Director. Business Hours: Monday - Friday 6:30am - 6pm. Whiz Kidz Academy's mission is to provide first-class activities and facilities. Their preschool and childcare programs are developmentally appropriate for your child's age and skill level and are taught by highly qualified and professional staff. Their facility and procedures ensure safety and contribute to a nurturing environment.

16th Annual John M. Evans Scholarship Gold Tournament

The 16th Annual John M. Evans Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The outing has been moved back 1 week later this year only, due to the Tri-Fund Conference. Look for more information being sent to you around February 15th. John M. Evans appreciates your continued support and are looking forward to seeing you on June 20th.

Welcome New Member: Dr. James Baldi

Dr. James Baldi, Morton IL 61550; Individual Member

Bard Optical – 70 Years, 70 Pairs of Glasses

Bard Optical is celebrating 70 years of providing vision care excellence!

As a “Thank You” to the communities in which Bard Optical has an office, we are donating up to 70 pairs of glasses to “in need” public school students in each community. We will begin this program in Districts #108, #50, #52 and #122 on January 3, 2012. Students will bring their assigned voucher to the following Bard Optical offices: Pekin (Dist. #108), Washington (Dist. #50 and #52) and Peru (Dist. #122).

Bard Optical recognizes that some students simply have little or no access to proper vision care.  We want to help these students by providing free glasses.

To be eligible for this program, the student must meet the following criteria:

            *           Age 13 and under

            *           Family has no private optical insurance benefits for glasses

Each eligible student will be provided with a voucher for one pair of free glasses.  If the student does not already have a current prescription or access to a free eye health examination from private insurance or other benefits from the Illinois Department of Heathcare and Family Services, Bard Optical will also provide the examination at no charge.  The frames covered by this voucher will be from a special selection and the lenses will be made of Polycarbonate, the safest material on the market.

Bard Optical is partnering with local school administrators, faculty and staff to identify eligible students.  Once the voucher is provided, an appointment will be scheduled to provide the student with the glasses as soon as possible.

Bard Optical is pleased to help meet the vision care needs of these deserving students!  For more information, log onto

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IRS Announces 2012 Standard Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the 2012 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The rate for business miles driven is unchanged from the mid-year adjustment that became effective on July 1, 2011. The medical and moving rate has been reduced by 0.5 cents per mile.

Professional Therapy Services Recognizes Shannon Stubbs and Roberta Stergar

Professional Therapy Services, Inc. is pleased to announce that Shannon Stubbs, MS, CCC-SLP and Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Stergar, PT, CLT and have attained the status of Senior Clinician and Advanced Senior Clinician, respectively.  This recognition was gained through the successful completion of several steps including advanced education, certification and training, a minimum of four years of clinical experience, demonstrated expertise and knowledge in their therapy discipline, mentoring of student clinicians, providing community education, and peer and supervisor recognition of their career accomplishments.

Goodwill of Central Illinois Awarded CARF Accreditation

CARF International announced that Goodwill of Central Illinois has been accredited for a period of three years for its Community Services: Community Housing, Employment Services: Employment Skills Training Services programs and Governance Standards Applied at the following three locations: Peoria Learning Center, Galesburg Learning Center and the General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans. This is the sixth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) has awarded to Goodwill of Central Illinois.

The Three-Year Accreditation from CARF represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows Goodwill’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.

Goodwill of Central Illinois is a non-profit organization that provides job training, career and vocational services and youth mentoring to individuals and families who are working to improve their lives.  Revenues from the sale of donated items support the Vocational Services programs at Goodwill.  For more information on retail stores, donation centers and vocational services, visit the website at or call the Administrative Offices at (309) 682-1113.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF, the accrediting body establishes consumer focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nearly 100 people attended the Puttin On Pekin breakfast this morning at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Jake Ista (Jake's Place) won the early prize, while Melanie Long (McDaniels Marketing Communications) earned a lump of coal with the late prize. The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble entertained the crowd with Christmas music. There were 7 grand prize winners in the big year-end door prize drawing. Erik Reader, Drew Lockwood, Ralph Mickley, Beau Austin, Dr. Timm Schwartz, Terry Finnegan, and Leslie Cameron each won a basket of prizes worth about $300. There were 8 names drawn from people who weren't in attendance, including one who left the breakfast early! You had to be present to win.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Chamber Board Christmas Party

The Board of Directors of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, along with several past presidents, chamber staff, spouses and guests got together for a Christmas dinner at Mashie's. Christmas entertainment was provided by Val & Greg Springborn, Connie Moser, and Dan Taylor. The guests brought stuffed animals that will be donated to the Tazewell County Children's Advocacy Center.  More pictures from this and other chamber events can be found at:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pekin Hospital to Offer Healthcare Provider CPR Course

Pekin Hospital is pleased to offer a Healthcare Provider CPR course for nursing students and others who are entering a health occupation field in the January 2012 semester.  A full professional rescue CPR class is scheduled for January 3 from 8 a.m. – noon in the 4 South Education Classroom at Pekin Hospital. 
The cost of the class is $35 and will include the course manual.  Registration is required and class size is limited.  To register, please call (309) 353-0351 or email

The CPR class is offered through the American Heart Association, and participants will receive a two-year card upon completion.  If you or someone you know is entering nursing school or any other health occupation course this winter, this is a CPR class that is accepted by all colleges of nursing in the Central Illinois area. 

Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy Online Training Events

Over the next three months the Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy® program will be offering FREE online training events that you can access from the comfort of your desk.

These training events are designed to help businesses become more knowledgeable about energy efficiency. For more information on all ActOnEnergy training events, go to the
Education and Training page at

December Online Training Event

Topic: Best Practices for Compressed Air to Improve Industrial Efficiency
Speaker: Bill Scales, P.E., Scales Industrial Technologies, Inc.
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

In this presentation, we will discuss current trends in compressed air technologies and sequencing that can make your compressed air operations more energy efficient.

To register for “Best Practices for Compressed Air to Improve Industrial Efficiency,” click here.

January Online Training Events

Topic: Variable Frequency Drives: Energy Efficiency Opportunities
Speaker: David Gibson, PE, LEED, Senior Technical Advisor with SAIC, an ActOnEnergy Partner
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Earn 1.0 CE Hours                 

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • How do VFDs work?
  • How VFDs help save energy
  • Applications of pumps and fans for energy efficiency
  • ActOnEnergy standard and custom incentives for VFDs

To register for “Variable Frequency Drives: Energy Efficiency Opportunities,” click here.

Topic: Do-It-Yourself Energy Audits
Speaker: Don Fournier, Managing Director, SEDAC
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Earn 1.0 CE Hours

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • Different Levels of Audits
  • Benchmarking and Energy Bill Analysis
  • Walk-Through Survey
  • Energy Survey and Analysis
  • Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications
  • Web-based Resources for Energy Audits
  • Audit Assistance Available

To register for “Do-It-Yourself Energy Audits,” click here.

February Online Training Event

Topic: Implementing Energy-Efficient HVAC Controls
Speaker: Reinhard Seidl, a Principal at Taylor Engineering
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Time: noon to 1:00 p.m.
Earn 1.0 CE Hours

The free, one-hour training event will cover the following topics:

  • Getting your building benchmarked
  • Performing a building audit
  • Choosing a controls platform
  • Getting you utility involved
  • Selecting a provider
  • Training your staff
  • Examples
To register for “Implementing Energy-Efficient HVAC Controls,” click here.