Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Court Street Improvements Open House

Pekin residents and business owners are invited to discuss the proposed Court Street Improvements at public meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Thursday, February 5th, at the Pekin High School Board Room at 320 Stadium Drive. Since the meeting will be an open forum, residents and business owners may stop by any time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The purpose of the public meeting is to informally meet with interested individuals, groups, and involved agencies to discuss the proposed Court Street corridor improvements. The meeting will be conducted by Hanson Professional Services Inc., the City’s engineering consultant for the project, with assistance from the Department of Public Works.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the public meeting, ask questions, and provide input. All comments made at the meeting will be given careful consideration by Hanson Professional Services Inc. and the City of Pekin. Written statements may also be submitted during the meeting. Persons with a disability planning to attend this meeting should contact the individual listed below by January 28, 2015. If special accommodations are required, the contact person should be informed at the time of contact.
The meeting room is accessible to persons with a disability.

For additional information, contact Kurt Bialobreski, Hanson Professional Services Inc., (309) 713-1408, or Mike Guerra, City of Pekin, (309) 477-2300.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Check Out Your Weekly Chamber Connection

You can check out your weekly Chamber Connection here!


The Sun Foundation announced the 22nd Annual Clean Water Celebration theme is “Many Lands-One Earth:  Water wisdom from around the world.”  Keynote presenters will be offered by storytellers Brian “Fox” Ellis, Oba William King, Anne Shimojima, Jo and Jimmy Lakota. They will take participants on a journey for a deeper appreciation of our wet, watery world and a deeper connection to the earth.  
Sun Foundation founder Bob Ericksen said, “People who live close to the land share a deep respect for the earth and her creatures. This reverence is best expressed in their stories and songs. This year’s keynote presenters will provide that unique experience.”
This year’s Clean Water Celebration will kick off on the Peoria riverfront on Sunday, April 19.  Opening ceremonies will begin at 4:00 p.m. at the Gateway Building with a Native American Blessing of the River and a Parade of Waters.  The public is invited to attend and bring water for the blessing. Hayna “White Beaver” Sine, Ho Chunk leader, will conduct the opening blessing ceremony.

The kick off will be followed by a keynote dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the GAR Hall, located at 416 Hamilton Blvd.  The organic dinner and lecture is $25 and the lecture alone is $15.  For reservations, please contact the Sun Foundation online at
The Clean Water Celebration will continue on Monday, April 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center with an emphasis on educating local students, grades 4 -12, their teachers and the community as a whole.  The event is free for registered classes and offers the keynote presentation.  Participants will also enjoy presentations on green initiatives, recycling and conservation, storytelling and interactive, hands on exhibits.  

The Environmental Streams are 3- 20 minute sessions and are designed to give teachers and their classes more substance and science content.  The content in these streams will cover goals 4, 12, 13, 16, and 22 of the Illinois Learning Standards.  Each teacher will be able to take their class to a stream of three twenty-minute presentations on WATERSHEDS, AQUATIC LIFE/FISH, and RECYCLING. There are 20 breakout sessions presented by scientists, artists and museums for all to attend and interact with professionals in their fields.  New breakouts added this year will include Water For People and  Also, Illinois American Water – a major sponsor of this event for over 20 years – will offer a mobile education center with hands-on water testing.

Teachers are encouraged to make the Clean Water Celebration a field trip. The Clean Water Environmental Classroom meets Illinois Learning Standards for ELA, Science and Social Science as well as Common Core ELA Standards and are listed for your convenience in planning your day. To register, please visit or call Karen Zuckerman at 309-697-1325.  

About The Clean Water Celebration
The Clean Water Celebration is unique event with a goal to impress upon students and the public the importance of watershed protection and water conservation. The Clean Water Celebration is a joint effort between The Sun Foundation, an arts and science education group in the Tri-County area, and the Rivers Project, a high school program.   More information can be found at          

Join the American Cancer Society for the 2015 Premier Night

Pekin Business Showcase

Friday, January 23, 2015

Roger Goodson Named Senior Operations Manager of Illinois American Water's Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln Districts

Roger Goodson has been named Senior Operations Manager of Field Services and Production for Illinois American Water’s Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln Districts, effective Jan. 19, 2015. He will lead and oversee the field operations, production and maintenance in Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln, ensuring high-quality customer service and operational integrity.

Goodson previously served as operations superintendent of field operations in Illinois American Water’s Peoria and Pekin Districts.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Aurora University and a master’s in business administration.  He also holds a Class A, Public Water Supply Operator’s Certificate of Competency for Illinois and received his Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.

“I look forward to the leadership and contributions Roger will make in this new role.  The experience he brings will help ensure continued high-quality water service to our customers,” said Barry Suits, Vice President of Operations for Illinois American Water.

Goodson is an active member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Illinois Section of AWWA.  He also serves on the following committees: Central Illinois Groundwater Protection, Water Resource team for Central Illinois Economic Development, Middle Basin Regional Water Resource Planning and is vice chair for the city of Pekin Human Rights committee.  In addition, he is a board member for the Pekin United Way.

Goodson and his wife, Christine, reside in un-incorporated Peoria County.  They have four sons attending area colleges.

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 1.2 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.  

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company.  With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 6,600 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 14 million people in more than 40 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bryant Heating and Cooling

Bryant Heating and Cooling Names River Valley Mechanical Services a Factory Authorized Dealer
National HVAC Manufacturer Pledges 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed for
River Valley Mechanical Services Customers

Pekin, IL Representatives from Bryant Heating and Cooling announced today that River Valley Mechanical Services has qualified as a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer. While this is an important accomplishment for River Valley Mechanical Services, the real news is what it means to Pekin and Peoria area homeowners.

“Our Factory Authorized Dealers represent the highest level of customer service and satisfaction available,” said Bob McDonough, president of Bryant’s residential products group.
“We believe in these qualified dealers so much that we are providing their customers with
a 100 percent satisfaction and service guarantee.”

The 100 percent satisfaction guarantee is a new cornerstone for the Bryant Factory Authorized Dealers program. The guarantee applies to all new product installments made by Bryant Factory Authorized Dealers, like River Valley Mechanical Services, and applies to the product itself, as well as the service from the dealer. If any customer is dissatisfied with the product or service, Bryant will do “whatever it takes” to provide a satisfactory solution for the customer.    

Less than five percent of heating and cooling contractors in the country receive the Factory Authorized Dealer distinction. To qualify, dealers must meet Bryant’s rigid criteria, not only for technical expertise, but also for their business practices and customer service quality. Those who receive the endorsement are backed by Bryant’s 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

“Everything about your new Bryant heating or cooling system should make you happy, from the unit itself to the person who installs it. That’s what being a Factory Authorized Dealer is all about,” added McDonough.

Rich Jordan at River Valley Mechanical Services agrees. According to Jordan, applying to become a Factory Authorized Dealer was a lot of work, but it was an important and worthwhile process. “How homeowners feel about Bryant products has a lot to do with their experience with dealers like us, who represent them,” said Jordan. “Once a level of quality is established, the most important criteria is how well we meet our customers’ needs for installing and servicing that equipment. At, River Valley Mechanical Services, we do whatever it takes to ensure the best results for our customers,”

Bryant requires its Factory Authorized Dealers to send sales representatives through a structured training program to understand how to better identify and recommend the appropriate home comfort solutions. Installers and technicians are also trained and tested on their technical competency. Further, Bryant Factory Authorized Dealers’ business practices are assessed. For example, the Factory Authorized Dealers must be EPA certified for refrigerant handling, handle warranty claims in a timely manner, maintain all required local licenses and have appropriate insurance and liability coverage.

“Ultimately, the entire Factory Authorized Dealer process and program is designed with our customers in mind. When homeowners are considering a heating and cooling purchase, they can rest assured that they’ll be satisfied with their experience if they go to a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer. Our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee demonstrates the commitment to this level of service by dealers like River Valley Mechanical Services,” said McDonough.

Chamber Connection

Check out your weekly Chamber Connection here!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Speakeasy Upcoming Events

Our Tin Ceiling repairs are coming along and the gallery is looking great! Please pardon our dust at our upcoming classes and events. We are in a growing stage and have a lot of fun stuff coming up! Stay tuned!

We are on Pinterest now! 
Find us on Pinterest

Crafty Kids Club is Wednesday! 
Come and create with Miss Erica at this unique club! 
They even have their own t-shirts now!

Thursday Night is Spoken Word.
If you have never experienced this you should come check it out. It is a fun night out!

Belly Dance Classes start on Saturday!
Registration is simple--join the event and drop a check off at the Speakeasy Art Center! Belly dance is for dance experience needed, no bare bellies!

We also are hosting this class on Jan 31st. and Feb 7th!

The Great Burr Oak Science Club Meeting is Saturday!

The first meeting of 2015 is all set for Saturday, January 24th! As in the past, they will be meeting at 6 p.m., inside the Speakeasy Art Center of Pekin. They are quite honored to have Dr. Craig Cady, Director of Bradley U.'s Stem Cell Research Lab, as their first presenter!

Check out this Brand new class!

Discovering Your Creative Self!

Ask us about Studio 353, 
a set photography for photographers to rent by the hour!

Contact us now to book your date for 2015!

Membership Renewals

Thanks to the following businesses, organizations and individuals who recently renewed their commitment and investment in the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce:

5-Star MVP
Pekin InsuranceEnviro-Safe Refrigerants

3-Star MVP
Ameren Illinois

2-Star MVP
Pekin Daily Times
Tazewell Machine Works
1-Star MVP
Gro Up Gardening
Savant Capital Management
Timbercreek Rehab & Health Care
Classic MVP
Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell
Dreamscapes Landscaping
EMEX Power
Enviro-Dry Clean Carpets
Goodwill Industries
Heartland Chiropractic Center
Illinois Collections Unlimited
Jake’s Place
Laborer’s Local #231
Neal Chiropractic Clinic
Peoria Journal-Star
Pet Supplies Plus
Tractor Supply Company
W.D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America 

Rich Gafford

Friday, January 16, 2015

Leadership Academy Begins

The R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy held their first class of the year this morning.  This is the 17th year the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce has coordinated a community leadership academy.

Twenty-two participants got to know each other and learn more about the program during this first session.  The academy runs for 10 weeks with two sessions each week.

EMEX encourages Ameren Natural Gas Customers to Switch Suppliers and Save--DEADLINE OF MARCH 1, 2015

EMEX, LLC is an energy risk management firm specializing in helping businesses manage their energy costs through effective use of technology and an industry leading reverse auction platform which uncovers the most favorable rates in the market.

With winter in full effect, businesses have an opportunity to save anywhere from 5-20% on their future natural gas costs by switching to a third party supplier. The process is simple and easy and carries no commitment to the business owner.

However, in order to enjoy potentially lower natural gas costs, businesses need to act swiftly as the deadline for switching from Ameren to a competitive supplier is early March.

To discover what EMEX can do for you, you simply need to contact your local EMEX representative, Brent Bacon, or (309) 807-7198. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mardi Gras Dinner & Jazz Party

Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria
3000 West Richwoods Boulevard
Peoria, Illinois 61604

Contact:   Nancy Taylor
Cell Phone: 309.253.2479

Mardi Gras Dinner & Jazz Party

February 7, 2015
Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria
3000 W. Richwoods Blvd, Peoria, IL 61604.  

6:00 PM - Doors open
7:00 PM - Authentic New Orleans Cajun style dinner including
      Bananas Foster for dessert.
8-10PM - Music by the Hill Top Jazz Combo

Costumes are encouraged. 
Featured are cash bar, street entertainers, silent auction, gifts for sale.

Tickets are available from the Church office for $20.00. Call 309.688.5608 or for reservations.

The Peoria Universalist Unitarian Church has been a voice of progressive religious tradition in Peoria since 1843.   

Embracing Freedom
Loving Inclusively
Growing Spiritually

Healing our World

Bradley University Senior Consulting Project Program

Dynegy Commits to Air Quality Plan for Peoria Area

Illinois Power Holdings (a subsidiary of Dynegy) with Illinois State Senator David Koehler (District 46) and Illinois State Representative Mike Unes (District 91), announced today a voluntary Memorandum of Agreement, executed with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), that will reduce allowable emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the E. D. Edwards Power Station by more than 90%. The agreement, already effective, will help the Greater Peoria area comply with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) 1-hour SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

“We are committed to the Greater Peoria communities and the environment, and are proud of our contributions to the economic vitality of our communities,” said Ted Lindenbusch, Plant Managing Director at the Edwards Power Station. “We are voluntarily taking environmentally sound steps forward and continuing to provide the jobs that are vital to the economic livelihoods of the families and communities we serve.”

Under this agreement the Edwards Power Station will continue to utilize low sulfur coal, or other low sulfur fuels, to reduce SO2 emissions. Emissions from the station have been dramatically reduced over the past 10 years. SO2 emissions have gone down by 80% since 2004 and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions have declined by 68%.

“Today’s agreement shows Dynegy’s commitment to improving the environmental conditions of Central Illinois while continuing to provide excellent jobs to its residents,” said State Representative Unes. “Edwards is an important part of our community, providing not only energy, but also high quality jobs and $82 million in total economic activity that powers our communities. I applaud this proactive environmental strategy by Dynegy and for their willingness to further commit to our regional economy in Central Illinois.”

Dynegy has previously taken active steps to reduce its environmental impact, investing $2 billion in environmental controls in facilities across Illinois and recently announcing a goal to recycle 100% of coal combustion by-products by 2020.

“By taking another step in this commitment, Dynegy is ensuring that the Peoria area is quickly moving toward attainment of federal standards,” said State Senator Dave Koehler. “As a responsible community partner and neighbor, Dynegy is committed to working with the Greater Peoria community. We are glad to see that Dynegy continues to push forward in controlling emissions even when it limits operation options that could be more profitable in the short term.”

The Edwards Power Station has been a proud part of the Greater Peoria community for over 50 years, providing jobs and electricity in a safe, efficient, reliable, environmentally responsible and affordable manner.

“The Edwards Power Station is an extremely important part of the community, supporting over 70 union jobs and contributing $24M annually in household earnings, directly to the Greater Peoria area,” stated Jim Bates, Business Manager of I.B.E.W. Local 51. “The people employed at the plant are our family members and neighbors and the dollars they spend are going right into our communities; that’s money that is having a direct, positive impact on our area.”

“Dynegy is an important and responsible employer in our community,” agreed Marty Helfers, Executive Director of West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. “The 100 direct and nearly 300 indirect jobs created by its Edwards Power Station are essential to families, communities and businesses throughout Illinois, while also providing environmentally responsible, reliable and affordable energy to the area.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Your weekly Chamber Connection!

Check out your weekly Chamber Connection here!

Peoria's 92.3 Has Launched!

January 2015

Welcome to my Resolution

Definition of a Resolution:
A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice. 

Hello, and Happy New Year! I did not make a "standard" New Year's resolution this year. I did away with "Go to the gym, make time for myself, eat healthy, make new friends"...and so on. Even though those things are important, my main goal this year is to focus on my passions. 

One of my main passions, I have come to realize, is helping business owners grow their businesses. I have an an amazing job that takes many of my other passions and allows me to  utilize them in order to do this.

I hope that writing this newsletter for my clients, and potential clients I can share information, answer questions, generate creativity, and share passions.

Here's to a great 2015 and thank you for being a part of my resolution.

Sarah Varnes
Peoria's 92.3 has launched!!
As many of you know, we have launched 'PEORIA'S 92.3!' At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, we debuted our new imaging, music, and upbeat staff to the Peoria radio airwaves! What's different? 'PEORIA'S 92.3' is a mass appeal station for our female demographic 18-34/18-49 base,  NEVER losing our hip, Peoria FIRST presentation! SAFE. FAMILY FRIENDLY. HIP. FUN! CLASSY! The "residue" of the past is GONE!  This station has kicked off 2015 with the right music mix, for at work, playing the most popular music in America! After 7pm, we OWN the club hits and take the gloves off!  We are investing and improving on our already stellar jock lineup, starting with O'Ryan in mornings! When you think of TIMBERLAKE.....USHER....BEYONCE....BRUNO MARS....YOU HAVE FOUND PEORIA'S 92.3! We are PEORIA driven, and will design all promotions around the MASS APPEAL female lifestyle! Call me this month...we have a great introductory special to get your business featured on Peoria's 92.3!!

Why Radio? 
Over the next few weeks we are going to look at the reasons
why YOU should use radio to advertise your business
*Radio is on 24/7, reaching over 92% of people age 12 and older every week and 68% daily
*Often considered a frequency medium, radio is an ideal reach medium when planned differently - especially based on Nielsen Audio PPM data
*Reach 3 consumers 1X rather than 1 consumer 3X since that 1 consumer is less likely to need a product/service than any 1 of the 3 would be
*Ads are most effective when they remind people of brands they know, at the time they happen to need a product or service.
*Reminding is a perfect job for radio when used as a reach medium.

Issue: 1

In This Issue

I've worked with all kinds businesses over the years. Learning the diversity of different companies has been challenging and fun. It's one of the best parts of my job. If you are interested in Radio Advertising you can rest assured that I will do everything I can to make your advertising a success.
Promotional Ideas and Implementation, 
:60, :30 and :15 Commercials, Live Remote Broadcasts, Internet advertising on station websites, steaming commercials, Sweet Deals half off coupons.

Join Our Mailing List

Sarah Varnes cell: 309-360-8856  office: 309-669-1204
Cumulus Media / Radio Peoria

Savant Ranked #1 Largest Independent Financial Planning Firm in Illinois

Savant Capital Management,  a nationally recognized fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in Rockford, Illinois with offices in Peoria, Chicago, Geneva, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Freeport, Sterling, Madison, WI and McLean, VA has been recognized by both Financial Planning Magazine and InvestmentNews on respective lists of largest Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms.

Savant has broken into the top 10 list of largest independent financial planning firms in the nation, as ranked by Financial Planning Magazine. Savant now holds the position as the #9 largest advisory firm in the United States and the #1 largest in Illinois. This list was created by Financial Planning Magazine and eliminated RIAs that do not provide financial planning and only included firms with like-minded business models.

Additionally, InvestmentNews released the results of its 2014 ranking of leading RIA firms, naming Savant as #9 in the Midwest and #34 nationally, based on total assets. Based on discretionary assets, Savant is ranked #22 overall and #5 in the Midwest. This is Savant’s seventh consecutive national ranking in this prominent financial trade magazine.

“Over the years we have watched Savant steadily climb top RIA investment firm lists such as these,” said Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant. “Our foundation began and has remained consistent with the simple idea that all financial advice should be made strictly in the best interest of the client – it’s incredibly rewarding to see our dedication to our industry recognized nationally.”

Monday, January 12, 2015

Accelerated Rehab After Hours

Thanks to Michael Bennington and the staff at Accelerated Rehabilitation Center for hosting the January 8th Business After Hours.  It was a cold, windy day but the hospitality warmed everyone up.  Accelerted Rehabilitation Center is located at 3289 Court Street and can be reached at 347-0090.  They have a Patients First philosophy that guarantees all patients superior and personalized health care. They are committed to always doing the right thing, resulting in the utmost trust in and respect for our patients, employees, and customers.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Hopedale Medical Complex

Illinois American Water Announces 2015 Environmental Grant Program

Illinois American Water announced today that the application process is now open for its 2015 Environmental Grant Program.
The program supports innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds through partnerships.

The company will award grants of up to $10,000. The program is designed to support diverse types of activities, such as watershed cleanups, reforestation
efforts, biodiversity projects, streamside buffer restoration projects, wellhead protection initiatives and hazardous waste collection efforts.

"Illinois American Water is committed to protecting water supplies through outreach and education. This program is another way to help communities in
this effort,” said Bruce Hauk, Illinois American Water President.

To qualify, proposed projects must be located in an Illinois American Water service area and:
·         address a source water or watershed protection need in the community
·         be completed between May 1, 2015 and November 29, 2015.
·         be a new or innovative program for the community, or serve as a significant expansion to an existing                  program
·         be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations
·         provide evidence of sustainability

In 2014, Illinois American Water issued eight grants totaling $15,825 to the following organizations:
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center received a $5,000 grant for the Expanding Stream Discovery: New Watersheds and Increased
Stewardship Project. The environmental education project provided students a hands-on opportunity to learn about water quality in their community by monitoring a local stream

Lewis and Clark Community College received a $2,300 grant for the Stormwater Runoff Management Bioswale Project. Through this project, faculty from Lewis and Clark
Community College engaged Alton Middle School students to install two native planted bioswales at the college.  The bioswales are expected to improve water quality by providing
filtering runoff and reducing velocity.

Stratton Elementary School in Champaign received a $4,000 grant for a rain garden project. Stratton Elementary students, faculty and parents helped construct a rain garden
which will be used as an outdoor learning center to strengthen learning about and connection to the environment.

Southern Illinois Groundwater Protection Committee received a $1,625 grant for Mississippi River Clean-Ups.  Approximately 100 environmentalists cleared trash for disposal
or recycling along the shore of the Mississippi River.

The City of South Beloit received a $2,300 grant for the Meet Me at the Confluence Invasive Species Removal Project. This project helped to remove and control an invasive species
and weedy native species along a newly established preliminary public access route at the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek.

Bluestem Communication in partnership with Mississippi River Network and Piasa Palisades Sierra Club received a $600 grant to clean 16 miles of the Illinois Great River Road.

Grant information and application forms can be found online at  Applications must be postmarked by March 13, 2015, and mailed to Karen Cotton at
Illinois American Water, 7500 North Harker Drive, Peoria, Illinois 61615 or emailed to E-mail is preferred.