Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tazewell County on Best Places to Get A Mortgage List

SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company, recently released their second annual study on the Best Places to Get a Mortgage. The study determines the top markets by comparing the likelihood of mortgage approval by county, in addition to mortgage rates, average five-year borrowing costs, and property taxes. Tazewell County cracked the list at number 7 in Illinois, up from 28 in 2015.

Check out the table below to see how Tazewell County compares to the leaders in Illinois:

Loan Funding Rate
5 Year Borrowing Costs
Property Tax
Annual Mortgage Payment
Best Mortgage Markets Index
Wabash, IL
Menard, IL
Scott, IL
Richland, IL
Stark, IL
Fayette, IL
Tazewell, IL
Sangamon, IL
Adams, IL
Pike, IL

This free study is distributed annually to community leaders in the ranking areas.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

POGO SEO Seminar

Pekin Area Network Welcomes Andrew Lockwood

Pekin Area Network is pleased to announce our newest member, Andrew Lockwood. Andrew is a Mortgage Lender with Regions Bank, working out of the Peoria, East Peoria and Morton Branches, but servicing all of the Central IL region,  including Pekin. We look forward to learning more about Andrew and Regions Bank.
Pekin Area Network (PAN) is a business group designed to help businesses grow through referrals and exclusive representation. Word of mouth is proven as one of the most powerful sales strategies in business. Referrals are provided between members within the network.

Pekin Area Network meets most Fridays, at Trouble Free Plumbing, Inc located at 802 Willow in Pekin. Meetings run from 7:30am until 8:30am. For more information regarding PAN please visit our Facebook page or contact the current President Mickey Shemansky at

Julie Antonini Recognized as a "Team BeachBody Success Club All Star"

Teresa Mack - Independent Beachbody Coach congratulates Julie Antonini, a member of her Team #‎CrushingCoaches, as she was recently recognized, at The Chicago Super Saturday, as a "Team Beachbody Success Club All Star".
In the world of Beachbody, this is a very proud accomplishment! What this means is that Julie has helped at least 3 people each month, for the last 12 months in a row, to make healthy changes in their lifestyle.
Teresa and her Team of Coaches run monthly online "Challenge Groups" in an effort to offer Customer's support, keep them motivated and accountable, and to share fitness tips and healthy recipes. If you're ready to make a healthy change to your lifestyle, call or message one of us today!
Current Team #CrushingCoaches are listed as follows: Teresa Mack, Julie Antonini, Linda Ten Haken, Bill Calvert, Melida Heien, Lisa Strobridge, Bridgette Angelo, Dakota Salem, Blake Bussell, Ashley Antonini, Stacy Bolen, Dawn DePeugh, Cathy Geier, Grace Friedrich, Kristi Lawson, Jill Cagle, Teri Gregory, Jolene McQuade, Marjorie Orth, Derek Shepler, Angie Arnold, Annette Byrd Davis, Jillian Thomas, Abby Ten Haken, and Corwin Ten Haken, Jeany Righi.

Superbowl at Mashie's Pub!

Pekin Hospital Welcomes New Director Of Medical Staff Affairs

Pekin Hospital and Progressive Health Systems are pleased to announce Carrie Lijewski as the new Director of Medical Staff Affairs and Risk Management Compliance Officer. In this position she will be responsible for medical staff functions related to credentialing, practice evaluation and risk management issues.
Prior to joining Pekin Hospital, Lijewski served as Director of Quality, Risk and Safety at St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator, Illinois and Chief Operating Officer at Mendota Community Hospital in Mendota, Illinois. Her years of risk management experience include leading projects for Joint Commission accreditation, Illinois Department of Public Health compliance, readmission reduction and infection control.
Lijewski received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in health service administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality, a Certified Professional in Patient Safety and a Lean / Six Sigma Green Belt.

Part of Progressive Health Systems, Pekin Hospital is a 107-bed medical center serving Tazewell, Peoria and Mason Counties since 1913. For more information visit

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mi Ranchito Ribbon Cutting

Mi Ranchito Bar & Grill recently celebrated their opening at 2217 Court Street with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  New owners Jennifer and Enrique Lopez were joined by representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and Pekin City Councilman Michael Ritchason.  Mi Ranchito specializes in Mexican fare and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.  Their extensive new menu can be seen on their Facebook page and includes a children's menu and lunch specials.  They can be reached at 201-3603.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

2016 Women's Leadership Academy


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chamber Connection

Check out your new Chamber Connection here!


Welcome To Our Newest Member!

Neighborhood House Association
1020 S. Matthew St.
Peoria, IL 61605
309-674-1131 or 309-346-5237
Becky Rossman, CEO 
Roberta Simpson, Development Director
Diane Broe, HR Director
Randy Keller, Finance Director
Karen Long, Senior Nutrition Director
Lynne Masters, Senior Nutrition Manager 
Neighborhood House offers an array of programs that provide critical short-term relief to diverse communities, while facilitating long-term recovery. The largest program is Meals on Wheels to seniors in Tazewell and Peoria Counties. Through Critters Meals on Wheels they provide pet food to seniors who need help taking care of their pets. Their childcare center is one of the oldest in Peoria, providing care for infants through 12 years old and summer camp. They also have a variety of community outreach programs including summer and after school meals programs for children, a food pantry, diaper and formula pantry, coat giveaway, and several Christmas programs.

Allegra Envelopes

2016 Women's Leadership Academy

Papa Murphy's February Deals!

Speakeasy Office/Studio Space Available for Rent

Pekin Hospital Now Offering 3D Mammography at Women’s Diagnostic Center

The Women’s Diagnostic Center at Pekin Hospital is now offering 3D mammography for breast cancer screenings.
Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, 3D mammography produces detailed images that help radiologists better detect invasive breast cancers and reduce false positives. 
“Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology will greatly benefit our patients throughout Central Illinois,” said Dr. Gordon Cross, Medical Staff President. “In addition to the improvements in detection and the reduction of false positives, 3D mammography helps to lower recall rates and eliminate unnecessary follow-up tests.”
The Women’s Diagnostic Center is a targeted imaging center created to meet the unique health and wellness needs of women. Additional services include bone density testing to quickly diagnose osteoporosis, a private ultrasound room and a library of resources on women’s health issues.

Part of Progressive Health Systems, Pekin Hospital is a 107-bed medical center serving Tazewell, Peoria and Mason Counties since 1913. For more information visit

Membership Renewals

Thanks to the following employers and individuals who renewed their investment in the mission of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.

5-Star MVP
Pekin Insurance

4-Star MVP
Busey Bank
Pekin Hospital

3-Star MVPKriegsman Warehouses
Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory
UnityPoint Clinic - Pekin

2-Star MVPAmeren Illinois
Excel Foundry & Machine
Gro Up Gardening
Heartland Bank & Trust Company
Pekin Daily Times
Tazewell Machine Works

1-Star MVP
Pekin Community High School
Pekin Park District
Ray Dennison Chevrolet
Savant Capital Management
Syngenta Seeds

Classic Members
Ace Hardware
American Cancer Society/Relay for Life
Art's Ads
Bagley & Miller, Attorneys
Bard Optical
Casey's General Store
Champion Fitness Physical Therapy
Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell
Dan Pfeifer State  Farm
Deverman Advertising
EMEX Power
Enviro-Dry Clean Carpets
Glesne Family Dentistry
Goodwill Industries
Greenhouse Flower Shoppe
Heartland Chiropractic Center
Hometown Title Inc.
Illinois Collections Unlimited
Jake's Place
Johnson Mechanical Service Inc.
Kuban, DDS, Dr. David
Kuhfuss & Proehl, P.C.
Laborer's Local #231
LegalShield Independent Associate Mickey Shemansky
Living Alternative Pregnancy Resource Center
McDaniels Marketing/Interactive
Miller, Hall & Triggs
Moehle, Swearingen & Associates, Ltd
Monge, Crouch & Mahoney
Neal Chiropractic Clinic
Otto Baum Co., Inc.
Pekin Animal Hospital
Pekin Veterinary Clinic
Pet Supplies Plus
Redbrand Credit Union
Rogy's Child Care Center
Ruskusky Foot & Ankle Clinic, Ltd.
Schwartz & Miller Family Dentistry
Speakeasy Art Center
Springlake Upholstery, Inc.
Steger's Furniture
Stoller, DDS, Dr. Dennis
Taco Bell
TAPS Animal Shelter
United Way Of Pekin
Vonderheide Floor Coverings
Willock & Warning Co. P.C.
Wolf, Tesar & Company, P.C.

Individual & Retired
Beres, George
Ehrich, DDS, Dr. Robert
Marshall, Dr. Jerry
Pulfer, Leslie

Leadership & The Courts

Today, the R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy learned about the court system and the role they play in our community.  They also participated in a mock trial.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Leadership & the Helium Hula Hoops

The 2016 R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy is in full swing. The Helium Hula Hoop exercise is usually pretty challenging, but this class demonstrated their leadership skills and quickly got them safely to the ground.  You can see more pictures from this and other chamber events at:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Betsy Yarcho, Client Services Specialist, Joins Unland Companies

Betsy Yarcho, the former area vice president of client management at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., recently joined the team at Unland Companies. The new Manager of Client Services, Yarcho looks forward to contributing to the company’s reputation for quality service.

“I’m excited about being a new member of the Unland team,” Yarcho said. “In my new position, I’m doing the things I’m passionate about… like working to better enable customer engagement and communication, as well as to enhance our customers’ understanding of all our capabilities.” 

A cum laude graduate from Eastern Illinois University in 1982, Yarcho has more than 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry as a producer, manager and customer service representative. She specializes in employee benefits and has designations as a Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and a Chartered Benefit Consultant (CBC). In addition, Yarcho has completed Consumer Directed Health Care Certification and has an extensive background in public service, including several years as a Morton Village Trustee.

The past president of the Central Illinois Association of Health Underwriters and the former treasurer for the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, Yarcho currently serves as a member of the Gameball Run Executive Board, which benefits Children’s Hospital of Illinois, and the Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria Executive Board.

Pekin Academy of Fine Arts Classes

Pekin Academy of Fine Arts
Classes for Kids

Young Artists

This is a visual arts class that runs in continuous six week sessions. Students will learn how to create with a variety of mediums, such as paint, chalk, clay, pencil, watercolor and more. At the end of each session there will be a reception style exhibit for friends and family to view their finished work. All materials are provided.

Ages: 5-12 years old
Dates: 1/5 – 2/9 and 2/23 – 3/29
Time: 5-8 year olds 4:45 – 5:45 PM
           9-12 year olds 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Cost: $100.00 per session

Crafty Kids Club

Join us twice a month for craft show-and-tell, prizes, games, and a project. We make a different craft at every class and students receive a monthly newsletter in the mail with craft ideas to make at home with recycled materials. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to tie-dye, make your own paper, or build things with nature, this is the class for you!

Ages: 5-12 years old
Dates: Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday
Time: 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Cost: $10.00/class
*Siblings ½ price!*

Toddler Art Class

Join us twice a month to learn about colors, shapes and more at a class designed specifically for your budding artist. When creating art, children are not only having fun, they are developing fine and gross motor skills, problem solving strategies, and building confidence while socializing with peers. At each class we will learn about a new material, create a unique piece of art to take home, and end with parachute play and songs. 

Mon. Jan. 11- Melted Snowmen Project
Mon. Jan. 25- Color Matching and Car Painting
Mon. Feb. 8- No Class
Sat. Feb. 20- Body Tracing and Painting
Mon. Feb. 22- Tape Resist and Cotton Painting
Mon. Mar. 14- Birds and Feather Painting
Sat. Mar. 19- Dinosaur Art
Mon. Mar. 28- Dinosaur Art

Ages: 2-4 years old
Dates: Every 2nd and 4th Monday & one Saturday each month
Time: 10:00 – 10:45 AM
Cost: $10.00/class

Canvas and Cookies

In this class, your child will complete a step-by-step painting on an 11x14 canvas. Each month we will paint something different and enjoy cookies and milk. This is one of our most popular classes!

Ages: Approximately 5-12 years old
Dates: Monday, Jan. 11th
Thursday, Feb. 18th
Wednesday, March 9th
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Cost: $25.00 per class

Teen Art Club

Each month we explore a different side of art, learning to use new tools and media for painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, edible art, photography, digital art, and more! Join us the first Wednesday and Thursday of each month.
January- Subtractive Foam Sculpture
February- Metal Tooling/ Embossing
March- Landscape Painting (Acrylic)

Ages: 11-16 years old
Dates: January 6th and 7th
            February 3rd and 4th
            March 2nd and 3rd
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Cost: $20.00 per month

The Art and Science of Winter

There is great beauty in Illinois' winters that we are often quick to overlook. In order to better appreciate cold, icy roads and everything else that comes with winter, we will study the beauty of animals, ice, and snow. We will be capturing the magic of the season using paint, photography, and more!

Jan. 9 – Animal Tracks and Other Sights to See on a Winter Walk
Jan. 16 – Winter Photography Walk -or- Examining Ice
Jan. 23 – Winter Photography Walk -or- Examining Ice
Jan. 30 – Winter Landscape Illustration
Feb. 6 – Winter Landscape Painting
Feb. 13 – Winter Landscape Painting

Ages: 11-16 years old
Dates: Saturdays Jan. 9th – Feb. 13th
Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Cost: $100 program fee per individual or $200 program fee per family (up to 4)

3D Printing

Both the manufacturing industry and hobbyists have embraced 3D printing technology. As we explore the technology and tools experts use, we will print objects from the web as well as create a custom cookie cutter, a replica of an existing object (using 3D scanning technology), and a larger-scale final project.

Feb. 2 – Explore 3D printing techniques and how they are used in industry
Feb. 9 – Use computers to navigate 3D space and design 3D objects
Feb. 16 – Create a custom cookie cutter using 3D drawing tools
Feb. 23 – Transform photographs of an object into a 3D computer model
Mar. 1 – Create a larger-scale project of your own choosing
Mar. 8 – Finish and print your larger-scale project

Ages: 11-17 years old
Dates: Tuesdays Feb. 2nd – March 8th
Time: 6:30 – 7:45 PM
Cost: $100.00 (for all six weeks)


Outside of photography, art is generally made in quantities of one. We will explore two different methods of creating reproducible art: traditional printmaking, where a printing plate can be used over and over, and a technology-based project where we will create stickers using a computerized design.

Mar. 9 – Additive Printmaking Project
Mar. 16 – Subtractive Printmaking Project
Mar. 23 – Subtractive Printmaking Project
Mar. 30 – Computerized Vinyl Cutting Project

Ages: 11-17 years old
Dates: Wednesdays March 9th - 30th 
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $10.00/class

                             Pekin Academy of Fine Arts 
                                      Classes for Adults

Adult Paint Classes

Join us twice a month for a step-by-step painting on canvas!

January 14th- Winter Scene
January 28th – “Romance in the Rain”
February 11th – Peacock Feather
February 25th – Flowers (your choice of colors)
March 10th – Tree with Carving (your choice)
March 24th- Sunset on the Beach

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $25.00

Christmas Mini Album

Grab those holiday pictures and put them in a cute mini album that we will make in class. Students will receive a 5 page chipboard album in either the shape of a star or a tree. These mini albums are a great way to showcase those holiday photos!

Dates: January 12th 
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $25.00

Scrapbook 101: Beginners Scrapbooking

Are you drowning in photos that have no home? Scrapbooking is a great way to get those pictures off your devices and computers and get them into a beautiful page. Scrapbooking doesn't have to be an expensive hobby or hard to do. I'll teach you the basic tools and how-to tips to get you started on the road to memory keeping. Chances are…you're doing a form of it already!

Dates: January 26th 
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Cost: $20.00

Wood Block: Love Theme

Students will make a set of wood blocks decorated with patterned paper with a love theme. They make great home décor! The winter class was a great success. Join us for the next session!

Dates: February 3rd   
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $20.00

52 Reasons

Make a "52 Reasons" book for your sweetie for Valentine's Day. These little books will be made out of a deck of playing cards. Put down the reasons you love them, memories, or anything you'd like your significant other to know!

Dates: February 6th   
Time: 2:00 – 5:00 PM
Cost: $20.00

Stamp Camp

Learn the different and interesting ways to use stamps. Students will get to try different stamping techniques and take home demo swatches. Students will also learn all about the different kinds of inks and techniques with watercolor and wet and dry embossing.

Dates: February 10th  
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $25.00

February Crop

Gather together for uninterrupted time to work on scrappy projects and get inspiration from others. Share ideas and make new scrappy friends! All crafters welcome!

Dates: February 20th  
Time: 12:00 – 6:00 PM
Cost: $15.00

Tool School

Learn different ways to use papercrafting tools in new and interesting ways.

Dates: February 24th  
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $15.00

Easter Bunny Canvas

Make an Easter decoration that you can hang on your wall. Students will make an 8x10 burlap covered canvas with a painted bunny silhouette.

Dates: March 8th  
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $25.00

March Crop

Gather together for uninterrupted time to work on scrappy projects and get inspiration from others. Share ideas and make new scrappy friends! All crafters welcome!

Dates: March 12th  
Time: 12:00 – 6:00 PM
Cost: $15.00

Easter Wood Blocks

Students will make a set of wood blocks decorated with patterned paper with an Easter/spring theme. They make great home décor! The winter class was a great success. Join us for the next session!

Dates: March 15th  
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $25.00

Lightroom Basics

This class covers the basic operation of Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom. I’m a huge proponent of Lightroom, even over Photoshop Elements. It provides excellent photo organization tools plus professional-level processing capabilities. 

Dates: January 11th  
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Cost: $45.00

Lighting Basics

Photography is all about light (and shadow) and a great way to improve your photography is to learn how to control light. This class covers the basics of lighting patterns and the use of strobes.

Dates: January 18th  
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Cost: $45.00

Creative Lighting

Building on the basics, this class explores creative applications of lighting techniques, including colored gels, light painting with a flashlight, and combining strobes with available light.

Dates: January 25th  
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Cost: $45.00

Post Processing

A photo isn’t finished until it’s finished! This class builds on both the Lightroom Basics and the Creative Lighting classes. It also includes using Photoshop to combine multiple frames from a light painting.

Dates: February 1st   
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Cost: $45.00

**Save by registering for ALL photography classes for only $160.00!

 Vinyl Creations with Vinyl Art Studio

All three of these workshops will be using vinyl as a stencil to paint a sign. All skill levels encouraged. All supplies are provided. Just bring yourself, some friends, and have a great time. These signs also make great gifts!

Jan. 25th- 12” x 12” Painted/Stenciled Wood Sign
Cost: $30.00
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

Feb. 22nd- 12” x 24” Family Monogram Painted/Stenciled Wood Sign
Cost: $40.00
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

March 14th- 12” x 24” Heart of States Painted/Stenciled Wood Sign
Cost: $40.00
Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Color Me Calm

The adult coloring craze is here! Bring some friends and come color your stress away twice a month. Coloring pages from the most popular books on the market, as well as colored pencils, are provided at each class.

Dates: Every 2nd & 4th Thursday
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Cost: $5.00

Stitch Club

Bring your yarn, fiber, needles and looms to the Speakeasy Art Center and hang out with us for open stitch night on the third Thursday of every month. Bring your own supplies and snacks!

Dates: Every 3rd Thursday
Time: 6:00 PM