Wednesday, December 20, 2017


CEFCU is pleased to announce that members now have the ability to access Masterpass™ by Mastercard®, a digital wallet that can be accepted at millions of locations – online, in-store, and in-app.  Any CEFCU Debit Mastercard or Credit Mastercard may be used with Masterpass. 

               Masterpass is easy to set up and use.  Simply add your CEFCU Debit Mastercard or Credit Mastercard and make purchases quickly and securely online or in-app wherever you see the Masterpass button. You may also use the Masterpass Android™ app with an Android phone running Kit Kat (4.4) or higher in-store, wherever you see the contactless-enabled symbol.  Masterpass purchases are protected by layers of security and when you pay in-store a one-time number is used instead of your actual credit or debit card number. Users simply click the Masterpass button online or in-app, or tap & pay with a compatible Android device at accepting merchants.

            “CEFCU is excited to be able to add Masterpass to our lineup of digital wallets,” said Denise Ghere, CEFCU Senior Vice President.

With assets totaling nearly $5.8 billion, CEFCU serves over 327,000 members through 22 central Illinois Member Centers and four Member Centers in Santa Clara County, California; the CEFCU Financial Center; the Money Center 24 ATM Network; CEFCU’s website,; the surcharge-free CO-OP ATM Network; and the CU Service Center Shared Branch Network.    

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Welcome To Our Newest Member

Cash Store
3324 Court St. 
Pekin, IL 61554
Cash Store has been a trusted provider of cash loans with competitive terms and high approval rates since 1996. They have over 340 locations in 7 states - providing a better alternative to payday loans. Their loans give you more time to pay back with smaller payment amounts and no overnight wait. Their experienced service team makes it quick and easy for almost anyone to get the cash they need whenever the need arises. The Cash Store is committed to delivering the best customer service possible to assist you with your cash loans.


Illinois Central College will hold several informational sessions for its Highway Construction Careers Training Program, with program applications and TABE testing available at each session. There is no registration or fees required. 

The Highway Construction Careers Training Program (HCCTP) at Illinois Central College is a grant-funded program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The goal of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program is to increase the number of minorities, women and disadvantaged individuals working in the construction trades. The program is a 12-week free training course that focuses on preparing individuals for a successful building trade application process by increasing math skills, job readiness, and technical skills. Training also includes OSHA 10-hour certification, Forklift and Aerial Lift Certification, and First Aid/CPR certification. Upon successful completion of the program, students will have the skills necessary to seek careers as laborers, cement masons, operating engineers, electricians, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, carpenters, bricklayers, and other union trades.

To qualify for the program a candidate must be 18 years old, have a valid Illinois driver’s license, have a high school diploma or GED, and consent to random drug screening.

Informational and testing sessions will be held:

  • Tues., January 23, 2018, at 9 am
    ICC Peoria Campus, Hickory Hall, Room 131
    5407 N. University Street, Peoria
  • Wed., January 24, 2018, at 9 am
Goodwill Industries
2319 E. War Memorial Drive, Peoria

  • Thurs., January 25, 2018, at 1 pm
    Tri-County Peoria Urban League
317 S. MacArthur Highway, Peoria

  • Thurs., January 25, 2018, at 5:30 pm
ICC North Campus, Hickory Hall, Room 101
5407 N. University Street, Peoria

  • Fri., January 26, 2018, at 9 am
ICC North Campus, Hickory Hall, Room 101
5407 N. University Street, Peoria

If selected for the program, the class will begin on February 26, 2018, and end on May 18, 2018.

For more information about the program, please contact Monica Arbuckle at (309) 690-6912,, or Ellen George at (309) 690-6909,

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tomorrow's Hope Christian Academy

ICC Offers Extended Hours in January for Spring 2018 Enrollment

               Illinois Central College will offer extended hours in January for the convenience of students interested in enrolling for the spring 2018 semester, which begins on Tues., Jan. 16.
In addition to regular business hours of 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, ICC will be open on Sat., January 6 and 13, from 9 am to 1 pm at the East Peoria Campus. The College will also offer extended hours for Quick Start on Mondays at the Peoria Campus and on Tuesdays at the East Peoria Campus.  Offices are open until 7 pm in December and until 8 pm in January for QuickStart events.
QuickStart is an expedited way for potential students to get through the steps of enrolling all in one day. No appointment is necessary. Free parking is available in Lots A and B on the East Peoria Campus, as well as the Visitors Lot.
ICC is closed December 23 through January 1 for the holidays. Classes start Tues., January 16.
The class schedule is available online at
During QuickStart events, participants can complete an ICC application and have it processed immediately, complete placement testing, meet with an advisor, fill out financial aid paperwork, set up a payment plan, and enroll for classes. Advisors are available to help students who wish to enroll, but additional follow-up may be required. Some programs are restricted enrollment and only general education or pre-requisite courses may be scheduled in those cases. Enrollment, testing, and financial aid services also will be available for all students.

QuickStart participants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure enough time to complete the steps to enrollment, ICC suggests arriving no later than 2 hours prior to the ending time of the event.

Applicants also should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at  prior to coming to campus. Please list ICC on the form in order to be fully considered for federal student aid opportunities at the College.
To complete all the steps of admission and enrollment, participants should bring:
·        A valid photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, or other government-issued ID).
·        Checkbook or credit card to set up a payment plan.
·        Social security card.
               For those interested in financial assistance, ICC has scholarships still available for spring 2018. Visit
               Students should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at ICC Financial Assistance staff is available to answer questions about completing the FAFSA or you can find helpful information located at

For more information or for any questions, please call Illinois Central College at (309) 694-5-ICC.                    


Groundbreaking new initiative will equip 1.2 million people with vital digital skills and Goodwill, the United States’ leading workforce development nonprofit, have announced the launch of the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. Funded by a $10 million grant from and with the assistance of 1,000 Google volunteers, the new Goodwill initiative will enable more than one million people — including people with disabilities and disadvantages, youth, older workers, veterans and military families, and people who are transitioning back into society — to receive digital skills training over the next three years.
To launch the initiative, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and President Jacquelline Fuller visited with Goodwill Industries International President and CEO Jim Gibbons and Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania President and CEO Mike Smith at the Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania headquarters in Pittsburgh to participate in a Digital Skills Career Day, a half day of sessions designed to raise awareness of digital skills training and career opportunities among Goodwill program participants and build Goodwill team members’ capability to train individuals for careers that require digital skills. Google volunteers were on the ground to help conduct trainings for the Pittsburgh Goodwill’s team members and program participants. The trainings focused on a variety of topics ranging from applied digital skills to Google tools for jobs and demystifying digital careers. The sessions occurred after a launch at the Google Pittsburgh office.
“Together, Goodwill and Google are helping people advance their skills and change their lives,” said Gibbons. “This exciting investment from one of the world’s most innovative technology and digital leaders will help Goodwill organizations across the country equip more than a million people with the digital skills they need to advance their careers. I’m proud of the work Google and local Goodwill organizations will accomplish together.”
“Goodwill is the leading workforce development nonprofit in the United States and Google is proud to support them as they prepare more than one million people across the country to get the critical digital skills they need to be successful today and in the future,” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of “We both share a commitment to create opportunities for everyone, and we’re excited to amplify Goodwill’s amazing work through our giving and Google volunteers.”
“This grant will be a tremendous asset to our community and Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois is proud to be an administrator,” said Don Johnson, Goodwill President & CEO. “The skills people can learn are the skills employers are looking for, as technology grows. We look forward to putting people to work and further strengthening our community.”


Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois has received a $2,000 grant from Ameren Illinois to be used for Goodwill’s GoodJobs program. The GoodJobs program provides young adults, ages 16-19, with employment resources and job skills training.
During the two week program, participants attend soft skills courses, receive assistance with resume writing, participate in mock interviews and complete on-the-job training at one of Goodwill’s retail stores. The program culminates in a hiring event that features employers specific to the 16-19 age group.
The program is free of charge and also includes on-going support; weekly job leads lists and access to future monthly hiring events.
“This grant will help us give our young people the best possible start on entering the workforce and taking the first steps to successful a career,” said Samantha Kinsey, Goodwill Youth Services Program Manager.
The grant was made through the Ameren Cares program, which connects Ameren Illinois to the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering. It will cover supplies needed by these young adults, including USB drives, office supplies, transportation (gas cards or bus passes), uniforms for on-the-job training at Goodwill stores and a Goodwill store voucher for interview clothing.
Daetta Jones, Division Director for Ameren Illinois, shared, "Ameren Illinois is proud to support Goodwill's GoodJobs program. Preparing our young people to enter the workforce is vital to creating strong communities in the future."
Goodwill also offers the GoodSkills program. Youth ages 11-17, participate in activities designed to explore career possibilities and learn valuable life skills.
All of Goodwill’s free programs are possible through the sale of your donated items. Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois serves 21 counties within Central Illinois. Along with youth services, Goodwill offers employment services, veterans’ services, operates a veterans’ home and employs more than 300 people.

Central Illinois Solar Training Pipeline Program

Central Illinois Solar Training Pipeline Program
Tues., Dec. 19, 2017
11 am
ICC Peoria Campus
Arbor 112 (Multi-Purpose Room)

5407 N. University St., Peoria
Thanks to a $1 million grant from Commonwealth Edison, Illinois Central College, along with more than 15 community organizations and businesses, will offer a program designed to build a workforce training program for solar technicians. ICC will serve as fiscal and lead agent for the Central Illinois Solar Workforce Pipeline Training Program, with Illinois People’s Action/Heaven’s View Community Development Corp. and Tri-County Urban League acting as key partners.

Additional information, including a news release, will be available at the press conference.

Featured speakers:

  • Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey – President, ICC
  • Dr. Rita Ali – Vice President of Diversity and Community Impact, ICC
  • Rev. Tony Pierce - Illinois People’s Action / Heaven’s View Community Development Corporation
  • Laraine Bryson – President, Tri-County Urban League
  • Ellen George – Dean of Corporate and Community Education, ICC

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ICC Opens Scholarship Application January 15 for 2018-19 Academic Year

Illinois Central College is encouraging students who intend to enroll for the fall 2018 semester to apply for its scholarships. The ICC Educational Foundation offers more than 600 scholarships worth more than $750,000 to students attending in the coming academic year.
Students may apply for the scholarships from January 15, 2018, until 11:59 pm on April 1, 2018, using the online application system. Please note: The link will be active as of January 15, 2018.           

               The online application process is simple, and by completing one application, students are automatically considered for every scholarship for which they are eligible. Go online to view a complete listing of all available ICC scholarships at

Questions about scholarships or the application process may be directed to Stephanie Holmes at (309) 694-8420.

Friday, December 8, 2017

December Grand Prize Winners

Congratulations to all of the Grand Prize winners.  The big door prize drawing was held at the December Puttin' on Pekin breakfast.  Each of the 12 prize packages were valued at over $375.  (See list below of  those who donated.)  All of the entries from the previous 2017 breakfasts were entered into the drawing and you had to be present today to win.

Renna Hadsall, the events manager for the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce presented the winners with their prizes.  Congratulations to Joel Catlin, Dave Osborn, Ken Coulter, Manda Brown, Cathy Gray, Baylee Gambetti, Amy Hasty, Jim McClary, Kim Bunting, Heather Calvin, Greg Ranney, and Drew Lockwood.

Click here to pictures of all the winners:

A huge thank you to these businesses who contributed to the big door prize packages:  Alexandra Sinacori, Associated Bank, Beachbody/Teresa Mack, Big R of Pekin, BodyWealth Massage, CEFCU, City of Pekin, Classy Girl Boutique, Commerce Bank, Cornerstone Services, Debbie Fornoff Interior Designs & Draperies, Double D's Ice Crème, Enviro-Dry Clean Carpets, Excalibur Seasoning Company, Gold's Gym, Good Shepherd Lutheran School, Greenhouse Flower Shoppe,
Heartland Bank & Trust Company, Heartland Health Services, Hot Shots Pizza & Slots, Inspired Style Salon, Jake's Place, Jim Maloof Realtors, Kouri's Pub, Kyle's Care at Home, KZBEME Fingerprinting, Leo's Art Studio, Mackinaw Valley Vineyard, Misty Ward, NRG Energy Powerton Station, Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, Pekin Community Bank, Pekin Hospital League Gift Shop, Pekin Insurance, Pekin Public Library, Redbrand Credit Union, Rocky Road Massage, Savant Wealth Management, Steger's Furniture, Suzi Davis Travel, The Hope Chest, UnityPoint Health, ValuCheck, Velde Lincoln Volvo of Peoria, Vonderheide Floor Coverings, and the Pekin YWCA.

December Puttin' On Pekin Recap

100 chamber members and guests attended the December 8th Puttin' On Pekin breakfast held at the Avanti's Dome  Events and Sports Center.  The Grace United Methodist Church players presented a preview of their upcoming Christmas program.  The emcee, Drew Lockwood from Velde Lincoln Volvo of Peoria, presented the Early Prize to Dave Osborn from Trouble Free Heating & Cooling.  Committee member John Plunket presented the Spotlight on Business Award to Debbie Fornoff Interior Design & Draperies.  Committee member Debbie Fornoff presented a Blue Ribbon Award to Vince Udry from Udry Jewelry.  Committee member Manda Brown presented a Blue Ribbon Award to Brigette Sullivan from Classy Girl Boutique.  Committee member Greg Ranney presented the Sunshine Award to Brian Byrne and Lynn Johnson from the Pekin Outreach Initiative.   The Late Prize went to Jordan Matthews from OSF.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

December Business After Hours Recap

Inspired Style Company and Hot Shots Pizza and Slots co-hosted the December Business After Hours.  The two Sunset Plaza businesses offered tours, and provided a great holiday atmosphere, including pizza, cookies and drinks. Michelle Bohm (Inspired Style Company) and Ryan Wozniak (Hot Shots Pizza and Slots) also shared with the attendees additional information about their businesses.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Neighborhood House Toy Shop

There is still time to register for the Neighborhood House Toy Shop! Neighborhood House is making Christmas brighter for kids.  Different businesses and organizations are busy collecting toys for the 82nd Annual Toy Shop. Parents who are working or going to school can pre-register for the Toy Shop November 20 through December 8 at Neighborhood House, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and the cost to register is $10. Those that wish to register must bring the following documents: 1) Photo ID 2) Birth certificates for all children or proof of guardianship (insurance or medical card with your name and children’s names) and 3) Proof of employment or paystub, school enrollment, or current unemployment statement (not required for retired grandparents).

Neighborhood House is proud to continue our tradition of helping families, help themselves this holiday season. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Breakfast with Santa 2017

Gather your family for a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast at Soldwedel's annual Santa Breakfast! Get your picture taken with Santa, bundle up for a sleigh ride and enjoy Reindeer games and a holiday craft to take home! Just $5 per person, children under 2 are free! Saturday, Dec 9th at Soldwedel Program Center from 8:30am to 11:00am. Tickets can be purchased in person the day of or online at
Soldwedel Program Center is located at 207 McNaughton Park Rd, Pekin, IL just outside of Pekin off of Route 98.

Are You Paying Your Employees Correctly?

December 14 @ 1 p.m. EST  / 10 a.m. PSTDecember 14 @ 1 p.m. EST  / 10 a.m. PST

Is your small business compliant with employee payment laws?

In this webinar, Jessica Hubbard-Davis and Julia Darcy of Paychex will cover the most critical components of paying your employees.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Stegers Renovations

Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin held a ribbon cutting at Steger's Furniture on December 1.  The Steger family and staff were celebrating the recent completion of the major renovations of their store at 818 Court Street.  More pictures from this event can be seen at:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hopedale Medical Complex honored for excellence in quality of care, top performance.

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) recently recognized Hopedale Medical Complex for its ongoing commitment to exceptional quality of care, during a ceremony held November 14th at the I Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign, IL.
As part of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Program (MBQIP), Hopedale Medical Complex and other critical access hospitals were asked to voluntarily participate in four defined domains of quality outcomes. These four domains include: Patient Safety/Inpatient; Patient Engagement; Care Transitions; and Outpatient Measures.
“Often, in rural hospitals, having a devoted staff member to abstract and submit this data can be both time-consuming and burdensome,” said Angie Charlet, ICAHN Director of Quality, Educational Services, and Compliance. “Hopedale Hospital realizes how important quality of care and an engaged staff is for its patients…From its top leadership on throughout the facility, each strives for continued quality on a daily basis, and that is what we are celebrating today.”
Hopedale Medical Complex was recognized for demonstrating the most improvement over quarters in any MBQIP measure or domain.
“We are very proud of our team for achieving this level of excellence in health quality,” said Mark Rossi, HMC COO. “This is truly a team effort that recognizes our dedication to delivering a healthcare experience that our patients and staff can be proud of.  We thank ICAHN for all its help during this process.”

ICAHN is a network of 55 small rural Illinois hospitals dedicated to strengthening the
operations of its member hospitals through collaboration. The organization is composed
of Illinois hospitals who have earned critical access hospital designation by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ICAHN is recognized nationally for its work with rural healthcare and administers several state, federal, and private healthcare programs. The
ICAHN office is located in Princeton, IL, and serves critical access hospitals across Illinois
and is a nationally recognized state rural health network.

Hopedale Hospital COO receives ICAHN’s President’s Award

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network recently awarded Mark Rossi, President and COO of Hopedale Medical Complex, its highest honor, the President’s Award for his longstanding and dedicated service to the statewide hospital organization.
Mr. Rossi has been actively involved with ICAHN since Hopedale Hospital became a member in 2003. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2012 and then later elected President-Elect in 2015. He assumed the President’s role in the summer of 2015, when Tom Hudgins retired. Mr. Rossi served as President through December, 2016 and now serves as Past President.
Pat Schou, Executive Director of ICAHN said, "Mark is an exceptional leader and a visionary, and he was at the helm in accomplishing some major growth for us these past two years, including the forward motion of the Illinois Rural Community Care Organization, a statewide rural Accountable Care Organization. We cannot thank him enough for his commitment and support. This honor is just a small token of our appreciation for all he has done on our behalf.”
Before becoming President, Mr. Rossi served as Chairperson of the 2014 Regulatory and Legislative Committee at ICAHN, sat on the Issues and Vision Committees and now is active in the ICAHN Trailblazer Group.

ICAHN is a network of 55 Illinois critical access hospitals dedicated to strengthening the operations of its member hospitals through collaboration. Illinois CAHs are small rural hospitals with 25 beds or less that provide primary and emergency services to over 1.2 million rural residents. ICAHN is recognized nationally for its work with rural healthcare and administers several state, federal, and private healthcare programs. The ICAHN office is located in Princeton, and serves critical access hospitals across Illinois. 

Welcome To Our Newest Member!

Rocket Wood Products
1520 N. 8th Street
Pekin, IL 61554
Steven Laatsch, Owner
Caroline Laatsch, Co-Owner

Rocket Wood Products specializes in re-purposing the forest and bringing it in to your home for generations. They are a full service woodworking shop with cnc wood carver, lumber and live edge slab sales. Custom furniture and unique design statement work for your home or business.

Welcome To Our Newest Member

Jimbo's Jumbo, Inc.
1007 N. 8th Street
Pekin, IL 61554
Danny Lohman, President
Tracy Lohman, Vice President

Great Italian food including a variety of Italian sandwiches, pizza, pasta, wings, fresh salads, and appetizers including our legendary Italian Steak n Cheese and fresh home made salads. Take out, delivery, and limited dining in available. Call ahead for friendly no wait service and quick delivery. They have a 10% Student, Senior, and Military discount. Give Mom a break and bring home some JIMBOS 2 GO. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

November Biz Barometer

Welcome To Our Newest Member

Rocket Wood Products
1520 N. 8th Street
Pekin, IL 61554

Rocket Wood Products specializes in re-purposing the forest and bringing it in to your home for generations. They are a full service woodworking shop with cnc wood carver, lumber and live edge slab sales. Custom furniture and unique design statement work for your home or business.

Udry Jewelry Ribbon Cutting

Congratulations to Vince & Hope Udry and their staff on the grand opening of their new Udry Jewelry location. They celebrated their grand opening at 1712 Court Street on Saturday, November 18th. You can see pictures of the event here:

Illinois Central College Now Accepting Applicants for Fall 2018 Health Careers Programs

Illinois Central College currently is accepting applications from potential students for its Health Careers programs. The deadline to apply for the Health Careers programs for the Fall 2018 semester is Jan. 15, 2018. Enrollment also is now open for pre-requisite courses for the Spring semester, which begins on Tues., Jan. 16, 2018.

Acceptance into an ICC Health Careers program is competitive and based on an earned point total, including grade point average, ACT score, previous degrees, work experience, and other factors. Successful applicants must meet eligibility criteria specific to each program to which they apply. Detailed information on programs ICC offers, how to apply for any of these programs, and specific eligibility requirements are available at

Steps to Apply

Applicants should first complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online at and enter ICC’s school code of 006753. Potential students must apply to ICC before applying to a specific program(s). Most programs also require placement testing and an appointment with an ICC Health Careers advisor. The advisor will explain the specific documentation required for each program of interest. Prospective students may apply for up to three programs but must first meet the eligibility requirements of each.

For questions or to schedule an appointment with an advisor, contact the ICC Health Careers Dept. by email at, or call (309) 690-7530.

Trained Heartland Health Services Enrollment Specialist to Provide Free and Confidential Help

It’s that time of the year again when people can sign up for health coverage with Heartland Health Services. Because of the shortened Open Enrollment period, it’s more important than ever that people understand their options and get the help they need. Professionally trained Assisters will be hosting “Heartland Health Services Get Covered Days” insurance enrollment event November 28, 2017 to help people in Peoria/Tazewell County sign up for affordable, quality health coverage.
At the event, individuals and families can meet for free with trained enrollment specialist to review coverage options, find out if they qualify for financial assistance, and sign up or re-enroll in a plan that meets their needs. In addition, Medicare Enrollments and Medicaid assistance will be provided.
When: November 28, 2017
Where: Carver Community Center
710 W. Third Street
Peoria, Il 61605
Time: 9 AM – 4 PM
What: Heartland Health Services Enrollment event to help people in Peoria/Tazewell County learn about their options.
Facts about Signing Up For Coverage
#1: Sign-up by December 15. Open Enrollment started November 1, 2017 but action must be taken by December 15, no matter if this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save. Beat the rush and sign-up early.
#2: Those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a penalty. There is a minimum penalty of $695 for not having health insurance.
#3: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options please contact a trained professional at 309.680.7632 to arrange a one-on-one appointment.
Contact: Michelle Sanders, Community Outreach Manager, 309.680.7621 for additional information.

SCORE Peoria has moved!

On Tuesday, November 28th , SCORE Peoria offices, along with the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, CEO Council, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Peoria Downtown Development, Alignment Peoria will move to the Historic Judge Jacob Gale House at:
403 N. E. Jefferson
Peoria, IL 61603
Our phone number (309-676-0755) will remain the same.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Inspired Style Boutique Small Business Saturday

Inspired Salon & Boutique encourages you to shop your Pekin Area Businesses this holiday season and is offering Pekin Chamber Members a gift card just for stopping by Saturday, November 25th from 10am-2pm. Ask about our corporate gift giving solutions for your employees and clients. 

Insurance Lunch N' Learn

Ray Dennison Chevrolet

Comcast Business Support Small Business Saturday

Dream Big. Shop Small. As a small business owner, you need to wear many hats. But it’s tough to be an expert in everything, and that’s why partners can be a valuable asset. Comcast Business has assembled a collection of articles on a special Resource Center that offers tips and advice from a wide range of experts to help you build, run, and grow your business effectively.

Central Illinois Ballet, In Residence at Illinois Central College, Presents Four Performances of The Nutcracker

Performance will feature CIB professional dancers and guest dancers from around the country
Central Illinois Ballet, in residence at Illinois Central College, presents four performances of the holiday classic The Nutcracker December 15, 16 and 17 in the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus.
This is the fourth consecutive year Central Illinois Ballet has presented this holiday classic. This year’s production boasts a cast of nearly 100 members ranging in age from 3 years old to adult. CIB has its first international dancer this season with Jiwon Ha of South Korea dancing the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Additionally, guest artists Adam Kittelberger and Ben Rabe from the Rochester City Ballet in New York will perform in the production. Both performed in past CIB performances.
To accommodate growing demand, a fourth performance was added this year. Shows take place December 15 at 7 pm, December 16 at 2 pm and 7 pm, and December 17 at 2 pm.
A marvelous production sure to put audiences in the holiday spirit, Central Illinois Ballet presents this season tradition under the leadership of Artistic Director Rebekah Von Rathonyi. Central Illinois Ballet was formed from its official training school, Cornerstone Academy of Performing Arts, and had always been the vision of Von Rathonyi.
“Just as an orchestra needs professional musicians, Peoria needs professional dancers to heighten the quality of the performances,” she said. “A professional resident company elevates Peoria to the next level, inevitably increasing the standard of living in the community as a whole. Not only does our community benefit, but our students experience increased mentorship and witness the end result of what their hard work can accomplish.”
Also appearing in The Nutcracker will be members of CIB’s trainees, senior and junior company ensembles. These ensembles are comprised of current students at Cornerstone Academy pursuing a career in professional dance. For these students, CIB productions offer them the unique opportunity to dance alongside professional company members and learn first-hand what dancing in a professional company is like.
 “As an artistic director, we are always looking for ways to improve upon our work, whether it be in your choreography, staging, story or costumes,” Von Rathonyi said. “That’s how we grow as human beings, that’s how our dancers improve and how our productions stay fresh.
“Now with all our new company members, I can include them in the creative process and make even bigger changes to the production. Every dancer has several roles in the production, giving them a chance to challenge their artistry in a production that they have been dancing since they were students. Come and join us for an ageless ballet that grows each time CIB performs it!”
Central Illinois Ballet offers an evening that will dazzle the whole family and leave Sugar Plums dancing in your heads. With original choreography by Rebekah Von Rathonyi, this ballet is a must-see production to get into the Christmas spirit.
Seating for all shows is reserved/assigned seating and sold on a tiered pricing level basis. Premium level seating costs $35 for the general public and $15 for children under 12. Standard level seating costs $25 for the general public, $12 for children under 12 and $10 for ICC students.
Central Illinois Ballet is supported as an in residence ensemble by the Arts at ICC, which has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.
For tickets or more information, visit or call the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (309) 694-5136.
About Central Illinois Ballet
The Central Illinois Ballet is the result of three highly successful seasons of performances by the Cornerstone Academy performing ensemble. The Board of Directors, recognizing the demand for professional ballet performances in Central Illinois, formed the Central Illinois Ballet in January 2015. CIB consists of a resident company of 10 professional dancers and five Trainees as well as six regular guest artists. CIB also has a vast network of contacts of non-regular guest artists that have appeared with the company. CIB’s goals are to provide professional level ballets at affordable prices and raise awareness for ballet in Central Illinois.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Miriam Kotacka at (309) 620-3164 or email at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hopedale Medical Complex offering innovative acid reflux procedure which brings permanent relief to patients with acid reflux

Hopedale Medical Complex is now offering its patients Linx® outpatient surgery, a minimally-invasive procedure that brings permanent relief to many patients who suffer from acid reflux.  HMC staff surgeon Matthew B. Rossi MD, FACS, is believed to be the first physician to perform the procedure at a Critical Access Hospital in Illinois.  “ I have been studying and treating GERD for over 30 years, and I have been following the Linx® technology for nearly 10 years now. With over 10,000 implants worldwide, I feel this device is extremely safe and effective, a real game changer in our approach to acid reflux and regurgitation.  I believe in properly selected patients, that the Linx® device has become the preferred method of treating severe GERD” said Dr. Rossi.  “The greatest advantage of the Linx® device is that it replicates the normal sphincter muscle function of the lower esophagus.  Unlike the traditional operations for GERD, the Linx® will not be disrupted by an unexpected severe vomiting episode. I believe this will translate into fewer repeat operations on patients with severe GERD,”  Dr. Rossi explained.
            The Linx® device is designed to treat patients with severe heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease and augments the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing the stomach acid from escaping. The device consists of a string of magnetic beads which are placed like a bracelet around the lower esophagus to prevent back wash of acid and stomach contents.  (See picture above.) The implantation is an outpatient procedure using laparoscopic surgical techniques and tiny incisions.  Patients can generally resume a regular diet within 24 hours!
            “The Linx® is a great option for patients with severe GERD who are unable to live without strong anti-acid or “PPI” medicines.  There is more and more evidence that lifelong treatment of GERD with PPI’s does indeed carry risks and many patients want off the medicine permanently, so the Linx® is a superb choice for those with regurgitation or “waterbrash” symptoms,” states Dr. Rossi. “We are glad we can provide this minimally invasive option to our patients and I believe we will improve the overall quality of life for our patients suffering from GERD. They will live more comfortably and heartburn free.”
            Interested individuals with bothersome GERD should ask their primary care doctor or gastroenterologist about the Linx® device, visit Linx® for Life at or you may call HMC’s GERD hotline at (309) 449-GERD. Information can also be found on HMC’s website:  We will let you know if Linx® is right for you and answer any insurance questions as well.

Hopedale Medical Complex is committed to promoting outstanding healthcare, healthy lifestyles, health education, and wellness. Visit to learn more about the services offered at Hopedale Medical Complex, which is just 10 miles south of Morton, off Interstate 155 (Exit 19.)

Hopedale Medical Complex Hosting Free Thanksgiving Meal
Hopedale, IL – Hopedale Medical Complex is hosting a free Thanksgiving Meal from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in the HMC Café to anyone who would like to enjoy some fellowship with friends and a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day.  Serving up traditional fare of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner rolls and pumpkin dessert, this meal does not disappoint.

HMC will also do home delivery to shut-ins and the handicapped in the HMC service area.  For more information on the meal, please call Mindy Peterson-Lindsey at 309.449.4290.

Openings Available at Residences of Rosemary Crossing

Steger's Better Than Black Friday Offer!


            Audience members can enjoy an evening of holiday-themed laughs and earn a chance to win free tickets to a future event by helping a worthy cause when The Second City presents its Non-Denominational Christmas Show on Saturday, November 25 at 7:30 pm in the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus.
            The highlighted community partner for the event is Toys for Tots. Attendees of the show who donate a new, unwrapped toy or make a monetary contribution to Toys for Tots will be entered into a drawing for two tickets to a future event.
            The drawing will take place following intermission of the November 25 event; in order to be eligible for the drawing, donations must be made before the conclusion of intermission at the show. Anyone can participate in the drawing by donating to Toys for Tots while the box office is open in the days leading up to the show, even if they will not be attending the Second City event.
            Donations are being accepted at the ICC Performing Arts Center box office anytime the box office is open. Normal hours of operation for the box office are from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) and one hour prior to public events in the Performing Arts Center.
            After the November 25 event, donations to Toys for Tots still will be accepted at the Performing Arts Center through mid-December.
            The ICC Performing Arts Center’s Community Partner program highlights a non-profit or community organization with some kind of connection to the performance. Introduced as a part of the ICC Guest Artists Series in the 2011-12 season, more than 30 groups and organizations from the area have been featured as part of the program.
            In The Second City’s Non-Denominational Christmas Show, Second City’s naughtiest and nicest hit the road to win the war on comedy in the season’s most festive funny-fest. Stuffed with brand new tidings of discomfort and “oy,” classic sketches, plus plenty of our holi-dazed improv, you’ll ho three times in a row right along with the next big names in laughter. The show features holiday-themed sketches, songs, and of course, the trademark improvisational comedy for which the Second City is known.
            Second City is well-known for producing some of the premiere comic talent in the industry, from early alums such as Fred Willard and Joan Rivers to Saturday Night Live original cast members such as Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner. Many contemporary comedic performers got their start at Second City, including Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and current Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong, who performed at ICC with Second City in 2012.
            The performance is presented by the Arts at ICC. The Arts at ICC has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.
            The Second City’s Non-Denominational Christmas Show is rated R for some mature themes.

            Tickets for the show cost $30 for all ages. For tickets or more details, visit or call the box office during business hours at (309) 694-5136.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

#ShopSmall at BodyWealth Massage

Enviro-Dry Clean Carpets

In recognition of #SmallBizSaturday, Enviro-Dry Clean Carpets is offering 10% off all carpet, tile and upholstery cleaning booked during the month of November.  Call 267-6253 or email to schedule your free estimate.  #ShopSmall on November 25th and support your local small businesses throughout the year!

Shop Small at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard

Celebrate #SmallBizSaturday when you #ShopSmall at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.  Receive 10% off your gift shop purchases and receive a free logo wine glass if you tell the staff "Small Business Saturday ROCKS!"  For more information about this great central Illinois business, visit:


The Heart of Illinois Chorus, in residence at Illinois Central College, is seeking females who would like to join the group to sing Christmas carols at area nursing homes.
This is a free outreach program offered by the Heart of Illinois Chorus with no long-term commitment as a way for women to express themselves through song and help spread Christmas cheer.
The chorus rehearses Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the ICC Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus. Those who would like to participate are asked to attend the remaining rehearsals in November to learn Christmas carols in barbershop style, four-part harmony. The group will visit sites such as area nursing homes the first two Tuesdays in December to carol to residents.
The Heart of Illinois Chorus was founded in 1982 and is a member of Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide non-profit organization dedicated to women’s a cappella, four-part harmony arranged in a the barbershop style. The group has won regional championships four times, earning the right to compete internationally those four years.

For more information, contact a representative of the group through or the Heart of Illinois Chorus’ Facebook page.


Illinois American Water today announced efforts to stand with its fellow water, electric and natural gas utilities and respective trade associations in support of Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian utilities. UUAS will observe the second annual Utility Scam Awareness Day, on Wednesday, November 15, as part of a weeklong advocacy and awareness campaign, November 13–17. Illinois American Water joined UUAS to help expose the tactics scammers use to steal from utility customers and educate customers on how to protect themselves.
Many water, electric and natural gas customers throughout the country are being targeted by impostor utility scams each day. Scammers typically use phone, in-person, and online tactics to target customers. Scammers pose as water, electric or natural gas company employees and sometimes threaten that customers’ services will be shut off if they fail to make an immediate payment.
Scammers can be very convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including senior citizens and low-income communities. They also aim their scams at small business owners during busy customer service hours. However, with the right information, customers can learn to detect and report these predatory scams.
“Impostor utility scams can be highly profitable to scammers and financially detrimental to consumers,” said UUAS Executive Director and former Texas Utility Consumer Advocate Sheri Givens. “To prevent future crimes, it is important to educate community leaders and consumers on how to spot, avoid, and report scams.”
“It is extremely rare for a utility employee to show up at a customer’s home without an appointment. However, if someone comes to your door claiming to be from the local utility and you are not expecting them, do not let them inside without proper photo identification,” said Illinois American Water Vice President of Operations Mike Smyth.
How Customers Can Protect Themselves:
Illinois American Water reminds customers that its service personnel wear uniforms, drive company-branded vehicles, and wear photo identification badges with the company’s logo. Customers are urged to take time to examine the photo identification tag whenever an Illinois American Water employee arrives at their home or business. The company does not accept payment at a customer’s house or business. Residents with any suspicions about individuals claiming to be utility workers should call 9-1-1, or Illinois American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-422-2782.
If customers suspect someone is trying to scam them, they should hang up, delete the email, or shut the door. They should then call their utility company at the number on their monthly bill or the company’s website, not the phone number the scammer provides. If customers ever feel that they are in physical danger, they should call 9-1-1.
Signs of Potential Scam Activity:
 Threat to disconnect: Scammers may aggressively tell the customer his or her utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected if a payment is not made – usually within less than an hour.
 Request for immediate payment: Scammers may instruct the customer to purchase a prepaid card – widely available at retail stores – then call them back supposedly to make a bill payment to his or her utility company.
UUAS is dedicated to combating impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices, in addition to working together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers. Visit for more information and tips about how customers can protect themselves from scams or follow along on social media: Twitter @U_U_A_S and Facebook @UtilitiesUnited
About Illinois American Water
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 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S.
publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting
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            Creative works of Kevin Myers will be on display in an art show opening Wed., November 29 in the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center Gallery, located in the lobby of the facility on the East Peoria Campus.

            A free, public reception is scheduled for November 29 from noon to 2 pm in the gallery, with an artist talk taking place at 12:30 pm.

            Myers has been teaching and creating art for more than 25 years. He has taught at several colleges and universities, including the Missouri Southern State University, Paducah School of Art & Design and Grand Valley State University. He has developed his own technique over the past 20 years, which ties the theme of his artwork--excavation--together. His works have been exhibited and sold throughout the nation. He earned a bachelor degree in art from Calvin College in 1978 and a master degree in fine arts from Fontbonne University in May 2017.
The exhibit will be on display at ICC through January 14.

            Hours of operation for the Performing Arts Center Gallery are Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm, and Friday from 9:30 am to noon. The Performing Arts Center Gallery also is accessible when the Performing Arts Center is open for public events. Operation of the ICC art galleries varies with ICC’s holidays and breaks.

            The exhibit is presented by the ICC Art Program and the Arts at ICC. The Arts at ICC has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.

            For more information or to confirm the gallery will be open at a particular time, visit, or call the ICC Arts and Behavioral Sciences Department at (309) 694-5113.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Hope Chest of Pekin Toy Drive

Are Your Water Meter & Pipes Protected from the Cold?

Illinois American Water offers helpful tips to help you avoid the unwanted expense and frustration of a frozen water meter or broken pipe.

Illinois American Water reminds homeowners that now is the time to safeguard their home plumbing to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes. Tips also address frozen water meters, which can bring costly plumbing repairs and replacement fees along with headaches and unexpected expense for homeowners.
“We want to remind customers that sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze and burst, resulting in costly damage,” said Mike Smyth, vice president of operations. “By taking the proper preventive steps now, customers can avoid frozen pipes and water meters and the need to make expensive repairs to damaged plumbing inside and outside of the home.”
Illinois American Water encourages residents to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes:
Before frigid weather sets in:
 Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
 Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
 Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
 Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation so do not disturb it.
When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:
 If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe. Illinois American Water also encourages customers to capture the water for wise water use. The water can be used to water indoor plants and more.
 Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

Are Your Water Meter & Pipes Protected from the Cold?
If your pipes freeze:
 Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
 Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
 Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
When you are away:
 Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
 Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
Illinois American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause aging water mains to break and cause water to cover roadways. If you see a leak, your water service is disrupted or you experience low pressure, please contact the company’s 24/7 customer service center at 800-422-2782 to report an emergency. For general inquiries, call between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More tips can be found at in our online learning center.
About Illinois American Water
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 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting

Monday, November 13, 2017

Vonderheide Floor Covering After Hours

The November 9th Business After Hours was held at Vonderheide Floor Covering, 105 N. 14th.  About 80 chamber members and guests attended the event. Local Farmers Insurance agent Noele Tatlock won the door prize - a $500 Vonderheide Gift Certificate.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Pekin High School Tour

Heartland Health Services Welcomes Dr. Parkin-Cohen

McDaniels Healthcare Marketing Honored with 8 Pinnacle Awards

Randall McDaniels Receives Individual Achievement Award

(Pekin, Ill.) McDaniels Healthcare Marketing, a communications firm headquartered in Pekin, recently received 8 Pinnacle Awards in a ceremony sponsored by its peers. The ceremony was held in Chicago, as part of the 2017 Fall Conference (November 2-3) for the Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations (ISHMPR). Each year, the Pinnacle Awards are presented for excellence in healthcare marketing and public relations.

In addition, Randall McDaniels, president and CEO of the agency, received the Individual Achievement Award, which is presented every year to a nominated ISHMPR member who has shown outstanding work in planning, marketing or public relations/communications in the healthcare industry. The company’s award-winning work further testifies to this achievement.

“I am so honored to receive the individual achievement award from ISHMPR,” McDaniels said. “This organization has been an integral part of my career and professional development. I have gained so many friendships and memories that are truly special. Winning Best in Show is also a first for our agency. I am so very pleased, and the credit goes to the client-agency team!” 

Best in Show

Award of Merit

Honorable Mention

McDaniels Healthcare Marketing draws on more than 51 years of experience to help strategically plan and execute marketing tactics for hospitals and physician practices throughout the Midwest. McDaniels also has client service offices in Rockford, Ill., and the Quad Cities. McDaniels Interactive specializes in developing websites, animation, videos, e-surveys, kiosks, ecommerce, content management systems, search engine marketing, optimization and social media to fit a variety of budgets.