Monday, December 17, 2018

Illinois Central College Launches Online Tools for Financial Aid Questions

               Illinois Central College is partnering with Financial Aid TV (FATV) to offer students new resources for getting their financial aid questions answered. FATV includes an online video library of more than 2,000 searchable videos students and parents can view to find information about personal finance, the financial aid process, and types of financial aid available at the College. Enrollment is now open for spring and summer 2019 semesters. The spring semester begins on Mon., Jan. 14.
               ICC also will launch an online virtual assistant or chatbot, named “Cosmo” on Dec. 17. This virtual assistant will interact through an online “chat” system and will access a vast knowledge base to customize its responses. If the chatbot is unable to answer a question, a transcript of the inquiry is sent by email with the student’s contact information to a financial aid office staff member for follow up. Both resources also are mobile-friendly, accessibility compliant, and available on ICC’s financial aid web page,
               “We are excited to offer these new resources, especially during this busy enrollment period. We hope these options promote student self-service and reduce in-person wait times,” said Dean of Enrollment Management Beth McClain.
               “The online portal and chatbot are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, so students and parents can use the tools at their convenience – at any time of day or night. Of course, the Financial Aid offices are also available for those who want or need to talk to a live person.”
               Hours for the financial aid offices on the East Peoria and Peoria Campuses are listed on the ICC Financial Aid web page at
               For questions, please contact ICC Financial Aid Office at (309) 694-5311.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Amazon vs. Shopping Local

December Puttin' On Pekin Recap

About 90 chamber members and guests attended the December 14 Puttin' On Pekin Breakfast held at the Avanti's Dome.  Dave Osborn won the early prize (again) and Eva Silva won the late prize.  Christmas entertainment was provided by Friends in Harmony - an amazing show for so early in the morning.  In addition to the regular door prize drawings, thirteen lucky people won year-end grand prizes.  Each were valued at over $300 and contained prizes donated by chamber members.  Winners had to be present to win, but the drawing included entries from all of the 2018 breakfast drawings.   The audience congratulated the winners, but had just as much fun when a name was drawn and the person wasn't present.  You can see more pictures, including all of the winners, at:

Chamber Board Christmas Dinner

The Board of Directors of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Christmas dinner on December 13.  This year's event was held at Sangalli's Italian Steakhouse.  Twenty-eight attended including past presidents, chamber staff, spouses and guests. In the spirit of Christmas, the group brought non-perishable food items that were donated to the Salvation Army Food Pantry.  Musical entertainment was provided by Ms. Sarah Robinson.  More pictures from this event are at:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

New Restaurant Now Hiring

Venezia Italian Bistro, 901 Chateau Drive, will be opening soon.  They are currently accepting applications for hostess, waitress, bartender, and kitchen positions.  Apply in person between 11am and 4pm.  Call the restaurant at 583-0237 with questions or Antonio at 469-363-0761

Gateway: Know the Consequences

What are the consequences
Less than 1 in 10 people in the United States receive treatment for their substance use disorder.

Over the past couple of years, people have begun sharing their stories of addiction and recovery. Though speaking about addiction has become much more common, a stigma surrounding seeking treatment still exists.

Not receiving treatment and continued use can have severe consequences.

  • ​​​Legal problems, including potential incarceration
  • Mental health concerns
  • Health problems, including recurring hospitals stays
  • Permanent changes in the brain
  • Overdose, and even death in some cases
The only solution to addiction is treatment. Gateway Foundation is always available to help.

The clinical team at Gateway Foundation is dedicated to understanding each person's unique needs and circumstances and developing a personalized treatment plan that's right for them. Our therapists and counselors work with patients to help them understand and treat the underlying causes of substance use, not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness. A life that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the U.S. specializing in substance use disorders for men, women, adolescents and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Gateway's professional clinicians support over 6000 people a day to successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan to treat the underlying causes of substance use disorder —not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Amazon vs. Shopping Locally

Amazon is rapidly expanding its online empire, but behind the conveniences that the company offers are a lot of hidden costs. We put together an infographic to see how shopping at Amazon compares with shopping at local businesses in its impact on jobs, taxes, the local economy, and community. Before you click, here’s why your choice matters:
Jobs: Amazon creates less than half as many jobs as local brick-and-mortar stores do. This means the more Amazon grows and crowds out other businesses, the fewer jobs available.
Taxes: In most communities, Amazon has no facilities and therefore pays no property taxes.  In about half the states, it does not collect state and local sales taxes. Property and sales taxes are the main source of funds for our schools and public services.  If local businesses are squeezed out by Amazon, households will have to shoulder a higher tax burden.
Local Economy:  While local retailers are engines of economic activity, spending their revenue at a wide variety of other businesses in the community, Amazon merely extracts money, leaving little behind.

Sunset Hills 2019 Pass Rates

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Precise Ice Team presents Holiday Ice Show

Illinois Central College Offers “QuickStart” Events in January for Spring and Summer 2019 Enrollment

            Illinois Central College once again is offering an expedited way for potential students to get through the steps of enrolling all in one day with its QuickStart program. QuickStart events are scheduled for Mon., Jan. 7 from 8 am to 8 pm on the Peoria Campus and on Tues., Jan. 8 from 8 am to 8 pm on the East Peoria Campus. No appointment is necessary. Free parking is available on both campuses.   

               During QuickStart, participants can complete an ICC application and have it processed immediately, take placement testing, fill out financial aid paperwork, set up a payment plan, and enroll for classes. Enrollment for returning students is now available online for the spring and summer 2019 semesters at The spring semester begins on Mon., Jan. 14.
               QuickStart participants are assisted on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure enough time to complete the steps to enrollment, ICC suggests arriving early in the day.

               Advising is available for students on a walk-in basis January 2 through January 15. Advisors are available to help students who wish to enroll, but additional follow-up may be required for select programs. Some programs are restricted enrollment and only general education or pre-requisite courses may be scheduled in those cases.
               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.
               Extended Saturday hours also will be available on January 5 and January 12, from 9 am to 1 pm on the East Peoria Campus.

               For more information, contact the Admissions Office at (309) 694-5200, email, or visit                                

Business Input Needed

The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board works to ensure education and workforce development programs meet the needs of businesses, students and jobseekers. The Board strongly believes in workforce development solutions created jointly with business. Illinois workforce and education agencies are researching strategies for overcoming key challenges employers’ face as it relates to securing and retaining qualified talent. These approaches include establishing and maintaining dialogues and partnerships that ensure the education and workforce systems are responsive to your evolving talent needs and are providing services that improve your access to skilled workers. Our findings will shape the services the State of Illinois provides to businesses and our strategies for improving communication between the private sector and those in public education and workforce development.

They need the perspectives from businesses to make their  research and the subsequent solutions impactful. Please take a few moments to answer the survey at  

Please complete the survey no later than January 31st, 2019. Contact Thom Pennell, with questions.


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 for these sessions. 

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 construction 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:

  • Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at 9 am
    Hickory Hall, Room 101, ICC Peoria Campus
    5407 N. University Street, Peoria
  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at 1 pm
    Goodwill Industries
    2319 E. War Memorial Drive, Peoria
  • Thursday, January 24, 2019, at 1 pm
    Tri-County Peoria Urban League
    317 S. MacArthur Highway, Peoria 
  • Thursday, January 24, 2019, at 5:30 pm
    Hickory Hall, Room 101, ICC Peoria Campus
    5407 N. University Street, Peoria 
  • Friday, January 25, 2019, at 9 am
    Hickory Hall, Room 101, ICC Peoria Campus
    5407 N. University Street, Peoria
 If selected for the program, students will begin the class on February 18, 2019, and end on May 10, 2019.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Minor Hawks Learn to Play Hockey Program

Attention Hockey Fans
Minor Hawks is a Learn-to-Play Hockey program sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks and offered through Pekin Park District. This low-cost program is for boys and girls age 5-8 years old who are new to hockey and want to "suit up" in full gear and try this great game! It is specifically designed to teach NEW hockey players how to skate.
All equipment, jersey and stick are provided.   Players will meet once a week to work on basic fundamentals.
                           Dates:  January 12th 10am
January 19th 10am
January 26th 10am
February 2nd 4:15pm
February 9th 10am
February 16th scrimmage game 10am
Cost of the program: $50 residents and $53 for non-residents. 
For more information call DeDe @ 201-4007

SCORE: Small Business, Big Impact Award

Small Business, Big Impact Award

AWeber is celebrating 20 years of supporting small businesses and nonprofits by awarding $20,000 to one small business or nonprofit. To enter, submit a brief video or essay that answers the following two questions by Jan. 4, 2019: 
  • How are you making a big impact?
  • How would you use $20,000 to make an even bigger impact in the lives of your customers and community?

Miller Center Rides

Pekin Lion's Club 72nd Christmas Basket Distribution

December 22, 2018 will mark the Pekin Lions Club’s 72nd Christmas Basket Distribution.  Each year the Pekin Lions have solicited funds from the Pekin community in order to purchase both perishable and non-perishable items for food baskets to be distributed to the needy in the community.  The needy are identified through nomination forms made available in the Pekin Daily Times, on our website and on our Facebook page in the month of November.  This year, due to shortfalls in giving we are able to provide only 250 needy families with food baskets.  We understand this time of year there are many organizations requesting donations in order to help the needy, but the Pekin Lions are a volunteer organization so 100% of funds donated go to the food basket project.  Our goal this year was set at $17,000 and thus far we have received a little less than $5,000 toward that goal.  If you would like to donate, your donations may be sent to Pekin Lions Club, Attn: Christmas Basket Project, P.O. Box 751, Pekin, IL 61555-0751.  Donations may also be made through our website,, or our facebook page.

Gateway Foundation's 50th Anniversary

REMINDER: Join us for in celebrating 50 years on December 13th
Join us as we celebrate Gateway Foundation's 50th anniversary at Gateway Foundation Springfield. Since 1968 we have treated over 1 million patients from diverse backgrounds, communities and life experiences. You are invited to come tour the location, learn about treatment programs and enjoy holiday desserts and hot chocolate. 

About Gateway Foundation Springfield: 
Gateway Foundation’s treatment center in Springfield provides each patient with a full continuum of care, including dedicated residential and outpatient programs. Customized to patients’ needs, expert staff delivers evidence-based treatment including Medication-Assisted Treatment, trauma-focused groups, DUI services and comprehensive psychiatric services. Gateway Springfield’s team also facilitates the supportive environment and access to healthy lifestyle activities patients require to achieve lasting recovery.

Gateway Springfield is situated just 15 minutes from the Illinois State Capitol to serve patients in central Illinois. 


Thursday, December 13th 


Gateway Foundation Springfield
2200 Lake Victoria Dr.
Springfield, IL 62703

3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Open house and tours

4:30 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting ceremony
by the Chatham Area
Chamber of Commerce


Friday, December 7, 2018

The Digital Store Opens in Pekin

The Digital Store recently opened a Pekin location at 425 Ann Eliza, 885-4600.  Representatives from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pekin were on hand to welcome them to Pekin with a ribbon cutting.  President Scott Sylvester, Vice President Stephanie Hampton, and Store Manager Neil Ice were joined by the rest of the staff for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Digital Store is the locally owned destination for Verizon Services. They provide solutions for smart phones, basic phones, tablets, jetpack connected devices and rate plan analysis. The Digital Store has 11 other locations in the area, and have proudly served Central Illinois since 2001. They are open 7 days a week and look forward to bringing their level of Verizon customer service to Pekin. 

You can see more pictures from this event at:

Sprint After Hours

Sprint Wireless Express hosted the December 7th Business After Hours.  Chamber members and guests enjoyed holiday refreshments, great conversations and door prizes.  Sprint Wireless Express is located at 3506 Court Street, in East Court Village.  You can see more pictures from this event at:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gateway Foundation: Know The Signs of Substance Use

Addiction is a family disease
Substance use disorders are one of the deadliest public health concerns facing the country today, with overdoses being the leading cause of death for individuals under 50. Over 21 million people currently have a substance use disorder and millions more are affected by a loved one’s addiction. The harmful effects of alcohol or drug use can have devastating consequences on every aspect of an individual’s life. Substance use can result in legal troubles, family problems, financial hardships, long-lasting health problems and loss of life.

Even though addiction is far more common than many realize, it is a disease that can be hard to distinguish.

The signs of a substance use disorder vary because the effects are unique to each substance. However, there are common behaviors and signs to look for: 
  • ​​​Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Legal troubles
  • Decline in personal appearance and/or personal grooming habits
  • Poor decision-making
  • Euphoria (highs) or depression (lows)
  • Health problems
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Appearing lethargic and lacking motivation
  • Change in behavior or personality
  • Unresponsiveness to communication
  • Sudden mood swings
At Gateway Foundation, we understand addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain and requires treatment. Gateway Foundation is always here to help, no matter the time or season. 
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness. A life that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the U.S. specializing in substance use disorders for men, women, adolescents and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Gateway's professional clinicians support over 6000 people a day to successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan to treat the underlying causes of substance use disorder —not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.