Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Morningside of Pekin shares COVID Vaccine Information

To:          Fellow Chamber Members

Re:         COVID Vaccine

From:    Morningside of Pekin

Date:     December 17, 2020

Greetings!  There is a lot of information on the news and in the community about the COVID-19 vaccine.  As we are a Five Star Community, we have access to a team of professional advisors who have been sending us updated information throughout the process of the development and now the distribution of the vaccine! We are going to be able to offer our residents the vaccine this month as part of the first wave of inoculations.

We would like to share with you some of the Q&A questions that our professional team has been asked.   Please feel free to view this link:  https://www.fivestarseniorliving.com/covid-19-vaccine-faqs to access some general information.  

We would be happy to provide you with updates as we receive them. 

Regards and Merry Christmas,

Lisa Davis, Executive Director

Lisa Friedrich, Sales Director

Morningside of Pekin

Hanson wins award from ACEC of Illinois for emergency repair of collapsed rail bridge

Hanson Professional Services Inc. received an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL) for its work on the emergency repair of Norfolk Southern Corp.’s collapsed bridge over the Grand River near Brunswick, Missouri. 

Hanson, led by its Peoria, Illinois, office, worked with Norfolk Southern Corp. and Massman Construction Co. to help Norfolk Southern quickly rebuild the 103-year-old bridge. The flooded river and a buildup of tree limbs had been pushing on the bridge, leading Norfolk Southern to cut the rails Oct. 1, 2019, to relieve pressure and prevent further damage to its rail line. A portion of the bridge was wiped out within minutes. Four spans and three piers — about 267 feet of the 1,110-foot-long bridge — were swept away. The repair work was finished in 27 days — several weeks ahead of the originally estimated 56-day schedule.

Hanson will be recognized April 8 during ACEC-IL’s virtual awards ceremony. ACEC is a professional organization of 51 state and regional councils with members from more than 5,000 engineering firms across the U.S. The annual Engineering Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding achievements from member firms. ACEC-IL Honor Award winners are eligible for the national competition.

Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located at 1525 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703. The office may be reached by phone at (217) 788-2450.


PEORIA, IL The Peoria Symphony Orchestra is excited to announce PSO Play. For the first time in the PSO’s history, concerts will be available to view online. Starting at just $1, viewers can pay what they like to see the first three concerts of the PSO’s 123rd season: The Four Seasons with Charles Yang, violin; Merry Pranks with Pei-yeh Tsai, piano, and Sarah Carrillo, trumpet; and A Season of Hope, featuring festive music and messages of hope from area faith leaders.

Regarding the launch of PSO Play, Maestro Stelluto comments:

“The streaming releases of our first three concerts this season is a first for the PSO. I’m very happy we can all share these experiences again. Plus, they are great opportunities to have your young ones enjoy and learn about music.”

The concerts are now available to purchase and view an unlimited number of times until January 25, 2021. Concert passes must be purchased by January 24, 2021. Each concert has additional online streaming content, including Backstage Pass, a look at how PSO concerts come together, Upbeat, with insights about each concert from Maestro Stelluto, and more. Visit peoriasymphony.org/psoplay for more information.

PSO Play is underwritten by Jim and Ede Kidder and Dr. and Mrs. Warren M. Wilkins.  

You can stay informed about the PSO by visiting peoriasymphony.org, the PSO’s Facebook page (facebook.com/peoriasymphony), Instagram account (@peoriasymphony), and Twitter (@peoriasymphony). Those with questions can email patronservices@peoriasymphony.org or call 309.671.1096.

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Founded in 1897, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire through music. The PSO presents excellent live musical performances, innovative music education programs, and engaging community outreach efforts, which significantly impact the cultural and economic vitality of Central Illinois.


Images: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pyL3K08Vkw_vTbtgTtxwTfrZ0I4HO5C5/view?usp=sharing


For more information, please contact:
Mae Gilliland Wright, PhD
Director of Marketing and Communications



Illinois Chamber of Commerce - This Week in Illinois

Federal Government Passes Another Round of Assistance

Yesterday Congress passed another round of COVID related stimulus.  The package was just shy of $1 trillion. In addition to $600 to individuals, the bill also included some relief for businesses. 

U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley will be giving a Pandemic Relief Small Business Update

TODAY, December 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET to share more about what the bill will mean for the small business community. If you have not done so already, please click here to register now.

NPR provides this cheat sheet

Small-business help

  • PPP loans: The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans. Democrats say they expanded eligibility for the loans to include nonprofits and local newspapers, along with TV and radio stations. Also, $15 billion would be reserved for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, which have been struggling due to pandemic-forced closures.
  • Child care centers: According to a Republican summary of the plan, the measure includes $10 billion for child care centers to help providers safely reopen.


  • The agreement includes some $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing. According to the Republican summary, $20 billion of that funding will make the vaccine available at no cost for anybody needing it.

Broadband access

  • The measure contains $7 billion to increase access to broadband Internet, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that Democrats say will help millions of students' families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.

Transportation aid

Lawmakers also agreed to provide $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including:

  • $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors.
  • $14 billion for mass transit agencies.
  • $10 billion for highways.
  • $1 billion for Amtrak.


  • The measure contains $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening, including, according to a Republican summary, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education.


  • There is some $13 billion in the measure for farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.

Medical bills

  • The measure also includes a provision ending surprise medical billing. Republicans say patients would be required to receive a "true and honest cost estimate" three days before any scheduled procedure and that billing disputes would be subject to arbitration.

Tax-deductible meals

  • Lawmakers also included a provision sought by President Trump, making the cost of meals a deductible business expense.

Read the bill in full.

Illinois Chamber Tells IDOL Joint Employer Rule Unnecessary

Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, provided testimony to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) virtual hearing on its proposed rule regarding joint employer designation. He was joined by Michael Hughes of SmithAmundsen who provided the legal problems with the proposed rule.

In response to the federal USDOL rule, IDOL filed a proposed rule that took a different approach to the joint employer issue in May. The Illinois Chamber provided written comments to the rule raising a number of concerns. Maisch's testimony highlighted those concerns:

  • Notice is insufficient given the significant impact on business: 
    • The Illinois Chamber which represents a broad swath of Illinois business and industries adversely affected by the proposed rule was not notified of the IDOL's intention. We also are unaware of any business or business organization being provided any advance notice or ability to provide input on this significant policy change.
  • The proposed rule will have a significant negative impact on Illinois business especially small businesses. We believe the Department's proposed rule will:
      • Eliminate the uniformity that the USDOL rule provides thus creating greater uncertainty for both employers and workers;
      • Increase the cost of compliance and likelihood of litigation for businesses because of:
        • multiple standards that employers must comply with; and
        • lack of viable examples to provide guidance to small businesses;
    • Discourage the use of franchise models in Illinois which results in lower economic and job opportunities; and
    • Place an additional regulation and cost of doing business that other states are unlikely to impose creating another obstacle for Illinois small businesses to operate successfully.

In IDOL's notice of proposed rule published in the May 22, 2020 edition of the Illinois Register, the IDOL erroneously indicated in its "Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis" that small businesses are not affected. A similar statement of "No adverse impact" was provided in its "Small Business Impact Analysis". We do not know how IDOL could arrive at such analysis or whether it did any analysis of the impact of the proposed rule on Illinois small businesses. We suggest IDOL has not considered options to address the negative impact on small business.

Illinois Chamber's Keith Staats Writes Article for CPA Society Insight Magazine

Keith's latest column for the IL CPA Society's Insight magazine has been published here

Keith continues his examination of the Illinois property tax system.  In this column, he discusses the constitutional limitations on providing property tax exemptions, the proliferation of preferential assessments, and explains that exemptions and preferential assessments do not reduce the amounts levied by units of local government, rather they just shift the property tax burden to the property owners who do not receive exemptions or preferential assessments.

Government Affairs Professionals (GAP) Call Reminder

On January 11th at 3 pm, the Chamber will host our first GAP call of 2021. A Microsoft Teams link was sent to the usual call participants this link and a reminder will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on this call list but would like to be, send an email to: ckaericher@ilchamber.org

Send Us Your Legislative Agenda

With Veto Session canceled, its time to look forward to the spring legislative session. Please send us your agenda so that we can work together to develop a strategy. Email any thoughts, concerns, and ideas to: ckaericher@ilchamber.org

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

New Minimum Wage Rates Set to Take Effect on New Year’s Day

SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans will ring in the New Year with an additional increase in the minimum wage to $11 an hour, and the Illinois Department of Labor is encouraging employees to watch their paychecks to ensure that time worked in 2021 is paid at the new rate.

Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation into law in 2019 providing a path to a $15 minimum wage by 2025. Minimum wage earners received two increases in 2020 to $9.25 an hour on January 1 followed by an increase to $10 an hour on July 1. The minimum wage will continue to increase an additional $1 an hour each January 1 until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025.

“We want to make sure that workers earning minimum wage are aware that the $1 increase should be reflected in their pay checks for any time they work after the first of the year,” said Michael Kleinik, director of the Illinois Department of Labor. “While we fully expect employers will pay the new wage, we also want workers to be aware of the change.”

Prior to the 2020 increases, the last time Illinois increased its minimum wage was more than a decade ago in 2010 when it was raised to $8.25. Cook County has a higher minimum wage than the state, currently $13 an hour. The current city of Chicago minimum wage is $13.50 an hour for small employers (4 to 20 employees) and $14 an hour for large employers (21 or more employees).

A recent study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute at the University of Illinois indicated that more than 1.4 million adult hourly workers in Illinois make less than $15 per hour.

The new law maintains provisions for employers to count gratuities to offset wages for workers such as food servers who regularly earn tips. Tipped employees may be paid 60 percent of the hourly minimum wage. These workers must still earn the minimum wage after receiving tips or the employer must make up the difference.

Workers who are under 18 years old and work fewer than 650 hours in a year will earn a minimum wage of $8.50 per hour beginning January 1. The youth minimum wage rate will gradually rise to $13 an hour by 2025.

All Illinois employers are required to post the “Your Rights Under Illinois Employment Laws” in a conspicuous location on the premises of the employer where notices to employees are customarily posted. The color poster, which also covers other Illinois labor laws, can be found here in English and Spanish: https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Employers/Pages/posters.aspx

Employees with problems regarding the minimum wage can file a complaint with IDOL at the following link: https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Pages/Complaints.aspx or call 312-793-2800.

New Minimum Wage Rates

1-1-2021 $11.00

1-1-2022  $12.00

1-1-2023  $13.00

1-1-2024  $14.00

1-1-2025   $15.00

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Delta Departs PIA

Peoria, IL –Delta service from Peoria has become a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Delta petitioned the US DOT in May to suspend service to all of its destinations from Peoria, which took effect in June.  Delta just recently informed the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria that as of last week, they were changing the suspension into a termination.  This change does not have much impact from a practical standpoint, since Delta had already discontinued flying.  It does mean that the Airport Authority will have to work even harder with the community to get them to come back to Peoria.

Recently, PIA had experienced a record setting year in 2019 with 689,416 passengers traveling to and from PIA.  January and February began strong in 2020 with record-setting passenger totals until travel took a hit in mid-March, which saw totals of about half of the previous year’s number.  Traffic dropped 96% for a total of 2,928 travelers in April 2020 (April 2019 – 59,321).  Through October 2020, PIA has only seen 276,197 passengers due to the pandemic, which is the worst year since 1973.  While the Airport Authority does not have solid data on the purpose of passenger’s trips, anecdotal information indicates that business travelers are not flying and that most of the airport’s passengers are leisure travelers.  The three traditional airlines (American, Delta, United) depend heavily on business travel for revenue.

“While it doesn’t change anything in the short term, we will have to work hard with the business community to attract Delta back to PIA,” said Gene Olson, Director of Airports for Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria. “The community recently showed great support to help us attract Nashville service on Allegiant.  We will need to see that same type of community backing in order to entice Delta back in the future.”

Across the nation, airports are seeing reduced numbers of flights in response to decreased passenger demand.  Normally PIA would see 115 flights a week in December, but only about 36 per week are scheduled this December.  Though bleak, these reductions on a percentage basis are on par or smaller than national figures.

Flying locally is now more important than ever, as the Airport Authority works to retain the service we have and regain the service that has been lost.  The Airport Authority urges Central Illinois residents to take advantage of the benefits of flying from your hometown airport rather than risking the uncertainties of driving to a larger airport with larger crowds and longer check-in lines while paying for parking and travel along the way. 

PIA still offers great connections with American Airlines service to Dallas, Charlotte and Chicago and United offering daily service to Chicago.  Allegiant has maintained all of its destinations from PIA, currently offering direct flights to Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/ Sanford, and Tampa/St. Pete in Florida; Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Nashville, Tennessee (Destin and Nashville are seasonal destinations).  PIA continues to provides the best mix of connections to major connecting hub airports and direct flights to popular vacation destinations. 

“While Delta has discontinued their presence in Peoria, we’re hopeful that they will return in the near future”, said Olson.  “They have provided great service in the past, and Peoria has a significant business travel market.  I’m sure that Delta will want to tap into that market once the business traveler returns.”

Nominations now being accepted for The Outstanding Young Person of Illinois


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Jaycees is currently accepting nominations for 2021 class of The Outstanding Young People. Each year, The Outstanding Young People awards program recognizes up to ten individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who exemplify the best attributes of young people from across Illinois.  

Honorees reflect the vast diversity of young people that are making a difference in their community – whether they get involved through business, nonprofit and community organizations, or government service.

Nominations are accepted in one of the ten categories including: business, economic, and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment; political, legal, and/or governmental affairs; academic leadership and/or accomplishment; cultural achievement; moral and/or environmental leadership; contribution to children, world peace, and/or human rights; humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership; scientific and/or technological development; personal improvement and/or accomplishment; or medical innovation.

The nomination form and more information about the award are available at http://www.iljaycees.org/toyp-2021/ or by emailing toyp@iljaycees.org. Nominations are due February 14th, 2021. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Saturday,  May 1st, 2021 at Wyndham Springfield - City Centre.

The Illinois Jaycees is a civic organization for men and women between the ages of 18 and 41 with a mission to provide development opportunities to empower young people to create positive change.  The Jaycees are part of Junior Chamber International with nearly 200,000 young active citizens and over five million alumni – including several world leaders.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


Peoria, IL – A $30 million Extraordinary Dividend was approved by CEFCU’s Board of Directors and distributed to the Credit Union’s member/owners.  The amount each member received was determined by dividends earned and interest paid during the first 11 months of the year.  On December 1, funds were deposited to members’ Savings accounts.

Over the last 21 years, CEFCU has returned $350 million in Extraordinary Dividends to members.  CEFCU Board Chairman, Matt Jolliff, stated, “CEFCU’s strong financial results and continued member loyalty have made another Extraordinary Dividend available for members.”

Mark Spenny, CEFCU President/CEO, added, “This year, more than ever, CEFCU continues to live up to the credit union’s philosophy of “people helping people.” Thank you to members for your continued support, and to CEFCU staff for providing outstanding member service while maintaining operational efficiencies.”

Members can learn more about this year’s Extraordinary Dividend at cefcu.com/dividend.

With assets totaling over $6.9 billion, CEFCU serves nearly 355,000 members through 22 central Illinois Member Centers and 5 California Member Centers; the CEFCU Financial Center; the Money Center 24 ATM Network; CEFCU’s website, cefcu.com; the surcharge-free CO-OP ATM Network; and the CU Service Center Shared Branch Network.

#   #   #


Monday, November 30, 2020


Peoria, IL and Pine Bluff, AR – Citizens Equity First Credit Union (“CEFCU”) and Simmons

Bank (“Simmons”) have entered into an agreement pursuant to which CEFCU will purchase four

Simmons Bank branches located in the Metro East area of Southern Illinois, near St. Louis. Select

loan and deposit accounts, along with non-deposit product relationships, are included in the purchase.

Subject to the approval of the purchase by the appropriate state and federal regulatory

agencies, CEFCU expects the transition to occur in the first quarter of 2021. Customers of the four

Simmons’ branches will receive communications from CEFCU and Simmons Bank with additional

information about the change.

“CEFCU has a longstanding history of success and growth through improving the financial

well-being of members and the communities we serve. We’re excited to expand the opportunities for

more individuals to experience the benefits of CEFCU membership,” said CEFCU CEO & President

Mark Spenny. 

“We are pleased about the opportunity this transaction provides our Illinois customers and

associates and believe the partnership with CEFCU will be very beneficial for all stakeholders,”

said George Makris, Jr., President & CEO of Simmons Bank.

These four additional branches bring CEFCU’s total locations to 31 throughout Illinois and



With assets totaling over $6.9 billion, CEFCU serves nearly 355,000 members through 26 Illinois

Member Centers and 5 California Member Centers, the CEFCU Financial Center, the Money Center

24 ATM Network, CEFCU’s website, cefcu.com, the surcharge-free CO-OP ATM Network, and the CU

Service Center Shared Branch Network.

About Simmons Bank

Simmons Bank is an Arkansas state-chartered bank that began in 1903. Through the decades,

Simmons Bank has developed a full suite of financial products and services designed to meet the

needs of individual consumers and business customers alike. Simmons Bank has grown steadily and

today assists customers from more than 200 branch locations. Simmons Bank is the subsidiary bank

for Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a publicly traded bank holding company

headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with total consolidated assets of $21.4 billion as of September

30, 2020. For more information, visit simmonsbank.com.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Get Your Gift On!

Hopedale, IL – It’s never too early to start you Christmas shopping or even to buy a little gift for yourself.  The Hopedale Wellness Center is excited to offer their 2020 Holiday Specials starting on November 23, 2020 and running through December 23, 2020.

Kick off the New Year with one of these great deals to continue your current wellness journey or to start down a path of healthy choices for 2021.  We have different options available within a variety of price ranges or you can even go for a 3, 6, or 12-month membership at the Hopedale Wellness Center for 25% off the list price.

Interested in massages?  Buy 3 and get 1 free with a limit of 2 packages per person.  Need someone to help you be accountable in your health journey?  Buy 12 personal training sessions for $300 with a limit of 2 packages per person.  Do you have a student who has some extra time on their hands?  Give them a 1-month student membership for $15.  A valid student id is required, and the student must be between the ages of 18-25.  And, finally, not sure if you are ready for the commitment?  Give us a try by buying 1 punch card, good for 9 visits for $60 and get the 2nd one for $30.

Explore our 15,000 square foot facility that includes a walking track, weights, basketball court, specialized classes, lap pool, and much more.  Experience the Hopedale Wellness Center!


If you would like more information about this, please call Kadie King at 309.449.4500 or email her at kking@hopedalemc.com.

Monday, November 9, 2020

From the Illinois Chamber - This Week in Illinois

Several days after the elections and we still don't have a full accounting of the results. It looks like it may be several weeks before everything is finalized. Let's take a look at what we know so far- starting with some Illinois Chamber victories.

Progressive Income Tax (so called "Fair Tax") Soundly Rejected 

Illinois voters resoundingly rejected the attempts to alter the Illinois Constitution and impose a progressive income tax on Illinois taxpayers and businesses by a vote 55-44%.

This was a huge win for the Chamber and all of our members and partners throughout the state. Early Wednesday morning the Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement:

"It is clear that Illinoisans do not trust this legislature and this administration to spend more of their precious tax dollars without restraint."

 "We believe we're on our way to hearing from the electorate that Illinois needs a lot more than tax increases to fix our economy. While it may not be official this morning, it certainly looks like Illinoisans have made their voices heard and want a plan for rescuing our state that is not just raise taxes, raise taxes and raise taxes some more."

Versions of the statement were featured in over 30 election news coverage stories and counting. You can view these stories here.

Chamber looks to future after non-retention of Justice Kilbride

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce PAC was the only business group to publicly call for the non-retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, due to his aggressive anti-business, one-sided approach to judicial rulings. Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on his successful non-retention.

"The voters have spoken. Their unprecedented non-retention of Justice Kilbride is a win for Illinois' economy and small business community. We believe his rejection is due in no small part to his authorship of the opinion that prevented voters from having a say on a fair redistricting process limiting their ability to choose their own elected officials. His non-retention creates a fresh landscape for the people of the Third Judicial District to elect a more unbiased, even-handed justice in 2022."

Voters decided not to retain Justice Kilbride by a margin of 56-43%. He needed 60% to prevail. 
The 2022 race to replace him, and which will determine the partisan makeup of The Illinois Supreme Court, will be one for the record books.  Rest assured the Chamber will remain very involved. 

Chamber Endorsed Judge David Overstreet Elected to IL Supreme Court by a Large Margin

Judge Overstreet will be elevated to the Illinois Supreme Court. He won 62% of the vote.  Judge Overstreet is currently an appellate court judge. The Chamber was one of the first groups to endorse Judge Overstreet prior to the March primary. He will admirably fill the big shoes left by Justice Karmeier.

Senate Republicans Elect New Leader 

The Senate Republicans yesterday elected a new leader, Dan McConchie from suburban Chicago. Senator McConchie's district covers parts of Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. Senator McConchie is considered a policy wonk and a great tactical thinker. Senator McConchie is a pro-business legislator. He scored a 97% rating in the Chamber's latest legislative ratings covering the last two years. We look forward to working with him in the future.

General Assembly Makeup Shifts

The following should be read with a caution that the state is still awaiting the arrival and counting of mail in ballots in races that have been deemed too close to call. Some races may flip after the arrival of these ballots. With what we know now, it appears that the Illinois House Republicans will pick up two seats and the Illinois Senate Republicans will pick up one seat. If these results hold, the House Democratic margin will be 72D-46R.  The Senate margin will be 41D-18R.

Senate Change

The 25th Senate District flipped from Republican to Democratic. Senator Oberweis left the seat to run for Congress. Democrat Karina Villa is slightly ahead of Republican Ward. Ward just conceded the race. Senator Koehler held off a tough challenge from Mary Burress in his Peoria area seat. 

Likely Republican Pickups
  • Republican Seth Lewis leads Dem. Diane Pappas (45th District)
  • Republican Chris Bos leads Dem. Mary Edly-Allen (51st District)
  • Republican Amy Elik leads Dem. Monica Bristow seat (111th)
  • Republican David Freiss has defeated Dem. Nathan Reitz (116th). This margin is large enough that there cannot be enough ballots left to make up the difference
Likely Democratic Pickups
  • Democrat Janet Yang-Rohr leads Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Grant Wehrli (41st District)
  • Dem. Suzanne Ness leads Rep. Allen Skillicorn (66th District)
Likely Republican Holds
  • Rep. Brad Stephens (20th) has a large lead on Michelle Darbo. This was a very impressive win for the freshman Republican.
  • Rep. Amy Grant (42nd) leads Democrat Ken Meijia-Beal
  • Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (47th District)
  • Rep. Tom Morison (54th) is a dogged campaigner and good friend of the Illinois Chamber. He leads Maggie Trevor by a fairly comfortable margin and we will be happy to see him back in Springfield
  • Rep. Dan Ugaste (65th) defeats Martha Paschke
  • Rep. John Cabello (68th) over Dem. Dave Villa. Remaining ballots may flip this race.
  • Rep. Mark Batinick (97th) leads Democrat Harry Benton.
Likely Democratic Holds
  • Dem. Terra Costa-Howard (48th) defeated former Rep. Peter Breen
  • Dem. Maura Hirschauer (49th District) held off a spirited challenge from Republican Laura Curtis
  • Dem. Joyce Mason (61st) defeated Dan Yost
  • Dem. Michael Halpin (72nd) won by a comfortable margin over Glen Evans
  • Dem. Lance Yednock seat (76th District) leads Travis Breeden
  • Dem. Anne Stava-Murray (81st) defeats Republican Laura Hose
Federal Results
Senator Dick Durbin cruised to re-election. He won 52-41 against Republican Mark Curran, a former sheriff. Illinois will continue to send two Democratic Senators to Washington.

The US House races were a mixed bag:
  • IL-o6: Democrat Sean Casten defeated former State Representative Jeanne Ives 52-47. This is a long held GOP seat that flipped to the Democrats in 2018
  • IL 12: Republican Mike Bost won re-election with a nearly 2:1 margin. This former democratic bastion (home of Jerry Costello) is now reliably GOP.
  • IL-13: Incumbent Republican Rodney Davis easily defeated Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Longdrigan. This was expected to be a close race but Congressman Davis put this one away with relative ease. Congressman Davis is a rising star in the GOP.
  • IL 14: This race remains too close to call between incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood and Republican challenger, State Senator Jim Oberweis. Oberweis holds a narrow lead as we wait for mail in ballots.
  • IL 17: DCCC Chair, Congressman Cheri Bustos barely survived a challenge from little known Republican Esther Joy King 51-49%. Money came in late to this race when donors realized King had a shot at a shocking upset. Expect a very competitive, and costly, race in this district in two years.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Now Available for Purchase: Sis & Me: Down by the Sea: A Book about Boundaries, Safe Touches, and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, written and illustrated by the Center for Prevention of Abuse

 Peoria, Ill – The Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA), whose mission is to help all people live free from violence and abuse, published its premier children’s book, Sis & Me: Down by the Sea: A Book about Boundaries, Safe Touches, and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention. The family-friendly book is now available for purchase online with Amazon and Lulu.

 Sis & Me is an important step in helping caregivers and adults start the conversation with children in their care about consent, boundaries, and how they can keep themselves safe,” said Carol Merna, CEO at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “One in four females and one in six males experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, so it’s paramount we ensure they have the specific language to stand up and speak up for themselves, as well as have an understanding of the body safety rules. I am grateful to our Prevention Education and Marketing departments at the Center for Prevention of Abuse for their hard work in writing, editing, and illustrating this book.”

Sis & Me teaches young children about body safety through its singsong and rhyming story about Sister and Brother and their day at the beach. As the siblings enjoy an outdoor adventure, they encounter a variety of friends who help teach them about safe and unsafe touches. They learn four important body safety rules: Say No, Get Away, Tell Someone, and Be Believed. The book also uses gender-neutral language during all interactions with the sea creatures and animals.

“The Prevention Education Department is proud to offer age-appropriate, evidence-based, and comprehensive programming on child sexual abuse prevention, among other topics, in the Tri-County Area,” said Laura Kowalske, Director of Prevention Education at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “Sis & Me will not only be of use to us in the classroom and through remote learning during the school year, but it’s an excellent tool for parents, caregivers, guardians, counselors and administrative staff, as well as at daycares and other professions who interact with children on a regular basis.”

Sis & Me is complete with a “Resources After Reading” section at the back of the book full of questions and prompts to continue the conversation. CFPA also created a bonus free digital toolkit with 30+ pages of age-appropriate activities, games, and discussions available for download here. A portion of the proceeds from Sis & Me benefit CFPA and help build a safe and peaceful community.

To purchase a copy, visit www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org/sisandme. To learn more about Prevention Education at the Center for Prevention of Abuse, visit www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org.




Camille Yameen  
Center for Prevention of Abuse / 309.272.2904 

 About the Center for Prevention of Abuse

The Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) is the only agency authorized by the state of Illinois to provide a combination of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and adult protective services for survivors of abuse. Annually, CFPA serves more than 5,000 women, men, and children affected by violence and abuse. CFPA offers school-based abuse prevention programming to students pre-K through college age, reaching more than 35,000 young people each year. Through these activities, plus community presentations and trainings, CFPA lives out its mission to help all people – women, men and children – live free from violence and abuse. For more information about CFPA, visit www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org or call 309-691-0551. The crisis line is available 24/7 1-800-559-SAFE (7233) and all victim services are free and confidential.



Monday, October 26, 2020

CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Announces CASAblancaDancing with the Local Stars

CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Circuit's premiere fundraising event, CASAblanca Dancing with the Local Stars, is going virtual for 2020! Join us online on November 7th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM for this unique and fun-filled event. Watch the dance competition and other entertainment and participate in the interactive online activities from the comfort of your own home.

Your virtual ticket will include access to the streaming site to watch the event from your phone, tablet, computer or even your Smart TV. You'll be able to cast your vote for the Critics' Choice Award, participate in the voting for the People's Choice Award by making a donation ($1 = 1 vote) and see the real-time results! Host a viewing party for 10 people or less (safely, please!) and be eligible for the Hilltop Wealth Management of Raymond James Viewing Host Award, presented to the Viewing Host that raises the most money. Individual tickets are $150 per person and the Viewing Host is $1,500 for 10 tickets.

Register online at https://iconnect.d2kcorp.com/casapeoria/event.asp?e=5ppe4p6njy. Visit our website at https://www.casaofthetenth.org/ for more details or contact CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit at 309-669-2939 or casa@peoriacounty.org.

The 2020 Dancers helping to make a difference for abused and neglected children include:

Grant Murphy, Murphy & Dunn, PC & Maria Murphy, Children's Hospital of Illinois

Miguel Ramirez, MD, OSF Orthopedics & DesireĆ© Sehati, Sinclair Dance Studio

Adam Shaw, Sinclair Dance Studio & Mady McKeown, Sinclair Dance Studio

Peoria Ballet Students


Participating as Judges include former CASAblanca dancers:

Ryan LaCosse, Best Buddies

Arron McCall, CrossFit North Peoria

Deborah Roethler, City of Peoria

The Honorary Chairs are Adam Hawks of Hilltop Wealth Management of Raymond James and Associates and Laura Hawks. Event Co-Chairs are Teri Cook of Cook Travel and Karoline Seitz-Goddard of CIBM Bank. The evening's emcees are Ashley Bradshaw of Green Ford and Ryan Hite of Eagle Rock Insurance Services.

Thank you to the sponsors that help make this event possible: WMBD, WYZZ, D2K Marketing, CIBM Bank, Miguel Ramirez, MD OSF Orthopedics, Dr. Phillis Dewitt & Craig Nelson, Hilltop Wealth Management of Raymond James, The Louis S. Hensley, Jr. Family Foundation, and Lisa Murphy Web Design.

For more info see:




About CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit FKA CASA of Peoria County (www.CASAoftheTenth.org): Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Tenth Judicial Circuit is a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the Juvenile Court system. Its existence is based on the belief that every child has the right to a safe and permanent home allowing them the chance to reach their full potential in life. The organization has been serving abused and neglected children since 2005.  CASA is supported by Heart of Illinois United Way, VCVA IL Attorney General, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority with VOCA funds, Illinois Court Appointed Special Advocates, and generous donors. CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit is a Member of the National CASA/GAL Association.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Illinois Central College Names Christopher S. McCall as 2020 Distinguished Alumnus

                Illinois Central College presented Peorian Christopher S. McCall with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on Thursday, October 22. The presentation was part of the college’s virtual Community Celebration event, held annually to recognize and celebrate ICC scholarship recipients, their donors and community partners.    

“The Distinguished Alumnus Award annually recognizes an ICC alum who has achieved outstanding success in their chosen field. It also recognizes their humanitarian service and demonstrated support for higher education and Illinois Central College,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Mr. McCall’s inspirational story is another great example of the role ICC can play in changing lives. His numerous accomplishments, impressive community involvement and desire to make a difference make him very deserving of this award. Chris makes our community a better place, and we could not be prouder to call him an ICC alum.” 

McCall is well known for his involvement with local youth and the community. He created a free mentoring program for 5th through 8th grade children in central Illinois to learn and practice the basics of trial law. The program is known as “Order in the Court!” and provides the opportunity to present trial cases to volunteer paralegals, attorneys and actors who create mock legal conflict scenes. He has also served on numerous nonprofit boards, such as Central Illinois FRIENDS, Center for Prevention of Abuse and Peoria County Bar Association. He served as the past Peoria County Bar Association Diversity Chair where he helped raise funds for the diversity scholarship awarded to minority law students. 

 “I would like to thank the ICC board, faculty and staff and Educational Foundation for this recognition, along with my family and colleagues who assisted with furthering my career and community involvement,” said McCall. “ICC faculty and staff instilled in me the confidence and belief that I could succeed socially and academically. ICC truly is the Smart Choice.” 

 McCall, who was born and raised in Peoria, attended Richwoods High School and Illinois Central College before attending the University of Illinois. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and returned to Peoria to establish the McCall Law Offices in 2005.  

 In 2012, McCall was a recipient of the prestigious 40 Leaders Under Forty award recognizing Greater Peoria’s outstanding young professionals. He also received recognition as an Illinois Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, an honor given to only 2.5 percent of Illinois lawyers.  

 McCall is currently the Chair of the Central District of Illinois Court Rules committee and a board member of Peoria Police Activity League (PAL). He also remains active in his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. 

For more information on the Distinguished Alumnus Award, visit icc.edu/alumni/distinguished-alumnus-award. Additional information on the Community Celebration may be found at  icc.edu/communitycelebration.