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.

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