Peoria County News Bulletin
Drunk Driving Made Real for Local High Schools PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:00


Photo 4_of_Prom_Night_Crashes

Photo courtesy of the Red Cross's Central Illinois Chapter.


Car accidents can be devastating. They can be made up of mangled metal, calls to the police and hospital, injuries, blood and maybe even death. A common cause of accidents is drunk drivers. For some Central Illinois high schoolers, they are getting more than just words, photos, and lectures from their teacher about drinking and driving. They are witnessing the dangers firsthand.

Every year since 1994 the America Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter has teamed with the Illinois Department of Transportation and area high schools to put together an event called Prom Night Crashes.

It is a reenactment featuring real life high school students acting out a prom night drunk driving accident. The experience can be intense for those watching and those involved. Andriana Sphmidgall, a Dee-Mack High School junior who played a dead body in the reenactment, found it difficult to even listen to the event.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:48
Knitting for Stillborns PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Elise Zwicky   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00


 The Heart of Illinois Knitting Guild has begun knitting tiny hats and blankets like these to help comfort bereaved parents of stillborn babies at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.  Photo by Elise Zwicky.


With knitting needles clacking, Shirley Selke of Morton is making an impossibly tiny blanket that will wrap a stillborn baby at OSF St. Francis Medical Center and provide a small bit of comfort for the baby’s grieving parents.

Selke is part of the Heart of Illinois Knitting Guild, which began making the blankets and tiny hats for the hospital’s labor and delivery department about six months ago.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 14:14
Turn of the Century Artist Still Relevant PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00

Taft sculpting_1_

Lorado Taft sculpting.  Photo courtesy of the Fine Arts Society of Peoria.


If you have ever lived in or visited Chicago, you may have heard of a man called Lorado Taft. Even if you spent 30 years living in the Windy City and have never heard his name, you have undoubtedly seen one of his many sculptures that not only make up the city but also say something about it during Taft’s time and even today.

This influential man is the subject of a lecture hosted by the Fine Arts Society of Peoria that is taking place on April 10 in Peoria.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 10:16
Prep.Freeze.Cook. PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Elise Zwicky   
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 00:00



Wendi Langstaff cooks sausage at her new business, Prep.Freeze.Cook, in Washington. The mother of five plans, shops and does the prep work for parties at which guests put together freezer bag meals that can go right into a Crock-Pot.  Photo by Elisa Zwicky.


What started out for Wendi Langstaff as a fun night cooking with friends has turned into a unique business that’s helping other Central Illinois families keep their freezers stocked, too.

Langstaff started Prep.Freeze.Cook as a home-based business last May and opened a storefront in Washington in January. She does the meal planning, shopping and prep work, while people sign up to host or attend a party at which they put 10 meals together in freezer bags for $120. People can also skip the party and pick up the ready-made freezer meals later for $150.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 08:53
The Sales Tax Fails to Sail PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by H Wayne Wilson   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00



Photo Courtesy of Dennis Slape.


Under Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal, the state would cut educational spending again, dropping per student funding from $6,119 in 2010 to $5,452 next school year. School districts have looked at alternative income sources to counter that trend. The 18 public school districts in Peoria County learned March 18 the sales tax wasn’t the answer as voters defeated a proposed sales tax increase by a two-to-one margin.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:51
Event to Preview New Children’s Learning Museum PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:00

Peoria PlayHouse

Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum floor plan.  Image courtesy of Jennifer Spokes.


Although Peoria already has a dedicated museum, it does lack a museum space dedicated completely to children. A Peoria Zoo event in April, called Before Party, hopes to bring people across the city together to discuss the upcoming Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum prior to its construction later this year.

The idea of Peoria children’s museum and its subsequent development, exploration and fundraising has been the 10 year work of the Junior League of Peoria, a 78 year-old organization dedicated to improving the area. It is a facility that many think Peoria needs.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 09:45
Auction Bringing Together Artists to Help Benefit Community PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00


Art Auction_Poster3

Poster image courtesy of Habitat for Humanity and Hiram Toraason.

Local talent will be coming together later this month to share a piece of their artwork in an auction that will help raise money for the Greater Peoria Area Habitat for Humanity.

This is the fifth annual art auction, this year titled Doorways to Dreams. It will feature around 65 pieces of artwork of various mediums – such as photography, glass work, paintings, woodwork, etc. – from a number of different artists from the Central Illinois area.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 14:27
World Renowned Violin Soloist St. John in Local Concert PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00



Photo by Twain Newhart.


The Heartland Festival Orchestra is offering a chance for locals to experience classical music through the help of an accomplished violinist and a live orchestra. It is hosting world-renowned solo violinist Lara St. John on March 22 at Five Points Washington in Washington.

St. John has been playing the violin since she was two, and she performed as a soloist in her first orchestra when she was four. She would later play with a wealth of orchestras across the world like Cleveland, Philadelphia, the Royal Philharmonic, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Queensland Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic among many others.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:32
Conference Informs Local Organizations About Health and Safety PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:00



Presentation of the Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Award during DIOSH Day.  Photo courtesy of DIOSH.

Health and safety is a crucial part of any business or organization. From 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on March 5, the Peoria Civic Center will be the host to the annual Downstate Illinois Occupational Safety & Health Day, which brings together nearly 20 health and safety experts and also a number of groups from around the area.

This is the 23rd annual DIOSH Day. It brings together many groups, such as government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, consulting firms and some private industries.


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 14:22
Little Known Civil Rights Activist to be Talked About Tonight PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00


Bayard Rustin_Photo_3_

Bayard Rustin speaking to college students in the North about Southern civil rights movement - photo courtesy of Rustin estate.


Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are all common names found in countless history books. For every notable historical figure who makes it into classrooms, though, there is one who slips through the cracks and into obscurity. This is certainly true of Bayard Rustin, a little-known civil rights leader who will be the focus of a lecture at Bradley on Wednesday.

The presentation will be done by University of Chicago-Illinois Professor John D’Emilio, who published a book on Rustin in 2003 called “Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin.” D’Emilio wanted his book to show the range of Rustin’s influence.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:33
Organization Helps Autistic Children Grow Through Play PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

Play is important for children. It can exercise your imagination and forge friendships. A Central Illinois organization is utilizing it further by using it to help kids with autism learn and grow.

Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters is part of Easter Seals, an organization that has been helping not only those with disabilities and special needs but also their families for almost 100 years.

The PLAY Project, which is located in numerous states across the United States and also in a number of countries throughout the world, has been at Easter Seals for 10 years, and its six level process is not initially about getting the child on the parent’s wavelength. It is the opposite.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 15:21
Community Still Giving Back to Tornado Victims PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00


red cross_color

Photo by Carl Manning, American Red Cross, taken in Washington, IL on Thanksgiving Day, 2013.  Courtesy of Erin Miller.

The moments after a disaster can be an opportunity for a community to come together. The same can be true for the weeks, months and maybe even years following one.

On Nov. 17, 2013, a devastating tornado ripped through parts of Illinois – Tazewell County getting a large portion of the storm. The twister damaged around 700 homes, injured over a hundred people and killed a few. Around two-and-a-half months later, relief efforts are still under way from organizations like the Red Cross and the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Red Cross case workers are still meeting with families every day to discuss matters having to do with the tornado like insurance, says Erin Miller, Central Illinois’s Red Cross regional communications director.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:34
Events Brings New Perspective on Four Seasons PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 00:00

Upper Bradley_Park_13

Photo of Upper Bradley Park courtesy of Tim Rosenberger.


We are currently in the throngs of an extremely cold winter. The weather can vary from a manageable 30-degree to a bitter 1-degree. Christmas being behind us and no big holiday or event to tide us over, many are looking forward to the warm embrace of spring. But maybe the winter weather holds more treasures than we think.

At 2 p.m. on Feb. 9 the Peoria Riverfront Museum Giant Screen Theatre will be hosting “Seasonings: The Writing of Jerry Klein.” Klein was, among other things, a columnist for the Journal Star for 55 years before retiring in 2009. He critiqued movies, local theater, symphony concerts, arts shows, ballet and etc. He also had a Sunday column that included nature pieces, social commentary and other essays.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 10:30
Local Economic Group Bringing Fish and Economic Growth PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00

Helping out the economy can be as easy as catching fish. Well, maybe not quite that easy.

The first annual Flying Fish Festival is being hosted in July by a relatively new economic development organization called Focus Forward Central Illinois. The festival will feature food, drink and entertainment. Its main focus will be bow-hunting the Asian Carp that populate the Illinois River in large numbers and endanger some of the other species that also occupy the river.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 14:55
Chinese New Year Event for More than Just Chinese PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

Chinese New_Year_Photo_7

Photo Courtesy of the Peoria Chinese Association.

You may not know much about the Chinese New Year. This writer did not before writing this article. In a few weeks’ time, a celebration of the New Year will be held by two Chinese groups in Peoria for those of Chinese descent and those wanting to know more about the culture.

The Chinese New Year is the biggest event of the year for the Chinese. It has been a tradition for centuries in China and areas with a large Chinese population, such as various Chinatowns across the country. It is seen as a time of luck, happiness and prosperity.

In China, it is just like Christmas, B.J. Yang, Chair of the Peoria Chinese Association, says. Everyone gets the week off to celebrate, and it serves as a reunion for families.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:58
Bradley Scholarship Gives Back to Teaching Community PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00


Jeffrey Bakken

Jeffrey Bakken, Dean of Bradley University’s Graduate School.  Photo Courtesy of Duane Zehr.


It has become more commonplace in today’s competitive job market for master degrees to be the way to get a leg up on the competition. Sadly, cost can sometimes be an issue for those seeking higher education. To help those facing this financial wall, Bradley University has a scholarship to help out educators in Central Illinois.

The Professional Educators Scholarship has been offered by Bradley for the past 10 years. It states that any full-time school district employee in Central Illinois can apply for the scholarship, which can shave 50 percent off tuition costs per credit hour – with 18 hours being allowed per semester.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 15:09
Flute Performance Educates as Well as Entertains PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

Kyle Dzapo

 Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Sparling.


Anybody who plays the flute will come across a highly regarded name not known among many average people walking the streets. His name is Joachim Andersen, and he will be celebrated and talked about during an event on Jan. 9.

Carl Joachim Andersen was born in Copenhagen on April 29, 1847 and died in May 7, 1909. He learned to play the flute when he was a child, and after playing in a number of orchestras like the Royal Danish Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, he co-founded the Berlin Philharmonic in 1882.

Little was known about Andersen the man until Kyle Dzapo, a nationally and internationally recognized flutist, researched and wrote about him for her doctoral thesis in the early 1990s. She later wrote many articles for professional journals and published a book about the composer.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 10:35
Center Offers Mental Health Programs After September Merger PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Thursday, 26 December 2013 15:07

Hult Center_4_-_Staff

Hul Center Staff. Photo courtesy of the Hult Center.

The Hult Center for Healthy Living appears not to be content with its ever growing list of programs and services designed to educate and assist people regarding health concerns, having recently started a new mental health program after a recent merger with Mental Health America of Illinois Valley on Sept. 1.

The 22-year-old organization has 74 programs, most of which are free, for a wide variety of age groups from young children to seniors 55 and above. Among the center’s many services are programs for cancer patients, caregivers, healthy living habits, senior citizens, youth education and mental health.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 15:35
After School Program Safe Environment for Children to Learn and Grow PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00



 Photo by Tim Rosenberger.


A small after school program called Weekday Wonders has been serving the neighborhood surrounding Glen Oak Christian Church for the past 22 years, giving children a safe place to go once a week and teaching them important life values.

Weekday Wonders is held from 5-7 p.m. once a week at the church and was created to benefit the kids in the neighborhood. The evening starts with a 15-minute opening at the sanctuary. Then they have dinner for 30 minutes. Finally, for the last hour, the kids play games and activities, participate in outreach and have journal time, each for 20 minutes apiece.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 15:28
Poetry Event Brings Diverse Groups Together PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00


Whisper and_Shout_Photo_1

Tebe Zalango alternates playing violin and speaking.  Photo Courtesy of Natalie Jackson O’Neal.


While they only had around 30 attendees at first, Whisper and Shout, a Peoria open mic night where local poets perform their work in front of others, has grown to encompass over a hundred people of various demographics and backgrounds a night.

Whisper and Shout, which has been around since 2010, is a unique community event hosted by the Community Art Center that anyone can attend or get involved in. For those unsure about what they may be going to see, the title says a lot.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:46
Local Tours Expose Peorians to Unknown Artists PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00


St. Sebastians_Night_Light_-_by_Rick_Melby_Photo_taken_by_Chris_Coxwell

 St. Sebastian's Night Light - by Rick Melby.  Photo taken by Chris Coxwell.


For almost three years, the Central Illinois Artists Organization has been exposing talented local artists to Peorians who may not know about all the painters, photographers, sculptors, glass artisans and woodworkers who work in the area.

This introduction to the arts is done through CIAO’s First Friday Tours. These free tours are held on the first Friday of each month and cover nine locations across Peoria and one in Morton.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:05
Special Holiday Store Helps Create Memories for Children PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:00


Stocking Stuffer_Volunteers

 Photo Courtesy of Crittenton Center.


The practice of buying gifts for the holidays is one most adults probably take for granted, but those at Crittenton Centers, runners of the annual Stocking Stuffer Shop, think it can be a rewarding and empowering experience for young kids who do not get the chance to get presents for their friends and family.

Crittenton Centers, a Peoria child welfare organization that has been serving Central Illinois since 1892, has been holding the Stocking Stuffer since 1983. It is a special store that allows children 12 and under to pick out gifts, ranging from $1 to $8 each, for the holidays. The child wraps the gifts at the store and then later give the presents to someone he or she knows without said person knowing what the child got for them.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:56
Corn Stock One Acts Bring Something New to Peoria PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 00:00

Honeymoon Motel_rehearsal_photo

 Photo Courtesy of Corn Stock.


Local community theaters can at times be criticized for not putting on enough new productions and instead going for the more well-known shows. Corn Stock’s Winter Playhouse, however, will fulfill the need of some Peorian’s yearning for new material with a series of three one act plays written by famous film writers and directed by three different first time directors.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 15:22
Center Seeks to Protect Abused Children PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:00



Photo by Tim Rosenberger.

Sexual abuse and physical abuse is going to be hard for anyone. Such cases can become even more difficult when children are involved. Peoria’s Child Advocacy Center recently received national accreditation for its work in such abuse cases involving children.

More than 676 thousand children were abused or neglected in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families Child Maltreatment 2011 Report. While neglect was the most common, various children also were victims of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Also, around 1,570 children died.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:30
Peoria Food Bank Helps Feed Thousands of Struggling Locals PDF Print E-mail
Peoria County News Bulletin
Written by Tim Rosenberger   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00


Photo of Peoria Area Food Bank by Tim Rosenberger.


As the people of Peoria figure out what to do with all their leftover Halloween Snickers, Tootsie Rolls and gum, thousands in the area are struggling to find even the basic food needs, never mind candy. That is where non-profit organizations like the Food Bank come in.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:55
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