Farm economics summit to study profitability
This year’s Illinois Farm Economics Summit will address the profitability of Illinois agriculture and how to manage financial stress. The University of Illinois Extension and members of the farmdoc team from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in the College of ACES will tackle these topics in a series of five Farm Economics Summit meetings. Speakers from the U of I farmdoc team will explore the farm profitability outlook and management challenges from several perspectives, including the 2018 outlook for crop and livestock prices, soybean yield trends, an update on the next farm bill, the financial position of Illinois farms, habits of financially resilient farm operations, and crop economics for 2018.
The summit will be offered at five locations:
- Dec. 18 – Faranda’s Banquet Center, DeKalb
- Dec. 19 – Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, Peoria
- Dec. 20 – Crowne Plaza, Springfield
- Dec. 21 – Bretz Wildlife Lodge and Winery, Carlyle
- Dec. 22– iHotel and Conference Center, Champaign
The advance registration fee is $70 per person and includes lunch, refreshments and all meeting materials. The online pre-registration deadline is Dec. 11. For questions about registration, contact Nancy Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 244-9687.
Cost of residential electric bills to drop
Numerous cities in the Tri-County region, including Peoria and Peoria Heights, have negotiated a price reduction for residents and small businesses participating in the region’s electric aggregation program. In Peoria, the price participants pay per kilowatt-hour will be reduced from 6.007 cents to 5.757 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) effective with the January 2018 billing period. In June 2019, the price will be further reduced to 5.653 cents/kWh. The current supplier, Homefield Energy, will receive an extended term to serve the city’s program through December 2020. Customers in other regional cities will receive similar discounts.
The reduced rates reflect lower market prices experienced over the past year and Homefield’s desire to extend its relationship with the city.
The new price/term will trigger an opt-out process similar to previous enrollments for the program. Eligible residential and small business electric accounts will be receiving opt-out letters over the next few weeks.
Some letters have already arrived. The packets contain the new prices and terms and conditions. Residents wishing to participate do not have to take any action. Customers may opt out by returning a prepaid card or calling a toll-free number. Accounts that opt out will be returned to Ameren’s electric supply rate, currently at 6.17 cents/kilowatt-hour.
A key feature in the electric aggregation program is this: Participants do not need to sign a contract. No salesperson will call or visit. Further, the electric aggregation program includes 100 percent green energy via renewable energy credits (RECs) in support of the region’s sustainability initiative.
Residents with additional questions may call Homefield Energy at (866) 694-1262.
Airport breaks record for passengers in October
The Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport broke a 3-year-old record in October for the number of passengers who used the airport for the month. The 56,290 passengers surpassed the record of 54,580, set in October 2014.
The year started strong, with March being the busiest month ever. If the airport matches last year’s totals for November and December, then the numbers will surpass 2016’s passenger total.
The airport is one of two Downstate served by four airlines — legacy carriers American, Delta and United and low-cost carrier Allegiant. PIA also flies to four of the five most connected airports in the nation, according to OAG, an aviation data analytics company and its 2017 Megahubs Index. Chicago O’Hare International Airport leads the list, followed by Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas and Denver.
Library to show Christmas movies
The McClure Branch of the Peoria Public Library is giving its Monday movie time a festive twist with the scheduling of three classic Christmas films. Scheduled are “White Christmas,” Dec. 4; “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Dec. 11; and “A Christmas Story,” Dec. 18. Showtime is 10:30 a.m. and admission is free. The library is at 315 W. McClure Ave.
OSF hospitals remain in insurance network
OSF HealthCare hospitals and services will remain in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois health insurance network, the result of recently completed continued negotiations.
The agreement includes all BCBSIL Commercial, PPO, EPO, and Blue Choice products that (Blue Cross) terminated previously, according to the company statement, referring consumers to a complete listing online at osfhealthcare.org/blue.
Blue Cross announced in October that it was dropping OSF hospitals in Peoria, Galesburg and Rockford. OSF then removed its other hospitals in Illinois — with the exception of Alton — from the in-network coverage. OSF’s non-hospital providers were not affected by the move.
At the same time that announcement was made, UnityPoint Health-Methodist announced that effective in January, it would become part of the Blue Cross network for the first time in more than 30 years.
Other UnityPoint Health providers, both Proctor and Pekin hospitals as well as the physicians’ network, were in arrangements to accept Blue Cross already.
One more week of yard waste collection
Peoria will continue to pick up leaf and yard waste for one more week – Dec. 4-Dec. 8. Yard waste will be picked up at the curb on the regular trash days. Acceptable items for pickup include materials such as grass, leaves, tree limbs and/or brush. Yard waste collection will resume April 2, 2018.
Rudolph performances at Civic Center
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical” will visit at the Peoria Civic Center for two performances Dec. 2. Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 2 Ticket prices range from $25 to $55. Starring everyone’s favorite reindeer, the play is based on the animated television special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” For more information, go to peoriaciviccenter.com.
–Peoria County News Briefs–