Peoria County News Briefs


Senate OKs LGBT history requirement

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical figures would become a required part of history classes in Illinois’ public schools under a bill that hs passed the state Senate.

Senate Bill 3249, approved 34-18, would require a portion of public school history courses to include study of LGBT figures and that history books be “non-discriminatory” overall. Local school districts would still set the curriculum and have control over when the additional subject matter is included.

LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois praised the bill’s passage, arguing the state’s school code “already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities and people with disabilities.”

Some education advocates and religious groups oppose the bill, which now goes to the House.  


OSF HealthCare moves forward with downtown building project

OSF HealthCare is getting closer to seeing its Peoria Ministry headquarters become a reality. The organization has signed a letter of intent with Dewberry for the design and engineering of the new downtown headquarters. 

In January, OSF announced it was buying the property at 124 SW Adams St., Peoria, (commonly known as the former Chase building), from Caterpillar Inc. In addition to the Chase building, Caterpillar donated the Peoria Professional Building, the adjacent parking lot and $3 million to OSF for further development of amenities on the block. 

The success of this project continues to be contingent on the building being listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building within a historic district. This designation will make the building eligible for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits to assist OSF with restoration costs. That process is ongoing with final approval expected by mid-summer. 

In anticipation of the historic designation, OSF is moving ahead with design and engineering work on the building. Dewberry will be working with multiple specialty firms throughout Illinois to accomplish all that needs to be done. The project is expected to take at least two years to complete. More than 700 OSF Mission Partners (employees) are expected to work in the downtown Peoria location. 

Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

Superintendent receives honor of distinction

Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat’s work earned her a place among 21 Illinois school superintendents named a 2018 Superintendent of Distinction by colleagues in the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

School administrators in the Central Illinois Valley Region of IASA selected Desmoulin-Kherat based on her role promoting social and emotional learning, including collaborating with OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center to develop a trauma recovery center; the successful passage of a county schools’ facilities sales tax in 2016; the creation of Alignment Peoria, a network of business and community leaders focused on improving public education; and raising student achievement.

The award was presented at the IASA annual luncheon last week in Springfield.

Talk about neighborhoods over a cup of coffee

Residents are invited to talk over a cup of coffee. And city staff is buying. The topic: The neighborhoods.

City Community Development Department staff and code enforcement inspectors will talk about the ins-and-outs of code enforcement and neighborhood development. Residents and members of the public will have an opportunity to speak directly to area code enforcement Inspectors as well as share suggestions, comments and concerns about their neighborhood. The public is invited to all of the events, regardless of their home district.

For more information on this event, contact Neighborhood Enhancement Coordinator Josiah Williams at (309) 494-8636 or

May 21

  • Woodruff High School
  • 1800 NE Perry Ave.
  • 1st District
  • 9-10:30 a.m.

May 23

  • East Bluff Community Center
  • 512 E. Kansas St.
  • 3rd District
  • 9-10:30 a.m.

May 24

  • Peoria NEXT Innovation Center
  • 801 W, Main St.
  • 2nd District
  • 9-10:30 a.m.

May 25

  • Panera Bread (Westlake Shopping Center)
  • 2515 W. Lake Ave.
  • 4th and 5th Districts
  • 9-10:30 a.m.

May 29

  • Peoria City Hall, Room 300
  • 419 Fulton St.
  • All Districts
  • 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

May 30

  • Carver Community Center
  • 710 W. Percy Baker Jr. Ave.
  • 1st District
  • 9-10:30 a.m.

City reminds residents to cut grass, weeds

The current warm temperatures are bringing a number of complaints about tall grass around the city. The Community Development Department reminds residents about the requirements related to grass/vegetation and the process used to report code violations to the city.

Grass/vegetation requirements:

  • Grass and weeds cannot exceed 10 inches in length. This includes growth in fence lines, around foundations, and at the alley. 
  • If there is a privacy fence on the property, the alley side of the fence must be maintained. Tall grass decreases property values and can lead to mosquito issues.
  • All gardens must be maintained. You are allowed to have vegetation in a garden that exceeds 10 inches but the garden must be maintained and cultivated.

Reporting code violations:

  • Public lots owned by the city or Peoria County Trustee are the responsibility of the Public Works Department. Report tall grass issues related to these vacant lots to the Public Works Department at (309) 494-8800 or through Peoria Cares.
  • All complaints related to private property can be reported to the Code Enforcement Division by calling (309) 494-8654 or through Peoria Cares.
  • Complaints and concerns can be submitted through the City of Peoria Cares App that is available for iPhones and androids. In addition, complaints can be submitted through the city’s website,


Schools to get new superintendent

Scott Dearman, superintendent of Deer Creek-Mackinaw School District since 2012, will head Dunlap schools starting July 1.

In the short time it took to vote 7-0, Dunlap School Board members approved a contract recently to hire Dearman as the next superintendent. According to the three-year contract, Dearman will earn $185,000 a year, plus benefits, except retirement benefits, which are included in his annual salary.

Board members also approved hiring Raymond “Corky” Card to replace Tony Thomason as boys basketball coach.


–Peoria County News Briefs–