Higher teacher salary waiting for governor’s OK
Teachers throughout Illinois could eventually be paid a minimum of $40,000 a year, if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a measure that is on his desk.
The Illinois House, after a 65-47 vote, sent the governor a measure raising public school teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000 a year over the next five years.
Proponents say the measure will help to attract and keep more teachers in a state that’s facing a growing shortage, and help raise salaries in low-paying areas of the state. Opponents believe salaries should be negotiated between teacher unions and school districts, and not be the subject of legislation.
Lincoln Museum voters’ No. 1 choice
Perhaps it is only fitting that, in the Land of Lincoln, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is the state’s favorite museum. Online voting for the Illinois Top 200 project put the museum on top, followed by the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Peoria’s Riverfront Museum came in at No. 8.
The Illinois Top 200 project lets Illinoisans vote every two weeks on the most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 categories — the Illinois Top 200.
Voting in the next category, top books set in Illinois or written by someone from Illinois, is underway at IllinoisTop200.com.
Here are the top 10 museums:
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield;
- Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
- Field Museum, Chicago;
- McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington;
- Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago;
- Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mount Vernon;
- Illinois State Museum, with locations in Springfield, Lockport and Lewistown;
- Peoria Riverfront Museum;
- Chicago History Museum; and
- Cantigny Park, Wheaton.
Students wanted for citizen police academy
Peoria residents are invited to participate in the Citizen Police Academy which will be held at the Peoria Police Department from 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday, June 6-July 25. The academy is designed to give citizens a better understanding of the Peoria Police Department through education and hands-on activities.
Presentation topics will include crime view mapping, emergency communications center, patrol division, neighborhood tour with resident police officers, special response team, explosive ordinance disposal, crime scene investigation, don’t shoot initiative and neighborhood nuisance abatement.
The Citizens Police Academy is free and applicants must be at least 18 years of age and successfully pass a criminal background check. Applications will be accepted until the class is full. An application and course schedule are available at the Police Department website, peoriagov.org/peoria-police-department/neighborhood-programs/. An application can also be requested by contacting Jennifer Engelbrecht at 309-494-8250.
New splash park under construction
Ground has been broken for Peoria GreenSplash, a new splash park and educational play area. The park is being made possible through a Building Better Communities grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The City of Peoria applied for and received the grant in 2017.
The $150,000 grant will be used to build the splash park feature within Harrison Park. The project is a collaboration between the American Water Charitable Foundation, NRPA, the City of Peoria, Illinois American Water and Peoria Housing Authority. The park will be at south Griswold and south Friedan streets.
Community parks like Peoria GreenSplash help to connect children to nature with nature‐based play areas. In Peoria, youngsters will play in clean water and learn about native plants, the natural water cycle and environmental stewardship. Peoria GreenSplash, which is scheduled to open this summer, will have educational signs about the benefits of native plants and clean water.
An opportunity for residents to contribute to the project will also be offered. Peorians will be invited to help plant native flowers at Peoria GreenSplash, at an event is expected to be held in July.
Fundraiser honors George Jacob
Eat and drink your way to the finish line in the 4th annual George Jacob Gut Buster, scheduled to kick off 9 a.m. June at 9 a.m. at UFS Downtown Outlet Center, 1800SW Adams St., Peoria.
The George Jacob Gut Buster is no ordinary a 5k and fun run. Here, participants eat and drink their way through the warehouse district and downtown Peoria. At the end of the race, there will be an after-party providing free beer, a band and food for sale. Treats and activities for children are also planned. Runners are encouraged to dress crazy and win prizes. Register at the race at gutbuster.peoria.com
The event honors former Peoria city councilman George Jacob, who endured a near-fatal sport motorcycle crash in 2010. Proceeds will go to the Neighborhood House Association, which serves more than 1,100 people a day throughout the greater Peoria area. It is a favorite charity of Jacob.
Volunteers are needed to help at pit stops and direct runners and cheer them on. Volunteers at alcohol pit stops must be 21, but there are other volunteer opportunities for the under 21 crowd. Contact Bryna Dixon at BrynaD@nhpeoria.org or 309-674-1131, ext. 230 for more information.
Peoria’s Lou’s drives into town
East Peoria will now get to enjoy what Peoria has for 65 years. Lou’s Drive-In, a Peoria institution, has opened a second location, this one across the river at 245 Farmdale Road.
Laurie and Tony Halsey remodeled the site of a closed Sonic Drive-In.
Plans are to keep the East Peoria site open all year, though it may close temporarily during the winter months. The menu will be the same as in Peoria.
The original Lou’s, at 4229 N. Knoxville Ave., is to maintain its usual schedule, from late spring to Labor Day weekend.
–Peoria County News Briefs–