New minimum wage debate expected
The Illinois Senate is expected this week to start discussing a new plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Supporters of the measure were working on details with business interests and other business and government entities that would be affected by having to pay a higher wage.
The last increase in the state’s minimum wage went into effect in 2010 when it was increased to $8.25 an hour. It was the last of a series of increases approved in 2006. The federal minimum wage continues to be $7.25 an hour.
Negotiations would arrange for the state’s new minimum wage to be phased in over several years.
In 2017, Illinois lawmakers approved legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. However, then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill saying it would result in job losses at the low end of the wage scale and hurt the people the minimum wage is supposed to help.
Gov. JB Pritzker supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have a higher minimum wage than Illinois.
Sheriff to award state scholarships
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is again awarding college scholarships throughout the state to students who will be in college during the 2019-2020 academic year. In Peoria County, Sheriff Brian Asbell’s Citizen Committee will choose two local applicants to each receive a $500 scholarships. The scholarships are to help defray costs of books, tuition and fees.
Criteria is detailed on the application, found at ilsheriff.org under the Youth Outreach tab. Applications also are available on the second floor of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, 301 N. Maxwell Road and at the Peoria County Courthouse, Room B-20. Applications have to be submitted by March 15. Winners will be announced by May 1.
Theater celebrates centennial with popular musical
Peoria Players Theatre’s production of one of Broadway’s most popular musicals continues this weekend as the community theater troupe celebrates its 100th season.
“West Side Story” is a romantic musical tragedy set in Manhattan’s upper west side with two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, battling for control. When a gang member falls in love with a rival’s sister, tragedy follows. The musical is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Performances will be given at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-Feb. 9 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth 20 and younger. To purchase tickets, call the box office at 309-688-4473 or visit peoriaplayers.org.
Directors are Travis Olson and Clifford Clark, with music direction by Susan Somerville Brown and choreography by Danny Fisher.
The cast features both new and seasoned performers for Peoria Players. The cast includes: Tyler Smith as Tony, Mary Rose Williams as Maria, Tiffany Riech as Anita, Tommy Rosecrans as Riff, Josh Jones as Bernardo, Clay Frankel as Action, Sarah Hall as Anybodys, Nathan Nomichit as A-Rab, Dylan Hill as Baby John, Quinten Frisch as Snowboy, Jerrod Barth as Diesel, Ryan Foulk as Chino, Kyle Bassett as Pepe, Alex George as Indio, Eli Eveland as Luis, Sydney Johnson as Rosalia, Lauren Dalton as Consuela, Madison Boedecker as Teresita, Taylor Walters-Greer as Francisca, Kristina Kliver as Graziella, Rachel Kocher as Velma, Kelly Frickleton as Minnie, Susan Hazzard as Pauline, Seth Katz as Detective Schrank, Doug Day as Doc, Adam Drake as Glad Hand, Eric Carlson as Officer Krupke, and Adam Vestal as Officer O’Malley.
Following “West Side Story,” the Players will present “Dreamgirls” in March and “A Chorus Line” in May to wrap up the theater’s historic season.
Guild’s reception focuses on trompe l’oeil art
Peoria Art Guild’s new fine art exhibit features the work of trompe l’oeil ceramic artist Tim Kowalczyk.
Since graduating with his MFA from Illinois State University in 2011, Kowalczyk has maintained an active studio practice from his home in Minonk. For the past eight years, he has participated in many juried, group, invitational and solo exhibitions. He has received several awards including the Presidential Scholarship at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Merwin Medal: McLean County 82nd Annual Amateur Show and Best of Show: Water Street Studios Anniversary Show. His work can be seen in private collections, university collections and in a recent American Craft Magazine article. Kowalczyk was named 1 of 11 Innovative Ceramic Artists Breathing New Life into an Age-Old Art by mymodernmet.com’s By Stephanie Chang
The show will be in the gallery, 203 Harrison St., Peoria, until March 1. More details are available at peoriaartguild.org.
Organ donors saluted, new donors recruited
One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and more than 50 lives through eye and tissue donation. In honor of National Donor Day, the Peoria Public Library will thank members of the public who have volunteered to be a donor and invite others who want to learn about what it means to be a donor.
A presentation about the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry will be given at 11 a.m. Feb. 14, at the McClure Branch Library, 315 W. McClure Ave. Also, information will be distributed throughout the day, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., to anyone who cannot attend the program. Doughnuts will be served.
The state’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry is a confidential computerized database that documents a person’s wishes regarding donation. Information contained in the registry is only released to organ and tissue procurement personnel and medical examiners after all efforts to save a person’s life have failed.
–Peoria County News Briefs–