Peoria Area News Briefs

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Peoria County

Cemetery gets its funding early

At least nine months early, Springdale Cemetery has received its $60,000 operating subsidy from Peoria County. Funds usually come at the end of the year. The county has also been paid the 2015 operating subsidy.

The early funding will help the cemetery’s cash flow.

The cemetery’s annual budget is provided through operating subsidies from Peoria County ($60,000), the Peoria Park District ($40,000), the Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation ($25,000), and the city of Peoria, which contributes whatever is required to balance the cemetery’s budget.


Pastor turned author exposes evil for what it is

To local pastor the Rev. Kevin Wright, evil is not sexy. It is not glamorous. It is not empathic.

It is nasty.

The father and pastor was tired of how evil is portrayed in popular entertainment. “So many shows seem to be enamored with the idea of evil being sexy or empathetic or anything other than nasty,” Wright told the Pekin Daily Times. “I thought it would be good to see something where the good guys are doing the right things for the right reasons, and you don’t want the bad guys to win.”

So he wrote and published “The Knight of Cups,” that shows evil for what it is.

He describes the book as a horror mystery. The book was received so well by family, friends and parishioners that Wright wrote a second book, “The Queen of Pentacles,” and is currently writing the third in what has become a trilogy.

Wright will be signing copies of his first two books from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at I Know You Like a Book, 4707 N. Prospect, in Peoria Heights. He’ll also be the featured author from 6-10 p.m. March 16 at a monthly Authors’ Open Mike night at the Lit on Fire bookstore at 929 N. Sheridan, in Peoria.

With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications, as well as a seminary degree, Wright worked as a pastor for several years in Ohio before coming back to central Illinois to teach communications and coach the debate team at Illinois State University. For the past 13 years he’s been the full-time pastor at First Covenant Church in Peoria and also teaches a summer class on logic and critical thinking at Spoon River College.

While he loves teaching and preaching, writing a book has been a dream since grade school. “The Knight of Cups” is dedicated to his third grade teacher at Morton’s Lincoln Elementary School, Oretta Smith, who encouraged creative writing.

Wright told the Pekin Daly News: “At the end of third grade, she said, ‘I know you’ll write a book someday, and you’ll have to dedicate it to me,’ so I told her I would, and I always keep my promises.”

Wright was pleased when he tracked Smith down to her home in Arizona to tell her about the dedication, according to news accounts.

The parishioners in Wright’s church have been equally supportive, even giving their pastor a three-month sabbatical to write the second book.

Wright initially published his works as e-books through Amazon’s Kindle and then published print versions through Amazon’s CreateSpace program. “Knight of Cups” came out last August, and “Queen of Pentacles” followed in December.

Wright is looking for an agent with the hope that the books might be picked up by a publishing house. He also hopes to write many more books.

Wright credits his wife, Wendy, and his children — Morton High School sophomore Alex and ISU freshman Megan — with supporting his dream and encouraging him. For more information about the books, where to purchase them and Wright’s upcoming book signings, visit his webpage at

Winter playhouse has final production

Corn Stock Theatre Winter Playhouse wraps up its 2015-16 winter season with “Bug” opening March 4.

Most of the play takes place in a seedy motel room. Lonely cocktail waitress Agnes lives there, hiding from her violent ex-con ex-husband Jerry Goss. One night, her lesbian biker friend R.C. introduces her to Peter, a Gulf War veteran who might be AWOL. She gets involved with Peter, who grows increasingly paranoid about the war in IraqUFOs, the Oklahoma City bombingcult suicides, and then secret government experiments on soldiers — eventually drawing Agnes into his delusions. The play deals with the issues of love, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and Agnes’ slow descent into insanity under Peter’s influence.

Directed by Trevor Neff, the play explores the madness and fear of conspiracy theorists. The characters of Agnes and Peter deal with the issues of love and paranoia while slowly descending into insanity under their influence over each other.

The play was written by Tracy Letts whose other well-known scripts include “August Osage County” and “Superior Donuts,” which The Winter Playhouse produced in 2012.

The cast includes Ali Pinkerton, Jake Van Hoorn, Krystal Adams, Kyle Redmon and Christine Trakata.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 4, 5, 10-12 and 2:30 p.m. March 13. Shows are at the Corn Stock Theatre Center, upper Bradley Park, 1700 N. Park Road. According to the theater’s website, tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students, and are available by calling (309) 676-2196, or online at Online, a $1 convenience fee per ticket is charged, making the prices $11 and $8.

Exhibit of crosses open during Lent

To commemorate Lent, First United Methodist Church invites the public to a special exhibit. “Come to the Cross,” an exhibit featuring crosses from around the world runs through March 20 at the Foster Gallery for Christianity and the Fine Arts at the church, 116 NE Perry. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8:30 a.m.-noon Sundays; or by appointment. Admission is free. Call (309) 673-3641 or visit

–Peoria Area News Briefs–