Peoria County news briefs

Peoria County has revised the deadline for applying for several top county offices. (Photo courtesy of U of I Extension)


Extension director connects with staff, stakeholders

The work being done through University of Illinois Extension programs and partnerships in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties is recognized for its positive impact at many levels through the University system. College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Dean Kimberly Kidwell, recently returned for her second unit tour, along with the new Extension director and associate dean Dr. Shelly Nickols-Richardson.

The duo spent the day learning about a few of our programs, engaging with unit staff, and networking with volunteers, 4-H members, and partners.

“Your unit is like an all-star team,” commented Dean Kidwell. “I appreciate having an opportunity to connect with our folks in the trenches and to marvel at the difference you all make in the communities there.”

A portion of the morning focused on the launching of a new enterprise led by the University of Illinois System and consisting of the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and Illinois Innovation Network (IIN). Local collaborators working to locate one of the IIN hubs in the greater Peoria area include U of I Extension, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Illinois Central College, U of I College of Medicine at Peoria, and OSF Health Care.

Extension community and economic development educator Kathie Brown facilitated the discussion focused on innovations in health care, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation.

The remainder of the day was spend reviewing a few additional programs: efforts to reach Hispanic audiences through Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP); 4-H Teen Teachers; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education Food for Health Partnership; Annie’s Project; and the Master Gardener partnership with local health departments.

Deadline for applying for county offices changed 

The timeline for appointment to the vacant positions of Peoria County State’s Attorney, Peoria County Clerk, and Peoria County Board Member for District 11 has changed.

Qualified persons interested in any of these vacancies must notify County Board Chairman Andrew Rand no later than Friday, July 26, at 2 p.m. by sending a letter to Attn: Chairman Andrew Rand-Confidential, Peoria County Board, Peoria County Courthouse, 324 Main St., Room 502, Peoria, IL, 61602; or by sending a confidential email to County Board Secretary Jan Kleffman ( or Chairman Andrew Rand at (

Dr. Blair appointed to County Board

Dr. Eden S. Blair was appointed Peoria County Board Member for District 6 at the July 11 County Board meeting.

Blair is an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Bradley University, where she has worked since 2007. She is an active member of the community, currently serving as a board member for Grafelman Farms Rescue and on the advisory board for TerraCarbon LLC. Dr. Blair has also served as Chair of the Advisory Council for the Peoria County GAP Loan Program.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Blair,” says Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew A. Rand. “Her extensive education in entrepreneurship and connections to the community will further enhance our collective board knowledge.”

The vacancy was created after the resignation of G. Allen Mayer on May 15. Blair will fulfill the remainder of Mayer’s term, which will expire in December 2020. She will serve on the Heath Committee and Ways and Means Committee.

District 6 covers central Peoria, bounded roughly by I-74 to the west and south, Lake Avenue to the north, and Sheridan Road to the east.


Urgent call for blood and platelet donors

Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.

About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups last week than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel.

This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week, causing the Red Cross to now have less than a three-day supply of most blood types available —and less than a two-day supply of type O blood — for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.

In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors — especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years — to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months.

Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O — letters that make up the main blood groups —disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.

Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed, and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.

How to help

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this summer by visiting


IEMA encourages earthquake preparation

The recent earthquakes in Southern California serves as a stark reminder that earthquakes can happen anywhere including Illinois, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Illinois is flanked on its western and eastern borders by two active seismic zones: the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. An earthquake similar to what was recently experienced in California could have devastating effects on our state.

Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.

There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, including:

  • Strapping water heaters and large appliances to wall studs
  • Anchoring overhead light fixtures
  • Fastening shelves to wall studs and securing cabinet doors with latches
  • Strapping TVs, computers and other heavy equipment to prevent tipping
  • Learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged

Each year the IEMA leads an initiative to register homes, businesses, schools and organizations in the world’s largest earthquake drill.  This year’s earthquake drill will take place on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m.  It’s never too early to register your participation in this potentially life-saving event.  Register today at

Learn more about how you can prepare your home, business and family for an earthquake at