Peoria County news briefs

Closing Session for the 2019 Mayor’s Youth Program took place on Friday, July 26 at the Gateway Building Ballroom, 2nd Floor located at 200 NE Water St., in Peoria. Mayor Jim Ardis, Interim Director of Public Works Bill Lewis, Deputy Director of Operations Sie Maroon and Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent of Peoria Public Schools were featured speakers. (Photo courtesy of city of Peoria)


SNAP-Education staff present at nutrition conference

Kaitlyn Streitmatter and Kayla Swaar, University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed) educators from Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit and Logan-Menard-Sangamon Unit respectively, presented at the 2019 National Child Nutrition Conference held in Chicago.

With around 1,600 people in attendance, this conference is an opportunity to bring child nutrition professionals together to learn, network, and gain a better understanding of how best to foster a healthy environment for our children.

Actively engaging in physical activity within a childcare setting is essential for a child’s growth and development. It is important for childcare staff to engage and interact with children to foster a healthy childcare environment, researchers said.

Not only do childcare professionals need to fully understand the health benefits of physical activity, but also understand how to engage with children throughout the day to enhance active play.

Streitmatter and Swaar provided childcare nutrition staff with innovative strategies to take back to their agencies across the nation.

Early childcare professionals have the ability to influence and mold the food and activity habits among children each day. Children learn behaviors from adults, and childcare staff are one of the adults children see regularly and admire.

The choices and behaviors made each day lead to habits, and these habits good or bad start developing in the early years and can follow us into our adult life. Hence, incorporating healthy eating and physical activity in early childcare centers are essential for the whole child’s health, the presenters said.

Physical activity increases children’s strength, flexibility, and endurance, and ensures their brain is ready to learn. Adult-led physical activities have been shown to produce higher levels of activity in children than unstructured play.

SNAP-Ed staff have prioritized training child care staff on how to make physical activity productive and encourage development.

“Exercise itself doesn’t make us smarter, instead, exercise makes us more able to learn and focus and optimizes the brain for learning,” said John Ratey, M.D. clinical professor of Psychiatry.

Professional development opportunities like what was presented at the National Child Nutrition Conference are available locally.

Streitmatter provides technical assistance and professional development trainings to Childcare providers in Fulton, Mason, Tazewell, and Peoria counties.


City plans public meetings for HUD consolidation

Every five years, the city of Peoria creates its Consolidated Plan for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plan outlines how the city will use its HUD funds, typically a $2.5 million annual allocation.

The city is interested in engaging citizens in the planning process and is hosting four public meetings across Peoria.

In addition, the city is offering a survey for residents to share their opinion on local use of federal funds, available here in English and Spanish. Paper copies are also available — the ConPlan-Survey-FINAL-2019_1564493784.pdf can be downloaded and printed and returned to City Hall, 419 Fulton St., Peoria, IL 61602.

Residents can also complete paper copies at City Hall, 419 Fulton St., during the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The details of the four public meetings are below:

Friday, Aug. 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Special Meeting of the Advisory Commission on Human Resources

Twin Towers Plaza – 456 Fulton St., Rm. 420

Monday, Aug.12 at 6 p.m.

First English Lutheran Church – 725 E Forrest Hill Ave.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.

Spanish speakers available

Peoria Friendship House – 800 NE Madison Ave.

For more information or for persons with disabilities who may need additional assistance, contact Kathryn Murphy at or 309-494-8607.


Planning sessions for Alzheimer’s walk

Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce invites members to a kickoff event on for Thursday, Aug. 15 for the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s-Peoria Metro that happens on Oct. 12.

The planning event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, contact Kate Wilson:


SUBHED: Zoo invites visitors to check out Budgie Aviary

Have you been to the Budgie Aviary at the Peoria Zoo? You can experience these colorful birds through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no charge to visit the Budgie Aviary, but guests can purchase a Budgie Seed Sticks for just $2 to feed the birds from your hand. Budgie

Encounters may be subject to change or cancellation. These creatures are wild animals and the zoo cannot guarantee that they will land on your stick or stick to our schedule. Visit for more info.

Women’s group helps Peoria students at ICC

Church Women United – Illinois will donate the cost of two-years’ worth of books and supplies to Illinois Central College in support of students in the D2 Diploma/Degree Program.

The new program, launching this fall, is a partnership between ICC and Peoria Public Schools and offers qualified high school juniors the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate in arts degree at the same time.

“Church Women United – Illinois is proud to support the youth of Peoria with an innovative initiative that aligns so well with our organization’s own belief that every child has the right to a quality education,” said Church Women United National President Patti Polk. “We are confident this gift will help remove barriers and provide the access to higher education these students need to be successful and contributing members of our society.”

“We are honored to have Church Women United – Illinois play such an important role in making a life-changing impact on these students,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey.

High-performing Peoria Public Schools students were selected to enter the program this fall. Students will attend classes together at ICC’s Peoria Campus with full access to the College’s academic support services.

Their high school counselors will continue to support the students, who also will have the option to participate in their high school extra-curricular activities.


  Evening with award-winning author and craft beer

The village is hosting a special evening with national award-winning author and Minnesota native J. Ryan Stradal on Tuesday, Aug 20.

The program will feature a book reading, craft beer and rhubarb pie to celebrate his new novel, “The Lager Queen of Minnesota.”

The evening will be 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bettye Jane Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts, 1327 East Kelly Ave.  For more information, call 309-322-1646 or go to


 Program focuses on hunger, sustainable growing

On Thursday, Aug. 8, various entities will launch the Ending Hunger Together Collaborative at the East Peoria Festival Building, 2200 E. Washington St., The program will be titled “What’s Our Recipe.”

This free event will highlight projects, partners, and opportunities to impact food insecurity in the Tri-County region. To register, call 309-929-0221.