Peoria County news briefs

Mike Wells


Take a Tree Walk with University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup will conduct a tree walk at the Illinois Central College Horticulture Center, 1 College Drive, East Peoria, on Saturday, Sept. 14. The event is part of the Master Gardener Summer Lectures Series. The event is free and open to the public. The program will begin at 10 a.m. for a walk around the center to look at stunning specimens and wrapping up at Noon.

As a Horticulture Educator, Allsup said, “I could tell you that Bald Cypress is a deciduous tree that flares at the base, the needles are alternate, and it grows between 50-70 feet. However, even a nature lover would not know how to identify this tree by these horticulture terms alone.”

“It is the pumpkin-brown fall color, the airiness of the needles, the stateliness of the trunk, and the purplish-green rounded cones that turn brown that will allow you to commit this tree’s name to memory.”

For more information on this program or other Extension programming, contact your local Extension Horticulture team at 309-663-8306.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Kelly Allsup at 309-663-8306 or


OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital gets new president

Mike Wells has been named president of OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois. He has served as vice president since June 2018.

Wells will be accountable for oversight of all internal operations of OSF Children’s Hospital, while developing and implementing short-term tactics within the long-term strategies of the OSF Women & Children’s Service Line. This will ensure high quality and cost-effective health care to children and families.

“I’m honored to serve alongside our talented, compassionate team of leaders and caregivers at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois, some of whom founded and built the hospital into the destination center it is today. We have a responsibility to provide the highest level of care for children from across Illinois and beyond,” said Wells.

“To accomplish that, we will incorporate cutting edge technology and techniques to advance inpatient care, further develop specialty and multidisciplinary clinics for complex conditions, extend our expertise to support care in communities throughout our service area, and continue developing innovative ways to provide access to care. Most importantly, we will carry on our OSF Sisters’ Mission of serving with the greatest care and love. The future is exciting for Children’s Hospital and it is a privilege to be part of it!”

Wells joined OSF Children’s Hospital in 2005 as the director of the Resource Link program and has assumed roles of increasing responsibility over the years.

He received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Illinois State University and went on to earn his master’s degree in clinical counseling psychology.

Community Development continues 100 Blocks in 100 Days

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, the city of Peoria Community Development Department launched the third annual 100 Blocks in 100 Days initiative. Over a 100-day period, each Code Enforcement Inspector will walk door-to-door, introducing themselves to the residents.

At the conclusion of November, staff will have covered over 100 blocks throughout the city of Peoria.

The 100 Blocks in 100 Days initiative will provide residents with the opportunity to speak

directly to their Code Enforcement Inspectors, providing them the opportunity to share suggestions, comments, and concerns about their neighborhood. This program not only promotes building relationships with city staff, but also educates residents on how the work of the Community Development Department directly impacts maintaining property values, public safety, and quality of life.

For more information on the 100 Blocks in 100 Days initiative, visit or contact Code Enforcement Supervisor Ashley Elias at 309-494-8929 or

Annual Running with the Dogs 5K

On Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m., Paws Giving Independence will sponsor the Running with the Dogs 5K.

The run will begin at Northwoods Church and continue Wilhelm west through the intersection of Allen Road to the Rock Island Trail. The runners will continue the Rock Island Trail to a designated turn around point where they will continue the same route back to the finish line which is at the starting point.

The intersection of Wilhelm at Allen will experience delays (approximately 9 to 10 a.m.) If you plan to travel in this area, please allow extra time to reach your destination. Be aware of increased pedestrian and k-9 traffic


Museum hosts blues musician for concert series

Music at the Museum: Acoustic blues musician Ivas John performs as part of the monthly “Music at the Museum” concert series at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12. John’s story is as unique as his music.

Born as a first- generation Lithuanian American into a music-loving Chicago home, John’s earliest influences came from European folk dancing, melodies hammered out on the family piano, and playing trumpet in the school band.

John’s most recent project, “Good Days A Comin,” put him on the map in the world of acoustic music with a vision of what pure folk and country blues music should sound like. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information on the featured acts and a full series schedule, visit

 IDNR gets ready for fall waterfowl hunting

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding waterfowl hunters of key dates and other information regarding the 2019-20 waterfowl seasons and beyond.

Public Duck and Goose Hunting Permits

The application periods for Illinois Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permits are now open, with application periods of Sept. 1-14 for the second lottery, and Sept. 15-28 for the third lottery. Permits remaining after the third lottery will be available on a first-come, first-served basis online starting Oct. 1. Permits are no longer mailed to successful participants but will be emailed, and participants can check the status of their permit application online and print their permit.

More information, including online applications, instructions and a list of participating sites is available on the IDNR website at: