Peoria County news briefs

Peoria County Clerk Rachael Parker reads a proclamation Oct. 10 for Bradley University’s OLLI program in honor of its 25th anniversary. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is an organization of over 1,100 Peoria-area residents, from age 50 to 98, who want to stay vital and active as they reach and enjoy retirement. 
(Photo courtesy of Peoria County)


Peoria man dies in crash on Route 29

On Oct. 20, the Marshal County Sheriff’s Office and EMS received a 911 call regarding a 2-vehicle collision at the intersection of IL Route 29 and Thenius Road in Marshall County.

According to witnesses and reports, Donald “Skip” Burhans, 69, of Peoria, was traveling southbound on IL Rt. 29, in the northbound lane of the two-lane road. His sport utility vehicle struck a northbound pickup truck head-on.

Burhans was found unresponsive and restrained in his seatbelt in his vehicle. After he was extricated from the vehicle, he was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in grave condition. Despite aggressive resuscitative efforts, he was pronounced deceased at 3:51 pm, at OSF in the trauma room.

Preliminary autopsy and toxicology tests are pending.

The name of the other driver is unknown at this time.


 OSF HealthCare to honor local veterans

OSF HealthCare, in collaboration with the Heart of Illinois Human Resource Council, is hosting a Salute Our Veterans luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the Holiday Inn Suites Peoria at Grand Prairie, 7601 N. Orange Prairie Road.

The program will feature retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Terry Charbonneau. He served 13 months in Vietnam and received a Combat Action Ribbon, three Presidential Unit Citations and the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation with Palm and Gold Frame.

The Salvation Army Heartland Band will also be at the luncheon.

The event is free to veterans, their families and the general public. Corporate tables of 10 are available for $160.

RSVP online at


 Local 4-H shooting team members score big

More than 3,600 4-H members participate in one of the five 4-H shooting sports disciplines. Each fall, the oldest of those members compete in four state contests to determine the state winners and delegates to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition.

The shooting sports project teaches the responsible and safe handling of firearms. Members must be involved in a club led by a certified volunteer who has completed the National 4-H Shooting Sports training.

“4-H Shooting Sports Clubs are founded on the principles of positive youth development,” said Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois assistant dean and Illinois Extension 4-H director. “We want our members to feel welcomed in our program, to grow in leadership and independence, and be inspired to be generous in service to others as they master the skills of shooting sports.”

Top finishers in the contest have the option to advance to national competition if they have not already attended the national shoot for that discipline, said Curt Sinclair, Extension 4-H shooting sports specialist. The Illinois 4-H Foundation provides financial support for the national teams.

State 4-H archery shoot

The competitors started the day Sept. 21 in the wooded area around the Pekin Archers complex where they shot both three-dimensional targets and flat field targets. In the afternoon, participants aim for round targets from distances of 50, 40, and 30 yards. At this point of the competition, participants start to feel fatigue from repetitive shooting. By the end of the day, each competitor will make 105 shots.

Top ten finishers in the compound division include Peoria County members Brianna Hayes, Celtan McGinnis and Alexa Salverson. Peoria County earned the compound bow team division.



Cannabis in the Workplace class helps prep employers

Heartland Community College is presenting a workshop to help Illinois employers prepare their businesses for the marijuana legalization measures going into effect at the beginning of the new year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Heartland will present Cannabis in the Workplace: Your Policies and Communications. The class will explore how new legislation affects companies and their employees.

“With Illinois’s upcoming legalization of cannabis, the re-evaluation of drug-free workplaces and safety policies is becoming a priority for employers,” said Angie Coughlin, Heartland Community College Director of Continuing Education Outreach and Professional Development. “This workshop will help participants learn more about how the recreational cannabis law might impact their business.”

At the workshop, Illinois State Sen. Jason Barickman will provide the need-to-know background on Illinois cannabis legislation and respond to questions attendees have about the state’s legalization measures.

Business professor Terry Lowe will discuss how employers can identify gaps in company policies and help participants work to map an effective communication plan for employees.

For more information, or to register for the Cannabis in the Workplace program, contact Heartland Community College at 309-268-8160 or visit Cost is $15. Pre-registration is required.

 Program for developmentally disabled students marks 10 years

The Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) is celebrating ten years of providing students with developmental disabilities a pathway to independence.

Operated by Student Access and Accommodation Services, the HALO program provides a higher education experience for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and other learning challenges. The goal is to help students transition to the next level of independence in a supportive yet challenging environment.

When launched in 2009, Heartland’s HALO program was one of only three in the state of Illinois, joining Elmhurst College in the Chicago suburbs and Lewis and Clark College in Godfrey. Today, HALO students come to Heartland from all directions, including Clinton, Peoria, and Pontiac.

Students pursue a variety of coursework, including: cooking, money management skills, reading, technology, math, social development, health and wellness, and independent living. Outside of academics, HALO students develop the soft skills necessary for successful transition to adulthood. Upon completion of the program, a non-degree credential is awarded.

Today, HALO partners with Bloomington-Normal-based agencies like Marcfirst and Bridgeway to connect students with job shadowing, job coaching, and career opportunities.


 IDNR announces schedule for grant funding 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) have announced anticipated application deadlines for competitive grant programs for Illinois Fiscal Year 2020.

Grant program goals vary by program and include natural resource protection, management, and enhancement; recreational amenity and open space acquisition and development; museum capital improvement; and, environmental education. Eligible applicants vary by program and may include local governments, non-profits, universities, and individuals.

For all IDNR grant programs, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will be posted on or before the posted date on the Illinois Catalog of State Financial Assistance, available at this link:

Each NOFO will include eligibility information, application instructions and links to application materials.

To apply for ICF grants, visit

For information on IDNR grant programs, including FY 2020 deadlines and program information, click here:

To subscribe to IDNR’s grant opportunities email list, click here: