Peoria County news briefs

Illinois Central College will offer a free Solar “Boot Camp” for its Spring 2020 Solar Pipeline Training Program on the ICC Peoria Campus, located at 5407 N. University St. (Photo courtesy of ICC)


Bald Eagle Days includes breakfast, photo contest

Showcasing the city of Chillicothe’s Bald Eagle Days, the Rotary Club of Chillicothe along with the Lions Club will host its annual Eagle Watch Breakfast serving pancakes and sausage from 7:30 to 10:30 am on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Shore Acres Clubhouse at 100 Park Blvd., Chillicothe.

Along with the breakfast there will be a children’s storyteller, a presentation with live Birds of Prey from Wildlife Prairie Park and the Audubon Society will be on hand with educational materials, spotting scopes and binoculars for wildlife viewing.

The Optimist Club in partnership with the Chillicothe Public Library will hold an “Eagles” & “Life on the Illinois River” photo and art contest.

The contest winners will be announced at the breakfast at 10 a.m. A special dedication of the new Double Eagle Viewer Telescope to Shore Acres Park will be held at 11 a.m.

Tickets for this event are available in advance from the Rotary and Lions club members and at the door for $7/adults and $3/children 10 and under.

The event is sponsored by CEFCU, Heritage Health: Therapy & Senior Care, City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Park District.


Nature Center gets IDNR grant money

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $29.7 million in grants for 85 local projects which will help communities acquire open space and develop and improve recreational facilities throughout Illinois.

The Peoria Park District’s Forest Park Nature Center will receive $526,000.

“Investments in local park projects are good for families and recreation enthusiasts, helping them enjoy outdoor activities and making Illinois communities better places to live and work,” Governor Pritzker said. “Parks projects also boost local economic development efforts and spur additional investment throughout the state.”

The grants are funded through the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The OSLAD program can provide up to one-half of a project’s funds. When combined with the investment of local matching funds, the grants announced today will support more than $56 million in local park development projects and land acquisitions statewide.

The OSLAD program has invested $403.2 million in 1,729 local park projects since its inception in 1987. The program receives dedicated funding from a percentage of the state’s Real Estate Transfer Tax.



ICC Solar Pipeline “Boot Camp” & Training Program for spring

Illinois Central College will offer a free Solar “Boot Camp” for its Spring 2020 Solar Pipeline Training Program on the ICC Peoria Campus, located at 5407 N. University St., Peoria.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about occupations in the growing Illinois solar market are encouraged to attend this session to determine interest in solar occupations and the program.

Call 309-690-6913 to reserve your spot.

ICC’s Solar pipeline Training Program Prepares individuals to compete for solar entry-level positions. Students will gain the fundamental knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to analyze, design, sell and install photovoltaic systems.

To be considered for the next class of 15 participants in the ICC Solar Pipeline Training Program, complete the pre-application at and return it (mail, in-person, or email) to either of the following organizations:

Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League

317 S. MacArthur Highway



Jobs Partnership Peoria

602 W. Richmond Ave.


309- 404-9095


Extension holds backyard fruit tree workshops

University of Illinois Extension is hosting two sessions for backyard gardeners on how to grow and care for fruits at The Refuge Food Forest in Normal, an outdoor, hands-on classroom. One session will focus on pruning and training apple trees, the other on pruning brambles like raspberries and blackberries.

Shirley Blackburn, Partridge Point Orchard in Metamora, will demonstrate how to plant, prune and train young apple trees. Yearly pruning during the dormant season and training the direction of limb growth can increase fruit quality, reduce the occurrence of diseases, and improve the longevity of the tree.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. at the University of Illinois Extension Office in Bloomington for a lecture, followed by a trip to the food forest for a hands-on demonstration. Find specific event details and registration at under Feb. 8 or by contacting the Extension office at 309-663-8306.

Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, will also demonstrate planting, pruning and caring for brambles in a second workshop in February.

Most varieties of blackberries and raspberries need to be selectively pruned to ensure healthy growth, reduced the occurrence of diseases and ensure lots of berries.

Some require rejuvenation (cutting them to the ground) each season. Learn more on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 12:30 p.m. at the University of Illinois Extension Office in Bloomington for a lecture, followed by a trip to the food forest for a hands-on demonstration.

Find specific event details and registration at under Feb. 29 or by contacting the Extension office at 309-663-8306.

Annie’s Project presents spring seminars for women in farming

Annie’s Project courses have successfully reached more than 9,000 farm and ranch women in 33 states.  The next Annie’s Project is being co-sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit, and Fulton County Farm Bureau starting in March.

Annie’s Project is designed to help farm women develop their management and decision making skills in the dynamic, complex world of agriculture.

Pre-registration is required by Feb. 1.

Dates for the six-session series will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 17, 19, 24, 26, 31, and April 2, with each session running from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fulton County Farm Bureau, 15411 N IL 100 Hwy, Lewistown.

Check-in will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a lite supper being served each evening.

The cost of the program is $50 and is payable by the registration deadline on March 2. If you are an Annie’s Project Alumni and would like a refresher, the cost is $30.

Checks should be payable to the University of Illinois. Online registration is available at

For more information contact, Christine Belless at or call 309-547-3711.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event listed in this news

release, contact your local Extension office.


Red Cross urgently needs donors for type O shortage

The American Red Cross has extended its urgent call for donors of all blood types to give blood or platelets. With influenza escalating across the country and preventing some donors from giving, and winter weather threatening to cancel blood drives, the Red Cross now has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs donors to restock the shelves.

Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of type O blood available for patient emergencies and medical treatments. Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type and can be given to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

While just 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, it can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is what hospital staff reach for during emergencies when there isn’t time to determine a patient’s blood type.

Every day, the Red Cross must collect nearly 13,000 blood donations and more than 2,600 platelet donations for patients who rely on blood to survive. Shortfalls in donations can cause delays in essential medical care for patients like 12-year-old Dagan Hawkins.

Donors of all blood types — especially types O positive and O negative — are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.


 Pritzker signs bill allowing students to vote during school day

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Jan. 22 signed legislation allowing students to be excused from school for two hours to vote in a primary, general, special, or any election for two hours to vote in a primary, general, special, or any election in Illinois at which propositions are submitted to a popular vote in Illinois.

Students can be excused to exercise their right to vote on a day in which early voting is offered or on the day of the election. Under the legislation, the school may specify the hours in which students may be excused.
“With this new law, our voting-eligible young people will have the freedom to fit voting into their school day without fear of repercussion for engaging in the very civic education we should all be proud to encourage, said Pritzker. “The young people who advocated for this legislation recognized how important it is not only to vote, but to make the act of voting as accessible for all who can vote as possible.”
Senate Bill 1970 takes effect June 1.