Peoria County news briefs

Carla Presnell, Extension master gardener and master naturalist, was one of the 2019 Gardener’s BIG Day participants. Registration is open for this year’s event that is set for April 18. (Photo courtesy of U of I Extension)


 IDOT project shuts down Riverfront ramp

The ramp from Riverfront Drive to eastbound Washington Street in East Peoria is closed for reconstruction.

The ramp is being reconstructed to accommodate future detour traffic from Interstate 74. All current eastbound Washington Street traffic will be detoured to westbound Washington toward the Bob Michel Bridge (Illinois 40) and River Road.

The ramp is expected to reopen in its original configuration by Thanksgiving, when construction on the Murray Baker Bridge on Interstate 74 is complete.

Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. Use alternate routes when possible.


SUBHED: Vendor applications open for Farmers Market

Vendors are needed for the Farmers Market held Fridays June 5 through Sept. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The market is held in the Levee District, between Target and Gordmans. The Levee District retail area is bounded by West Washington Street, Clock Tower Drive, West Camp Street and Spinder Drive.

Vendor spaces are approximately 10 feet by 10 feet.

Vendors who sell fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, eggs, poultry, baked goods, approved jellies and jams must have produced them within the State of Illinois.

Crafters must have items of original works of art created by the seller or a family member. The hand-created component must dominate the commercial component.

Re-selling is not permitted.

Cottage food operations will meet all requirements of the Cottage Food Act and submit appropriate licenses and permits.

Those selling a vendor’s products must be members of the vendor’s family or a paid employee.

Food concession carts are not allowed.

View and download the Vendor Application Packet (PDF).

Cost of $150 for the full season of 17 Fridays, due by Saturday, May 2, 2020. After May 2, the fee for the season is $200.

The cost for weekly is $25 per week per space for those not coming for the entire season. The weekly fee is due on or before noon the day of the market.

For more information, email Market Manager Theresa Unzicker, or call her at 309-208-8484.


City teams with NAACP for local job fair

The city of Peoria will have representatives at the Carver Community Center, 710 W. Percy Baker Jr. Ave., on Wednesday, March 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. for a job fair.

The city has openings for police recruits, an emergency communications telecommunicator/trainee, a code enforcement aide and administrative specialist.

Those interested in any of these or other positions can come out and fill out applications there.

For more information, go to

County presents personal safety workshop

Illinois Central College, 5407 N. University St., Peoria, will host a workshop entitled Personal Safety: Don’t Become a Victim, on Wednesday, March 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The workshop will focus on the best practices in recognizing the signs of scams, abusive behavior, and other preventable crimes.

Aimee Shinall, Peoria County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services coordinator, will teach attendees how to protect themselves and loved ones, and what the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office does to help victims and survivors of these crimes.

This free program is for adults ages 18 and older. Registration is required. To register online:


SUBHED: Chemistry demonstrations at Riverfront Museum

Stand back, watch out, and enjoy chemistry in action at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on two Saturdays, March 7 and April 4, at 1 p.m.

Bradley University Chemistry Club students provide activities and perform chemistry demonstrations in the Museum’s Grand Lobby.

Free to members and with general admission. The program is kid friendly.

More information is available at the museum, 222 SW Washington St., or by calling at 309-686-7000.


County leaders encourage community pride week

Residents are invited to join community members for 309 Week, March 9-13, for a series of free and public events intended to energize and spark community pride, provide tools and techniques to combat apathy, and shine a spotlight on many of the great initiatives and activities happening in the Greater Peoria region.

For a full schedule of events planned by Peoria on Purpose, go to Peoria County Facebook page and


Fundraiser planned for local Humane Society

Wine & Whiskers 2020 will be held at the new Trailside Event Center above Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights on Friday, March 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 online or $55 at the door, and include wine & spirit tastings, a signature tasting glass, appetizers, and live entertainment. Event activities include a silent auction, a live auction, the “Wine Pull” and even a visit from a four-legged special guest.

For more information, or to buy tickets, go to


Extension prepares for spring at Gardeners’ BIG Day

University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners will host the 20th anniversary Gardeners BIG Day on Saturday, April 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at at Spoon River College in Canton.

Early bird registration is $35 by March 23. After that the price increases to $45 until April 9 or the event reaches capacity.

Extension Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists share their own expertise, invite many of their horticulture contacts, and line up Extension experts to present on a variety of topics of interest to new horticulture enthusiasts as well as further educate long-time gardeners.

This year’s session topics include trees, flowers, weeds, climate, tools, composting, and pests.

“This day-long event is structured to provide gardeners with information, ideas, and helpful hints for vegetable and flower gardening. Our planning committee select topics that appeal to Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, as well as first-time gardeners,” explained Bob Keene, Extension Master Gardener (EMG) serving in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit.

The 2020 keynote speaker is Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

She will be presenting on Project Wingspan: Landscape Enhancement for Imperiled Pollinators of the Midwest.

Other well-known presenters include Ella Maxwell, EMG and horticulturist at Hoerr Nursery; John Curtis owner of Barefoot Gardens CSA; Debbie Fluegel of Trees Forever, and Extension educators including Duane Friend, Ken Johnson, Jenna Smith, and Chris Enroth. “

Following the keynote speaker, participants can select their four break-out sessions from a total of 14 different options.

Space is limited for the event. Session description details are available within the online registration at or in a printed brochure available at the U of I Extension offices in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties.

If you would like one mailed directly to you contact Anita Wilkinson, Extension communications coordinator at 309-347-6614 or Paula Lane, Extension office support at 309-543-3308.