Peoria County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Ballet students at Cornerstone Academy take a break from class. Breakfast at the Ballet, set for July 28, will raise funds for scholarships to the academy.


Volunteers on their way to Master Gardener status

A new crop of volunteers has completed University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener training. The 20 energetic trainees culminated their 10-week training and advanced to intern status.

Similar to last fall’s Master Gardener training, this course included outdoor learning activities. It also combined one of the 10 classes with Master Naturalist training occurring at the same time. Combining the soils class not only brought trainees together to begin future project collaborations but also saved resources.

Classes took place at the Peoria, Pekin, Lewistown and Havana Extension offices, as well as at Peoria’s United Presbyterian Church, Forest Park Nature Center and Illinois Central College. This allowed trainees to see current Master Gardener projects and learn from experts in locations beyond their home county. All in all, trainees received 60 hours of training on a wide variety of topics like botany, soils, food crops, landscape plants, plant health, and pest management.

The trainees are from Peoria, Dunlap, East Peoria, Metamora, Eureka, Morton, Manito, Mapleton, Princeville, Canton and Trivoli. They are now trained to help share the latest and greatest gardening information. This group will help answer gardening questions, establish and maintain demonstration gardens, work with the youth, provide garden therapy for seniors and those disabled, advise community gardeners, and much more.

The new interns join the 164 Master Gardeners already “Helping Others Learn to Grow” in the area. Learn more about the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program at


Property auction to be held Aug. 7

An auction of properties in Peoria County acquired through the tax process system will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 7, at 211 NE Adams St.

While this sale can provide citizens the chance to acquire a home, invest funds for rehab and return property to tax rolls, sometimes the process can be daunting and buyers need more information to make a home code compliant and livable.

In an effort to better inform potential buyers and concerned neighborhood residents, 1st District Councilwoman Denise Moore and the city’s Community Development Department will host an informational community meeting at 6 p.m. July 25, at the Carver Center, 710 W Percy Baker Jr. Ave.

Topics will include permits, inspections, occupancy, and which repairs can be done by the purchaser vs. a licensed contractor. The session will not cover questions regarding the auction.


Splash park needs help to plant flowers, plants

Volunteers are wanted to plant flowers and plants from 8:30-10:30 a.m. July 27 at Peoria GreenSplash. The new splash park and educational area, at the northwest corner of south Griswold Street and south Friedan Street, was made possible through a $150,000 Building Better Communities grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

Volunteers are asked to prepare for the event by bringing sunblock, a hat, reusable water bottle, garden gloves and trowels. There will be a limited amount of gloves and trowels on hand at the event. Illinois American Water will provide drinking water.

Peoria GreenSplash will post educational signs detailing the benefits of native plants and clean water throughout the site.

The splash park is the result of a collaboration between the American Water Charitable Foundation, NRPA, the city of Peoria, Illinois American Water and the Peoria Housing Authority. The splash park is being constructed on land donated by the housing authority, alongside the Harrison Homes redevelopment. The city applied for and received the grant in 2017. The new park is scheduled to open later this summer.

Jay Leno to perform at civic center

Tickets are on sale for Jay Leno’s stand-up comedy show coming Nov. 9 to the Peoria Civic Center theater. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Leno was host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” for more than two decades, almost the entire time between 1992 and 2014. Since his retirement, he has focused on his stand-up career. Currently, Leno also is host of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” a classic-automobile program telecast on CNBC.

Leno’s association with “The Tonight Show” extended to the late 1970s, when he made his first appearance as a guest of the legendary Johnny Carson. In 1987, he became the exclusive substitute host for Carson when he was on vacation.

Simply Three, a musical trio, is to be Leno’s opening act in Peoria. Tickets, on sale at the Civic Center and at, are priced at $59.50, $79.50 and $99.50.

The Peoria appearance is to be Leno’s second in central Illinois within two months. On Sept. 16, he is to perform at the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Peoria Speedway is for sale

The price of $675,000 will buy you a race track and all its equipment and out buildings. Peoria Speedway has been put on the selling block by its owners Jason Plumer and Brandon Dean, who have owned it since 2014. They purchased the track from Curt Mottaz. And, in 2011 Mottaz purchased the track from Sherrie Hamilton, whose family had owned the facility since 1974.

Any interested parties should contact Plumer or Dean directly. They are selling in order to focus on other business endeavors.

Breakfast at the Ballet to raise funds for scholarships

Breakfast at the Ballet will give the public an opportunity to see the new home of the Central Illinois Ballet and the Cornerstone Academy, 830 W. Main St., Peoria. Noonday Collection ambassador, Andrea Molina, will be at the event to share stories, jewelry and accessories from fair trade artisans from 13 countries. Most of Noonday’s female artisans are single mothers in vulnerable communities who desire to give their children an education. The event will be held at 10 a.m. July 28.

Noonday Collection will donate 20 percent of any purchases made prior to or at the event to the Cornerstone Academy scholarship fund which assists serious ballet students who are unable to afford tuition. Everyone who places an online order or attends the event will be registered in drawings for free product credit, 50 percent off items, and other fun incentives. 


–Peoria County News Briefs–