Peoria County news briefs

The Peoria Area Civic Chorale Youth and Preparatory Choruses will perform a joint concert titled “Astonishing!” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 7 at the First United Methodist Church, 116 NE Perry, in Peoria. Song selections will focus on joy, peace and patriotism. The organization’s current Young Artist winners will also perform and a reception will follow. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students and will be available at the door.


Kick off spring with A Day in the Garden Patch

University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Master Gardeners would like to welcome spring after a long winter with “A Day in the Garden Patch from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, April 6 in Pontiac.

A Day in the Garden Patch is all about inspiring, educating and encouraging gardeners, whether they have a balcony and a sunny window or an acre to grow. This educational event is for all who love plants and want to discover new gardening hacks and tips while having fun.

The morning will kick off with Kelsay Shaw from Possibility Place Nursery in Monee. Kelsay’s presentation, entitled Ornamental to Natives will cover why natives not only brighten home landscapes, but prove beneficial to birds, butterflies, and the environment.

Kelsay will share before and after pictures of plantings gone from regular ornamental to native-based landscaping. He also will discuss native plant benefits, and how to select the right plants.

Bob Streitmatter, from Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria, will inspire to breathe new life into your garden with a little design, planting, accessorizing, and maintenance. While some of his tips are long-term projects, others can be implemented within a few hours.

Finally, a container making party will end the morning where participants will get to design and make their very own kitchen herb garden in a colander to take home. Livingston County Master Gardeners will provide great tips on growing and using herbs all summer long.

Space is very limited. A $20 registration fee will include morning refreshments, two garden-themed presentations, and one hands-on workshop, where you will leave with your very own container of kitchen herb gardens. The program will be hosted at the University of Illinois Extension Livingston County office, 1412 South Locust St., Pontiac. To register, visit or the Livingston County Extension Office at (815) 842-1776.


Registration open for ICC’s College for Kids

Registration is now open for the summer 2019 sessions of Illinois Central College’s popular College for Kids program.

The summer program features fun and educational classes for students entering fourth through twelfth grades. Session 1 runs Monday through Thursday, June 10-21, and Session 2 runs Monday through Thursday, July 8-19.

Kids are sure to find topics to fit their interests, with classes available in leadership skills, French, chess, cooking, dance, science, art, Harry Potter, balloon artistry, computer design and coding, and much more.

Several new classes are being offered this year. Some of these include: “The Price is Right!,” which teaches kids to earn, save and spend in a fun way; “Disney 101,” in which students will learn all things Disney-related; and “Python Programmers,” which explores coding with Python to create engaging apps and games.

Kids can extend their fun by participating in additional off-site Friday Fun Trips offered from 8:30 am to 2:30 p.m. on each Friday of College for Kids. Cost for these Friday fun sessions ranges from $75 to $95.


Two additional class options extend the day and accommodate working parents — Early Bird Club, available Monday through Thursday from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m., and Club CFK, available from 3:15 to 5 pm.

Both Early Bird Club and Club CFK feature games and computers. Cost for Early Bird Club is an additional $45, and Club CFK costs an additional $75.

Tuition per class varies for each class, based on instructional materials needed. Space is limited. Registration by phone at 309-690-6900, or online at A complete listing of classes, descriptions and registration materials also will be available online.

For questions, contact ICC Youth Programs Coordinator Steffi Xu at (309) 690-6916 or email


Ag Lab Removed from Closure List

Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced that the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research has been removed from the closure list and is recommended to be funded in President Trump’s FY2020 budget proposal sent to Congress. Over the last two budget cycles, Reps. LaHood and Bustos have worked to ensure the Peoria Ag Lab remained fully funded despite being subjected to spending cuts and threatened closure in the President’s budget.

“During my time in Congress, Congresswoman Bustos and I have fought tooth and nail to ensure the Peoria Ag Lab remains fully funded year in and year out despite being cut from multiple budget proposals sent to Congress by the President. I am grateful to President Trump for recognizing the great work being done at the Ag Lab and for his decision to have the Lab fully funded in FY2020,” stated Rep. LaHood.

Bustos called the announcement “a victory for Peoria and for bipartisan cooperation in Congress. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue working with community leaders, our U.S. Senators and Congressman LaHood to maintain funding for the facility and their groundbreaking research projects.”


Free tax preparation assistance available

Low-to-moderate income families and senior citizens needing assistance filing their 2018 income taxes can receive free help through several trusted programs across the State of Illinois.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and AARP Tax-Aide programs are providing free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in over 300 locations statewide.

“With April 15 just around the corner, it is important for Illinois taxpayers to know that filing assistance is available,” said David Harris, Illinois Department of Revenue acting director.  “Volunteers at these locations are certified by the IRS and ready to assist qualified individuals in filing their state and federal tax returns accurately and on time.”

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities, limited English speaking taxpayers and individuals 60 years of age or older.

AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program focuses on helping low-to-moderate income individuals, with special attention to those over 50 years of age. An AARP membership is not required.

“I want to thank the Illinois Department of Revenue, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), and AARP Tax-Aide programs for providing this much-needed service to older adults across the state that just need help,” said Paula Basta, acting director of IDA.

Taxpayers can search for a free tax preparation location closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website

Get the latest news and updates from the Illinois Department on Aging by following the department on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, or by calling the Senior HelpLine at (800) 252-8966.