Tazewell County news briefs

“Motivated to Move: Engaging Children and Staff” was the title of SNAP-Ed Educators, Kaitlyn Streitmatter and Kayla Swaar’s presentation at the 2019 National Child Nutrition Conference held in Chicago.  They helped participants better understand the importance of adult-led physical activities. (Photo courtesy of U of I Extension)


Offices, agencies to coordinate shared information

The Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency, 21304 Illinois Route 9 in Tremont, will host the first Tazewell County Clerk’s Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m.

This gathering of all Tazewell County Clerk staff, Tazewell County township clerks, and Tazewell County municipality clerks will focus on increasing collaboration and information sharing between the offices.

Each division of the Tazewell County Clerk’s Office will give a brief update concerning the office and announce any changes to procedures or policies that have impacts on municipalities and townships.

This gathering will also allow an opportunity to hear from municipal and township clerks on how we can further improve our services and their ideas on how to improve collaboration.

The keynote speakers will be members of the State of Illinois Cybersecurity Task Force to discuss this new organization’s role in securing our elections and information.

The Illinois Cybersecurity Task Force is built around an information sharing partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security, Illinois State Police, Illinois Statewide Terrorism Intelligence Center, Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center, Illinois State Board of Elections, and local County Clerk Offices throughout Illinois.

The speakers will include Amy Kelly of the Illinois State Board of Elections, Neil Herron the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Program Manager, and Alana Sorrentino of the Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center.

Additionally, Tazewell County Clerk John C. Ackerman will join election equipment provider Liberty Systems to showcase the strength and security of the Tazewell County elections systems.

Police serve Special Olympics through fundraiser

Police throughout Tazewell County, including the Pekin Police Department, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department and East Peoria Police Department, helped Special Olympics of Illinois, Friday, July 26 at a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse in East Peoria.

Police officers took customer orders and served up food and beverages with all tips left on the tables going directly to benefit Illinois Special Olympics

Law enforcement officials said there was a great turn out and is extending thanks to everyone who came out to support the cause.

SNAP-Education staff present at nutrition conference

Kaitlyn Streitmatter and Kayla Swaar, University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed) Educators from Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit and Logan-Menard-Sangamon Unit respectively, presented at the 2019 National Child Nutrition Conference held in Chicago.

With around 1,600 people in attendance, this conference is an opportunity to bring child nutrition professionals together to learn, network, and gain a better understanding of how best to foster a healthy environment for our children.

Actively engaging in physical activity within a childcare setting is essential for a child’s growth and development. It is important for childcare staff to engage and interact with children to foster a healthy childcare environment, researchers said.

Not only do childcare professionals need to fully understand the health benefits of physical activity, but also understand how to engage with children throughout the day to enhance active play.

Streitmatter and Swaar provided childcare nutrition staff with innovative strategies to take back to their agencies across the nation.

Early childcare professionals have the ability to influence and mold the food and activity habits among children each day. Children learn behaviors from adults, and childcare staff are one of the adults children see regularly and admire.

The choices and behaviors made each day lead to habits, and these habits good or bad start developing in the early years and can follow us into our adult life. Hence, incorporating healthy eating and physical activity in early childcare centers are essential for the whole child’s health, the presenters said.

Physical activity increases children’s strength, flexibility, and endurance, and ensures their brain is ready to learn. Adult-led physical activities have been shown to produce higher levels of activity in children than unstructured play.

SNAP-Ed staff have prioritized training child care staff on how to make physical activity productive and encourage development.

“Exercise itself doesn’t make us smarter, instead, exercise makes us more able to learn and focus and optimizes the brain for learning,” said John Ratey, M.D. clinical professor of Psychiatry.

Professional development opportunities like what was presented at the National Child Nutrition Conference are available locally.

Streitmatter provides technical assistance and professional development trainings to Childcare providers in Fulton, Mason, Tazewell, and Peoria counties.


 Program focuses on hunger, sustainable growing

On Thursday, Aug. 8, various entities will launch the Ending Hunger Together Collaborative at the East Peoria Festival Building, 2200 E. Washington St., The program will be titled “What’s Our Recipe.”

This free event will highlight projects, partners, and opportunities to impact food insecurity in the Tri-County region. To register, call 309-929-0221.

 Former city councilman named to ICC board

The Illinois Central College Board of Trustees announced Dave Mingus has been approved and seated at the July 2019 board meeting.

Mingus is active in the community and has served in a variety of important roles.  He’s most widely known for over 30 years of public service on the East Peoria City Council, including roles as mayor and commissioner.

He is currently the CEO of Tazwood Center for Wellness, a non-profit behavioral health care provider, and has served in this position since 2012.

Prior to that, he was executive director of Neighborhood House.  His educational experience includes serving as president of the East Peoria Grade School Board of Education, vice president of the East Peoria Community High School Board of Education, and dean of students at Eureka High School.

He currently serves on his church board and UnityPlace Board of Directors.


Police warn of social security, other phone scams

The Pekin Police Department said it is still receiving reports of the Social Security Scam and now Law Enforcement/Fire Fighters Scam.

The SS scam is coming from Washington DC and is telling residents their social security number has been suspended.

Police are telling residents to not give out personal information over the phone. If someone is concerned about their social security issues they should call the local social security office and inquire with them directly.

Pekin police have also reported calls regarding solicitation of funding for police vests and donations to the Police and Fire Fighters Pension.

Remember, these are solicitors and one should verify who the person is and that it is not a fraudulent call before donating, police said.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email.
  • Don’t believe everything you see.
  • Don’t buy online unless the transaction is secure.
  • Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone you’ve met online.
  • Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door.
  • Don’t be pressured to act immediately.
  • Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments for goods, services, taxes, and debts.

Whenever possible, work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance.

Be cautious about what you share on social media and consider only connecting with people you already know.



 Zoo invites visitors to check out Budgie Aviary

Have you been to the Budgie Aviary at the Peoria Zoo? You can experience these colorful birds through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no charge to visit the Budgie Aviary, but guests can purchase a Budgie Seed Sticks for just $2 to feed the birds from your hand. Budgie

Encounters may be subject to change or cancellation. These creatures are wild animals and the zoo cannot guarantee that they will land on your stick or stick to our schedule. Visit peoriazoo.org/budgie-aviary-encounter/ for more info.