Woodford County news briefs

Santa Claus and his reindeer will be stopping by the Eureka tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 30. (Photo courtesy of the Eureka Events Committee)


Tree lighting ceremony returns to light up holidays

Welcome in the holidays with the third annual tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. at the Woodford County Courthouse lawn, corner of Center and Main streets.

The program will feature a Christmas sing-a-long, hot chocolate from DeMarchi’s Espresso, crafts, Santa Claus and a visit from his reindeer.

Those attending are asked to bring a canned food item or a pair of new socks for the Christmas collection drive.

The ceremony is presented by the city of Eureka, the Eureka Events Committee and the Woodford County Sheriff.

 Eureka native returns to lead college’s fine arts recruitment

After serving 22 years in the San Francisco Opera Chorus, Mary Finch is coming home.

Finch, a Eureka native and a 1984 Eureka College alumnae, will become Eureka College’s first director of Fine Arts Advancement and Recruitment.

Finch has served 22 years in the San Francisco Opera Chorus and is set to retire in December 2020, but will begin a leave of absence in January 2020 to officially join the Eureka staff full-time in July.

In this new position, Finch will support the strategic direction and growth of the fine arts program by leading fundraising efforts for fine arts and also working with faculty, coaches and staff to identify and recruit prospective college students, and develop, coordinate and provide education sessions for high schools and other secondary education audiences.

“We are thrilled to welcome the very talented Mary Finch home as a member of our team,” said Eureka College President Jamel Wright.

Finch will also serve as the director of the Summer Arts Festival and advocate for the arts within the community.

“I am thrilled to be able to say that I will go from ‘one dream job to another,’” Finch said. “So looking forward to being ‘HOME’ at Eureka College.

Events for the revived Summer Arts Festival are being planned to take place on campus with a target of summer 2021.

Before coming to San Francisco, Mary was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s supplementary chorus, where she performed for two seasons.

A 1980 graduate of Eureka High School, Finch joined a long family legacy of Eureka College alumni when she received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance in 1984.

She then went on to receive her master’s in vocal performance at Bradley University in 1994 and did additional study at Southern Methodist University and at the America Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

Mary Finch

 Quarter Auction to benefit Friends of the Library

A quarter auction will be held to support the Friends of the Eureka Public Library District on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Eureka Christian Church, 302 S. Main. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and bidding will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Admission fee is $3, which includes a seat at a table and one paddle for bidding. Additional paddles are $2 each.

Participants may want to bring $10—$40 in quarters to bid on items. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase. All proceeds will be donated to the Friends of the Eureka Public Library District.

If you would like to donate an auction item, contact the library at 309-467-2922.


Miller Park Zoo lighting up for the holidays

Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington will be lit up at night on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7 beginning at 5 p.m. each night.

At this seventh annual event and witness over hundreds of luminaries around the entire Zoo.

Admission to the event is $3 per person (ages 3 and up) for members, $7 per person (ages 3 and up) for non-members, under the age of 3 get in for free.


Annual farm show returns to Peoria Civic Center

The Greater Peoria Farm Show returns for its 38th year, Tuesday through Thursday, Dec. 3, 4 and 5 at the Peoria Civic Center.

As Illinois’ largest indoor farm show with over 150,000 square feet of agricultural exhibits, the Greater Peoria Farm Show is a great end-of-year opportunity to view all the latest in agriculture.

More than 330 companies, representing over 1,000 product lines and services, will completely fill the Peoria Civic Center for three big days.

For daily schedules, floorplans and more, visit https://greaterpeoriafarmshow.com.



Red Cross hosting blood drives during  holiday season 

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to be the lifeline for patients in need this holiday season by making an appointment to give blood or platelets.

While helping to save lives is likely motivation enough, those who come out to give now through Dec. 18 will also receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Additionally, those who come to give Nov. 27-30 will receive an exclusive long-sleeved T-shirt, while supplies last.

Here are some tips from the Red Cross on how to make donating blood easy.

  • It’s quick and easy to find a convenient blood drive. Search for drives by ZIP code and make an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, online at RedCrossBlood.org, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
  • Donors can save time by completing a RapidPass®. The entire donation process only takes about an hour, but donors can save time with RapidPass. Pre-donation reading and health history questions can be completed online to save about 15 minutes.
  • Donors will get important health information. Donors receive a mini-health screening to help determine eligibility that includes blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin readings. First-time donors will also find out their blood type soon after donating.

The Red Cross is thanking those who come to give through Dec. 18 with a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Thanks.)


Conservation Foundation accepting scholarship applications

The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) is accepting applications for the 2020 Conservation Achievement Scholarship program.

The ICF annually awards scholarships to outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who demonstrate effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection or enhancement of the state’s natural resources.

Four scholarships of $2,000 each are available for the current school year. One of the scholarships is earmarked for a qualified applicant who is a dependent of a current employee of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The ICF Conservation Achievement Scholarships have been awarded since 2005. Applicants must be an Illinois resident and a senior in an Illinois high school. Applications must be received by the ICF by March 1, 2020.

Detailed instructions and the 2020 application form can be accessed through the ICF website at www.ilcf.org.
Contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation at 217-785-2003 or dnr.icf@illinois.gov for more information or to make a donation to support the Conservation Achievement Scholarship program.