Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This is what OSF should be doing in the East Bluff

Johns Hopkins University will give dozens of its employees $36,000 grants toward buying a house in the East Baltimore Development Inc. development during a one-day sale on September 10.

The grant is available to most full-time benefit-eligible employees. The money can go toward buying one of the 42 houses near on 1700 block of Eager Street or renovated rowhouses located on Washington, McDonogh or Chester streets.

The grants, paid for by Johns Hopkins' "Live Near Your Work" program, is part of a larger effort to bring new life to the Towns at Eager Park development area, said Andy Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins University's president.

"We want to focus on building a large and diverse community," he said. "We really want to create excitement for this new area and want our employees to take advantage of it."

The new homes, three-story brick-front, one-car garage houses built by Ryan Homes, start at $260,000. Home buyers could get an additional $10,000 if the they use Ryan Homes mortgage loan company.

Johns Hopkins' website suggests home buyers to take advantage of a city tax credit for the first five years of ownership, which starts at 50 percent tax reduction.

Though Johns Hopkins has not said where the one day sale will take place, grants are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more here...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Request to reconsider funds issued to East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services on Agenda

At last week's City Council Meeting the Council voted unanimously to release funds from the East Bluff Special Taxing District to the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services. This week, there is a request to reconsider:












City Council Agenda, July 26, 2016

Vote.org - Everything you need to vote.



Vote.org - Everything you need to vote.: Register to vote. Check your registration status. Get your absentee ballot. Fast, free, easy, secure, nonpartisan.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What's up with the East Bluff Special Taxing District?

The East Bluff Health & Safety Loan (H&S Loan) is designed for East Bluff homeowners in need of financial help in bringing their properties up to health and safety standards. The Health and Safety Loan is made possible by Special Service District (SSD) funds and EBNHS funds. 

In a letter to the City of Peoria, dated May 26, 2016, the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services (EBNHS) disclosed that it failed to meet the Health and Safety Loan Program match of $10,109.80 for 2015. Additionally, they have admitted that another $29,447.37 was diverted from the Health and Safety Loan Program.

EBNHS has not disclosed exactly what the diverted tax monies were used for.

EBNHS submitted a plan to pay back the monies to the Health and Safety Loan Program, which included raising rents, and an immediate repayment of $10,000, made possible by a donation. 

A check of the minutes for the EBNHS show no discussion of any deficit in or diversion of the Health and Safety Loan Program monies; nor is there any mention of receiving the donation; or any mention of the decision to divert the donation. Below is a draft of the minutes for the May 19, 2016 EBNHS Board meeting. The draft no longer appears on the EBNHS website:




Why do the homeowners within the East Bluff Neighborhood Special Taxing District continue to settle for this taxation without representation? When will the special taxing district end?

Complacency

Sounding the alarm... the Peoria Journal Star Editorial Board.
"Allow us to beg the public’s patience ... to sound the alarm, in the perhaps vain hope that local taxpayers will someday have had enough to elect representation that actually analyzes the history of ... subsidies and concludes that they have for the most part not delivered as advertised. Alas, if past is prologue, there will be few if any public objections to speak..., as the populace now sleeps."
Will we continue to accept taxation without representation?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LISC to have input on East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services Board and Bylaws. Why?

From the AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF PEORIA AND THE EAST BLUFF NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING SERVICES RELATED TO THE EAST BLUFF SPECIAL SERVICE AREA, 

Section 1(f) "The composition of the EBNHS Board shall be restructured and the bylaws revised, as necessary, following a board retreat facilitated by the LISC and the City of Peoria."



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

EBNHS diverts Special Service Area funds AGAIN.


"... funds that were specifically designated for the Health & Safety Loan Program were diverted to EBNHS operational expenses and to fund the Community Core initiative. Further, we understand that some of the matching funds that the EBNHS was to contribute to the Health & Safety Loan Program were not deposited in the segregated Health & Safety Program account. In total, we believe that approximately $29,447 of funds have either been used for non-permitted purposes and/or not deposited into the Health & Safety Program in violation of Section 3 of the Agreement."
This statement is from a May 2, 2016 Default Letter the City of Peoria sent to Kristina Gamez, Executive Director of EBNHS:



The EBNHS response - raise rents to pay the money back:



And then the City Council "forgave" the diverted funds and gave them more tax dollars from the East Bluff Special Taxing District:




According to Gamez: The money — about $25,000 — was spent on a new furnace for one property and garage repairs for another, among other things.

City resuming tax payments to east bluff organization...

Rest in peace Mr. Sandberg.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

More shooting: Lexington Hills


Two shot early Thursday morning in Lexington Hills apartment complex


By Journal Star public safety reporter 


PEORIA — Two people were shot at a Peoria apartment complex early Thursday morning. Police were called at 4:37 a.m. to the Lexington Hills apartment complex. Police confirmed two people were shot in the 3400 block of West Oakcrest Drive. Both suffered non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Shooting on Bigelow Street last night

From scanner traffic:

From the local newspaper:





Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shootings are up in Peoria

... and nobody's talking about it.

From June 26, 2016 pjstar.





Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Peoria, "the populace now sleeps."

Sounding the alarm... the Peoria Journal Star Editorial Board.
"Allow us to beg the public’s patience ... to sound the alarm, in the perhaps vain hope that local taxpayers will someday have had enough to elect representation that actually analyzes the history of ... subsidies and concludes that they have for the most part not delivered as advertised. Alas, if past is prologue, there will be few if any public objections to speak..., as the populace now sleeps."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Brunch

Celebrate the East Bluff!  
East Bluff Open House and Mural Dedication
Thursday, November 12, 2015


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Riverfront Museum


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Prairie Center for Arts - FREE Demo

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FREE Art Reception



Combined Opening Reception:
Saturday, November 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Featuring music by guitarist Barry Cloyd. Free admission, donation requested

ISz: desperate times call for disparate measures
November 14-December 19 Preston Jackson Gallery

As if viewing twenty Dali images at once through a kaleidoscope, a Chicago artist’s fantastic compositions barely bring order to a swirling mass of disparate but delightfully surreal combination of patterns, colors and shapes.

A Small Wonder Gift Shop
November 14-December 19 Gallery 3R

A small wonder means small work from local artists and that means work priced for holiday gifts! Gallery 3R is turned into a gift shop for small works of art. Just like a gift shop, buyers may take home the item at the time of purchase. Shop early for the art lover in your life….maybe that person is you! Glass, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, original prints and lots more will be on display.

More information...
_________________________________________________________________________

League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria

Co-sponsored Event:  Storm Water/Combined Sewer Overflow &Possible New Utility Tax

The League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, with the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club and the Peoria NAACP will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 at the Advanced Medical Transport auditorium, 1718 N. Sterling, Peoria, IL. on the topic of Storm Water and the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and possible new utility tax.

The event is sponsored at the request of the City of Peoria’s Public Works Department. City staff will make a presentation and answer questions.

Peoria’s storm water issues and CSO problem should have been addressed before 2015, and is the subject of a lawsuit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The 100% Green Solution to the CSO that the city has proposed to settle the EPA lawsuit against the city is cheaper initially, employs local businesses and labor, but has higher operating costs. And it depends on citizen acceptance. (The alternative to the ‘green solution’ is an initially more expensive pipe solution.)

  • The proposal is strictly based on square footage of impervious surface of each parcel - so residential and commercial (including non-profits and schools) would have the same rate. (Some other nearby communities use a flat residential rate.)
  • The average residential figure of $20 a month for a storm water utility fee starting in July 2016 was suggested at committee meetings.
  • Credits and/or incentives may be used and should be asked about at the Nov 9 meeting. Credits and incentives would possibly be offered because a homeowner or business changes something to significantly lower the amount of storm water going to the city's system.
  • Information and videos of what other communities have done to solve their CSO problems are at: http://www.peoriagov.org/wetweather/

The city’s staff will be at the meeting to discuss the problem and possible solutions, and answer questions.

For more information: Cheryl Budzinski 309/253-9594; c_budzinski@hotmail.com

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Brunch

Chi-Raq



The Water Apocalypse 



http://breakthrough.nationalgeographic.com/water


Jonathon Romain


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Brunch



Vanguard of the Revolution:  

Posted in memory of Manual graduate, and member of Black Panther Party, Mark Clark.

With groups around the country taking on issues of police brutality and accountability, in February, Democracy Now went back 50 years to another movement confronting the same issues. They spent an hour looking at a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution." 

It tells the history of the Black Panther Party through rare archival footage and interviews with party leaders, rank-and-file members, journalists — and even police and FBI informants. It features extended excerpts from the film and speak with one its subjects, Kathleen Cleaver, who served as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and is now a law professor at Emory University. They also speak with Stanley Nelson, the film’s award-winning director. The film is set to play in theaters and air on PBS later this year. Jump to the 9:30 mark for Vanguard.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Peoria, Ill is the Sixth Worst City For Black Americans


For decades, black Americans have faced higher poverty rates, lower incomes and higher incarceration rates than white Americans. While African Americans in every U.S. city face such problems, racial inequality is much worse in some parts of the country. By examining the disparities between white and black Americans in several economic and social measures, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 worst cities for black Americans.

Four of the cities with the worst racial inequality are in Illinois, two are in Iowa, and all are in the Midwest. These are the worst cities for black Americans.

10. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
> Pct. residents black: 7.0%
> Population: 169,993
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 54.9%
> Black unemployment rate: 24.0%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 4.9%

Based on a range of socioeconomic factors, Waterloo-Cedar Falls is the 10th worst urban area for black Americans. The metro area is at once relatively difficult to live in as a black person, and relatively favorable for white people. For example, the median income for black households was equal to less than 56% of income for a typical white household, which at $54,802 was slightly lower than the national median but still higher than in most metro areas.

While the Waterloo area labor market is relatively strong overall, black residents clearly do not have the same job opportunities as their white peers. The unemployment rate among black residents of 24% — the sixth highest among black city-populations — is in stark contrast with the white unemployment rate of just 3.9% — one of the lowest such rates.

9. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
> Pct. residents black: 5.0%
> Population: 611,549
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 57.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 10.6%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 4.2%

The more than 30,000 Des Moines residents identifying as black make up just 5% of the population. However, as Wilson suggested, African Americans in communities with relatively small black populations may be even worse off. In the Des Moines area, racial disparities are indeed especially pervasive. Just 33% of black households are owned by their occupants, for example, versus the homeownership rate of 72.2% among white families. Also, while 38.0% of white adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, 20.5% of black area adults have the equivalent education.

Despite the difficulties facing Des Moines black communities, the area’s black unemployment rate of 10.6% was lower than the national black jobless rate of 13.2% — one of only three of the 10 worst cities for African Americans with a black unemployment rate not exceeding the national rate. Still, the black jobless rate was several times higher than the 4.2% jobless rate among white residents, itself one of the lowest in the country.

8. Kankakee, IL
> Pct. residents black: 14.9%
> Population: 111,375
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 48.7%
> Black unemployment rate: 20.6%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 8.1%

More than one in five black workers in Kankakee is unemployed. The black unemployment rate exceeds 20% in only 16 other U.S. cities, three of them among the worst cities for African Americans. Lack of job opportunities likely contribute to a higher poverty rate among black residents. At nearly 40%, the poverty rate among black residents is not only far higher than the comparable rate for white residents of 7.3%, but also one of the highest in the nation. A typical black Kankakee household earns $31,119 annually, lower than the median annual income for black households nationwide, and less than half the median income for white Kankakee households.

The Kankakee metro area is about an hour’s drive from Chicago. It is also one of four metro areas located in Illinois on this list.

7. Lima, OH
> Pct. residents black: 12.2%
> Population: 105,040
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 36.5%
> Black unemployment rate: 22.9%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 5.7%

The typical black household in Lima makes just 36.5% of what the typical area white household earns annually, a smaller share than anywhere else in the country. Median annual income among white households is $49,125, more than $31,000 greater than the median income among black households of $17,908. High poverty rates accompany the low income in Lima. While 12.4% of whites live in poverty, more than 46% of the city’s black population are living below the povertyline.

Socioeconomic disparities are likely driving the income gaps among Lima’s black and white populations. The unemployment rate among the city’s black workers is nearly 23%, more than triple the 7.1% rate among the city’s white workers. The difference in educational attainment by race is similarly striking. While more than 90% of white residents have at least a high school diploma, less than three quarters of Lima’s black population has a similar level of education.



6. Peoria, IL
> Pct. residents black: 9.1%
> Population: 379,520
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 49.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 16.5%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.2%

Located in central Illinois, Peoria is one of the worst cities in the country for black Americans. The poverty rate of 28.2% among the city’s black population is well above the poverty rate among the city’s white residents of 10.4%. Similarly, the median annual income of $58,563 for white households is more than double the annual income of $28,777 for a typical black household.

While black Americans are about five times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, in Illinois, they are more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. As is the case in many other U.S. cities, the incarceration rate is likely far higher in urban areas such as Peoria.

5. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
> Pct. residents black: 6.5%
> Population: 1,027,703
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 44.6%
> Black unemployment rate: 13.0%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 5.0%

Slightly more than 1 million people live in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro area. The typical black household in Grand Rapids earns $25,495 annually, less than half of the $57,186 the typical white household earns and also about $10,000 less than the $35,481 the typical American black household earns in a year. High income disparity between the area’s black and white residents has likely contributed to disparate poverty rates. About 38% of the black residents in Grand Rapids live in poverty, nearly four times the 10.3% poverty rate among the area’s white population.

Over 2,000 black people per 100,000 residents are incarcerated in Michigan, lower than the nationwide black incarceration rate. However, black Michigan residents are still nearly six times more likely than their white peers to go to jail or prison, slightly higher than the nationwide black to white incarceration ratio.

4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
> Pct. residents black: 16.8%
> Population: 9,553,810
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 50.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 18.5%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.0%

Slightly more than 7% of white Chicago area residents live in poverty, while the poverty rate for the city’s black population is nearly 30%. Similarly, while 43.7% of white adults had at least a college degree, 21.8% of black adult Chicagoans were college educated. In addition to socioeconomic racial disparities, black area residents had far higher mortality rates compared to white residents. The Chicago metro area black population leads the nation with 1,550 deaths per 100,000 African Americans in a year, versus the mortality rate for white Chicagoans of 713 per 100,000 white people.

Chicago is one of the nation’s most diverse cities. It is also one of the nation’s most segregated, however, and in the city’s neighborhoods there is little racial diversity. Wilson explained that outcomes worsen for anyone — black or white — living under poor socioeconomic conditions. However, she added, not only do black urban dwellers suffer more under such conditions, but also racial inequality and segregation are themselves harmful to communities.

                          
















3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Pct. residents black: 7.8%
> Population: 3,495,176
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 37.9%
> Black unemployment rate: 12.8%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 3.9%

One of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to nearly 3.5 million people. It is also one of the worst cities for black Americans. The disparity between the median householdincomes of white and black residents is especially stark. The typical white household earns about $73,700 annually, one of the highest incomes in the country. The typical area black household, meanwhile, earns just under $28,000 annually. Low wages often come with high unemployment rates. While only 3.9% of all Twin City residents are unemployed, one of the lowest figures in the country, the unemployment rate among the city’s black residents is 12.8%.

About 20% of the area’s black residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, roughly in line with the corresponding national rate. Still, more than 35% of the area’s black population lives in poverty, a significantly higher rate than the 27% of black Americans living below the poverty line.

2. Rockford, IL
> Pct. residents black: 11.1%
> Population: 342,411
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 44.2%
> Black unemployment rate: 28.9%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 8.3%

Located less than 100 miles northwest of Chicago, Rockford is home to about 342,400 people. Rockford is struggling economically. The area’s unemployment rate of 8.3% is more than 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. While pooreconomic conditions affect everyone, the city’s black population has been hit the hardest.

Of the 201 metro areas examined, the median income of $22,651 among black households in Rockford is lower than in all but 10 other cities and significantly lower than the $51,264 median income among white households. Even more astounding, 28.9% of the city’s black working population is unemployed, a larger share than in any other city in the country. The poverty rate among the city’s black residents is 43.1%, over four times the city’s white poverty rate.

1. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
> Pct. residents black: 16.7%
> Population: 1,572,245
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 41.6%
> Black unemployment rate: 17.2%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 6.0%

Like in other parts of the Midwest, large numbers of African Americans travelled to the Milwaukee area in the 1960s to take advantage of the booming manufacturing industry. Soon after a black community formed, however, the city’s industrial base all but collapsed, contributing to racial disparities in the region. An estimated 16.7% of the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro area identify as black, higher than the nationwide proportion. In Milwaukee proper, however, roughly 40% of the population identifies as black.

Source


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Peoria District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan resigns



District 150 Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan has resigned. Lathan made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday night.

“It has been an honor to serve as superintendent for Peoria Public Schools,” Lathan said before announcing her resignation. She went on to thank her cabinet and the District principals.

Lathan touted her accomplishments, including the expansion of the International Baccalaureate program, a new principal evaluation system, a School Improvement Grant project at Peoria High School and the Woodruff Career and Technical Center.

The D150 school board was scheduled to make a decision on her future during a reorganization meeting Wednesday following the swearing in of two new board members, Dan Adler and Ernestine Jackson. The advocacy group Change 150 spearheaded the effort to oust Lathan and had endorsed Adler and Jackson.

Lathan was set to enter the final year of her contract. She was hired for the position in 2010.

Lathan refused to answer reporters’ questions following her statement of resignation.

Board Vice-President Linda Butler said the board had been in negotiations with Lathan toward a contract extension.

However, stopping short of placing blame for the situation, Butler cited the actions of fellow board members Martha Ross and Lynn Costic in requesting the votes concerning Lathan’s immediate future be included on Wednesday’s agenda.

“(Ross and Costic) used a board governance procedure for, what I believe, was their personal interests,” Butler said. Butler explained Board policy allows two board members to place an item on the agenda.

Butler claimed Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer, herself and board member Rick Cloyd were not aware the items would be placed on the agenda until the agenda was released late Monday morning.

“It is disturbing that Mrs. Ross, from my viewpoint, in anticipation of being board president would schedule a meeting that would have such a significant impact on the District without notifying the current seated board members,” says Butler.

Ross and Cloyd are expected to vie to be Board president during Wednesday’s reorganization meeting after the two new board members are sworn in.

The board is expected to appoint an interim superintendent during Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at Noon at the District’s Administration Building.

A special meeting is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Thursday to approve Lathan’s separation agreement, which was described to be in draft form Tuesday afternoon and being finalized.

Butler would give no specifics of the agreement but said, “Even in her departure Dr. Lathan has provided the Board a separation agreement that is gracious and not harming to the District.”

Change150 issued a statement Tuesday evening wishing Lathan well in her next venture, but, “Dr. Lathan realized the Board was listening to the voters who spoke out loudly for change during the last two elections, and she chose to resign, rather than face the termination of her contract.”

“Change150 would like to thank board members Martha Ross and Lynn Costic for their willingness to discuss Dr. Lathan’s employment. Ross and Costic saw the need for a different approach, and we applaud them for listening to the sentiments of the voting public.”

Change150 goes on to ask the board consider an acting superintendent “who is familiar with the District. We ask for an individual who is respected, leads with integrity, has vision and foresight, who loves our city and its children, families and teachers and who will work collaboratively and in partnership with organizations to achieve the best for the students in our district.”

http://www.1470wmbd.com/d150-superintendent-lathan-resigns/

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You are more than welcome Sharon Crews!

From the e-mail in box:




Dear Emerge:

Your willingness to make all the data I collected public finally paid off last night. Wolfmeyer even acknowledged my role in revealing the amount of money spent on food. They even admitted that they didn't know about AVID spending until it was a done deal. Thanks again.. I'm seeing light at the end of this tunnel.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shot spotter VERY active

I'm not back, but I want you to know... get on your computer and listen to your scanner. For the last several weeks Shot Spotter has been VERY ACTIVE. I just heard a gun shot as the PPD are canvassing an area near my home.
 
The PPD are all over it, but they are not catching anybody. They have been chasing bullets and groups of people gathering for weeks. There have been some people shot, but very little reporting in local media about any activity.
 
Again, the PPD is working HARD, they are moving fast. On a daily basis they are breaking up several large groups of potential "nefarious" gatherings. The recent Don't Shoot call in is an indicator of what is happening in the streets.
 
Are we safe? If we check the gentrified Peoria blogs you begin to think it's all good in the hood. But if you live and breath here [the hood] on a daily basis, I'm here to tell you, you should take great care.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shame on the Peoria Housing Authority

I am astounded at the amount of vitriol the residents of Taft are facing. How dare the PHA shop them around the community for all to take their digs at how worthless and unwanted the people who live there are.

The PHA should leave the residents of Taft where they are - in the Riverfront Condos.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Peoria's dysfunctional black community... thanks to the Superintendent of Schools

Really Peoria?

Diamond Blank Stare


Am I the only person who has noticed how Peoria's black community is divided these days? The NAACP is not Team Granita Lathan and the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is Team Granita Lathan. Really?

Guess what folks, our community does not have time for such dysfunction. The black community needs to be working together - we don't need to be divided by outside influences and Granita Lathan is just that - an outside influence.

In the meantime, school districts all around District 150 are making gains, while we sit around Peoria allowing our voices to be divided and conquered. Have you noticed that neither side is winning?

Why are we allowing this to happen? Who is benefitting from all of this chaos in and around our schools?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Shotspotter popping off tonight...

 

 
Witness reported a group of people looking to be about 13 years old fleeing the area.
 
Damage to vehicles being reported throughout the area...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Brunch...


Artist finds new world of fiber in Peoria

PEORIA — Fiber artist Trish Williams is experiencing a whole new side of fiber since moving to Peoria last spring.

"Fiber down here is much more diverse than in Chicago," said Williams during a recent telephone interview. "Up there you have more mixed media, more dyeing. Here you have sheep, goats and rabbits — I never met people that had sheep before."

William's work will be on display at the Downtown Peoria Public Library Monday through Feb. 26. The show is called "P.I.E.C.E.S," which is short for "Precepts Inspirited by Episodes of Creative Expressions of Self."

Williams, 63, lived in inner city Chicago her entire life before she picked up and moved to Peoria. She had the opportunity to work in the art gallery owned by Jonathon Romain, a Peoria-based artist she befriended when he had a gallery in Chicago.

In her early teens Williams started crafting her own wardrobe. She worked by hand with needle and thread until her mother found out what she was doing and bought her a sewing machine.

Williams didn't think what she was doing was art. She just felt the need to create, and clothing was a great outlet. Her unique outfits got lots of attention, and soon she found herself selling her creations.

"We used to do fashion shows at my mother's house," said Williams. "It was a big old Victorian house so there was lots of room. We'd do shows and sell the clothes."

Williams continued to sew when her children came along, but it wasn't until 1997 when she realized sewing could be art. She was at a church bazaar manning the linen and quilt table when she opened a copy of "A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories," by Roland L. Freeman. The quilts pictured in the book opened up a whole new world. Read more...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Families outraged over use of mugshots in PJStar story



From the EmergePeoria e-mail box:


"As you're probably aware, the PJ Star depicted the 19 homicide victims of 2013 in a distasteful manner. Many people are sending emails to the editor in regard of their concern. I have attached a screen shot of one persons email."


Click image to enlarge.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

If murders are up, is crime REALLY down?

... After all, murder is a crime.
Overall crime down; Murders up in City of Peoria

By WEEK Reporter

PEORIA, IL. -- Crime is down 11% in the city of Peoria, according to a city issued report. However, murders are on the rise.

The report outlines crimes against people and property through November of this year.

The crime stats show in 2013, there has been 14 murders. That four more than the same time frame in 2012, and just one less than 2011.

Reported criminal sexual assaults, robbery, and aggravated assaults are all down this year. The category with the largest drop would be arson, which is down 34 percent from last year, with only 33 cases reported. This is the lowest amount of arson reports in the last five years.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

About the car with bullet holes on Tuesday...

... it happened five minutes after the first armed home invasion (Tuesday)... and neighbors learn of the incident, two (2) days later on Thursday...


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Brunch...



Illinois Valley Fuller Center for Housing
Located in the north central area of the state, the Illinois Valley Fuller Center services Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties in Illinois, known as the Tri-County area. Their primary focus is to help low income families and veterans with critical repairs. They have joined forces with other local non profits to help improve the existing housing stock not only for existing homeowners, but to help families with vacant properties that might be available.

Willis and Linda Thomas with volunteer Woody Dees.
Woody and his wife did the whole porch repair themselves.