Donations needed for unmarked Ingersoll grave



The father of one of the most famous Americans of the 19th century lies in an unmarked grave in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, IL. A group of admirers of his son, Robert Green Ingersoll, is raising money to place a monument on his burial place.

A marker for the grave of Rev. John Ingersoll, a Presbyterian minister who lived and worked in Peoria, would cost about $1,000. The admirers of Robert Ingersoll resolved to raise funds for a monument when they met recently in Peoria for dinner and to re-dedicate the refurbished statue of Ingersoll.

The Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation has established a tax deductible fund for the monument. Checks can be sent to SHPF Rev. Ingersoll Monument Fund, PO Box 5511, Peoria, IL 61601. Or you can use the Springdale website for credit card donations:

For more information: Ken Hofbauer 309-635-3590;

Or another credit card site is the website . Where it asks “Is this donation for a special project?” click the drop-down arrow and select the fifth line “John Ingersoll headstone.” This is also a tax deductible donation.

Questions or comments can be emailed to


Central Illinois Health Community Alliance- Press Event

The Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance held a press event at the office of the Peoria Chapter of the NAACP to discuss the favorable court ruling against Dynegy who owns and operates the Edwards Coal Plant by Bartonville, IL.  A joint lawsuit had been filed by several environmental groups about three years ago in response to what they believed were violations of the Clean Air Act with opacity pollution– or particulates being put into the air.

This is a link to the full press event:


Attorneys, judge, surprised by Heidelberg’s request



Cleve Heidelberg, left, and his attorneys Andy Hale, center, and Don Jackson in Peoria County Circuit Court Sept. 22. 


By Clare Howard

In a highly unusual and risky move, Cleve Heidelberg tried to dismiss his attorneys and represent himself Thursday in a hearing before Peoria County Circuit Judge Albert Purham Jr.

Heidelberg, 73, has been in prison for the past 46 years, having been found guilty in 1970 for the shooting death of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Espinoza.

On Thursday, Purham set another hearing for Oct. 5, telling Heidelberg he has two weeks to discuss his decision with his attorneys, Andrew Hale and Don Jackson. Purham warned Heidelberg that if his decision to represent himself remains unchanged, he should be prepared to start arguments immediately at that time.

“I have been ready these past 46 years,” Heidelberg told the judge.

The judge called a recess Thursday to allow Hale and Jackson to discuss Heidelberg’s request with him.

Hale told the judge he loves Heidelberg too much to “let this train crash. The stakes are too high.”

After numerous appeals were rejected over the past 46 years, Purham’s decision in July to appoint a special prosecutor to the case was the closest Heidelberg has ever gotten to having his original conviction reexamined and possibly vacated. In court Thursday, Heidelberg said he is not prepared to endure more years in prison while a special prosecutor works on the case. He seemed prepared Thursday to waive appointment of a special prosecutor and represent himself seeking immediate release.

Hale asked the judge if Heidelberg’s sister, Mae Winston, 77, could talk briefly with her brother. She was in the courtroom. She is in poor health, has not been able to travel and has not seen her brother for more than a decade.

The judge cleared the courtroom and allowed 15 minutes for that meeting.

Afterward, Hale said it was an emotional meeting with a lot of tears.

“This has been a very difficult 45 years for Mr. Heidelberg. He’s 73 and in poor health. He’s frustrated, anxious and impatient,” Hale said. “I understand where he’s coming from.”

Also in court Thursday were Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, assistant state’s attorney Larry Evans, attorney Steve Nate from the Illinois Attorney General’s office and Matt Jones, special prosecutor for the appellate court.

The hearing Thursday was dealing with two issues, the judge’s motion to appoint a special prosecutor from the attorney general’s office and Heidelberg’s motion for immediate release, contending sufficient evidence has already been submitted to the court to prove his innocence and prove the original investigation in 1970 was seriously flawed.

The Peoria County state’s attorney filed an appeal to stay enforcement of a special prosecutor, contending the judge had exceeded his authority. State’s Attorney Jerry Brady had rejected a petition earlier this year from Hale and Jackson asking that the state’s attorney appoint a special prosecutor.

Hale and Jackson both expressed frustration with the way the Peoria County state’s attorney has handled the case.

“This is more confusing than it should be,” Jackson said. All we want is to “get a fair set of eyes to review this case and so far we’ve just had a flow of paperwork.”

Hale told the judge the state’s attorney has made a conscious choice to delay the case.

“In my opinion, this is gamesmanship,” Hale said, noting Heidelberg’s age and diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

Community Word was unable to immediately reach Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady for comment.





Washington Historical Society hosting special events in October

For more information contact:

Washington Historical Society

101 & 105 Zinser Place

Washington, IL 61571

(just north of the square)

309-635-3016 or 309-444-4793


  • Friday Night Oct. 14, encampment on Washington Square 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. camp set up and story telling by the Fort Creve Coeur 1776 Venture Crew
  • Saturday Oct. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Washington Square also presented by Fort Creve Coeur 1776 Venture Crew; activities include: monkey bridge, rope making, candle making, spoon making, leather work, hide tanning, blacksmithing and pictures taken.
  • Monday, Oct. 24 “An Evening with Tim Pletkovich” 7 p.m. Washington Presbyterian Church. Come hear a presentation by Tim Pletkovich, author of “Sons of the Civil War in WWII.”
  • Saturdays Washington Historical Society has opened the Dement-Zinser and Dr.’s Museum for public tours. Saturday’s 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Private tours are also available by calling 309-444-4793. Take a step back into Washington’s history!

Seven Circles Heritage Center: Gathering of Veterans Pow Wow

The Gathering of Veterans Pow Wow will be held on September 16-18, 2016, at Seven Circles Heritage Center in Edwards, IL.  The public is invited.   All veterans (past and present) will be honored. The weekend will be filled with healing, honoring, and celebrating all warrior heroes.  This is a special time honoring our veterans who we are still waiting for their return home.  There will be Native American singers, dancers, vendors, food, children’s activities and much more.  New this year is a Flea Market.   Admission is $5 or $10 a carload. Veterans are free.
On Friday the reading of the POW MIA name’s ceremony will begin at 6 PM. On Friday and Saturday a ROTC table ceremony will be presented along with a flyover by the Air National Guard.
On Saturday the gates will open at 10:00 AM.  Gourd dancing will begin at noon to honor our veterans. Grand Entry is at 1 PM and will be followed by intertribal and exhibition dancing.  On Sunday the gates will open at 10:30 AM with Gourd dancing at noon and Grand Entry at 1 PM.
Host drum is Spirit of the Rainbow Singers.  Invited Drums are Whiskey Creek and Black Fox Singers.  John and Penny Richmond will be the Head Man and Lady Dancers.  Leonard Malatare will be the Emcee, and Marty Stomping Elk will be the Fire Keeper.  There will be a special appearance by the Shell Shakers and All Women’s Medicine Drum. 
Seven Circles Heritage Center is located in Edwards, IL on Rt. 8 just north of Wildlife Prairie Park. From Peoria, take I-74 west to the Kickapoo/Edwards exit.  Turn left and continue to a stop sign, which is State Rt. 8.  Seven Circles will be on the left.  For more information call 309-637-1046 or check the following website: Events at Seven Circles are sponsored in part by the Illinois Art Council.

Documentary: “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot”


Greater Peoria League of Women Voters Co-sponsors Film,

Selma, the Bridge to the Ballot

League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria and NAACP Peoria will host a special screening of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documentary Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot, the true story of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.


The film will be screened at 1pm on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Lincoln Branch Library 1312 W. Lincoln Ave. Peoria 61605.


“You will see in the movie how the teachers and students 50 years ago made a difference,” said Helen King, NAACP co-chair of “Selma” film screening.” We should remember the sacrifices made to be able to vote. Everyone needs to vote. We can change things.”


Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, the documentary by the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project tells an important story not touched on by the Hollywood feature – the true story of the forgotten heroes of the fight for voting rights, the courageous students and teachers in Selma, Alabama, who stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, violence and arrest.


By organizing and marching bravely, these activists achieved one of the most significant victories of the civil rights era – passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film is a powerful reminder that each person has the ability to bring about social change.


Despite this victory, only about six in 10 eligible citizens exercised their right to vote in the 2012 presidential election. That means approximately 90 million voters did not cast ballots. Voter turnout dropped to a 72-year low in 2014.


A key to increasing voter turnout is encouraging young people to vote. Research shows that when young people vote, they are more likely to vote later in life – helping to ensure a new generation of active and engaged voters.


Fine Arts Society Lecture: National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Fine Arts Society’s 55th season begins with a lecture by John W. Franklin entitled “Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture.” Franklin will present his lecture twice, at 10 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Peoria Riverfront Museum.

There is a social time for half an hour preceding each lecture. For the 10 a.m. lecture, cost is $12 at the door or free with membership in the Fine Arts Society, $50 for individuals, $75 for families. (Membership includes all six lectures for the season).

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. lecture are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children.


Court Upholds Special Prosecutor for Cleve Heidelberg

Despite an appeal to reconsider, Peoria 10th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Albert Purnham will proceed with the appointment of an independent special prosecutor to re-examine the investigation and prosecution of an African American man for the shooting death of a white Peoria County Sheriff’s Deputy in 1970.

At a hearing today, Purnham rejected a petition by Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady to rescind the judge’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor. The state argued that the judge had determined a special prosecutor was needed because the judge had not examined the complete case record.

The judge rejected that contention.

Cleve Heidelberg was charged and convicted of the shooting death of Peoria County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Espinoza in 1970. The state had originally sought the death penalty in the case. Heidelberg, now 73, has been in prison for 45 years and has always maintained his innocence.

Attorneys Andrew Hale of Chicago and Don Jackson of Peoria have re-examined the case and believe Heidelberg is innocent. They believe they have found evidence to support their conviction and are asking for an independent review of the evidence.

Judge Purnham agreed that an independent review is merited and rejected the state’s allegation that his decision to appoint a special prosecutor will open a floodgate for all convicted felons to demand re-examination by a special prosecutor.

The judge restated his decision that a conflict of interest exists when Brady declines to re-examine a case tried by his mentor, friend and financial backer Ron Hamm who originally prosecuted the Heidelberg case. The judge has said issues surrounding the arrest, prosecution and conviction of Heidelberg are of sufficient concern to merit an independent special prosecutor examine the case.

The judge rejected the petition by State’s Attorney Jerry Brady and will proceed with appointment of a special prosecutor. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 22.