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.



Override Rauner’s Veto

Voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. It is cited as a reason to restrict, not expand voter registration.  It is a bogus excuse.

Do we really fear giving everyone in a Democracy an equal voice in the polls? Apparently, yes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner cited that fake claim of protecting against voter fraud when he vetoed a bipartisan measure to implement automatic voter registration in Illinois.

The bill had passed both houses of the Legislature. It would have expanded voter registration to 700,000 new voters in time for the presidential election in November and two million more voters by 2018, the year Rauner expects to run for re-election.

The bill to establish automatic voter registration in Illinois would have strengthened democracy. Among its sponsored were Sen. Dave Koehler, Sen. Daniel Biss and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth.

Here is what The New York Times (Aug. 22, 2016) had to say about Rauner’s veto:


Invoking Republicans’ phantom fear of voter fraud, Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a bipartisan measure to make Illinois a pioneer in one of the truly innovative reforms of modern politics — the automatic registration of citizens as they conduct routine business at motor vehicle departments and other state agencies.

In the past 18 months, five states have approved this obvious boon for electoral democracy; others have it under consideration. The state sends proof of registration electronically to local election officials. Voters are thus spared the old bureaucratic paperwork maze and haphazard record-keeping that compounds delays on Election Day. Citizens are free to not register (and, of course, to not vote), but they cannot complain about opportunity denied.

More than 30 states have registration systems that require a voter to opt in at motor vehicle offices. That places the burden on voters. Automatic voter registration (A.V.R.) takes the process a step further, placing the responsibility on the state. As it is, the United States is one of the few democratic nations that place the registration burden on voters, leaving up to a third of eligible citizens unregistered. Canada’s automatic system has registered more than 90 percent of those eligible.

Had the Illinois measure gone forward, it would have added two million potential new voters to the rolls once it began in 2018. A more immediate effect would have been to update the registration of an estimated 700,000 voters in time for this November’s elections.

Mr. Rauner insisted he supports increased access to the polls. But he warned of possible fraud, a card red-state Republicans have been playing as they engineer thinly veiled voter suppression drives directed at young new voters and ethnic groups seen as more favorable to Democrats. Repeated research has shown the threat of fraud to be minuscule. But that hasn’t stopped the introduction of unreasonably stringent identification standards in a presidential election year in more than a dozen states.

A healthy voting system is needed more than ever, particularly as Donald Trump is cynically telling voters the process may be rigged (unless, of course, he’s the winner). Oregon was the first to enact A.V.R. in March 2015, and the initial results have shown the registration rate more than tripling to 15,000 potential new voters per month, including a surge in young Republican registrants. Oregon started automatic registration of voters in January, the first state to do so. Its average monthly number of new registrations went up nearly fourfold under the program compared with previous election cycles. cycles.

California approved A.V.R. last October, and the results will be closely studied once it takes effect next year. The state is trying to cure a low registration rate of 42 percent, with more than six million eligible residents unregistered. This year, Vermont and West Virginia enacted A.V.R. on the strength of bipartisan support, and Connecticut ordered the innovation administratively. Gov. Chris Christie, amid his failed run for the Republican presidential nomination, foolishly vetoed A.V.R. for New Jersey voters, citing the nonexistent threat of voter fraud.

In Illinois, Mr. Rauner’s critics think he wants to skirt the issue to avoid a voter registration surge in 2018, when he intends to run for re-election. The Legislature should not hesitate to override his veto later this year.

Friends of Rocky Glen Donate $20,000


Heartland Festival Orchestra 8th season opens on September 10th at Five Points Washington

Committed to giving back to the community, the Heartland Festival Orchestra continues its tradition of partnering with deserving local nonprofit organizations in 2016/17 – Season 8.  In connection with each concert, the Heartland Festival Orchestra makes a monetary contribution to the community partner, shares the onstage spotlight before each concert with the partner’s spokesperson, and offers the partner an opportunity and venue to showcase its programs for concert-goers.  The Heartland Festival Orchestra was honored with the 2015 Community Relations of the Year award by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

Community Partners for Season 8 are:

  • Community Workshop and Training Center
  • We Care of Morton 
  • Peoria Regional Learning Center
  • Pediatric Resource Center
  • Ruby’s Rescue & Retreat
  • Operation Santa

More information about the Heartland Festival Orchestra may be found at

For further information please contact me at 309-339-3943 or

Thank you in advance for any coverage.

More than 150 attend re-dedication of Ingersoll Statue in Lower Glen Oak Park


Peorian Ken Hofbauer, center, is speaking before the formal re-dedication of the Robert G. Ingersoll statue in Lower Glen Oak Park. Hofbauer and his wife Cheryl spearheaded the effort to restore the statue, and they are among the names of major benefactors listed on a plaque.

More than 150 people from several states and throughout Illinois attended the ceremony. The statue had not undergone an extensive restoration since it was first erected in 1911 and dedicated before a crowd of 6,000 people.

Ingersoll, who lived from 1833 to 1899, was a renowned orator, free thinker and atheist, often referred to as “The Great Agnostic.” He served as attorney general of Illinois and maintained an extensive legal practice in Peoria, Washington, D.C., and New York. The statue was created by sculptor Fritz Triebel. Sculptor Zenos Frudakis volunteered to oversee the restoration that was funded by contributions from Freedom from Religion Foundation, The Robert Green Ingersoll Memorial Committee and the Peoria Secular Humanist Society.