A training will be held on Saturday March 18, 2017 at the Peoria Public Library from 9am to 4pm for individuals interested in becoming an educational surrogate volunteer. This is a rewarding opportunity with a minimal time commitment. Stipends are available and lunch is provided that day

There are many children up to age 18 in Illinois who live in residential facilities and are under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Many of these children require special education services from local schools both public and private. They do not have parents available to act on their behalf when special education decisions are made.

The Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) Volunteer would become familiar with the student records and attend special education meetings where an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed once or twice a year. The ESP would serve in the role of the parent and work with the school team to make educational decisions in the best interest of the student. The ESP would not be involved in day to day educational decisions such as attendance, field trips, parent-teacher conferences. ESP’s can be surrogates for 1 or more students.

It is a federal and Illinois State Board of Education mandate that all eligible students have an ESP who must be a citizen, over 18, and completes a one day training program. ESP’s will be reimbursed $ 60 for the full day training which includes lunch as well as $ 50 per semester for each student they agree to be ESP for.

Please visit our website for more information. It is www.sased.org/what-we-do/grants/the-educational-surrogate-parent-training-program . If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jim Even at the ESP program at 630-955-8055 or e-mail him at jeven@sased.org.

Anti-Trump wave engulfs Peoria

Womens Rally Womens RallyPhoto left, Dr. Rahmat Na’Allah addresses the crowd at the Gateway Building proclaiming that everyone deserves access to health care, and America ranks worst in access among industrialized nations. One of the event organizers, Nora Sullivan, listens to the right.

Photo right, “I’m with Her” poster states this man’s support for women’s rights. Chanted at events throughout the world were Hillary Clinton’s words, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”


Shouts and cheers thundered across the park at Peoria’s Gateway Building as speakers addressed a crowd estimated at 1,200 people. Signs promoted women’s rights, LGBT rights, equal pay and universal access to health care – all in marked opposition to the agenda of Donald Trump.

Organized by Nora Sullivan and Sandy Crow, the event was one of more than 600 sister marches across the county and 75 around the world to coincide with the woman’s march in Washington, D.C. that drew 500,000 people, more than the attendance at Trump’s inauguration the day before. In Chicago, 250,000 flooded the streets.

Many objected to Trump’s inauguration speech the day before in which he continued his campaign rhetoric blasting his opponents and journalists, “the most dishonest people in the world.” Some attending his inauguration speech chanted “lock her up” when Hillary Clinton walked to her seat as a former First Lady.

Saturday’s marches and rallies clearly reflected the 73 million Americans who rejected Trump on election day – 10 million more than the number that supported him.

Peoria Rally in Support of Women’s March


Peoria Rally in Support of Women’s March planned in Peoria, IL, all 50 States and more than 55 Other Global Cities  

Peoria, January, 2017 – The Women’s March on Washington has inspired nearly 300 other ‘sister marches’ to take place on January 21. All 50 states and Puerto Rico are confirmed to have at least one grassroots-led march on that day, as well as 55 global cities on six continents, from Tokyo to Sydney, Nairobi to Paris to Bogotá.

Date:                        Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

Time:                       11am – 12noon

Location:              Gateway Building (outside under the building archway)

200 NE Water St. Peoria 61602

“This is an unprecedented, organic and viral grassroots global movement that is growing everyday. More than 500,000 people have already committed to march all over the country and the world in just a matter of weeks,” said Boston-based national sister march spokeswoman Yordanos Eyoel, who became a U.S. citizen last fall. “The aggregate turnout has the potential to exceed 1 million marchers. What makes this movement even more special is that people who have never been politically active before are now mobilizing.”

The mission of the marches and rallies is to bring people together to take a stand on issues that deeply impact all of us. The Peoria Rally will seek to reaffirm the core American values of freedom and democracy for all at a time when many fear their voices will be lost, specifically related to women’s rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, environmental rights, rights for all races, and religious freedom.

As stated by the League of Women Voters in their endorsement of the event, “ As women and defenders of our democracy, there is more that unites us than divides us. We march for voting rights. We march for health care. We march for the environment. “   The marches and rallies are bringing together people of all backgrounds, races, religions, gender identities, ages and abilities, as well as communities of immigrants. While led by women, all are welcome to attend the Peoria Rally. The rally will have music and community members will speak about their hopes for the future. A list of speakers will be provided when all are confirmed.

“We’re excited that women across the nation and the world are organizing to stand together in solidarity. Our unity will send a strong and clear message that women and our allies will protect our rights, our health, our safety and our communities,” said Bob Bland, a co-chair of Women’s March on Washington. “These sister marches show a powerful and inclusive movement, which is just as crucial as the thousands who will travel to D.C.”

For more information about the Peoria Rally please go to https://www.facebook.com/events/119862368520147, or to https://www.womensmarch.com, click on Find a Local March, and enter your Peoria area zip code. Please RSVP so we have an idea of how many to expect.


Dangers of antibiotic overuse


The League
of Women Voters
of Greater Peoria Illinois
League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria
Drinks & Dialogue
Topic: The Dangers of Antibiotic Overuse
January 18, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Lariat Steakhouse, 2322 W. Glen Ave., Peoria, Illinois

The Dangers of Antibiotic Overuse will be discussed at Drinks & Dialogue, a program hosted monthly by the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria.  It’s free and open to the public
Katie Crone, Doctor of Pharmacy and Registered Pharmacist with UnityPoint Methodist will share information about the overuse of antibiotics and the problems associated with it.  The overuse of antibiotics has been a topic on the news for some time and raises questions and concerns for many.
The dialogue on the Overuse of Antibiotics will include up to date information provided by Dr. Crone, who has been focusing on this area of concern in her professional practice.
Drinks & Dialogue provides an opportunity for people to share opinions and ideas, ask questions and become more aware of issues that could impact us at the local, state and national level.   There’s no cost to participate, and refreshments are available to buy.
Drinks & Dialogue is offered monthly, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, for one hour starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Lariat Steakhouse, on local, state, and national political topics.
The League is a non-partisan, issues oriented, volunteer, member-directed organization committed to open, responsive and effective government brought about by informed, involved citizens with membership open to both men and women in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties. For more information, go to www.lwvgp.org.
Inquires may be directed to Cheryl Budzinski, at 309-253-9594 or c_budzinski@hotmail.com.

Heidelberg case moves toward full review


DAVID ZALAZNIK/JOURNAL STAR Cleve Heidelberg's sister, Mae Winston, right, and her daughter, Wanda Figgers, send wishes to Heidelberg at the end of the hearing Thursday at the Peoria County Courthouse. Heidelberg was granted progression to a third stage evidentiary hearing in his effort to overturn his decades-old murder conviction.

POOL PHOTO BY DAVID ZALAZNIK/ Cleve Heidelberg’s sister, Mae Winston, right, and her daughter, Wanda Figgers, are overjoyed at Judge Albert Purham’s ruling finding clear Constitutional violations in the original police investigation and trial of Heidelberg in the shooting death of Peoria County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Espinoza. The judge granted Heidelberg an evidentiary  hearing scheduled for early February in his 1970 murder conviction.


Cleve Heidelberg won two out of three arguments in the appeal of his murder conviction in the 1970 shooting death of Peoria County Sheriff’s deputy Raymond Espinoza.

After listening to arguments presented Thursday by Matt Jones for the state and Andy Hale and Don Jackson representing Heidelberg, Peoria County Circuit Judge Albert Purham said there clearly were Constitutional violations in the original police investigation and trial.

Jones agreed these Constitutional violations occurred, but he contended they did not influence the outcome of the case.

Hale and Jackson argued these Constitutional violations alone should be sufficient to dismiss the 1970 conviction. They also argued there was no physical evidence linking Heidelberg to the murder except his car. Heidelberg’s attorneys argued the man who had borrowed Heidelberg’s car the night of May 25, 1970, was threatened and coerced not to testify in court. They also argued that FBI fingerprint reports that did not link Heidelberg to the crime were suppressed

The judge set 9 a.m. Feb. 8 for an evidentiary hearing in the case.

Heidelberg, 73, was sentenced in 1970 to 99 years to 175 years in prison, but he has always maintained his innocence. He has been incarcerated for the past 45 years.

His sister Mae Winston and her daughter Wanda Figgers were in court Thursday and were clearly overjoyed by the judge’s ruling.


Union Intervenes for Nonunion Workers

Matt Bartolo of Local 165 explains why the union worked on behalf of Warren Little, left, and Juan Goode in a dispute over payment for work for NMR Renovations of California at job site at former Sheraton Four Points hotel in Peoria.

Matt Bartolo of Local 165 explains why the union worked on behalf of nonunion workers Warren Little, left, and Juan Goode, right, in a dispute over payment for work for NMR Renovations of California at job site at former Sheraton Four Points hotel in Peoria.

Warren Little was a laborer working on the renovation of Sheraton Four Points hotel project in downtown Peoria for 10 weeks this past summer as an independent contractor. Little received his first paycheck five days before Christmas.

He expects to receive subsequent payments over the next six months under terms of an agreement reached with the assistance of Laborers Local 165 and the West Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council.

Even though Little and nearly two dozen other laborers on the site were nonunion, Local 165 intervened on their behalf in a dispute over pay.

Matt Bartolo, secretary/treasurer with Local 165 of the Laborers International Union of North America, said “It is not at all unusual that workers don’t get paid for the work they do.”

He said the situation is repeated in other locations throughout Peoria.

“What is unusual is that we could help,” he said. “Our morals and principles would not allow us to walk away from this.”

Rather than work through state channels that could take up to a year, Bartolo said the decision was made to work with attorney Lance Jones, a partner with HeplerBroom LLC in Springfield. A settlement package of nearly $20,000 was reached covering seven workers and legal expenses, but Bartolo said the actual number of workers who were unpaid could be closer to 20. Local 165 has been unable to get in touch with other workers, many of whom travel around the country from job site to job site.

Sheraton Four Points is the largest hotel in downtown Peoria and it has been closed for a number of years. The city has offered incentives to the new owners Hawkeye Hotels of Iowa.

A call to Hawkeye was not returned.

Mayor Jim Ardis said the hotel renovation is important to Peoria and the Civic Center. He expects the hotel to open in April or May.

The unpaid workers on the job were hired as independent contractors by NMR Renovations of Concord, Calif. Owner Nathan Moore said he has worked on many job sites with both union and nonunion workers with no problems but there was constant friction at the Peoria site.

Moore said he flew to Peoria to meet with each worker and offered them payment of 85 percent of what he owed them but that agreement was later rescinded. He said he lost $47,000 on the Peoria job.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney concluded a 10-month investigation in April into Moore’s company and filed charges against him for wage theft and tax fraud.

Like Warren Little, Juan Goode worked on the Peoria job site for weeks without pay. He drove to work from Canton and paid about $20 in gas daily.

Both men said they received checks from Nathan Moore that bounced.

Goode said he had been asked to work for NMR Renovations on a job site in Texas.

“Working people need work,” he said. “I told them to get right with me on what they already owe me.”

Other workers on the project who believe they were not properly paid can call Great Plains Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust at 309-310-2947.







Literary Magazine, Downstate Story; Newest Edition Available


Downstate Story

www.downstatestory.com       www.wiu.edu/users/mfgeh/dss


Elaine Hopkins, publisher ehopkins7@prodigy.net

1825 Maple Ridge

Peoria, IL. 61614 phones: 309/688-1409; 309/231-5758


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Further information:

Elaine Hopkins 309/231-5758





Ten new short stories by Illinois, Midwestern and other writers are featured in the 2016 edition of Downstate Story, Peoria’s only literary magazine for fiction. Downstate Story is now published only on the Web at www.downstatestory.com


The writers in this issue are Pepper Bauer of Mapleton, IL; Susan Duke of East Peoria, IL; Daniel Botkin of East Peoria, IL; Connie Cook Smith of Canton, IL;  Jim Courter of Macomb, IL;  Marie Anderson of LaGrange, IL;  Grazina Smith of Chicago, IL; James Chnura of Oak Park, IL; Kent McDaniel of Chicago, IL; and Matt LeShay of Culebra, PR.


These outstanding writers include several with long lists of publications in other literary magazines, and some have authored books.


Published by Downstate Story, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, the annual publication aims to present original fiction by Illinois writers and writers with ties to Illinois and the Midwest as a quality alternative to today’s mass-market publishing.


For this Web edition, readers are asked for donations to help defray publishing costs. All writers are paid for their work.


Downstate Story’s Facebook page can be accessed at www.Facebook.com/downstatestory



The magazine is available free on the Web. Interviews with the authors are encouraged and can be arranged. Contact us, or them. Their email addresses and other information are included below.


Please help us notify the public about this unique venture.


(continued on p. 2)



  1. Politically correct. Contributors paid for their work. No government funds used.


  1. Something for everyone. Stories reflect diversity of authors, and include romance, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, mainstream fiction.


  1. Promotes quality reading. Content realistic but not X-rated.


  1. Promotes Illinois and Midwestern writers.


  1. Unusual concept for the arts. Provides outlet for local writers and artists to reach

local audiences free.


  1. Original work. None ever published before.


  1. Quality work. Stories and art comparable to work in Harpers, Atlantic, The New Yorker and top literary magazines.


  1. No poetry.


  1. No advertising.


  1. Unique experiment in publishing, asking for donations instead of fee.




Authors: (Telephone numbers available on request)

Pepper Bauer,  pepperbauer@att.net

Susan Duke, dukest47@comcast.net

Marie Anderson, baseballfamily5.2@sbcglobal.net

Connie Cook Smith, dimension04@sbcglobal.net

Daniel Botkin, danielbotkin@mtco.com

Grazina Smith, grazina.smith@gmail.com

Jim Courter, JE-Courter@wiu.edu

James Chmura, jsea66@comcast.net

Kent McDaniel, kentmcdanielband@yahoo.com

Matt LeShay, greatauntpam@hotmail.com


Dale Goodner objects to North Dakota National Guard participation against protesters at Standing Rock pipeline site

Dale Goodner, a veteran of the Wisconsin National Guard and retired from the Peoria Park District where he was chief naturalist and supervisor of environmental and interpretive services, now lives in Wisconsin. He sent this letter to the North Dakota National Guard and shared it with Community Word:

To North Dakota National Guard:

As a Wisconsin National Guard Veteran, I’m very concerned. The North Dakota National Guard is alleged to have fired rubber bullets and water cannons at the people at Standing Rock. It’s November! But even if it were warm mid summer, this reaction would be indefensible. We were always instructed to use minimum force to calm the situation… this is in violation of a fundamental principle of service to the people.

Frankly, if this action is true… I’m embarrassed, frustrated, and angered at this behavior. We are the Good Guys!! Our mission is NOT to serve corporate power. We serve the people!

These folks have a right and a responsibility to make their feelings known… to protest peacefully. Please have your soldiers review the Guard’s proud history and current mission… and reevaluate your important role in this conflict.

Thank you.


Dale Goodner

Algoma, Wisconsin

Goodner told Community Word a spokesperson for the North Dakota National Guard responded and assured him its role has been solely as backup to the police. Goodner said he’s relieved, but if it gets out of hand and the people at Standing Rock are being injured, disrespected or mistreated, then any intervention should be on behalf of the protesters, protecting them and their civil rights. The National Guard, he said, needs to be a source of national pride.

Editors Note: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will close the site of the pipeline protest. Following Dec. 5, anyone at the site will be prosecuted. In a letter to the tribe, John W. Henderson, a district commander with the Corps, wrote:

“I am closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective Dec. 5, 2016.

“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, released a statement saying that the tribe is deeply disappointed by the move but it has not changed its resolve to prevent the pipeline from being built north of reservation lands.

“It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe. Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the President will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”








New EPA Pick: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals a “Myth”

Myron Ebell, who has been named as part of the transition team by president-elect Donald Trump for the Environmental Protection Agency, is a hardened climate change skeptic likely to relax regulations on farm chemical use and drift, roll back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and give the green light to more coal and logging.

His organization has called endocrine disrupting chemicals, widely believed to be linked to cancer, infertility, Parkinson’s and a host of other ailments, simply a “myth conjured up by anti-chemical activists.” His organization has also disputed the scientifically established link between neonicotinoids and bee health.

For a sobering assessment see Tom Philpott’s article in Mother Jones:


For past articles on endocrine disrupting chemicals in Community Word, go to our website at www.TheCommunityWord.com. And be sure to read the OpEd in our upcoming December issue: “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Far More Costly to U.S. Than $340 Billion,” by Dr. Paul Winchester.

League of Women Voters Opposed Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenders; Discusses Sentencing Guidelines

PEORIA, IL – A meeting hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria will discuss changes in sentencing guidelines, at 6 pm on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) auditorium, 1718 N Sterling, Peoria 61604.

Peoria County States’ Attorney Jerry Brady will present information about many facets of the efforts to change sentencing guidelines.  They include:

  • Initiatives currently under consideration from: The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform; The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council; and House Bill 6595 which would change penalties for drug crimes (sponsored by Rep. Barbra Flynn Currie.)
  • The way sentencing changes become law in Illinois and get implemented.
  • Who benefits from changes to sentencing guidelines, and whether changes will affect public safety.
  • The biggest existing sentencing problems that should be studied or changed.
  • How prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement, county detention, and the courts will respond to changes.
  • The possibility that sentencing changes may:
    •  put more offenders in county jails, in lieu of prison because of shorter sentences which could be considered a cost shift from the state to a county.
    • require more parole officers, and whether the state would pay for this extra work.


The position of League of Women Voters of the US on sentencing policies is that  alternatives to imprisonment should be explored and utilized, taking into consideration the circumstances and nature of the crime. The LWVUS opposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.


The event is free and open to the public. Press coverage is welcome.