Downstate Story Vol. 24 now online

Elaine Hopkins, publisher


Ten new short stories by Illinois, Midwestern and other writers are featured in the 2015 edition of Downstate Story, Peoria’s only literary magazine for fiction. Downstate Story is now published only on the Web at

The writers in this issue are Pepper Bauer of Mapleton, IL; Susan Duke of East Peoria, IL; Paul Cioe of Rock Island, IL; Marie Anderson of LaGrange, IL; Margaret Lisle of Beverly Shores, IN; Rebecca Lane of Anderson, IN; Margaret Brinton of San Diego, CA; Thomas Lane of Forest Hills, NY; Harris Leonard of North Bethesda, MD; and Steve Slavin of Brooklyn, NY.

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

Sales at Peoria airport kiosk benefit local GED program


For more information, please contact:

Hedy Elliott-Gardner

Coordinator of Adult Education

Peoria Park District Foundation


Local GED Program to benefit from sale of local gift cards and small gifts at PIA

— Looking for gifts for “hard to buy for” friends and family? This holiday season, the Moonlighting at PIA gift shop will host a kiosk on the land side of the airport for local supporters! Open from 3 to 7pm daily every day in December, this gift kiosk, located just inside the main entrance to the airport, will support the Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning.

Participating businesses are all local. Items for sale include gift cards and small gifts. A percentage of all proceeds will benefit the Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning. Participants include Art Garage, Broken Tree Coffee, Costume Trunk, J Draper Glass, Spotted Cow, Twisted Chicken Jewelry, and True Royalty Scents Candles, with other businesses signing on daily.

“We think this is a great way to ease some holiday stress and help support local businesses and local students all at the same time,” said Hedy Elliott-Gardner, Moonlight’s Coordinator.

The Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning was originally established in 1994 to provide organized activities to young members of the community as a positive alternative to juvenile delinquency and crime. Organized sports like basketball were combined with GED instruction as a way to break down barriers for those who thought formal education wasn’t accessible or “cool”.

Today, Moonlight focuses on providing easy access to GED education for those seeking to earn their high school diploma. In direct contrast to other programs that only take new students at the beginning of each semester and that are located outside of our local community, Moonlight focuses on providing accessible open education opportunities, reaching those in need of support in the communities where they live and work. Staying true to its origins, Moonlight also works to ensure accessibility to quality recreational facilities for all members of the community, especially youth and the underserved.

Moonlight is not tax-supported and must fundraise to support of its mission. Updates on Moonlight’s programming and student achievement may be found at its Facebook page at



Global Refugee Crisis: presentation, 7 p.m. Dec. 1, Bradley University


Refugee Crisis in Europe

Peoria, IL – November 23, 2015 –  Europe is dealing with a growing migrant crisis as refugees seek to escape war in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Institute of International Studies and the Peoria Area World Affairs Council will host “The Migrant Problem in Europe: A Global Humanitarian Crisis?”  This program and discussion will be held on Tuesday, December 1 in Westlake Hall room 116 at Bradley University at 7:00 pm.

The featured speaker is Will Ball, Caterpillar Vice President and board member of USA for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  He will share insights from his work with the UNHCR as European countries look for help to register and find new places to settle these migrants.

Ball will be available to talk with the media immediately following his presentation.

For more information, please contact PAWAC at (309) 677-2454.

“The Role of Money in Politics” 6 p.m. Dec. 3

LWVGP General Meeting

Topic: “The Role of Money in Politics”

Thursday, Dec 3, 2015, 6:00 pm
AMT (Advanced Medical Transport) Conference Room
1718 N Sterling Ave, West Peoria, IL 61604

League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria Event: The Role of Money in Politics A panel of experts will discuss the role of money in political campaigns at the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria general meeting.

The panel will consist of Anna Valencia, Frank Mackaman, and Brad McMillan. Anna Valencia is the founder and Principal of AVK Advisors, LLC, a consulting firm that focuses on political strategy, relationship management and government relations. She recently served as a Senior Advisor for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 mayoral election, and was the campaign manager for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s re-election campaign in 2014. Frank Mackaman is on the staff of the Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin, is a member of the Board of Trustees of Illinois Central College, and is an executive committee member and immediate past president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. Brad McMillan is the director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University, and served as chief of staff for former Congressman Ray LaHood who served as U.S. Transportation Secretary in the Obama administration’s first term.

The panel will discuss democratic values with respect to campaign financing, First Amendment considerations, and how campaign financing can be regulated.

The public is invited to submit questions for the panel. Questions must be received by November 30 at To see the consensus questions that will be covered, go to and check the “Recent Updates” box.

The public is invited to this free event, and media coverage is welcome.

For further information contact Cheryl Budzinski at 309-253-9594.

Buy Local: Small Business Saturday Nov. 28

Peoria County



 Peoria City and County Encourage Residents to Buy Local

 Peoria – For the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, Peoria County and the City of Peoria are reminding residents to “Live & Shop Peoria County” and “Live & Shop Peoria.” Over sixty local businesses are sponsoring this buy local campaign by donating a $25 gift card and offering Small Business Saturday specials on Nov. 28. Residents who shop any business in Peoria County between Nov. 26- 29 can be entered to win a gift card package of $100 to local businesses.

To enter the Live & Shop Peoria County contest, residents must post a photo of themselves shopping at a Peoria County business over Thanksgiving weekend on or their personal Twitter or Instagram page with the name of the business and #LiveShopPeoriaCounty. While residents may enter the contest by shopping any business in Peoria County, sponsoring businesses are featured in the attached ad, at, and on the “Live & Shop Peoria/County” Facebook page listed above.

“Live & Shop Peoria County” encourages local residents to purchase goods and services from their neighbors – local business owners – year round and particularly over the busy holiday shopping season. By shopping in Peoria County and the City of Peoria, our local economy is fortified by increased job opportunities and fewer business closings, and sales tax dollars continue to support local government and vital public services such as law enforcement, fire protection, public works, and more.

For more information, contact Jenny Fulton, Peoria County’s Director of Strategic Communications, at 309-672-6918 or




Peoria’s Annual Santa Parade: 10:15 a.m. Nov.27

santa parade.png



Peoria Area Community Events (PACE) is pleased to announce that “Christmas Plays in Peoria” is the theme of the 128th Annual Santa Claus Parade. The parade, scheduled to step off at 10:15 a.m. on November 27, 2015, is the longest running holiday parade in the country.

The Grand Marshall in the parade is a tribute to the Live Arts in Peoria. Representing the theater in the parade will be the Community Children’s Theater, formed in 1957 and Corn Stock for Kids, formed in 1997. Both groups have two performances per year and are the training ground to ensure that kids remain involved as future technicians, patrons and performers. With a cast of 62 children from Peoria and 14 surrounding communities, CCT will open at Peoria Players Theater with Annie Jr. on December 10th.

The Santa Parade is also paying tribute to Tom McIntyre who retired in May from WEEK-TV telecast after 47 years reporting the news in Central Illinois. A Navy veteran Tom was born in Bloomington, grew up in Chenoa and attended Illinois State University. Tom is active in the community serving on the board of the Rotary Club of Peoria.

The parade features costumed characters, novelty walking units, horse units, decorated floats, marching bands, and of course Santa Claus. Santa’s elves are very busy remodeling three floats and creating a new one. They are also painting and repairing the other 20 floats that PACE owns.

 Costumes and floats depicting the parade theme Christmas Plays in Peoria” will compete for awards presented for the Best Novelty Unit, Best Overall Unit, Best New Entry, Best Commercial Float Entry, Best Non-Profit Float Entry, and Best Religious Float Entry.

The parade is telecast live on WMBD-TV Channel 31 sponsored by South Side Trust and Saving Bank for the past 46 years. The telecast area will be on the corner of Main and Adams (in front of South Side Bank).

The parade will take the same route as last year beginning at the Peoria Central Firehouse on Monroe & Bryan Streets, then proceeds on Monroe to Main,  left on Main Street, right on Jefferson Street, left on Liberty Street, left on Adams and will end at the Peoria County Courthouse.