Rory Conner is the executive director at Kickapoo Creek Winery on the grounds of the Angus farm he grew up on. He and his wife Mary moved back from Chicago to help with the family business, ‘I think it surprised all of us, how fast the winery would grow’, he said. Now they are in the process of expanding to a new restaurant in downtown
Ken Gerber is a host at the New Caterpillar Visitor Center. He retired from Caterpillar 22 years ago where
he started sweeping floors in the offices and 36 years later was a manager in the customer services department.
He said Caterpillar is a great company because there is a culture of dedication to quality.
Marvin Irby has only been a postal carrier since October. His change in careers was motivated
mostly by the economy. He does not mind his more than 10 miles of walking each day
because, ‘I like the outdoors and meeting and getting to know the people,’ he said.
Chris Davis has been around tattoos all her life. She grew up at her Mom’s shop, Dream Illustration Tattoos in Chillicothe. Now the second generation tattoo artist says, ‘it’s the most fun job I can think of’.
Chris Wheeler is a bicycle mechanic at Bushwacker in Peoria. He likes to ride also, going on long distance rides
and bicycle tours. Working on his own bike got him interested in doing it as a job.
Scott Brady has driven a garbage truck for 6 years. ‘It is a job that needs to be done’
he said, ‘I take pride in helping to keep Peoria clean’.
Trish Redman shops for her garden plants every year at the Luthy Botanical Garden's Spring Plant Sale. She said she likes supporting the community and non-profits, ‘I could shop at retail stores, but I would rather shop here’
Kris Renders is vacationing here from Bornem, Belgium, driving historic Route 66.
‘It’s a great way to see the U.S.’ she said, ‘I am also visiting old friends along the way’.
This is not her first time in the United States, she was a foreign exchange student here 30 years ago.
Idge Isenberg is a Sr. at Dunlap High School and the only girl on the varsity Lacrosse team. She took up Lacrosse to fill the gap between hockey seasons, ‘I thought it would be similar to Hockey’ she said. She plays on two competitive girl’s hockey teams.
Scott Avery is the only Conservation Officer in Peoria County. He grew up in southern Illinois, ‘I was a farm boy’, he said ‘always hunting and fishing with my dad.’ The job is more than ‘game warden’, with duties that include Homeland Security, rescuing flood victims, teaching safety classes, etc., ‘every three months or so it changes’ he said.
Dr. Melissa Stigall has been an Orthodontist for 7 years. She is in practice with her Dad,
Dr. Stephen Roehm. ‘I have worked at the office since I was 13’, she said ‘cleaning and mopping’.
She said she loves the work and the kids, ‘it’s great watching them grow’.
Kim Schilling of Spring Bay Illinois has 3 feet of water in her home from the Illinois River. She is worried about what damages the insurance will cover. ‘People keep asking me if I want to move’, she said, ‘this is my home, I just want to come back’.
Jim Baldwin and his family began sand bagging and moving belongings from their house on Friday.
The good news is that the house was lifted in 1980 after the flood in ’79, so only the basement and garage had to be cleared.
He understood the risk of living near the river, ‘if you are going to be down here, you’re going to get flooded’ he said.
Katherine Grace Seneca was born 2 days ago, but she has been on quite a journey. At 10 weeks her doctors
said she only had a 50-50 chance of living to her birthday. Now they all call her a ‘miracle baby’.
She will be going home tomorrow and has an outstanding future ahead.
John Vogelsang, Director of Facilities Services at Illinois Central College, helped organize an Earth Day Recycling event at ICC. They collected electronics or E-Waste at no charge. ‘It feels good when we can connect to the community’, he said.
Ray Khattar is the owner of Fred’s Shoe Repair in Peoria. Fred is his dad and he still comes around and helps at the shop. Ray says shoe repair is a dying trade but he stays very busy. How many shoes does he repair in a day? ‘Don’t even ask’ he said.
Cheryl Dean is the owner of Picture This Gallery and Framing in Peoria Heights. She said she likes working
with so many great artist in the community. ‘It’s not like having a real job’ she joked.
Silvia Drafahl is an Oncology Nurse at Illinois Cancer Care. She is also a cancer survivor of 11 years.
She said it helps her to relate to her patients, ‘you understand what it is like when you hear those words’.
Cathy Wells is a Physical Therapist Assistant and a Sports Trainer. She has always been interested
in sports and played sports in school. She said sports medicine was a natural fit for her.
Mike Rucker does not usually file taxes on April 15th, but all of his forms have not been delivered
so he his filing an extension. He said that while filing taxes in not a pleasure, it is a pleasure to live in this country.
James B Jones works at Neighborhood House in Peoria. He helps every Sunday with the Feed the Hungry program.
He said it is a good work environment and finds it rewarding to be helping people.
Shirley Wells works with Advocates for Access. The group helps the disabled to stay independent. Today they have
partnered with His Helping Hands, Community Foundation of Central Illinois, and lots of volunteers to build
10 wheelchair ramps at the homes of disabled people in 10 different communities in and around Peoria.
Cora Hunt is a cosmetologist at Zen Nail Lounge in Peoria where she does manicures and pedicures.
‘It’s a funny story’, she said ‘I drove by a beauty school and decided to pull in… and here I am’.
Mary Grant works at EPIC (formerly PARC) in Organizational Employment Services.
She also works part time at Dairy Queen. She says working at EPIC is alright, ‘sometimes it’s too hard’.
Kahana Hamilton (age 4) is attending the circus at the Peoria Expo Center with her family.
This is her first time to see a circus. Her favorite part is ‘the elephants’ she said.
Robert Culshaw is a Vietnam Veteran and a member of American Legion Post 2 in Peoria, IL.
He keeps himself busy working at the Post as cook. He describes himself as a bit of a rebel
‘I don’t like to conform to what people consider to be normal’, he said.
Brooke Wetherill is taking advantage of the warm weather to practice archery with her family. She likes being active, participating in: softball, volleyball, Girl Scouts and swimming. ‘I like softball the most’ she said.
David Rogers has always loved history, he joined the Peoria Historical Society as a junior member 50 years ago.
He is now on the steering committee for the Flanagan House and has contributed many items to its decor.
John Measner from Chicago has been a magician and performer since he was in a talent competition at the age of 12. Then his dad would drive him to his shows, now he performs 350 shows a year. This weekend he is at the Central Illinois Auto Show.
Elizabeth Davis is a resident artist at the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria. She paints and sculpts in a variety of media.
‘Art is my way of dealing with things’ she said, ‘it helps me express feelings that I couldn’t express in other ways’.
Blaine Adams is the Deputy Clerk for Marshall County, IL. He says he likes working for local government,
‘because I know I am contributing and can see the effect’.
Jill Putt was looking for a fun, part-time job for the summer. Nine months later she is still selling shoes.
She says it is still not her calling. She is still looking for that.
Mike Hodgen has sold GM cars for the last 20 years. The last two weeks, however, he has been selling Toyotas.
Why? ‘I was just ready for something different’, he said.
Alicia Vermeulen works at her Grandmothers store, Ferdinand’s Wigs, the business has been in the family for 50 years.
She says about half of her customers are cancer patients and it is rewarding to help people
feel confident and better about their appearance, ‘sometimes they even give me a hug’.
Josie Heffron (age 3) is attending church with her family. Later, they plan to hunt Easter eggs and have a family brunch
Bill Garrison of Trivoli, IL is spending the afternoon with his family driving their remote control cars at
RiverCity Raceway RC Track in Detweiler Park. He said it is harder than it looks but is a lot of fun.
Steven Below is from a family of engineers and started his career as an engineer at Caterpillar, then decided to change to medicine. He is now an Orthopaedic Surgeon with Great Plains Orthopaedics in Peoria and says
‘Orthopaedics is a lot like engineering… God did an amazing job designing us’.
Jon Oyer has been an electrician for more than 8 years. The reason he chose this line of work he said,
‘I knew I wouldn’t be behind a desk the rest of my life’.
David Mills is an American Legion Rider with Post 979 from Bartonville, IL. The Air Force veteran was serving on an
Honor Guard at the funeral of a veteran. He said likes to do this because ‘it feels like I am giving back’.
Jessica Bullock is a Manager at Reflections Tannery where she was a customer before working there.
She said she likes it because the clients are like their friends and family. ‘Plus’ she said, ‘I like working for local businesses’
Linda Freeman has been in the newspaper delivery business for 42 years.
‘I like to get up early’ she said, ‘you get your work done and the rest of the day is yours’
Karin Bumgarner and her husband are retired which gives them an opportunity to spend time with their hobby.
They go to auctions and buy interesting items to sell at their booth at the flee market.
‘we like the old things’, she said ‘brings back memories for people’.
Deborah Totten calls herself a park rat. She would come to the pool at Proctor Recreation Center as a young girl,
then became a lifeguard at age 14 and was away long enough to go to College and Grad School. ‘I grew up here’ she said.
She has been in leadership in the park district for 36 years. Proctor is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Ayesha Thomas is registering for baby gifts. She is expecting a baby boy on July 2nd.
She said it’s ‘cool seeing what is new for babies’
Huda Aldadah likes sports and her favorite sport is fencing.
She has been practicing and training at Peoria Fencing Academy since she was a 2nd grader
(she is now in 7th grade). ‘It takes a lot of practice and focus’, she said, ‘I like it because it is not ordinary’.
Azize Arzu Arcan is from Istanbul, Turkey. She recently graduated from Eureka College and is working at ICC.
During her 7 year stay she said she enjoyed learning the language and culture here in the United States.
The things she misses most from Turkey are her family and Turkish food.
Craig Schoop has been a lineman for AT&T for 25 years. He said he is looking forward
to spring weather so he can do some farming, ‘that’s what I do to relax’.
J. D. Russell is the Chief Naturalist at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria. He said he loves the outdoors
and this job lets him share that love with some of the 110,000 annual visitors to the nature center.
Kathy Dubois-Barnhart and her mother Genevieve Dubois are members of the
St. Patrick Society of Peoria. The organization is more than a one day event,
‘we have outings all year, we celebrate being Irish and being part of Peoria, it’s a good time,’ she said.
Jada Lane is a third grader and plays on a 5th and 6th grade AYBT basketball team. Her team played during Peoria’s
March Madness Experience and won. She said she likes playing basketball, ‘because it’s fun.’
Mike Makowski took advantage of the nice weather to break out his Brunton Stalker kit car. He said the
Lotus Super 7 replica gets lots of attention. ‘The police stop me a lot, mainly to see if it is street legal’, he said, ‘it is’.
Jennifer Mushinsky is a pharmacist and her Dad was also a pharmacist and she has
an in-law who is a pharmacist. She says being a pharmacist is a good opportunity for women,
because it allows her to earn a good income and provide enough flexibility to be there for her family.
Carla Passmore started her work at Dunlap Schools as a stay-at-home mom, who was active in the school.
She started substitute teaching which eventually lead her to secretary at the high school.
‘I love being here’ she said, ‘being around all these kids’.
Jody Gilmore is the Peoria Area coordinator for Sojourn Bear. The non-profit group has made
more than 27,000 teddy bears since 1998. The bears are given to adult cancer patients
in the Peoria area, ‘we rely on donations to buy the material and stuffing’ she said.
Erika Happach works in purchasing at Maui Jim’s corporate headquarters in Peoria.
She said she loves it for the laid back atmosphere and says it’s a fun place to be.
Amy Weakly from Germantown Hills is an x-ray technician.
She says she enjoys her job and finds it interesting. ‘I like helping people’ she said.
Timothy Wright has been organizing the Peoria Jaycees Lawnmower clinic for the past 4 years.
They hope to get 300 lawnmowers serviced and ready for spring at the end of the one day event.
This event has raised $25,000 over the last four years.
Tracy Wann is the owner of Wannabe’s upscale resale shop; she says that the industry has changed a lot since she opened
in 2008. ‘People are looking to save money and recycling is important to them’ she said, ‘it’s hip to shop resale’
Dr. Jacqueline Crow is an optometrist practicing at the Illinois Eye Center. She says she likes working with people,
‘there is that instant satisfaction from helping someone see better… people are usually happy when they walk out’.
Rachel Musselman started working at Fired Up Studios after she had been a customer
for ‘years and years’ she said ‘it’s a hobby turned career’.
Eric Riley likes working as an exterminator for Orkin, He said he likes the challenge
of keeping up with newest technology in pest control, ‘it’s a constant learning process’.
Roy Roth lives at The Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka, he is being visited by his grandchildren
(who asked him to hold their dolls). ‘They are busy with their life, I am thankful when they have time to visit’, he said.
He said he operated an 18 wheeler for 58 years and is now 87.
Roy Simpson is a Master Mason and a member of the Scottish Rite in Peoria. He says that the fraternal
organization is ‘a group of good men, helping other men become better men’
Ronda Guyton is a Deputy for the Peoria County Sheriff’s office. More important to her, she is a 7 month
survivor of breast cancer and captain of TeamRonda, raising money for Komen Peoria Race for the Cure.
Jody Tockes and her family have just opened the Hive, a gallery and art studio at
The Contemporary Art Center of Peoria. ‘This is my Pre Post Retirement venture’, she said.
She will retire from East Peoria High School this May, where she is teaching Environmental Stewardship.
After every big snow, the plow makes a big pile in front of Lauren Field’s house
making the perfect sledding hill for her and her friends to enjoy.
Sam Rosen is an education major at Bradley. He says he loves the snow and wishes
he had more time to enjoy it. ‘I’d like to have a snowball fight or go sledding’, he said.
Mark Anderson is an election official for the City of Peoria. He took a vacation day from his job at Pella,
to work the primary election today, because he 'just wanted to be involved in the process' he said.
Danell Brooks is the owner of go2girl, a personal assistant company. She finds it rewarding to be helpful.
‘How can you not be happy when your job is to make life easier for people’ she said.
Dan Carey is spending some time playing in the snow with his and some neighborhood kids.
‘the first idea was to have a snowball fight, which turned into a better idea of building snow men’ he said.
Ashley Fogle is a temp worker selling Rwanda Baskets. She says she has a passion for art and for helping ladies in need.
‘If I can help by selling just one basket or even by just getting the word out, that makes me happy’ she said.
Kevin Shillinger has been up since 3:00 a.m. plowing snow for the City of Peoria.
He works for a private contractor and likes the snow because it brings
in money for his family. However, ‘I’m ready for spring’ he said.
Sean Green is the owner of Headz Up barber shop in Peoria.
He likes it because he likes being his own boss and making people look better
Patsy Hasty says she has been a CPA for ‘26 and a half years’. Though her work more than doubles
during the tax season, ‘I love what I do’ she said, ‘I like interacting with people’.
Robin Hasty works part-time at the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois as an office coordinator. This is her first cookie drive.
‘They did not have Girl Scouts in the town I grew up in,’ she said ‘so now I can experience it’.
Adam Wasson of Kickapoo became the store manager at GNC in Peoria last week.
He likes helping people develop a healthy lifestyle.
Dan Dailey of Morrisonville has been a truck driver for 22 years, his current truck is the 3rd one he has owned. At times
he is gone 3 months at a time. 'I hate everyday of it' he said 'I am only doing this until something better come along.'
Lin and George Wilson are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
They say that they are lucky to have stayed together so long.
They also point out, the harder you work the luckier you get.
Susan Ellerbach is the Managing Editor of the Tulsa World in Tulsa, OK.
What does she want us to know about the newspaper business? Newspapers are not dead
Lynnette D. Hacker is the owner of Georgette’s Flowers in Peoria, today is their busiest day of the year.
She has made more than 75 bouquets the last few days. The store will send out more than 250 deliveries.
Tasha Davis participated in her very first Ash Wednesday Mass.
She is preparing to enter into the Catholic Church at the end of this Lenten season.
‘It’s a time to reflect, to put others before myself’, she said.
Kim O’Malley works at St. Jude Catholic Church in the Religious Education department.
Today she is celebrating Mardi Gras with friends and family.
Dave McHoluh is a vault setter for Abel Vault and Monument. He said other than dealing with the weather,
it’s a good job and there is steady work, ‘until there is a major advancement in medicine’.
Kelly Kooken-Nehls from Limestone plays Yitzhak in Corn Stock Theatre’s production of ‘Hedwig
and the Angry Inch’. She coaches Speech at Limestone HS and is a recent graduate of Mortuary School.
She said she has enjoyed the production ‘everyone is so wonderful and talented’.
Vince Warner is helping the poor, by working to renovate a home in Peoria. In three or four years, after he retires
from Caterpillar, he wants to help people. So, he is said this project is helping him prepare for that change.
Michael Najera is a junior on the Plainfield, IL high school chess team who is competing in the state
chess finals in Peoria this weekend. He said the reason he likes playing chess is the challenge
of many different strategies and always having to think ahead.
Ali Breitmeyer is a hair stylist at Wild Roots Salon. The best part of her job,
‘Talking’, she said, ‘it’s girl time all the time here.’
Dee Knight says she loves being a commercial parts pro at Advanced Auto Parts.
‘It’s fast paced and I like helping people’ she said.
Moussa Doumbia, originally from the West African country of Mali, is a cook at IHOP, today is International Pancake Day.
IHOP is giving away free pancakes and taking donations for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Moussa thinks he will make more than 2,000 pancakes this morning.
Lisa Pfohl has a 160 bowling average. Her highest score is a 235, but it is not the numbers that bring
her to the Lanes for 3 different leagues. ‘I like the social aspect, I like to visit with my friends’ she said.
Nick Lentz has been a 49er fan since the Joe Montana days. He has been planning to watch Super Bowl XLVII
with friends at Joes Peoria for a few weeks. He is hoping for a San Francisco win, predicting a score of 28-23.
Mike Portscheller is the father of two boys, a 3 year old and a one week old.
The driveway had to be cleared because his mother is coming for a visit to see the new baby.
Matt McClellan helps out at his girlfriend’s record store, Ribbon Records in downtown Peoria. He says he enjoys
exploring vintage and obscure vinyl records. ‘There is a lot of good music just below the surface’ he said.
Taylor Morgan from Ottawa, IL works for Mayflower Moving. He is 18 years old and just out of high school,
he says he loves his job ‘the best part about his job is that it is different every day’.
Marsha Westfall has seen many changes during her 26 years at the Peoria Heights public library.
Her love of literature first drew her towards teaching, but she has found a more comfortable fit as the Library Director.
Frank Thompson is part of the all-volunteer team that runs the Prairie Aviation Museum
in Bloomington IL. Frank is a veteran who served in the US Army. ‘I get a kick out of seeing people
recall old memories’ he said while talking about the museums visitors.
Todd Claycomb is the Meat Manager at Kroger. He likes working as a butcher because
‘even though it is mostly the same work, it is a challenge every day’ he said.
Cyndi Colgan works at a law firm advising on Medical Malpractice defense cases. She uses her 33 years of experience as a nurse and loves the intellectual challenge. 'I get to interact with doctors and nurses who are the tops in their field' she said.
Rhonda Miller of Canton, IL is visiting the gun range at American Firearms in Peoria for the first time.
Though she is no stranger to the shooting sports, ‘It’s fun’ she said, ‘I like out shooting the guys’