A Publication of WTVP

Altofer Inc. broke ground on The Rental Store in East Peoria. It is expected to open this summer. Caterpillar Inc. launched The Rental Store 2 ½ years ago, enabling its customers to rent machinery equipment, large or small.

The Peoria County Board ratified Patrick Urich as the new county administrator. He is currently the assistant administrator for Lake County. Bradley University named Dr. David C. Broski, former chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, its next president.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse is building a new 115,000-square-foot store in East Peoria. Famous Dave’s RiverEast Grill and Barbeque officially opened on May 22nd, marking the company’s fifth Illinois location.

James Richerson was named director of Lakeview Museum effective June 1st. He is the current executive director of the Cayuga Museum of History and Art in Auburn, New York.

Workforce Network’s grand opening took place on October 17th at One Technology Plaza. Its Business Service Center assists with worker recruitment, applicant screening, job placement and customized training.

"As a new resident of Peoria, there are a few things that have come as a surprise. For example, I was pleasantly surprised by the collegial welcome extended to me by Jim Moore and Keith Steffen at OSF Saint Francis Medical Group, by Norm Laconte at Proctor Hospital, and both Drs. Michael Bailie and Don Rager from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. This did not happen to me when I became a CEO in New Jersey."
-W. Michael Bryant, President and CEO, Methodist Health Services Corporation

Illinois Central College President Thomas K. Thomas will retire at the end of this year after serving 12 years as president. In November, the ICC Board of Trustees selected Dr. John Erwin as the fourth president of the college. He is currently academic vice president at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

District 150 officials voted to expand the Edison Project in Peoria. Edison will operate at Loucks Middle School this fall and Rolling Acres Middle School at the start of the following school year.

To solve overcrowding problems in Dunlap School District 323, the school board voted to put an $8.75 million referendum on the March ballot for construction of a new elementary school.

Peoria’s newest private school, Peoria Academy, will begin classes this fall. The not-for-profit K-8 school will renovate the Knights of Columbus building on Willow Knolls Road.

Dedication ceremonies for the Ronald Reagan Peace Garden at Eureka College took place on May 9th. The Peace Garden commemorates the 1982 "Eureka Speech" the president delivered on campus and features a bronze bust of President Reagan and a five-by-four-foot section of the Berlin Wall.

"Those of us brought up to value things like quality, reliability, consistency and efficiency had a difficult time with the brash, quick-to-prosper impatience of those who endorsed this new high-tech economy. We watched dumbfounded as this new generation sat at their computer screens and made the kind of money in days or weeks that we had to wait months or years to make.

"For the moment, though, the world has slowed way down. High-tech IPOs that started at $15 a share and zoomed to 10 times that in a matter of weeks are now back to where they started. Others are struggling just to keep their heads above water. What’s happening, of course, is an old-fashioned shakeout. When it’s done, the strongest will have survived. There are some valuable lessons to be learned:

  • Most ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes are just that-schemes. Like the junk bonds of 20 years ago, the dot-com stocks of today just might be a flash in the pan. 
  • Financial stability counts for something, after all. The days of consistent runaway revenues amidst a lot of red ink are numbered. 
  • Maturity and patience are good things. Why else would a company like Webvan hire a seasoned professional like George Shaheen to run the operation? He brings an efficiency and stability that a dot-com needs to survive. 
  • Hard work and ‘paying your dues’ still count for something."

-Jan Wright, Publisher

  • Area gasoline prices jumped to more than $1.40 per gallon. The per-barrel price of crude oil has nearly tripled since early 1999 and continues to climb.
  • The Peoria Park District is working with the Illinois Valley Striders to develop the Classic Sports Festival 2000, combining established events like the Steamboat Classic and the Proctor Cycling Classic with 14 other sports to create a city-wide sporting event.
  • Caterpillar employees traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge members of Congress to vote "yes" for Permanent Normalized Trade Relations status for China. This year, Caterpillar’s business in China will approach one-third of $1 billion in revenue, a substantial portion of which is direct exports from the United States.
  • The State of Illinois will end Fiscal Year 2000 with a record general funds balance of at least $1.5 billion. It is the highest end-of-year cash balance in state history.

"The EDC has a new name: The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. The change is the result of increased economic development assistance in counties surrounding the Tri-County Area and a desire to more accurately describe the geographic scope of EDC services. It follows a clear recognition that economic competition will increasingly be conducted on a regional basis."
-Michael F. Kuhns, EDC Inc.

"The Internet is an incredible way to gather information and communicate with people around the world. For most people, it is simply a means of communication. For others, it can become a substitute for real-life relationships-and a threat to financial and emotional stability. Internet addiction can jeopardize job, business or career opportunities, distracting people from their daily work and decreasing productivity."
Eric Zehr, Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery

"The outcome of the presidential election is still up in the air, but it is very possible that the winner of the popular vote will not become the next president. The reason for this anomaly is the outdated process used to select the president: the Electoral College. I am a strong supporter of Governor Bush, and I hope he prevails, but after this election concludes, I believe it is time to change our electoral system to reflect the will of the people."
-Congressman Ray LaHood


Central Illinois Business Publishers celebrated the 10th anniversary of The Peoria Woman magazine in January.

The MBA program at Bradley University is celebrating its golden anniversary. The first MBA degree was awarded in 1950. Today, the Foster College of Business Administration is the center for graduate business study on the campus, offering master of business administration and master of science in accounting degree programs.

Clifton Gunderson marks its 40th anniversary this year. Four accountants founded the Peoria-based CPA firm in Peoria in 1960, and it has grown to become the 11th largest CPA firm in the nation.

Heritage Bank of Central Illinois celebrated 80 years of service to the Peoria area with a series of celebrations and open houses. iBi