A Publication of WTVP

Show and Express
You’re never too young to appreciate art—or to showcase it, says Michelle Didesch-Rouland, owner of A+ Children’s Academy, 6431 N. Big Hollow Road in Peoria. Enrolling children ages six weeks to five years, it is the only school in central Illinois to base its curriculum on the Reggio Emilia approach—an educational philosophy that emphasizes visual learning—as well as one of the only preschools to host its own art show. This year, the academy will host its fourth annual art show on October 17th, offering students an opportunity to display their work, mingle with adult artists, and experience an art opening firsthand.

“Children show up all dressed up with their families… and drink sparkling cider and walk around and check out the displays,” she describes. “They learn from some working artists and get a chance to talk and interact with them as well. [Last year,] we had some really neat clay sculptures and some artists that came in and actually fired pottery with them.”

From building model bridges to creative photography, students are given a chance to express themselves in an encouraging environment, both at the show and throughout the year. Free from the inhibitions that come with age, students can communicate naturally through a visual medium, Didesch-Rouland explains, noting that “children can show us more than they can tell us what they are learning.”

“It’s a perfect time to give art to them and expose them to art in different mediums,” she adds. “We definitely do see a difference in children who have been with us… It’s such a neat way [for them] to show us their view of the world.”

Admission to the A+ Children’s Academy’s Art Show is free and open to the public. To learn more, call (309) 691-2998 or visit

Taxi Goes Tech
In cities like New York and Chicago, hailing a cab is as easy as a wave of the hand. But in central Illinois, the same task proves not such an easy feat, with people often stuck with the burdensome process of looking up a local cab company, calling for a car, and waiting long stretches of time for it to arrive. That is, until NexTaxi came to town.

NexTaxi is an “e-Hailing” app serving hundreds of locations in Canada and the U.S., making it easier to get from here to there. Users of the free app can hail a taxi, track its arrival and pay their metered fare—with no extra costs—all via their smartphone. NexTaxi’s GPS can pinpoint users’ location, ensuring a timely pickup, as well as the safe delivery of riders to their destinations. With security as a top priority, NexTaxi only partners with legitimate car services and always sends licensed, on-duty drivers to pick up its customers.

Additional perks include the ability to pull addresses from phone contacts or previous trips, track favorite destinations, include helpful notes for the driver (e.g. Look for the woman with the red umbrella), and call the cab back in case something is left behind.

Here in central Illinois, Peoria Yellow Checker Cab is putting the app to good use. Nextaxi is available for iOS in the App Store and Android on Google Play. Learn more at

Bring the Noise
Too much noise in the workplace can be distracting, but according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, not enough noise can lessen creativity. Testing conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign revealed that groups of individuals exposed to a moderate level of ambient noise outperformed other groups who were exposed to varying levels of louder and softer background noise, as well as total silence. Bringing the muffled clutter of coffee shop conversations and the light trickling of rain into cubicles, a number of apps enable your smartphone or computer to produce the ideal volume of ambient noise to boost creativity and productivity at the office:

End of the Line
More than a quarter of U.S. households have ditched their landlines for mobile technology, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. Just 71 percent of households had landlines in 2011, down from 96 percent in 1998, while 28 percent of households now rely on mobile phones as their primary communication device. The trend is especially prevalent among the younger generation, with about two-thirds of millennial households (led by 15- to 29-year-olds) using a cellphone as their only phone line. Though there are still reasons to keep a landline, it seems the long road to obsolescence is inescapable.

Toothy Inflation
The days of finding a quarter under your pillow are gone. In 2013, the Tooth Fairy is slipping an average of $3.70 per lost tooth under children’s pillows, according to payment processor Visa Inc. The mystical, winged lady’s average payout has seen a steady increase in recent years, having already jumped from $2.60 in 2011 to $3 in 2012. To help parents keep up with inflation, Visa offers a free Tooth Fairy Calculator app for iOS, providing stats on what the Tooth Fairy is leaving other children of parents in their same age group, income bracket and education level.

Skin Security
Preliminary findings from Applied Research and Photonics suggest the technology used in airport “t-ray” security scanners holds the potential to become the next tool for skin cancer diagnostics. Using terahertz radiation, researchers have the ability to see through human tissue, without mutating cells, into the deepest part of the outer layer of skin where the disease begins. If implemented in a medical context, the technology could one day help physicians detect malignant melanoma long before patients develop visible mole symptoms. iBi