A Publication of WTVP

New Chef in Town
Peoria’s Mt. Hawley Country Club recently announced the addition of a new executive chef. Having attended the culinary program at Joliet Junior College, Rick Bower has worked in club and fine dining restaurants for more than 17 years, including the upscale, Las Vegas-based Robuchon; celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Nobhill Tavern; and Kahill’s Steak, Fish & Chophouse in Sioux City, Iowa.

Bower’s culinary perspective focuses heavily on seasonal, sustainable, farm-to-table preparations, utilizing fresh ingredients sourced from on-site gardens as well as local produce, pork and cattle farmers. He has also successfully implemented a sea-to-table program, utilizing only line-caught fish sourced from small, dock-to-door fisheries.

With Bower’s experience, leadership and talent, Mt. Hawley is well positioned as one of the area’s unique fine dining opportunities. Club leadership believes the addition, coupled with an aggressive membership drive and other strategic improvements, will solidify Mt. Hawley as one of the region’s premier family clubs.

Volunteerism: Strength in Numbers

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A $1 Million Investment

Over the next two years, WMBD/WYZZ and CI Proud has pledged to give away more than $1 million in multimedia grants to central Illinois nonprofit organizations. These organizations can then use the power of WMBD/WYZZ/ to amplify their voices, making their work as well as their needs known. Grants can range from digital announcements to news coverage, live extended interviews and media partnerships/PSAs. The program is designed to bolster the community, bring awareness to groups that are already doing great things, and expand the station’s community service.

“One of the things we do really well is to connect people in need to people with solutions,” says Kevin Harlan, vice president and general manager. “Many of our neighbors are in need in central Illinois, and they don’t always know where to turn for help. Yet, there are already so many existing nonprofits and agencies that really can provide the help people need. This program helps to get that word out.”

To be considered for a media grant, complete the application at

Giving Two Cents


The List of Lists

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving by advancing a more efficient philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome the world’s most persistent challenges. It is America’s largest and most influential charity evaluator, identifying the most effective—and ineffective—charities around the country.

In an effort to make the subject of charity evaluation a tad more interesting, the organization publishes a variety of lists identifying charities that meet certain patterns of performance. Below are some of these lists, which can be found in their entirety at

United We Serve

Nearly 26 percent of Illinois residents volunteered for a nonprofit cause in 2014, ranking the state 30th in the nation. In the Peoria MSA, however, that number jumps to 31.5 percent. Here are some volunteer highlights from the Land of Lincoln:


Funding Illinois’ Future
The Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund is now investing state funds with investment firms that will provide capital to technology businesses seeking to locate or expand in Illinois. In early April, the fund’s new website,, made its debut to further share information and provide a way for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to wider audiences. The IGIF is expected to attract more than $400 million in private-sector dollars, which would spur additional interest in the Midwest tech scene. Learn more at

Best Bang for Your Buck

Technology and business continue to top USA Today’s annual list of 50 college majors that offer the best potential return on investment. However, emerging trends like geotechnical engineering and informatics also made this year’s cut. Here are the top five majors offering the best potential ROI, according to, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Find the full list at iBi