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Rated PG: Getting back at it

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hospital toonStarting over can be a challenge, depending on the circumstances. But in my case, returning to work after nearly eight months on disability, it is a challenge I look forward to facing.

Those of you who have followed The Peorian have probably...

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Rated PG: Riverfront Village was worth it

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From the first announcement about Riverfront Village, which came while I was covering the business beat for the Peoria Journal Star, I felt there was something odd about the way it was received. I almost felt sorry...

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LaHood won't wait long for a call

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lahood129It was great seeing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Warehouse District on Friday. After all, his considerable "pull" in Washington helped garner the $10 million federal TIGER II grant that will be used to helped develop the Warehouse District in his native Peoria.

So what...

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Gordon: IGNITE a true local showcase

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ignitemosaicAs I stood watching all those local theatre people in one place, doing the singing and choreography for a song they’d starting learning barely an hour early,...

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What is the future of symphony music?

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My wife and I had the privilege last Saturday to attend the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's Valentine's concert titled "Romance." It was excellent, with pianist Jade Simmons leaving us in awe of her talent.

The entire orchestra did, as well, as I found myself keeping the rhythm with my hands as conductor George Stelluto guided the musicians through Gershwin masterpieces and finishing with Ravel's "Bolero," which is incredibly different when...

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Rated PG: Don't let child welfare tip too far

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child-abuse-onlineWhen I hear somebody use the term “tipping point,” I usually think of it as bad news. More often than not, the person is saying something has reached the point of no return.

During my research into child abuse and neglect for the four-part series The Peorian published last week called “Who Is Protecting the Kids?” I heard the...

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Goodbye Jim. And thank you.

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 Jim Maloof's passing was not a surprise. He hasn't been well for some time now. But it is no less sad, a reason to pause and reflect on the man, what he meant to so many of us who knew him and to his city.

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Rated PG: An EP!C inspiration

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ha5When a pretty young lady named Dominique typed on her computer Thursday night at the Bon Appetit event in East Peoria, her message was intended to inspire the audience of several hundred. It did that.

Dominique,...

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Rice restrictions on media disappointing

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It would appear that Mitt Romney taught his fellow Republicans something during the recent presidential campaign after all.

The apparent lesson? Make sure nobody is using a cell phone camera or other recording device when you are giving a speech.

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Rated PG: Coming to a Karaoke bar near you, The Bread Monk

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It's probably not every night you stop in a Karaoke bar for some fun and see a monk with the mic, singing Jimmy Buffet. If you do, chances are it's Father Dominic Garramone.

The Singing Monk? He is the choir master at Saint Bede Academy and Monastery in Peru. You could call him Father Thespian, given that he used to do community theatre, majored in theatre in college before joining the monastery, and is the drama director at Saint Bede.

He's...

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Encouraging numbers from library

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I am one of those who is concerned about how technology is affecting the written media, such as newspapers and magazines. And of course, books.

With that, I am concerned about the future of the public library. With the invention of the e-reader and the different devices now equipped to perform that function, how much longer before holding a book or magazine in our hands will be so obsolete that libraries and bookstores will not be needed?

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Rated PG: Thanking Jay; introducing a new writer

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Just a thought ...

When interviewing concert promoter Jay Goldberg for a preview story for the Budweiser Blues Fest last weekend, it dawned on me that this area owes quite a "thank you" to this dude from Pekin.

Think about it: Three of this region's most lucrative events, and by that I mean revenue generators for our hotels, restaurants, bars, and sales tax coffers, started because Jay wanted to do something for the region while...

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I'm tired of asking 'why?'

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 As I sat Friday morning absorbing the news about the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., my thoughts turned to the night before, at Hinds School in Peoria. I sat with a couple hundred others watching the students there sing Christmas songs.

My twin granddaughters are the kind of kids who really get into music and it was so much fun watching them dancing on the risers on stage, singing loudly and having a blast. I smiled more than I had in...

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Rated PG: Agatucci's expands into frozen pizza

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Normally the words "frozen" and "pizza" don't go together in my vocabulary. It's from my youth, when frozen pizza featured crust that could be used as a shipping crate and sauce that probably had been rejected by reputable tomato sauce manufacturers.

I remember wondering if the cheese was real and I didn't want to think about where the "meat" might have originated. I was afraid it was something the cat dragged in ... literally.

Times...

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Small Business Saturday grows; also, kudos to McConoughey

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The buying public continues to embrace Small Business Saturday as statistics, local and national, show the event got bigger again this year, it's third in existence.

In fact, half of the retailers said they had more shoppers on Small Business Saturday than they did the previous day, the infamous Black Friday, according to the Heartland Partnership and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

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Rated PG: Flood mixed with snow? Come on!

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floodingI took a quick drive through downtown Peoria early Friday afternoon and wasn't surprised to see large piles of sand on Water Street, sand that was being put into bags and stacked atop concrete barriers in the middle of the road between Liberty and State streets.

It seems we've had quite a bit of flooding the last few years,...

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Isn't Black Friday enough?

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To me, Black Friday has never meant much more than a pain in the rear when I had to work that day and cover the hordes who found it necessary to risk life and limb and start shopping in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving.

I haven't had to do that in several years and so it has come to mean nothing, except an occasion to laugh at my beautiful bride and her daughter as they prepare to leave at 4 a.m. and I roll over and go back...

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Rated PG: Beware of Philippine email scam

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scam-alert-picI've known Debbie Ritschel a long time and have always found her to be pretty darn smart. At the very least I was sure she's literate.

So when I got an e-mail purporting to be from her that asked me to send her money so she could return home from a trip to the Philippines — during which she was mugged and...

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It's Smokeout time!

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I am a quitter. And, I am proud of it.

Last month I reached the five- year mark of being a non-smoker. It was one,of the hardest things I have done and in fact, like many others, I had quit probably a hundred times before finding a reason to light up again. 

After more than 30 years of smoking cigarettes, I realized quitting wasn't going to be an overnight success for me and so I usually thought, what was the point of trying?

What...

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Rated PG: Cancer research will go on despite Dr. Rao departure

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rao-001The local business and medical community appeared to be taken quite by surprise with the sudden departure early this week of Dr. Jasti Rao, head of cancer research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

It is no surprise, then, that some in the community are concerned about what Rao's departure means to...

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You can make a difference; vote!

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One of my earliest memories of the political process is from election night, 1964. I rode with my Mom and Dad to the polling place so they could vote after they got off work.

They argued in the car on the way to the polling place because they didn't agree 100 percent on whom to vote for, LBJ or Barry Goldwater. Dad was staunchly Democrat and Mom was -- and still is, I think -- more independent and preferred to vote for the person she thought...

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