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Pepper Bauer has a happy tummy today, provided she was able to shovel her way out of Mapleton.

Pepper won The Peorian's inaugural "guess the date of the first 1-inch snowfall" contest. Her prize was a Roast Beef Classic Sandwich from our good friends at Arby's.

Pepper was the only one who entered who guessed Jan. 12 as most other entrants guessed dates in December or early January. So, way to go Pepper! (By the way, fries and a drink are extra.☺)

The contest was conducted on our Facebook page. Look there for a photo of Pepper frolicking in the snow. After all, Arby's put her in a good mood.

Cat to announce earnings 

Caterpillar Inc. will let us know how big of a profit it made in 2011 when it announces fourth-quarter and year-end financials on Jan. 26.

Cat fans, count on it being huge.

You may recall that the company forecast after the third quarter that it expected revenues to top $58 billion for the year, which would be a record and well above the $42.6 billion in sales and revenues it reported in 2010. It also forecast a profit of $6.75 a share for the year.

Caterpillar had its best quarter in its history in the third quarter, with sales and revenues of $15.7 billion and a profit of $1.14 billion. Through the first three quarter of 2011 Caterpillar had sales and revenues of just under $42.9 billion — more than in all of 2010 — and that doesn't even include any of the sales from the acquisition of Bucyrus International, the Milwaukee-based mining equipment manufacturer.

It will be interesting to see, as it always is, how Wall Street will react. Often Caterpillar will announce tail-kicking results only to see its stock value fall for one reason or another. At year-end it usually has to do with the outlook for the coming year; investors always seem to want nearly pie-in-the-sky outlooks whereas Caterpillar tends to be more conservative.

We'll get a early perspective on that as soon as the markets open that day, a couple hours after the results are released.  

For you early risers, Caterpillar says it will have the fourth-quarter and year-end results posted on its website, www.caterpillar.com/earnings, at about 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 26. We'll have a story on our website, www.thepeorian.com, that day, as well.

Nothing to do on weekends? Where are you looking?

I have heard so many times that there isn't a whole lot to do in Peoria on the weekends. Even I have wondered what there was to do other than dinner and a movie, or if I just didn't know where to look.

Now I do, thanks to Arts Partners of Central Illinois. That group keeps a good tab on what's going on and there almost always are things the average person would not otherwise think about. These are things that will bring culture into your life, culture that really does exist here.

For example, singer and former local radio personality Stephanie Aaron is performing Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Center, 305 SW Water St. Also, the Central Illinois Youth Symphony is having its Senior Solo Recital at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dingeldine Music Center, 1417 W. Barker in Peoria.

If you like old slapstick, the Apollo Theatre is showing the Marx Brothers' classic "A Day at the Races" at 7 p.m. Saturday.

On the community theatre front, The Penguin Project is presenting "Thoroughly Modern Mille Jr." Friday through Sunday and Corn Stock Theatre's Winter Playhouse will present "An Afternoon of Play Reading" Sunday at 1 p.m.

That's just a partial list and I didn't include ticket information here. Go to www.artspartners.net or to the organization's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/artspartners for a more complete listing.

You might want to make either site a regular part of your routine when trying to make weekend plans.

Your thoughts will count

The opportunity to register your thoughts about local arts and culture as well as transportation and values may soon come knocking at your door.

The Heart of Illinois Sustainability Consortium, through the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission plans to conduct 1,500 randomized door-to-door surveys throughout the Peoria region in February as part of a "community outreach effort to find ways to sustain and grow our community," the HISC said.

"The purpose of this survey is to get a baseline understanding of residents' community values and the extent to which their values/expectations are being met," the group added.

That sounds like a big undertaking and it should provide some interesting results.

The HISC is looking for volunteers to distribute the surveys. If you're interested let Melissa Eaton at the Regional Planning Commission know at meaton@tricountyrpc.org. There will be a training session for the volunteers from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at Trewyn School.

Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or editor@thepeorian.com

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).