Celebrating 20 Years!

Celebrating 20 Years!


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is a group of more than 1,000 individuals, age 50 and over, who learn together through three distinct programs: OLLI Classes, OLLI Learning Trips, and OLLI Study Groups.

Here, members can discuss what they learned, what they enjoyed, and offer suggestions to enhance future program offerings.

Take a look at the photos we're taking, and the discussions we're having as OLLI members.

Whether we're in class, in town, or out of town ... we're on the go, having fun, and constantly learning.


We look forward to reading your comments!

While you're online, be sure to visit our website www.bradley.edu/continue/olli to register for our programs.

Don't forget -- OLLI has its own YouTube Channel, where you can see video clips of Learning Trips, Classes, and Study Groups!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Heartland Community College -- November 9, 2012

Today we took a sustainability tour of Heartland Community College in Normal.

Our visit began in a classroom for a presentation on the Green Institute, where institute associate director Adrienne Tucker and fellow Tim Glaza discussed sustainability, LEED certification, and green space at the college.

We then explored the campus on foot and viewed the Workforce Development Center, the renewable energy lab, Pegracke Center’s turbine, and the solar shed.

OLLI thanks Adrienne for arranging the tour and welcoming us to campus!

For more information about Heartland Community College, please visit www.heartland.edu

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Peoria Civic Center -- November 7, 2012

OLLI members had a great afternoon exploring the Peoria Civic Center.

During this tour, we visited each part of the facility, including the Great Hall, Ballroom, Lexus Club, Arena, Theater, and Exhibit Hall. Staff explained the types of events held in each area, and discussed how each event comes together, from booking and marketing to the actual operation of a show.

OLLI extends a hearty thank you to Kate, Megan, Eric, and Will, the staffers who shared their expertise and answered our questions!

For more information about the facility, please visit www.peoriaciviccenter.com

Thanks, Hiram Toraason!

On our second tour of his glass studio this fall, OLLI presented Hiram Toraason with an OLLI pin. The pin, given to a limited number of volunteers each year, was presented to Hiram for his continued support of our lifelong learning program.

Thanks and congratulations, Hiram!

Farmdale Hike -- November 5, 2012

During this tour of the Farmdale Reservoir in East Peoria, we learned how the reservoir is an integral part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Farm Creek Flood Control Project.

Todd Ernenputsch, a Corps park ranger, led our group and explained how the reservoir is designed to capture excess water in a 200+ acre lake. He also showed us how the property is used for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. All of our brave participants climbed approximately 100 stairs to the top of the dam.

OLLI thanks Todd for providing another wonderful morning of learning and adventure in Central Illinois.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Living Lands and Waters -- October 20, 2012

In late October, OLLI visited the Living Lands and Waters floating classroom on the Peoria Riverfront.

While on the boat, we learned about the history of the organization, discussed how rivers have changed over the last 150 years, and explored other topics, including invasive species, water quality, climate change, water shortages, and infrastructure.

For more information about the organization, please visit www.livinglandsandwaters.org

Behr Recycling -- October 29, 2012

During our tour of Behr Recycling, we learned all about the scrapping process and saw Behr’s new $12 million monster shredder, a 300-foot long, five-story tall machine that can shred a car in two seconds. We also learn all about Behr’s recent $15 million expansion, found out why scrap has turned into big business, and discussed the global demand for iron, steel, copper, and brass.

OLLI thanks Dave Rumer and his staff for making us feel welcome during our visit!

For more information about Behr Recycling, please visit www.behrim.com/home.

Toraason Glass -- October 25, 2012

Once again, OLLI enjoyed a fabulous afternoon at Hiram Toraason’s glass blowing studio in downtown Peoria.

Hiram led a tour of his gallery and demonstrated the techniques of working with 2,000-degree molten glass to create a one-of-a-kind work of art.

OLLI thanks Hiram and his staff for making our tour a success.

For more information about Toraason Glass, visit http://toraasonglass.com

Ernie Pyle / Covered Bridges -- October 19, 2012

OLLI spent a day with Bernie Drake, frequent OLLI instructor, exploring historic sites throughout western Indiana.

Our first stop was a visit to the Ernie Pyle Home, the state historic site that honors the popular reporter of World War II. Next, we headed to the small town of Tangier, where we enjoyed a lunch of “world famous buried beef.” Lastly, we took a two-hour tour of covered bridges throughout Parke County, home to more covered bridges than any other county in the world.

For more information about the covered bridges, please visit www.coveredbridges.com.

Bradley University Campus Tour -- October 16, 2012

On this tour, we had the opportunity to see Bradley University through the eyes of a student.

We visited the John C. Hench Production Studios, learned how students conduct research alongside faculty in the Olin Hall of Science, visited newly renovated Westlake Hall, and explored Renaissance Coliseum with student-athletes.

OLLI thanks Cori Craig and all the BU faculty and staff who made this tour such a success.

For more information about the campus, please visit www.bradley.edu

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Elmwood's Hometown Sons -- October 8, 2012

Nearly 30 OLLI members spent a day in the city of Elmwood and learned all about its most prominent citizens in this spin-off trip of the Study Group, "A Guy from Central Illinois Makes it Big: J.P. Morgan's Man in Paris."

Our day in the small Peoria County town included a fascinating presentation on Elmwood's history, a walking tour of downtown with many anecdotes about businesses past and present, and a visit with John Hamann, Mary Hanlin, and Karl Taylor, all of whom have an extraordinary knowledge about Elmwood's past.

OLLI thanks these fine presenters, as well as Mr. Dick Taylor, who helped coordinate our visit.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fair Oaks Farm -- September 27, 2012

It was another beautiful day of learning as OLLI visited Fair Oaks Farm, a family-owned dairy located in northwestern Indiana.

During the day, we witnessed how four million glasses of milk are produced daily by 30,000 cows, and had an opportunity to witness the birth of one of the 80-100 calves born on site each day.

OLLI members also visited the nursery to see newborn calves being fed, toured the milking parlor, viewed a 4-D presentation on the circle of dairy life, and visited the cheese shop.

Historic Oregon -- September 26, 2012

OLLI members spent a beautiful autumn day learning about several historic sites near Oregon, Illinois, located about two hours north of Peoria.

The first stop was Art Casting of Illinois, where Harry and Karly Spell provided a private tour of their bronze foundry. Next, we visited the Chana School and learned about the historic one-room school. After a step-on tour of the Oregon Sculpture Trail, we took a docent-led tour of the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Illinois.

182nd Airlift Wing -- September 25, 2012

During our visit to the 182nd Airlift Wing in Bartonville, Colonel William Robertson (’83), the Wing Commander, led a tour to explore the Wing’s mission to include the maintenance, flying operations, and air support to the Army, Security Forces, and much more. He also provided an update on the Wing’s current worldwide missions.

OLLI thanks Col. Robertson and his staff for providing an engaging, hands-on tour of the base.

For more information about the 182nd, please visit www.182aw.ang.af.mil

Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport -- September 18, 2012

On this trip, OLLI had an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at ticket counters, inbound baggage facilities, passenger screening rooms, waiting areas, and jet bridges at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.

Two dozen OLLI members also learned how the new 125,000 square-foot terminal places ticket counters, baggage claim and rental car desks on one floor in the main concourse, serving around 1 million travelers through 12 gates annually.

OLLI thanks Airport Director Gene Olson for arranging this visit and Operations Manager Doug Palmer for spending a wonderful morning with our lifelong learners.

For more information about the airport, please visit www.flypia.com

PDC and Landfill -- September 13, 2012

OLLI member Les Bergsten, Chairman of the Peoria City/County Landfill Committee, was our host as we visited the Peoria Disposal Company headquarters and the landfill near Edwards, Illinois.

During our tour, we discussed the history of the landfill, heard an update on the construction of Landfill #3, and saw the actual operations of the landfill.

OLLI thanks Les and the staff at PDC for providing an informative tour.

For more information about the landfill, please visit www.ci.peoria.il.us/landfill. To learn more about PDC, please visit www.pdcarea.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birding Hike -- August 21, 2012

More than two dozen OLLI members gathered for the last summer trip of 2012 -- a birding hike at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights.

Dean Johnston, a naturalist at the center, led our group as we explored the basics of birding for beginners and learned about bird biology, identification, and how to use the tools of the trade.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chicago via Segway -- June 28, 2012

On one of the hottest days in Chicago history, nearly two dozen OLLI members took a two-hour Segway gliding tour along the Chicago Lakefront Bike Path.

It was an amazing day of sightseeing, history, and exercise as we toured the museum campus and other sites downtown.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Indiana Architecture Tour -- June 19 - 21, 2012

Ranked sixth in the nation by the American Institute of Architects, Columbus, Indiana is noted for the innovative designs of more than 70 historic and modern structures, including six National Historic Landmark buildings.

OLLI and the Fine Arts Society of Peoria partnered for a three-day, two-night architectural exploration of Columbus, French Lick, West Baden, and New Harmony, Indiana. Frequent OLLI instructor, Fine Arts Society President, and retired architect Bennett Johnson accompanied our group to provide valuable insight and background throughout the trip.

Highlights of our adventure included:

-- a private, guided tour encompassing a broad cross-section of Columbus' architecture;

-- tours of the Miller House and Garden, a National Historic Landmark that expands upon Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's architectural tradition of Modernism;

-- private tours of the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel;

-- a private, guided tour of New Harmony, a small town along the banks of the Wabash River that was once a "utopian society" founded by German Lutheran immigrants.

Peoria County Jail with Sheriff McCoy -- June 14, 2012

On this trip, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy led a private tour of the jail and guided us as we participated in an interactive indoor shooting range at the facility.

Sheriff McCoy spent several hours with our group, which was limited to 11 participants in the first-ever online-only announced trip.

OLLI thanks Sheriff McCoy for his time and energy, and the entire staff at the Peoria County Sheriff's Office for making us feel welcome during our visit.

For more information about the Peoria County Sheriff's Office, please visit www.peoriacounty.org.

Summer Picnic: Botany of a Cocktail -- June 12, 2012

The summer picnic is another cherished OLLI tradition. This year, we met at Ravina on the Lakes for a lunch buffet, followed by a presentation by frequent OLLI instructor Bob Streitmatter on the "Botany of a Cocktail."

During his talk, Bob discussed the domestication of grapes in Central Asia, the invention of distillation by the Egyptians, and the intriguing history of brewing and distilling in Peoria.

OLLI thanks Bob for his engaging and delightful presentation!

Chicago: City in a Garden -- June 7, 2012

More than three dozen OLLI members discovered how Chicago's official motto "Urbs in Horto" (or "City in a Garden") continues to guide the city's vision of maintaining and increasing green space for all when they took a full-day trip to several gardens in the city.

The first stop of the day was a visit to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, where participants learned how the site, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was redesigned in the 1930s by Prairie School landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and later used by the Lincoln Park Zoo as a waterfowl rookery.

The group also visited the Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, and the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Conservatory, designed by Jens Jensen, was considered revolutionary when it first opened in 1908 and was described as "landscape art under glass."

OLLI thanks docents Pamela Risher and Linda Dunne for coordinating our visits to these beautiful city spaces.

St. Mary's Cemetery Hike -- June 6, 2012

David Pittman, environmental activist and frequent OLLI hike guide, led our group as we explored the history of the 131-year-old St. Mary's Cemetery in West Peoria.

During the hike, David discussed several aspects of the cemetery, which was once known as nature's cathedral and proclaimed as one of the most impressive views in America.

OLLI thanks David for taking time out of his busy schedule to guide our group and help us learn more about St. Mary's.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peoria Riverfront Museum Hardhat Tours -- May 29, June 5, and June 19, 2012

During these three separate trips, Jim Richerson, Lakeview and Peoria Riverfront Museum President and CEO, guided an exclusive hardhat tour of the downtown facility, which is scheduled for completion later this fall.

OLLI thanks Jim and his dedicated museum staff members for welcoming us to the new facility.

For more information about the museum, please visit www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org

Sousa Archives -- May 24, 2012

Dr. David Vroman, Band Director and Music Department Chairperson at Bradley University, led our group during a visit to two historic gems at the University of Illinois.

First, we took a private tour of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, which holds the worlds’ single largest archives or original music compositions and arrangements by John Philip Sousa.

After lunch, we headed to the Krannert Art Museum, home to the University’s collection of fine art, where we received a private highlights tour of its exhibits.

OLLI thanks Dr. Vroman for providing his expertise and wonderful insight throughout our last learning trip of Spring 2012.

Keystone Steel and Wire Co. -- May 23, 2012

Keystone Steel & Wire Company, founded in 1889 in a humble shed in Dillon, Illinois, became a Midwestern steel giant with the invention of a machine that wove steel wire fence to replace traditional timber fences. Today, the company’s Bartonville campus is one of the largest wire mills in the world with over 2 million square feet of manufacturing space that occupies nearly 1,400 acres of land.

On this tour, we got a first-hand look at the melt shop and rod mills and learned how Keystone's 900 employees produce over 650,000 tons of rod and wire products annually.

OLLI thanks Keystone and its staff for welcoming our group to the facility!

For more information, please visit www.keystonesteel.com

Local Garden Walks -- May 22, 2012

On this day-long adventure, we visited the Washington, Illinois garden of Ella Maxwell, a master gardener and horticulturalist at Hoerr Nursery.

After lunch, we headed to Illinois Central College in East Peoria for an in-depth tour of its Horticulture Program’s national award-winning All-America Selections Gardens, where we visited the ICC Arboretum, hosta gardens, greenhouses, and discussed various aspects of horticulture with local experts.

OLLI thanks Ella and Genny Gibbs from ICC for welcoming us into their gardens!

Kickapoo Creek Winery -- May 16, 2012

In mid-May, we took a private tour of Kickapoo Creek Winery in Edwards, led by owner (and OLLI member) Dr. David Conner. Our trip began with lunch in the winery's outdoor pavilion, followed by a tasting of five different wines, a presentation on the winemaking and bottling process, and a “grape train” tour of the vineyards.

OLLI thanks Dr. Conner and the winery staff for making us feel so welcome!

For more information about the winery, visit www.kickapoocreekwinery.com.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rocky Glen 1 -- May 14, 2012

Rocky Glen, comprised of 97 acres along Kickapoo Creek Road in West Peoria, is a hidden gem of geologic importance. On this half-day trip, we learned about the site during a two-hour private hike with Ed Stermer, geology expert and earth science professor at Illinois Central College. David Pittman, President of Friends of Rocky Glen, a group dedicated to the site’s preservation, also accompanied us to provide further insight about the land’s history.

For more information about Rocky Glen, visit www.friendsofrockyglen.org

Peoria County Barn Tour -- May 10, 2012

Thirty OLLI members spent a gorgeous May day exploring nearly a dozen barns during the Peoria County Barn Tour

The day began with breakfast in the Michel Student Center Alumni Dining Room on Bradley’s campus. Soon thereafter, Bob Sherman, a barn expert with degrees in history and museum management, discussed and examined the nomenclature and the functional uses of farm structures, and we boarded the bus and ventured out into the countryside for a day-long visit to barns throughout Peoria County.

Toraason Glass -- May 9, 2012

On our tour of Hiram Toraason’s glass blowing studio in downtown Peoria, Hiram demonstrated the techniques of working with 2,000-degree molten glass to create a one-of-a-kind work of art.

For more information about Toraason Glass, visit http://toraasonglass.com

Midland Davis -- May 8, 2012

On our tour of Midland Davis Corporation in Pekin, we learned how the fifth-generation company has evolved into a full-service recycling provider that processes more than 168,000 pounds of cardboard, 42,000 pounds of newsprint, and 21,000 pounds each of paper and co-mingled plastics each week.

Under the watchful eye of facility manager Tony Lamberson, we also got to watch the entire scrap metal recycling process, from hopper sorting to semi loading.

For more information about Midland Davis, visit www.midlanddavis.com.

Illinois American Water -- May 7, 2012

On our private tour of the Illinois American Water Company in Peoria, we learned about the company’s production and distribution methods and viewed laboratory equipment and historical architecture at the treatment plant, located just north of the McClugage Bridge. Our visit included a look at the observatory and fish hatchery, plus displays, instruments, and a replica of an early laboratory in a museum housed in the facility’s 119-year-old red sandstone pumping station.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Greater Peoria Sanitary District -- April 24, 2012

During our visit to the Greater Peoria Sanitary District (GPSD), we learned how wastewater is collected and treated to protect the environment in Peoria County, especially the creeks, streams, and Illinois River. Our private tour included a peek at some of the 650 miles of pipes used to collect the wastewater, details about how the plant treats an average of 25 million gallons from residential, commercial, and industrial customers, and a look at how the laboratory monitors the treatment process in order to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about the GPSD, please visit www.gpsd.dst.il.us

Lincoln Presidential Museum -- April 23, 2012

OLLI teamed with Anna Saxon of Methodist’s Encore! and her husband, frequent OLLI instructor and President Lincoln expert Randy Saxon, to retrace Lincoln’s life in Springfield. In the morning, we toured the Presidential Museum and Library. After lunch, we took a tour of Lincoln’s home and the surrounding neighborhood, where he served nearly 20 years as a lawyer and legislator and eventually departed for an uncertain future in Washington, D.C.

Peoria Fire Academy -- April 20, 2012

During this trip, we visited the 15-acre training facility utilized by local, state, and federal public safety agencies. Marty Baker, Division Chief of Training, provided an in-depth look at the Peoria Fire Department, led a walk-through of the facility’s five-story burn tower, and gave some lucky OLLI members a chance to put out a fire on their own! For more information about the Peoria Fire Academy, visit www.ci.peoria.il.us/fire-department

Peoria Area Churches -- April 19, 2012

During this trip, we got a closer look at the beliefs, architecture, and history of First Federated Church of Peoria, Peoria Seventh Day Adventist Church, Christ Lutheran Church, and St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church. Edward J. Barry, Jr., Senior Architectural Manager for Farnsworth Group, Inc., accompanied our group to discuss the architectural highlights, and church representatives discussed the congregational practices.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ISU Farm & Twin Groves Wind Farm -- April 12, 2012



It was another full day of learning when OLLI traveled to McLean County to visit two types of farms.

In the morning, we saw students from Illinois State University’s Farm in Lexington at work and learned about the farm’s enterprises of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, swine, beef, and sheep. After lunch, we visited the Twin Groves Wind Farm in Ellsworth and got the inside scoop on the 240 Vesta turbines that produce enough energy to power nearly 118,000 Illinois homes annually.

Farmdale Reservoir -- April 9, 2012



OLLI spent a beautiful spring day exploring the Farmdale Reservoir in unincorporated Tazewell County near East Peoria, Illinois.

During this tour, we learned how the reservoir is an integral part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Farm Creek Flood Control Project. Todd Ernenputsch, a Corps park ranger, led our group and explained how the reservoir is designed to capture excess water in a 200+ acre lake, and showed us how the property is used for biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

ICC Cat Dealer Service Tech Training Facility -- March 28, 2012



In late March, OLLI visited the Illinois Central College Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician Training Facility in East Peoria.

We toured the facility on ICC’s East Peoria campus and learned how the program combines classroom and real-world experience to teach engine fundamentals, machine hydraulics, Caterpillar fuel systems, transmissions and torque converters, undercarriage/final drives, and more.

For more information about the program, please visit www.icc.edu/ait

Parsec Enterprises -- March 27, 2012



On this trip, OLLI had a behind-the-scenes look at Parsec Enterprises, the largest independent watch repair facility in the United States. During our tour and visit with Marc Young, owner, we learned how the company is helping to develop many of the test procedures that have become standard practice for today’s service industry.

For more information about Parsec Enterprises, visit www.parsecent.com

Chicago Gangster Tour -- March 21, 2012



In mid-March, nearly 40 OLLI members traveled to downtown Chicago to learn more about the Windy City's gangster past.

Upon our arrival downtown, “Big Julie,” our private step-on tour guide, boarded the bus and took us by old gangster sites and explained the exploits of Capone, Moran, and Dillinger. After the step-on tour, we headed to Tommy Gun’s Garage, Chicago’s only speakeasy dinner theatre, for lunch and an audience interactive show.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peoria Lock & Dam -- March 19, 2012

During our tour of the Peoria Lock and Dam, we saw first-hand how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the nine-foot navigational channel on the Illinois River to ensure that inland traffic can pass through 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Todd Ernenputsch, a ranger with the Corps, was our guide as we viewed the dam and learned how it is only one of four wicket dams used for navigational purposes in the nation.

UICOMP -- March 16, 2012



On national match day for students, OLLI was privileged to tour the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

As part of the nation's largest public medical school, UICOMP offers a balance of classroom education and clinical experience. During our visit, we learned how the school aims to improve healthcare in our community via education, research, and patient care.

OLLI thanks Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Rusch for taking time out of their busy schedules to make us feel welcome on campus.

Spring Kickoff Luncheon -- March 14, 2012



The Spring season of OLLI kicked off with our biggest luncheon to date -- nearly 350 members, instructors, and volunteers were in attendance!

More than 414 individuals have registered to attend OLLI classes this season, setting another record for participation.

OLLI thanks Dr. Jackie Hogan of Bradley University for her entertaining and informative presentation on Lincoln, Inc.: Selling the Sixteenth President in Contemporary America.

Monday, March 12, 2012

WEEK-TV -- March 12, 2012



On this trip to the WEEK-TV 25 studios, we learned how news is gathered, viewed editing bays and the control room, and had an opportunity to see reporters and anchors at work.

In addition, our tour included a behind-the-scenes viewing of the midday news broadcast and a question-and-answer session with the anchors, Garry Moore and Sandy Gallant.

For more information about WEEK-TV, visit http://www.centralillinoisnewscenter.com

Peoria International Airport -- March 9, 2012



On March 9, OLLI traveled to the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport for a private tour with Airport Director Gene Olson.

We enjoyed an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at ticket counters, inbound baggage facilities, passenger screening rooms, waiting areas, and jet bridges. We also learned how the new 125,000 square-foot terminal places ticket counters, baggage claim and rental car desks on one floor in the main concourse, serving around 1 million travelers through 12 gates annually.

For more information about the airport, please visit www.flypia.com

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maui Jim -- March 6, 2012



On our first trip of Spring 2012, we visited the Peoria headquarters of Maui Jim, the fastest growing premium sunglass maker in the world.

During our tour, we saw first-hand how the company engineers its PolarizedPlus lenses, which combat the sun's intense glare and harmful ultraviolet rays. Chief Financial Officer Tim Krueger spent nearly two hours with our group, discussing the company's "Aloha Spirit" philosophy, its move from Hawaii to Peoria, and how its "ohana" (family) has steadily built a cult following for its products.

OLLI thanks Tim Krueger and the staff at Maui Jim for welcoming us during the tour. For more information about Maui Jim, please visit www.mauijim.com.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Come Blow Your Horn" -- February 23, 2012



On the last trip of Winter 2012, OLLI traveled to Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre in Goodfield, Illinois.

Our evening began with a presentation by Jim Ludwig, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Bradley University, about Neil Simon's writing legacy. After dinner, we watched the performance of "Come Blow Your Horn," a romp about a man who moves in with his brother in New York City.

The performance, which featured well-known local actors Bob Lane, Jr. and Mary Simon, was followed by an exclusive question-and-answer session with the cast.

For more information about Conklin's, please visit www.barn2.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ICC Cat Dealer Service Tech Training Facility -- February 22, 2012



For the first time ever, OLLI visited the Illinois Central College Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician Training Facility in East Peoria.

During our tour, Mark Matthews, program coordinator, explained how the program combines classroom and real-world experience to teach engine fundamentals, machine hydraulics, Caterpillar fuel systems, transmissions and torque converters, undercarriage/final drives, and more.

OLLI thanks Mark and his staff for welcoming our group to the facility.

For more information about the program, please visit www.icc.edu/ait

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

182nd Airlift Wing -- February 21, 2012



The 182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, is a diverse group of citizen-airmen from our community serving the nation's call to duty. It also maintains and operates eight C-130 Hercules aircraft capable of transporting large amounts of personnel and equipment over long distances.

During our visit to the base, Colonel William Robertson ('83), the Wing Commander, led a tour to explore the Wing's mission to include the maintenance, flying operations, and air support to the Army, Security Forces, and much more. He also provided an update on the Wing's current worldwide missions.

OLLI thanks Col Robertson and his staff for welcoming our group to the base.

For more information about the 182nd, please visit www.182aw.ang.af.mil.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bass Pro Shops -- February 17, 2012



On our first tour of the new Bass Pro Shops in East Peoria, OLLI members got an inside look at the store as staff guided us through the massive outdoor sports center.

We learned about the store's three dozen animal trophies, hand-painted murals of Banner Marsh and Starved Rock, and a waterfall that cascades into a 27,000-gallon fresh water aquarium featuring native Illinois River fish.

For more information about the store, please visit www.basspro.com

USDA NCAUR (Ag Lab) -- February 16, 2012



On what is fast becoming one of the most popular learning trips, OLLI members traveled to the National Center for Agriculture Utilization Resarch (NCAUR) near the Bradley University campus.

During this tour, we had the rare opportunity for a first-hand look at the lab, home to more than 100 Ph.D. research scientists who invent industrial and food products and develop technologies to improve environmental quality. We also had the chance to see the science at work and speak with professionals who conduct the groundbreaking research.

For more information about the NCAUR, please visit www.ars.usda.gov.

South Side Mission -- February 15, 2012



In mid-February, OLLI had an inside peek at the South Side Mission and learned all about the programs offered by the non-profit church group.

During the trip, we also learned more about the South Side Mission's Culinary Arts School, a program designed to help under- and unemployed men and women train for careers in the hospitality industry. We toured the school, met Chef Chris Franzoni and his students, and dined on lunch prepared by the students.

For more information about the South Side Mission, please visit www.southsidemission.org.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Peoria City Hall -- February 10, 2012



Peoria City Hall, constructed 113 years ago on the site of an outdoor produce market at the corner of Madison and Fulton, has been celebrated recently with a 52-page booklet about its priceless art and architecture.

The author of that booklet, Dr. Peter J. Couri, was our guide as we took a private tour of City Hall and learned all about the planning, politics, and Peorians involved in constructing the Flemish Renaissance-style building.

During our visit, we saw the building's priceless art, plus its Italian marble wainscoting, copper cupola bell tower, ornamented stepped gables, and the open atrium rotunda with a stained glass skylight.

OLLI thanks Dr. Couri and the City Hall staff for welcoming our group!

Homeway Homes -- February 8, 2012



OLLI members who'd ever wondered about the modular homes on display off Interstate 74 in Goodfield had a perfect opportunity to learn how they're designed and built when we toured the Homeway Homes Factory.

We traveled to Deer Creek to tour the factory and speak with employees about the company's modern design and construction processes. We saw the staff at work throughout each step of the building stages, including floor and wall build, roof set, plumbing and insulation, siding, and final inspection and wrap.

After the factory tour, we headed to Goodfield to tour two completed model homes. OLLI thanks the staff at Homeway Homes for welcoming our group and answering our questions about the building process.

For more information about Homeway Homes, please visit www.homewayhomes.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

Peoria County Coroner's Office -- February 2, 2012



On this repeat trip, we learned about the responsibilities of Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll, an elected official charged with investigating sudden, unusual, and traumatic deaths and assuring those bodies are examined, identified, and, if necessary, autopsied. Our visit also included an observation of a jury inquest, which is held weekly to determine the manner of some deaths occurring in Peoria County.

OLLI thanks Coroner Ingersoll for spending time with our group and leading a very insightful discussion about the duties of the office.

For more information about the Coroner’s Office, visit www.peoriacounty.org

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria -- February 1, 2012



On the first of February, OLLI visited the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP).

As part of the nation’s largest public medical school, UICOMP offers a balance of classroom education and clinical experience. During our visit, we learned how the school aims to improve healthcare in our community via education, research, and patient care. The tour included a presentation by the school's dean, Dr. Sarah Rausch, and updates on UICOMP's latest cancer research.

For more information about UICOMP, please visit www.peoria.medicine.uic.edu

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Winter Wrapup -- January 25, 2012



More than 70 OLLI members were on campus today to attend the Winter Class wrapup session. The members reviewed and summarized evaluations from the 32 classes, and discussed what went well during the recent class gatherings.

Thanks to everyone who attended! We hope to see you again in April for the next class session.

Peoria Police Department -- January 19, 2012



On this trip, we visited the Peoria Police Department and viewed holding cells, line up rooms, interview rooms, the evidence room, and a museum that highlights equipment, photographs, and evidence collected over the last 80 years.

Our tour will included the adjacent Emergency Communications Center, where we observed and learned how the trained staff handles emergency calls for all of Peoria County law enforcement, fire, and ambulance services and provides critical information in emergency situations to both officers and citizens.

OLLI thanks Office Beth Hermancinski for taking time out of her day to provide an informative and engaging tour.

For more information about the Peoria Police Department, please visit www.ci.peoria.il.us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

OLLI Winter 2012 Classes -- January 10-13, 2012



Nearly 220 people attended OLLI's 2012 Winter class gathering, held on the Bradley University campus from January 10 - 13.

The 218 registrants marked an all-time high for winter attendance! The 32 classes focused on a wide array of topics, including the 2012 Presidential Race, Forties Flicks, Mathematical Constructions Using Paper and Straws, Human Versus Robot, and Genealogy Research.

Thank you to all of our participants -- we hope to see you again for our Spring classes!

Peoria County Sheriff's Office -- January 17, 2012





On this trip, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy led a behind-the-scenes tour of his department and the attached jail.

Our visit included a K-9 deputy demonstration and a look at the lockup portion of the facility and its newer technological advances, including the closed-circuit bonding system, computerized mug shot and booking system, and a live scan fingerprint process system.

OLLI extends its sincere thanks to Sheriff McCoy and his department for welcoming our group!

For more information about the Sheriff's Department, please visit www.peoriacounty.org

Winter Waterfall Hike -- January 16, 2012





On our first regional trip of 2012, we traveled to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois, for a day of hiking and geologic adventure.

OLLI favorite Ed Stermer, a Professor of Earth Science at Illinois Central College, guided us along the trails at Starved Rock and discussed some of the 18 canyons that slice dramatically through tree-covered, sandstone bluffs.

It was an incredible day of learning, and we were proud to welcome 12 new members who were on the trip.

Thank you to Ed Stermer, as always, for providing incredible insight and knowledge throughout the day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport -- January 5, 2012



Our first trip of 2012 was an inside look at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.

Gene Olsen, Director of the Airport, provided an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at ticket counters, inbound baggage facilities, passenger screening rooms, waiting areas, and jet bridges. We also learned how the new 125,000 square-foot terminal places ticket counters, baggage claim, and rental car desks on one floor in the main concourse, serving around 1 million travelers through 12 gates annually.

OLLI thanks Gene and the staff at the airport for welcoming our group!

For more information about the airport, please visit www.flypia.com

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