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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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy OLLIdays Spelling Bee- 2013

 Spelling Bee Winners Pat Landes and Richard Barthel pictured with Janet Lange, Executive Director of Continuing Education

Susie Smith Third Place winner!

2013 Happy OLLIdays Spelling Bee!
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The third annual Happy OLLIdays Spelling Bee was held at Kickapoo Creek Winery. As OLLI members arrived they were greeted with Bloody Marys and Mimosas, and then enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet. After breakfast we had 17 members sign up for the spelling bee.

The competition was tough as it took many rounds to whittle down the group to our final champions.

Our spelling bee winners for this year were:

1st Place - Pat Landes

2nd Place - Richard Barthel

3rd Place - Susie Smith

OLLI thanks the staff at Kickapoo Creek Winery for the wonderful food, and big thanks to all the members who came out to cheer on our spellers.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Midland Davis - November 15, 2013

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OLLI visited the Midland Davis Corporation in Pekin. The Pekin facility, acquired in 2005, by Midland Davis, covers 8 acres and houses sales and administrative offices, the metal scrap yard and processing facilities, paper recycling facilities and curbside service facilities for Pekin and many parts of Tazwell County.

Our personal guide was Tony Lamberson, who gave OLLI an in-depth behind the scenes tour of the facility in action. We learned how this 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. We were able to watch the entire scrap metal recycling process, from hopper sorting to semi loading.

It was an amazing opportunity to watch the huge yet efficient, high quality baling and sorting system that takes the recyclables and automatically makes them into perfect bales.

Lamberson talked about the importance of recycling and how much more we can all do to bcome involved. OLLI thanks Tony Lamberson and his entire crew at Midland Davis for the time and effort they gave, it was inspiring to see such dedication to the recycling mission.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pere Marquette - November 14, 2013

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In 2011, the Peoria City Council approved an agreement with developer Gary Matthews to temporarily close the Pere Marquette for an extensive renovation and expansion into a full-service, upscale Marriott hotel.

OLLI members had the opportunity take a guided tour of the eagerly anticipated hotel and get a look at some of the 286 guest rooms and 18,840 square feet of meeting space.

We also learned about the history of the Pere Marquette, as we toured throughout ballrooms.

OLLI members enjoyed a delicious lunch served on-site at the hotel's new restaurant, Table 19. It was wonderful to see the beautiful new space created in downtown Peoria.

OLLI thanks the staff at the Pere Marquette for allowing us to be their guests for the day.

EP!C -- November 12, 2013

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OLLI visited EP!C (Empowering People, Inspiring Capabilities) formerly known as PARC. They have been serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for over 60 years.

Our group met with several of the staff, who gave us an overview of their many services, as well as a short history of the program which was originally organized to serve ten children with disabilities and now serves over 600 individuals and their families annually – people of all ages with many kinds of developmental disabilities including, but not limited to cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, and epilepsy.

Doris Hayes, Vice President of Quality Improvement, was our guide for a behind-the-scenes look at EP!C. The facility is enormous, Doris said approximately the size of two football fields. Our tour enabled us to observe participants in their daily activities, as we visited the dining hall, the workout room, a radio/ music studio, an art room, a cooking class, physical therapy rooms, relaxation rooms and more. It was really amazing to witness their Organizational Employment Services program which offers paid vocational training within EP!C’s 22,000 square foot production facility. They provide paid work opportunities and training for tasks such as: packaging, assembly, clerical, bulk mailing, and labeling. We also looked from afar at the greenhouse and garden area which is cared for by EP!C individuals who then sell the produce at a farmer’s market as another avenue for generating income.

It was inspiring to see EP!C fulfilling it’s mission,” to enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities” and working toward their vision “A world where people with developmental disabilities are respected, engaged in community life, and have every opportunity to achieve their personal best.”

One of our OLLI members commented “Everyone should have the chance to see this”. OLLI thanks the entire EP!C staff for sharing us their remarkable program with us.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Festival of Lights East Peoria- Nov. 11, 2013

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It was just a few weeks before the big event when OLLI visited the staging center for the FOLEPI parade. OLLI had a chance to see the “Folepi Construction Company” and meet some of its “employees:” a merry band of volunteers who design and build the floats. OLLI members were amazed to learn these volunteers work year-round designing, welding, and maintaining the floats.

During our tour of the facility we learned it takes over 500,000 lights to light up the parade of 30 plus floats.

OLLI was fortunate to have several knowledgable guides for our tour, including our very own OLLI member Ralph Dalton, who is a long-time volunteer with FOLEPI. Rick Swan, Executive Director for East Peoria Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the group and talked about how the parade is a community effort growing in tradition for the last 29 years. OLLI learned from John Broshears, Festival of Lights parade coordinator, the background and details of each particular float and how they evolve from concept to actuality. And of course we met with Wally Jaquet, age 94, sometimes fondly referred to as the “Godfather of FOLEPI” since he has personally taken part in designing, wiring and welding almost all of the floats.

As one of the largest lighted nighttime festivals in the nation, the Festival of Lights officially kicked off the season with the Parade of Lights on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013! OLLI thanks all of the volunteers with FOLEPI for giving us a look at what goes on before the parade hits the road.

For more information about the Festival of Lights, visit www.cityofeastpeoria.com.

Midwest Food Bank - November 6, 2013

OLLI had a chance to get “hands-on” during their tour of Midwest Food Bank, a faith-based, ecumenical nonprofit organization founded in 2003.

It all started back in 2003 when the Keiser family began providing food out of a building on their family farm in McLean County. Today, the organization serves more than 600 food pantries throughout the Midwest.

During our tour of the facility, we learned how Midwest Food Bank handles the donations, distributions, and volunteers that allow the organization to feed more than 225,000 people each month!

At the end of our tour, OLLI members had the opportunity to help prepare a food delivery. Apples had been donated that day, so it was our task to help pack the fruit for distribution. OLLI thanks Julie Brooks and everyone at Midwest Food Bank for coordinating our visit and giving us a glimpse inside your organization.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wayne Printing- November 5, 2013

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Bill and Roberta Herbst take a closer look at a printing sample during OLLI's trip to Wayne Printing.

OLLI visited Wayne Printing for a private tour of the company that prints, binds, and mails the OLLI brochure!

Founded in 1963 by Wayne Owens, Wayne Printing started as a small home-based business. Although Wayne sold the company in 1974, in 1991, Wayne Printing returned to being a family owned business when Ken Hoerr, Jack Kinney, and Scott Hoerr purchased the company. In 2001, the company moved into a new 37,000 square foot facility located in Edwards.

Our “behind-the-scenes" tour included a look at the new state-of-the-art printing equipment, such as computer-to-plate technology, a Heidelberg QMDI four-color press and a five-color 28x40 Heidelberg press. During our tour, we had the opportunity to learn about the many aspects of the printing process. We also learned about the direct mail division, which provides Wayne Printing with additional marketing tools that allow for a “one-stop-shop” that many clients demand today.

OLLI thanks the entire staff at Wayne printing for giving us a chance to see first-hand how the OLLI brochure is made.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Writing the Stories of Your Life Retreat- September, 2013

OLLI offered its inaugural overnight retreat in September when participants of the Study Group, Writing the Stories of Your Life, met at Starved Rock State Park for the opportunity to "run away and write."

Ten OLLI members joined facilitator Carla Rich Montez for three days in this beautiful setting where participants were asked to develop beliefs and habits to sustain their life story writing.

The featured speaker was Dr. Kevin Stein, Illinois Poet Laureate and a Bradley Caterpillar Professor of English, who talked to the group "writer to writer." Be Gibson, one of the participants, said at the end of the retreat, "Today I declare myself a writer."

OLLI thanks Carla Rich Montez for coordinating this unique and inspiring event.

Click below to view a video of the retreat created by one of the members.

Friday, November 8, 2013

South Side Mission – October 25, 2013

Most OLLI members have heard of South Side Mission, but not many have had a chance to visit this amazing place, even though it has been around the Peoria area for over 85 years.

It has grown significantly over the years and now cares for over 15,000 poor people each year through youth ministry, homeless shelter, food pantry, outreach, and career training ministries.

Meg Newell, the Marketing and Development Director was our guide for this this trip. She gave us a short history of the mission as well as an overview of the day-to-day operations. She shared inspirational stories of the many residents she has come to love. She proudly shared the fact, that the South Side Mission is funded entirely through donations and grants, using no government money.

OLLI members learned about the Culinary Arts School, a program designed to help under- and unemployed men and women train for careers in the hospitality industry. We met Chef Chris Franzoni and his students, and dined on the delicious lunch they prepared for us. In the gym next to us, they were feeding the hungry and poor the exact same gourmet meal we ate, as they do each day at noon.

OLLI thanks Meg and the entire staff at South Side Mission for sharing their time and their inspirational compassion with us.

Peoria Disposal Company & Waste Management Landfill – September 24, 2013

OLLI member Les Bergsten, Chairman of the Peoria City/County Landfill Committee, was our host for today’s tours.

We started with a visit to the offices of the Peoria Disposal Company. Les gave an overview of the company and his role on the committee. In addition to traditional curbside waste and recyclable collection, PDC has resources to provide technical consulting, laboratory analysis, equipment rental, transportation, brokerage, hazardous waste disposal, and many other environmental services.

For the next stop, OLLI members boarded the shuttle and headed to the Peoria City/County landfill for the next part of the trip. During our tour, Bergsten discussed the history of the landfill, and gave us an update on the construction of Landfill #3. It was quite an adventure to drive through the landfill, watching and observing the huge machines performing their actual operations.

OLLI would like to give a big thanks to Les Bergsten for providing such insight into the operations of PDC and Waste Management.

Peoria's 182nd Airlift Wing - Illinois Air National Guard -- October 22, 2013

OLLI visited Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing – Illinois Air National Guard.

During our visit, Colonel William Robertson (’83), the Wing Commander, led a tour to explore the Wing’s mission including 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 members had the opportunity to get up close with the tools and artillary as the National Guard members demonstrated and explained their various equipment.

OLLI thanks Colonel Robertson and the Air National Guard for allowing us the opportunity to visit.

Agriculture in Galesburg- October 21, 2013

For this trip, we boarded a charter coach to Galesburg, to take a look at the impact agriculture has had on the area. A step-on guide from the Galesburg Convention and Visitors Bureau accompanied us throughout the day providing more insight and answering questions.

The first stop was a visit to the Erikson family-owned farm. OLLI members had an up close look at the large machinery, as the family talked about how the expensive equipment has made the farm more efficient. The discussed several ways family farmers maintain their business from owning and farming their own lands to sharing land and crops with other farmers.

We stopped for a delicious lunch at the Packinghouse Dining Company, which of course included their famous cinnamon rolls.

After lunch, we visited the Monsanto Learning Center, a 480-acre research farm in Monmouth, Illinois. At this facility they work towards advanced research in corn and soybean production to better meet the needs of the farmer and consumer. OLLI members were able to view the newest Monsanto technologies which allows a look at the advanced agronomic tools scheduled to be available in the future. They also took a shuttle out to the fields for an up close look at the planting process.

Our final stop was a local grocery store to learn how food is distributed from those farms to area stores.

OLLI thanks the Erikson family, Monsanto, Hy-Vee and the Galesburg Visitor’s Center for arranging such an educational and enjoyable day for us.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Peoria Area Houses of Worship- October 15, 2013

Our OLLI group spent the day visiting four of Peoria’s Houses of Worship.

We had the opportunity to get a closer look at the beliefs, architecture, and history of 4 unique and diverse places: St. Mary’s Cathedral, University United Methodist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Grace Presbyterian Church.

At each stop we were welcomed by a representative who discussed the stained glass, customs, and religion practiced at their worship house. At several of the stops, we were treated to amazing live performances of worship music.

OLLI members were also thrilled to have Edward J. Barry, Jr., Senior Architectural Manager for Farnsworth Group, Inc., as our personal guide, who accompanied us throughout the day, pointing out the architectural highlights of each building and discussing their differences.

OLLI thanks the host churches, Ed Barry, and Shirley Cunningham for making this inspirational tour so special for us.

Pere Marquette – October 8, 2013

OLLI visited the newly re-opened Pere Marquette Hotel.

In 2011, the Peoria City Council approved an agreement with developer Gary Matthews to temporarily close the Pere Marquette for an extensive renovation and expansion into a full-service, upscale Marriott hotel.

We had the opportunity take a guided tour of the eagerly anticipated hotel and get a look at some of the 286 guest rooms and 18,840 square feet of meeting space. We also learned about the history of the Pere Marquette, as we toured throughout ballrooms.

OLLI members enjoyed a delicious lunch served on-site at the hotel's new restaurant, Table 19. It was wonderful to see the beautiful new space created in downtown Peoria.

OLLI thanks the staff at the Pere Marquette for allowing us to be their guests for the day.

Excel Foundry—October 7, 2013

OLLI visited the Excel Foundry & Machine in Pekin, IL.

During a brief overview of the company we learned how Excel specializes in the design, manufacture and supply of replacement components for equipment used in open pit mining and aggregate production.

On our tour, we also learned how they engineer site-specific spare parts for cone crushers, hydraulic excavators, electric rope shovels, and more. We learned how the company, in order to boost production capacity and employee growth, recently completed a 121,000 square-foot warehousing and processing center, a 16,000 square-foot foundry addition, and an 11,000 square-foot corporate office facility.

OLLI thanks our tour guides and all of Excel’s employees for welcoming us to your worksite.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A.Lucas and Sons- October 4, 2013

OLLI visited A. Lucas and Sons Steel, established in 1857, which has the distinction of being the oldest manufacturing business in Peoria and one of the oldest steel fabricators in the country.

Upon arriving, company president Margaret A. Hanley helped us learn more about A. Lucas and Sons Steel’s long history, especially noting the strong employee relationships, which have helped the company withstand economic downturns. Hanley also discussed what the future holds for the small family-owned company.

We toured into the factory and even had an opportunity to see the fabrication process up close.

OLLI thanks everyone at A. Lucas and Sons for allowing us the opportunity to visit their outstanding company.

Quest Middle School-- October 3, 2013

On this trip, OLLI had the opportunity to visit Quest Charter Academy Middle School. Quest is a public charter school located on Bootz Avenue in Peoria that provides students with a curriculum rich in math, science, and technology. During this trip, we met the administrative staff at the school to learn more about how the school is managed by Concept Schools, NFP, and is overseen by a Board of Directors that governs all operations.

We divided into small groups and had the student leaders, who were in 8th grade show us around the school. It was fun and educational to see the school from the student’s viewpoint, watch them interact with their teachers and hear how they spend their days. It was inspiring to watch the demonstration of the robot in the computer lab, where students used computer programs to “instruct” the robot where to go and what to do.

OLLI members were very impressed with these young students.

OLLI would like to thank the students, staff and administration at Quest for opportunity to visit and enjoy such an educational tour.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tanners Orchard – September 30, 2013

The roots of Tanners Orchard run deep – literally and figuratively. For 65 years, Tanners Orchard has been a destination for families across the Midwest.

We started our tour by boarding a wagon with our guide Ben and heading out into the orchard. Ben gave a history of the family-owned orchard as he pointed out the various trees. We learned the orchard sports over 11,000 trees and 17 varieties of apples. He talked about the differences between last year’s total crop failure due to freezing temps and this year’s bumper crop. Tanners also grows over 20 acres of pumpkins along with various other fruits and vegetables.

As we moved inside, we took a look at the apple cider press, which is responsible for the delicious home-made apple cider, and learned about the best way to store apples. After an amazing lunch at the bakery, with a famous apple cider donut for dessert, we had a chance to spend some time on our own.

Those who wanted to shop found a large assortment of gifts and delicious food offerings in the Farm Market and Apple Bin Bakery. Others just enjoyed roaming the grounds, sampling apples and treats.

OLLI thanks everyone at Tanners, especially our guide Ben, for treating us to such a lovely day!

Fair Oaks Farm – September 26, 2013

OLLI boarded a charter coach headed for Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana on this fine fall day. The goal of our trip was to take an up close look at sustainable dairy farming.

We started our tour with an overview of the farm, enjoying exhibits and viewing a 3D/4D movie “Grass to Glass”. We caught a “cow bus” to the milking barn, where we drove through rows and rows of cows until we arrived at the milking parlor. It was fascinating to watch hundreds of cows lining up to board the dairy wheel, where they are electronically milked, then backing off the wheel and joining the line to do it again later in the day.

After our catered lunch we had the opportunity to experience Fair Oaks Pig Adventure. This new addition to the farm, told us about where pig farming began as well as the modern practices used today. In the farrowing barn, we saw baby pigs of all sizes, including one only a few hours old. In the gestation barn, we the opportunity to learn about modern day pregnancy practices.

Our next stop was the cheese shop, a unique factory where we got a behind-the-scenes look at how they make some of their most popular cheese and ice cream products. We found out for ourselves how good it was with a free sample of their yummy homemade ice cream!

The highlight of the trip came at the very end of the day, with a unique opportunity to tour the birthing barn where a theater-style layout allowed us to become part of the birthing experience. Fair Oaks Farms experiences between 80 to 100 calves born every day, with usually five or six born right there in the “theater”. It was simply amazing to have the opportunity to witness the miracle of life right before our very eyes!

OLLI thanks the entire staff at Fair Oaks Farms for such an amazing day!

Quest High School – September 25, 2013

OLLI had the opportunity to visit Quest Charter Academy High School.

Quest is a public charter school located mere blocks from Bradley University that provides its students with a curriculum rich in math, science and technology. During this trip, we met the administrative staff at the school to learn how Quest is focused on preparing students to become bold inquirers, problem solvers, and ethical leaders, skill-ready for post-secondary education, and ready to meet the challenges of a competitive global workforce.

The student gave us tours of their schools and answered our questions in small group. OLLI was very impressed with these young adults and the program they are following.

OLLI thanks the entire staff at Quest for allowing to visit your outstanding school.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dixon’s Seafood – September 24, 2013

OLLI members visited Dixon’s Seafood, a locally owned producer and wholesaler of fresh fish for over 100 years. Jim Dixon, president Dixon’s Seafood, which is now in its fourth generation of operation, began our tour with a little history of the company. Although their business started by using the natural resources of the Illinois River, it now focuses on bringing in fish from around the world. We learned about the incredible logistics that take place to buy and sell fish from Chili, Norway, and Alaska just to name a few.

Dixons relies on using modern processing methods, and transportation systems to continue its tradition of supplying quality seafood products to customers around the world. The staff prepared delicious salmon for us to sample, as well as several of their famous seafood dips.

OLLI thanks Jim Dixon and Jason Livingston, and the entire staff at Dixons for sharing their time and insights during our tour.

Advanced Technology Services - September 23, 2013

On this trip, we visited Advanced Technology Services (ATS), which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. We met with a team of professionals, who gave us an overview of the history, services and training ATS provides. Their company spans around the world, delivering innovative factory maintenance, calibration, parts repair and IT solutions,with proven results for some of the world’s most respected companies including Caterpillar, Honeywell, Eaton, Honda, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson and more.

While some of their work is obviously done off-site, we were able to tour the building and observe employees who do repairs and maintenance at ATS.

OLLI thanks the staff at ATS for welcoming us and sharing their vision and culture of continuous improvement.

Peoria Regional High School – September 20, 2013

OLLI visited the Peoria Regional High School located at Wildlife Prairie Park, where students are offered an alternative educational experience in a unique learning environment. Our tour was led by Principal Randy Stueve, son of OLLI member Margaret Stueve. We visited the small but cozy one setting, which is actually one large room with divider walls. Stueve, led us through the classrooms and discussed how they provide learning opportunities for approximately 50 students each semester in math, science and language arts.

We had a question and answer presentation with Stueve and were joined by Dr. Gerald Brookhart, Peoria County Regional Superintendent of Schools. They explained the mission of the Peoria Regional High School, which provides secondary education to students who are at risk of not successfully completing their high school academic career.

It was uplifting to learn about their labor of love and how many students they have reached already as they enter their third year at the new location.

OLLI thanks the staff and administration at Peoria Regional High School for allowing us to join you for an educational day.

Princess Diana Exhibit and Quad Cities -September 19, 2013

Our OLLI group boarded a charter coach for the Quad Cities. We began our day with a visit to the Putnam Museum in Davenport, where we enjoyed a private program on “Fashion and History” and learned how changes in women’s fashion has reflected women’s changing roles in society as they entered the workforce, participated in sports, and even frequented speakeasies. Next, we had a guided tour of the “Diana, A Celebration” exhibit at the museum, which chronicles the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and contains 150 objects ranging from her royal wedding gown and designer dresses to personal mementos, home movies, and photos.

We stopped for lunch at Quad Cities landmark, Lagomarcino’s, also called “the best old-fashioned ice cream parlor in the world.”

After lunch, we headed to the Quad Cities Botanical Gardens for a private tour and presentation on the botanical nature of fudge.

OLLI thanks both the Putnam Museum and Quad Cities Botanical Gardens for helping us enjoy a fantastic day!

El Paso—September 16, 2013

El Paso, located approximately 30 miles east of Peoria, is a small town in Woodford County that is home to three industrial employers. Our first stop, American Buildings, one of the largest and most experienced manufacturers of custom engineered steel building systems. We donned our hard hats and safety glasses, and then spent time touring the factory. Our expert guides, showed us why American is an industry leader in design flexibility, quality and value. At our next stop, just a mile down the road, we went behind the scenes at the DuPont plant. Their goal is to create answers in insect, weed and disease control that help growers improve productivity and sustainability of their crops and farming operations. We learned that all of their crop protection is now dry, versus the liquid formulas used previously. This has had quite an impact on manufacturing, packaging and shipping processes. Our third and final stop was Beck’s Hybrid, which has only been located in El Paso for the past 18 months. Our guide gave us the history of the family-owned seed company, which is based in Atlanta, Indiana. He gave us an overview of the plans to start-up this satellite operation in El Paso. We learned about seed hybrids, GMO and more. We even stopped to check out Beck’s harvesting plant, watching the corn slide down the conveyor belt and get ready for processing. OLLI thanks all three of our wonderful hosts for giving us insights into the industries in El Paso.

Menold -- September 13, 2013

OLLI toured Menold’s state-of-the-art restoration and construction facility in Morton.

After we met the management team, we went to check out the in-house painting and staining area, and then moved on to the restoration division, which includes a massive inventory of equipment used for water, fire, storm, and mold emergencies.

We also had an opportunity to walk through the Ozone Room, where content is cleaned and smoke residue is removed.

OLLI thanks the staff of Menold, Inc. for a great tour!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rockford Garden Tours - September 11, 2013

OLLI members boarded a charter coach to take in two of Rockford's most famous gardens.

Our first stop was the world-renowned Anderson Japanese Gardens. We were awe-struck by the natural beauty and serenity as we followed our tour guide through this "pond-strolling" style garden.

We explored waterfalls, ponds, stone lanterns, coin basins and examples of Japanese carpentry. We even got a chance to feed the Koi fish.

We stopped for a wonderful lunch at the scenic Cliffbreakers Riverview Restaurant, and even took time after lunch to explore the attached hotel with it's beautiful artwork.

After lunch we headed to Klehm Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Klehm is home to 150 acres of magnificent trees and plants from around the world. The group took turns on the electric shuttle, which enabled us to reach parts of the garden we might not otherwise have walked to on this 90 plus degree day.

OLLI members also set off on self-guided tours, checking out the Children's garden, the demonstration garden and more.

OLLI had a great time taking in the scenery at Rockford's beautiful gardens.

Hemingway and Wright's Oak Park - September 10, 2013

OLLI had a chance to spend the day in Chicago with Pam Risher, one of our favorite step-on guides. She was on hand as we enjoyed a private guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

Then OLLI had a chance to learn more about the inside stories of Frank Lloyd Wright's life in Oak Park on a narrated walking and motorcoach tour. Our tour included many of the impressive Wright-designed homes.

After a wonderful lunch at Winberie's Restaurant, OLLI spent the afternoon exploring Hemingway. We toured the Hemingway Birthplace and Museum, which hosted exhibits that explored the author's life, including kiosks fashioned from historic doors holding rare photos and artifacts.

OLLI would like to thank Pam Risher for making our day in Chicago educational and fun!

Toraason Glass - September 9, 2013

Our group of OLLI members were thrilled to have a chance to visit Toraason Glass.

Owner and operator Hiram Toraason led us on a short tour of his gallery, which contained exquisite and unique glass art works.

He then spent over an hour demonstrating and explaining the techniques of working with 2,000-degree molten glass as he created a one-of-a-kind work of art.

It was an amazing experience and OLLI would like to thank Hiram for taking the time to share his passion and creativity with us.

Proctor Place Dining - September, 2013

OLLI spent the day getting a closer look at the logistics involved in running the dining services program at Proctor Place, a life-care retirement community that has served the Peoria area since 1906.

Dining Services Director Ron Gibson, who once headed the food service staff at Bradley, was our host as we toured the kitchen and met the staff who plans meals, orders food, and coordinates staffing to ensure the residents at Proctor Place have a wide variety of dining options available.

We toured outside area to view the grounds, especially the garden, which gives the kitchen access to home grown vegetables.

The kitchen staff treated OLLI to ice cream sundaes as we listened to Gibson discuss upcoming plans.

OLLI would like to thank Ron Gibson and his staff for giving us the behind-the-scenes tour at Proctor Place Dining.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wildflower Walk - September 6, 2013

OLLI enjoyed a beautiful Friday afternoon exploring the tallgrass prairie at Forest Park Nature Center, a unique 540-acre nature preserve that features seven miles of hiking trails through forested woodlands and prairie openings.

On this trip we had our own naturalist who guided our hike and pointed out the wide variety species in various stages. We saw evidence of the spring floods as we hiked through the gorgeous forested bluffs of the Illinois River.

After our hike we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch catered by Cracked Pepper. OLLI thanks the staff at Forest Park Nature Center for such a great day!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Art Institute of Chicago - August, 2013

OLLI had their first regional trip of the Fall 2013 season with a charter coach to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jean Gronewold, a painter, teacher and frequent OLLI instructor joined us for the day. She gave us a preview of what to look for in the special exhibit "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity" as well as the "Tomoaki Suzuki Sculptures."

OLLI members began their day at the museum with a keynote lecture where they learned even more about the feature exhibit "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity". They spent the rest of the day on their own enjoying informal gallery talks, self-guided audio tours, as well as artist demonstrations and other mini-lectures.

OLLI spent a wonderful day admiring the collection of the second largest art museum in the the United States. OLLI would like to thank Jean Gronewold for joining us and sharing her expertise.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

James John Audubon Study Group - August, 2013

John James Audubon, An American Birder, Scientist, or Artist? OLLI members explored the his life and his legacy as they delved into John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes.

The members of this OLLI study group were delighted to have their biography come to life when Bryan Fox Ellis portrayed James John Audubon at their last meeting, August 23. Ellis led the group discussion as they explored Audubon's art, his science, his intellect and his spirit.

OLLI would like to thank Bryan Fox Ellis for his entertaining visit and Jerry Whitledge for facilitating this great study group

Friday, August 23, 2013

Peoria Riverfront Museum - August, 2013

OLLI members had another chance to tour the Peoria Riverfront Museum in August.

We started our behind-the-scenes tour in the basement of the museum, viewing the prototype Duryea Peoria Motor Trap. While downstairs, we were also able to check out the art studios, the classrooms, and even peek at the sculpture gardens.

The Museum Curator, Kristan McKinsey, gave background details as we went through the various exhibits including the Illinois River Encounter, ISHA Peak Performance, the Ansel Adams feature exhibit, and The Street, a dramatic exhibit designed with a sense of grandeur, with a large media display to immerse visitors in more than 300 years of Peoria's rich history.

OLLI even had the opportunity to visit the planetarium where Sheldon Shafer, Director of Education/Planetarium Curator, explained the technology behind the sky of stars and showed off the latest technology with a short documentary on black holes.

In addition, we learned about a few of the building features and practices that make it an environmentally sustainable museum.

OLLI would like to thank the outstanding staff at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for such an enjoyable tour.

Caterpillar Visitors Center - August 22, 2013

More OLLI members enjoyed yet another VIP tour of the Caterpillar Visitors Center in late August.

OLLI members explored interactive displays and exhibits with two Caterpillar docents.

Some of the highlights included climbing into the seat of a massive two-story Cat® 797 Mining Truck and taking a virtual ride into a customer's mine site down a haul road, seeing what the Holt steam track-type tractor prototype from 1905 looked like, and viewing the antique Cat® D8 Tractor to see what it was like to operate the machine in the 1930s.

OLLI members also got a chance to climb around and try out some of the other CAT trucks on display.

OLLI thanks the Caterpillar Visitors Center for welcoming our gang.

Peoria County Jail - August 14, 2013

OLLI members had another chance to visit with Sheriff Mike McCoy at the Peoria County Jail.

During the trip, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy led our private tour of the jail, along with Corrections Superintendent Brian Asbell.

OLLI participants volunteered to test their skills in an interactive indoor shooting range at the facility. Sheriff McCoy was impressed with our member’s marksmenship. This video skills test is used to assess officers on a regular basis.

Sheriff McCoy spent time with OLLI discussing the strategies and challenges facing the operations of the County Jail, as well as current community issues.

OLLI would like to extend a huge thanks to Sheriff Mike McCoy and his staff for hosting our tour.

WEEK-TV 25 -- Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013

OLLI visited the WEEK-TV 25 station is East Peoria on August 13. We toured the entire studio, interacting with different news professionals.

In the newsroom, we heard from the news director about his strategies and challenges of running two networks from one station. We even had the opportunity to chat with the sports director, Jim Mattson, about the ever popular Bradley Braves.

As we went from TV sets, to editing bays, to the control room, OLLI had a close up view of what goes on behind the scenes at a busy TV News station.

The highlight of the trip was a live viewing of the midday news broadcast with Gary Moore and Sandy Gallant, who answered questions for OLLI during their commercial breaks.

OLLI thanks the entire staff at WEEK-TV 25 for such an enjoyable and informative tour.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mackinaw Valley Vineyard - Aug 8, 2013

OLLI spent a delightful August afternoon touring Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. Bradley University alumnae Diane Hahn and her husband Paul Hahn, co-owners of the working vineyard were our private tour guides.

The winery is situated on a glacial moraine east of Mackinaw, featuring a gorgeous 30-mile view of the valley and farms below. The 96-acre property has about 14.5 acres of grapes.

OLLI members toured the vineyard and cellar, learning about all parts of the winery process from selecting the types of grapes and the labor intensive harvesting, to making the wine and bottling and labeling on-site.

A definite highlight of the trip was having Diane explain the wine tasting process and inviting OLLI members to taste six of vineyard’s wonderful wines.

After a delicious catered lunch OLLI members were free to taste more wine or spend time roaming the beautiful grounds.

OLLI would like to thank co-owners Paul and Diane Hahn for sharing their time and showing us their family owned Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The L-Bird Story (The Little Plane That Did) - August 7, 2013

In August OLLI learned “The L-Bird Story”. We were introduced by video to “L-Birds”, liaison planes, the military version of the Piper Cub, used to help with surveillance, rescue and special transportation during World War II.

The video included footage of L-birds in action,as well as their history and interviews with pilots, including the late John Kriegsman of Pekin. During WWII Kriegsman was awarded the Silver Star for valor.

We toured through parts of the Pekin Municipal Airport- John C. Kriegsman Field, learning of operations there. We were then allowed an up close view of a replica of the L-Bird, owned by John’s sons Rich and Johnny, who also introduced the film and were on hand to answer questions. OLLI members were actually able to watch the “L-Bird” take off and do a few loops around the airport. It was cool to see history coming to life.

OLLI would like to thank the Kriegsman family for taking the time to share their inspirational story with us.

Heddington Oaks and Peoria County Officials - August 5, 2013

OLLI visited Peoria County’s new elder care facility, Heddington Oaks.

We were introduced to the facility's director, Matt Nieukirk, who talked about the process of constructing a tax-supported facility: identifying the need, weighing renovation vs. building new, how operations were funded and so forth.

We toured the beautiful new building, which officials hope will be occupied in September.

OLLI then had the chance to meet with a panel of officials, which included: State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, Sheriff Mike McCoy, and County Clerk Steve Sonnemaker. They took the time to explain their responsibilities, share their experiences, and answer questions about the public services and programs the County provides.

OLLI would like the thank Mr. Nieukirk and the Peoria County officials for taking the time to meet with us for such an informative session.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Princeton Festival 56- August, 1, 2013

OLLI kicked off August with a wonderful day in Princeton, IL. We met our tour guide, Joni Hunt at the Visitors Center, where we enjoyed juice and donuts.

We toured the town aboard our chartered coach stopping to see the several sites including the Red Covered bridge, the grounds of the Lovejoy home, the Colton schoolhouse, and, as an added bonus, we toured the Bureau County Museum's Clark-Norris house.

After our catered lunch, Dexter Brigham, artistic director and creator of Festival 56,(and a Bradley University alum) met with us to give his personal insights about the festival.

OLLI members then enjoyed an outstanding performance of The Full Monty, with big laughs and an ending we won't soon forget!

OLLI would like to thank Dexter Brigham for arranging such a lovely day for us.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Peoria Riverfront Museum - July 25, 2013

OLLI toured the Peoria Riverfront Museum in late July.

We started our behind-the-scenes tour in the planetarium where Sheldon Shafer,Director of Education/Planetarium Curator, explained the technology behind the sky of stars and whet our appetite with a snippet of the Black Holes film.

Ann Schmidt, Assistant Director/Curator of Education, guided us in the Ansel Adams gallery and "The Street," a dramatic exhibit designed with a sense of grandeur, with a large media display to immerse visitors in more than 300 years of Peoria's rich history.

In addition, we learned about a few of the building features and practices that make it an environmentally sustainable museum.

OLLI would like to thank the outstanding staff at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for such an enjoyable tour.

Caterpillar Vistors Center - July 23, 2013

OLLI hosted a second VIP tour of the Caterpillar Visitors Center in late July. OLLI members explored interactive displays and exhibits with two Caterpillar docents.

Some of the highlights included climbing into the seat of a massive two-story Cat® 797 Mining Truck and taking a virtual ride into a customer's mine site down a haul road, seeing what the Holt steam track-type tractor prototype from 1905 looked like, and sitting in the seat of an antique Cat® D8 Tractor to feel what it was like to operate the machine in the 1930s.

OLLI thanks the Caterpillar Visitors Center for welcoming our gang.

For more information about the Visitors Center, please visit www.cat.com

Pat Sullivan's Le Vieux Carre - July 18, 2013

OLLI spent the afternoon touring downtown buildings that have been revitalized by local entrepreneur Pat Sullivan.

Sullivan, Peoria native, and co-developer of the city's warehouse district, was our host as we toured a complex of buildings getting a private, behind-the-scenes look at Le Vieux Carre ("small quarters") building on Water Street, a former buggy and implement warehouse built in the 1800's which was also rumored to have once housed Al Capone's whiskey stills and gambling devices.

Sullivan kept our group entertained with stories from the past, and OLLI would like to thank him for not only his time, but for his ongoing contributions and efforts toward downtown Peoria.

Wheels O'Time - July 17, 2013

Our mid-July trip to Wheels O'Time gave OLLI members a chance to view interactive exhibits that described what life was like in Peoria between 50 and 100 years ago.

Our private tour guides led us through an eclectic collection of antique autos, Caterpillar machinery, clocks, toys, tools, coin-operated machines, a railroad steam locomotive, a working windmill, and more!

OLLI would like to thank the staff at Wheels O"Time for an enjoyable afternoon and allowing our members to take a step back in time.

Summer Social-- July 10, 2013

OLLI members enjoyed the summer social aboard the Spirit of Peoria.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon for cruising up and down the Peoria River.

Captain Alex Grieves, the owner/Captain of the Riverboat, shared the history of the boat along with some of his unique experiences on the river.

OLLI members joined the staff for cake as they said good-bye and wished Jon Neidy luck in his new role at Bradley as Executive Director of the Smith Career Center.

OLLI thanks Captain Grieves and the entire staff of the Spirit of Peoria for such a fun day on the river.

Greater Peoria Sanitary District - June 27, 2013

OLLI toured the Greater Peoria Sanitary District at the end of June. They learned how wastewater is collected and treated to protect the environment in Peoria County, especially the creeks, streams, and the Illinois River.

Our behind the scenes 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 lab monitors the treatment process to meet EPA requirements.

OLLI thanks the staff at GPSD for an enjoyable and informative afternoon.

Peoria Journal Star - June 26, 2013

OLLI members enjoyed an informative trip behind the scenes at the Peoria Journal Star.

Phil Jordan, Marketing Manager, met with the group and discussed how our local newspaper is in good financial shape and what a huge impact its readership actually has on the community.

Our tour guides, Rae Ann and Bernie (our very own OLLI member) let us through the print shop, explaining the printing process while showing us the computer control room, ink and paper storage and of course the 4-story press!

After the tour, the group met with Steve Tarter, Business Editor and Mike Bailey, Opinion Editor. They shared their perspectives on the news business and their specific insights on Peoria Journal Star.

OLLI thanks the staff at the Peoria Journal Star for giving us such an enjoyable and informative afternoon.

Peoria Police Department - June 25, 2013

OLLI visited the Peoria Police Department in late June.

During the trip, we checked out holding cells, line up rooms and interview rooms. When we headed to the evidence room, Denise, the department's fingerprint expert, explained the painstaking process she uses to match fingerprints.

We explored a museum that highlights equipment, photographs, and evidence collected over the last 80 years.

Our tour also 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.

OLLI thanks Steve Fairbanks and the staff of the Peoria Police Department who helped make our tour a success.

Peoria County Jail -- June 19, 2013

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

After the tour, we were the Sheriff's guests as he hosted our private lunch at the jail.

For more information about the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department, visit www.peoriacounty.org

Caterpillar Visitors Center -- June 13, 2013

During this VIP tour of the Caterpillar Visitors Center, OLLI members explored interactive displays and exhibits with two Caterpillar docents. Some of the highlights included climbing into the seat of a massive two-story Cat® 797 Mining Truck and taking a virtual ride into a customer's mine site down a haul road, seeing what the Holt steam track-type tractor prototype from 1905 looked like, and sitting in the seat of an antique Cat® D8 Tractor to feel what it was like to operate the machine in the 1930s.

OLLI thanks the Caterpillar Visitors Center for welcoming our gang.

For more information about the Visitors Center, please visit www.cat.com

Metro Peoria Government -- June 12, 2013

In June, OLLI visited the Peoria County Courthouse to learn more about the Metro Peoria Committee, a joint initiative by the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board to enhance collaboration between the two units of government.

County Administrator Lori Luther gave an overview of committee, while City Councilman Timothy Riggenbach and County Board member Mary Ardapple interacted with OLLI and answered questions on local government matters such as service delivery, collaborative efficiencies, and transparency.

After the discussion, the group walked across the street to enjoy an early dinner at Richard's in downtown Peoria.

OLLI would like to thank the Peoria Metro Committee for taking the time to meet with us and update us on this joint initative.

Rocky Glen Hike -- June 11, 2013

On this trip, OLLI members visited Rocky Glen, a hidden gem of geologic importance spanning 97 acres along Kickapoo Creek Road.

Ed Stermer, geology expert and earth science professor at Illinois Central College, and David Pittman, President of Friends of Rocky Glen, led us on an amazing, two-hour private hike. OLLI members tested their hiking skills as they climbed and slid through the challenging terrain.

Our guides shared insight into the land’s history and gave us updates on how the Friends of Rocky Glen continue to work on preserving and restoring the property.

OLLI thanks Ed and Dave for the time and knowledge they shared with us on our hike!

Bradley University Grand Tour -- June 7, 2013

In early June, OLLI members invited their grandkids to take a first-ever “Grand” tour of Bradley University.

On our private, behind-the-scenes look, some of the grandkids got to play news anchor at Hench Studios and play actors and actresses when we went “on stage” at the Hartman Center for the Performing Arts.

Later, when we checked out the Markin Family Recreation Center, we were given a private dance lesson in the studio -- hip hop no less!

Going underground in the Renaissance Coliseum to see where the athletes hang out and get rehab was cool, especially when we tried out the big lounge chairs in the Men’s Basketball film room.

At the end of the tour, OLLI members and their grandchildren enjoyed a wonderful catered lunch in the Coliseum and felt like VIPs with a view of the performance court. The grandkids even scored some cool BU gear!

OLLI sends a big THANKS to the Bradley Admissions team for such a special tour of our favorite place, Bradley University!

A Day in Historic Logan County

On our visit to historic Logan County we spent the day visiting several sites. The trip started with a group photo opportunity at the Railsplitter Covered Wagon, which is recognized as the World’s Largest Covered Wagon!

Participants learned more about wind farms from one of the local farmers who leases his land for windmills. From there we traveled to the Logan County Courthouse, which features a courtroom with the original 1905 furniture, as well as many other artistic and historic details.

Next, the National Weather Service office gave us a tour of their facility and discussed how meteorologists develop the weather forecasts for central Illinois.

Our final stop of the day was the Lincoln Heritage Museum, where OLLI members delighted in exploring many artifacts from the Lincoln home, a Lincoln campaign banner from 1860, and an original Civil War Union drum used in battles.

OLLI would like to thank the Logan County members involved in the group effort that put together a memorable day for participants.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Emiquon Experience -- May 30, 2013

Our last Spring trip was an exploration of the archeological and ecological history of Emiquon.

Our day began with a stop at Dickson Mounds Museum, one of the major on-site archaeological museums in the country. Next, we visited the Therkildsen Field Station and learned how the area is a nucleus of activity about floodplain ecology. After lunch, we visited the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery, which annually produces millions of fish to stock Illinois’ waterways.

OLLI thanks Michael Wiant, Jason Beverlin, and the staff at the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery for making our day a great one!

Menold Construction and Restoration -- May 29, 2013

In late May, OLLI toured Menold Construction and Restoration in Morton.

On this trip, we saw Menold’s state-of-the-art restoration and construction facility and talked with the management team, saw in-house painting and staining, and viewed the restoration division, which includes a massive inventory of equipment used for water, fire, storm, and mold emergencies.

We also had an opportunity to walk through the Ozone Room, where content is cleaned and smoke residue is removed.

OLLI thanks Menold Construction and its staff for welcoming our lifelong learners!

For more information about the company, visit www.menoldinc.com

Twin Cities Hidden Gems -- May 22, 2013

Our trip to Bloomington-Normal began with a tour of the Illinois State University Farm to see students from ISU’s Department of Agriculture at work.

Next, we toured Ropp Jersey cheese, a family-owned working farm, to watch the cheese-making process and get “hands-on” while feeding calves and milking cows. After lunch, we visited Funk’s Grove to see the area’s best kept secrets: the Funk Prairie Home and its adjoining Gem Museum.

OLLI thanks everyone at the ISU Farm, Ropp Jersey Cheese, and Funk Prairie Home for making our day in the Twin Cities such a success!

Kickapoo Creek Winery -- May 21, 2013

In late May, OLLI enjoyed a beautiful day at Kickapoo Creek Winery learning about the winemaking process with owner Dr. David Conner (who happens to be an OLLI member himself!).

Our trip began with a lunch in the pavilion, and was 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 staff at Kickapoo Creek Winery for their hospitality.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Four Perfect Pebbles, by Marion Blumenthal Lazan -- April 9, 2013

Marion Blumenthal Lazan, Holocaust survivor and co-author of Four Perfect Pebbles, was the featured speaker at this OLLI-sponsored lecture on April 9.

Mrs. Lazan's mission is to speak to as many people as possible, so they can hear the story from a Holocaust survivor. Her presentation went beyond the facts; she applied the lessons learned to society today. She asked the audience to be tolerant of others and not stereotype individuals based on religious belief, race, color, or national origin.

She stressed the importance of positive thinking as well as creativity and inner strength when working to overcome adversity. She also urged her audience to be true to themselves and not blindly follow the leader.

OLLI thanks Mrs. Lazan for her inspiring talk in front of a packed house (more than 250 people were in attendance!). Thanks also to Steven Streight for providing the accompanying video.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Peoria Fire Academy -- April 15, 2013

In mid-April, OLLI visited the Peoria Fire Academy, a 15-acre training facility near Galena Road utilized by local, state, and federal public safety agencies for upgrade training and continuing education. It is also designated as the regional training site for the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Byron Yang, Division Chief of Training, provided an in-depth look at the Peoria Fire Department, demonstrated the equipment used by firefighters (including fire gear and breathing apparatus), led a walk-through of the facility’s five-story burn tower, and talked in detail about the duties of the Peoria Fire Department.

OLLI thanks all the firefighters at the Peoria Fire Academy who made our group feel very welcome!

Chicago's Deutschland -- March 28, 2013

One of OLLI’s favorite step-on guides, Pam Risher, accompanied us as we moved beyond breweries and bratwurst and rediscoverd the cultural contributions made by German immigrants to Chicago. We marveled at the Romanesque style St. Michael’s Church with its great clock tower and spire, main altar with an eight-foot statue of St. Michael, and exquisite stained glass windows. We also passed the site of the Haymarket, drove past the Germania Club (the most influential of all European fraternal societies), and made a quick stop at Dinkel’s Bakery. After lunch at the Chicago Brauhaus, we visited the Dank Haus German Cultural Center and viewed its permanent exhibit “Lost German Chicago” featuring art, artifacts, and memorabilia reflecting the Chicago German community over the years.

Midwest Food Bank -- March 27, 2013

In late March, OLLI toured the Midwest Food Bank and learned how the organization handles donations, distributions, and the volunteers that allow it to feed more than 225,000 people each month.

At the end of the tour, participants were able to get "hands on" to help prepare food for a delivery.

OLLI thanks the staff and volunteers at Midwest Food Bank for opening their doors to our group.

For more information, please visit www.midwestfoodbank.org.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

iPad Basics Study Group -- March, 2013

One of the ways to enhance lifelong learning is by using an iPad to discover and capture new knowledge.

Ten OLLI members recently completed a four-session iPad Basics Study Group where they discovered ways to use their iPads to enhance their individual lifelong learning experiences.

Facilitator Greg Peine helped the group develop skills in using some of the basic applications (apps) such as Notes, Pictures, and Safari to capture and organize information.

According to Greg, a broad concern of the group was how to keep their iPads healthy. To address this concern, several "how to" topics were discussed, including how to clean the touch screen, upgrade iOS, backup to the iCloud or home computer, synchronize with iTunes, and mirror e-mail.

Learning with the iPad was another topic of interst to the group. Several of the free resources were demonstrated, such as Khan Academy and iTunes U.

An iPad Intermediate Study Group will be offered soon, during which participants will continue to look at ways to optimize their lifelong learning experiences with an iPad.

OLLI thanks Greg Peine for facilitating this group and for providing the pictures and text for this post!

Monday, March 25, 2013

182nd Airlift Wing -- March 21, 2013

Nearly 50 OLLI members joined our latest tour of the 182nd Airlift Wing in Bartonville.

During our visit, Colonel William Robertson ('83), the Wing Commander, led a tour to explore the Wing's mission that included 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.

Lawrence Morris, a retired Chief, was also honored during his visit as an OLLI member. Colonel Robertson presented him with two framed pictures from his days with the 182nd, and surprised him with an appearance by some of his former unit members.

OLLI thanks Col. Robertson and everyone at the 182nd for welcoming OLLI to the base.

Peoria Fire Department -- March 19, 2013

On this trip, we visited the Peoria Fire Department Central House to learn how its services are divided into administration, operations, training, and prevention. In addition, we saw the equipment used by firefighters, learned how shifts are scheduled, saw the living quarters occupied by the firefighters, and got up close and personal with some of the protective gear worn by the firefighters.

Precision Planting -- March 18, 2013

In mid-March, OLLI visited the Tremont, Illinois headquarters of Precision Planting, known for its planter systems that contribute to better seed space, better depth control, and better root systems for farmers.

During our visit, we learned how the company's 130 employees assemble and package manufactured parts into kits around the world, provide dealer and product support, and complete product testing.

Peoria Riverfront Museum -- March 11, 2013

On OLLI's very first visit to the new downtown museum, we enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour and saw much more than current exhibits and the planetarium.

We learned about the features of the building and practices that make it environmentally sustainable, including the site selection, lighting, ceiling fans, and even carpeting.

The response to this first trip was so great, we've scheduled two more this spring. Watch the blog for further pictures and more details of our upcoming visits!

Reach for the Stars with Scott Altman -- March 10, 2013

On Sunday, March 10, hometown hero Scott Altman visited Bradley University to speak to OLLI members about growing up in Central Illinois, his experiences with the Navy, and the wonders of flying and working in space.

Scott graduated from Pekin Community High School in 1977, and his parents, Sharon and Fred Altman, still reside in Pekin. Scott is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Naval Postgraduate School. He has received numerous honors, including the Navy’s Distinguished Flying Cross and NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

A veteran of four space flights, Altman has logged over 51 days in space. In August 2012 he became Vice President for the newly formed ASRC Federal Space and Defense.

Steve Straight, a Trustee of the Peoria Historical Society, requested permission from OLLI and Astronaut Scott Altman to videotape Scott's presentation and post it on You Tube. Please click on the embedded video above and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A. Lucas and Sons Steel -- March 5, 2013

On our first 2013 Spring trip, we enjoyed an incredible morning at A. Lucas & Sons Steel in downtown Peoria.

During our visit, company president Margaret A. Hanley and her colleagues helped us learn about the company's long history of strong employee relationships that have helped it withstand economic downturns.

We also had the opportunity to see the fabrication process, including a welding station, bending station, burning station, voortman line, and a history station.

Several volunteers took advantage of the opportunity to weld for themselves, too!

OLLI thanks Margaret and her staff for taking time out of their busy days to welcome us to the facility. We also truly appreciate the custom-made Bradley bookends and steel beams emblazoned with our college name!

For more information about A. Lucas & Sons Steel, please visit www.alucasiron.com.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Science for Lunch -- February 26, 2013

For the first time ever, OLLI partnered with the USDA National Center for Agricultural Utilization to present Science for Lunch, a special lunchtime seminar.

Dr. Terry Isbell, Research Chemist and Biomass Research Development Initiative Project Director, and Dr. Mike Cotta, Research Microbiologist and Research Leader for the NCAUR Bioenergy Unit, discussed the exciting promises and challenges held by energy crops and second generation biofuels and how scientists in Peoria are unraveling those challenges and opening new doors for a biofuel future.

OLLI sincerely thanks NCAUR staff and Drs. Isbell and Cotta for a fascinating day of learning.

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