Our New Years Resolutions

Stay in touch

Travel More

Work Less

Work Out More

Eat Less

Lose Weight

Join Gym

Run Spiel Chek

Keep my resolutions

Why Plan, When You Can React?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.


Insurance For Guns

M-4 - Similar to the Rifle I Carried in Vietnam - A Short M-16 

A Smart Way to Control Guns: Force Owners to Buy Insurance For Them

The Atlantic has an interesting proposal - Require firearms owners to insure their guns - liability for the damage and death delivered by the gun.  This would make gun ownership more expensive, reduce the number of guns and encourage gun owners to keep their firearms in locked safes.


Amtrak Sets More Records

People walk through Union Station in Washington. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
"Roughly 31.2 million people rode Amtrak in fiscal 2012 — the highest annual ridership in the history of the service. While much of the gains occurred in the already-successful Northeast Corridor, 25 of Amtrak's 44 regular routes broke passenger records. The strong numbers may not end conservative calls for Amtrak's privatization, not should they end the continued discussion about its unprofitable lines, but they do show that many Americans still choose to ride the rails when they're run right (or even kinda right)."
Source - Atlantic Cities 


Merry XMAS Happy Holidays 2012 Happy New Year

Beth and Craig Hullinger at the Military Officers Association Gala in Sarasota December 2012

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
Happy New Year

Everything is going well with Beth Ruyle and Craig Hullinger. 
Ho Ho Ho.  

Our Christmas Newsletter - Green and Cheap


Violence Related Firearm Deaths

The map above shows violence related firearm deaths. Interesting my home region of Chicago is one of the lower regions. Hard to believe it is lower then Milwaukee and about the same as Minneapolis and Seattle. Go figure.



An important first step in improving a community is to conduct a visioning session. This can be done with a select group of leaders and/or a very large session where the entire community is invited to participate.  

Both approaches are acceptable but should include the large session where everyone is invited. We are a Democracy and our society works best when everyone is consulted and asked for their thoughts and ideas. And more people generate more ideas and expose more individuals to those ideas. And some of those individuals are the people who will actually implement those ideas.

The visioning process should develop a large number of ideas and proposals for the improvement of the community. Some of the ideas will not be workable or affordable, but some will be great ideas that can be implemented by individuals, civic groups, or government. The group process encourages creative thought and enthusiasm.

The session can run two to four hours. It begins with a short presentation about city planning and developing. All participants are informed that the process that evening should be fun. All ideas are encouraged.  There is plenty of time later to figure out what won't work.

The group breaks into subgroups of about ten people each.  They are provided with large sheets of paper, maps of the town, and magic markers. They are encouraged to propose all kinds of ideas to enhance the community.  This creative process helps generate new ideas.

The smaller groups write their ideas down on the large sheets of paper and/or maps.  They select one person to present the ideas to the larger group.

The large group is reconvened and each sub group presents their ideas and proposals.  The large sheets of paper can be taped with masking tape to the wall.

A summary of the ideas and proposals should be written and provided to the participants and Village Board.  Individuals, developers, organizations, and governments can then decide which ideas should become reality. The ideas that the Village decides should be developed should be formally adopted as part of the Village Comprehensive Plan.

What You Need

Enthusiastic people

Large sheets of paper

Large aerial photos of the town

Large base maps - black and white with streets and parcels

Color magic markers - black, green, red, blue, yellow

Masking tape to put the paper on the walls.


What is a Charrette?

A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.

The charrette is located near the project site. The team of design experts and consultants sets up a full working office, complete with drafting equipment, supplies, computers, copy machines, fax machines, and telephones. Formal and informal meetings are held throughout the event and updates to the plan are presented periodically.

Through brainstorming and design activity, many goals are accomplished during the charrette. First, everyone who has a stake in the project develops a vested interest in the ultimate vision. Second, the design team works together to produce a set of finished documents that address all aspects of design. Third, since the input of all the players is gathered at one event, it is possible to avoid the prolonged discussions that typically delay conventional planning projects. Finally, the finished result is produced more efficiently and cost-effectively because the process is collaborative.

Charrettes are organized to encourage the participation of all. That includes everyone who is interested in the making of a development: the developer, business interests, government officials, interested residents, and activists.
Ultimately, the purpose of the charrette is to give all the participants enough information to make good decisions during the planning process.

A Historical Note -- Origins of the Word "Charrette"

The term "charrette" is derived from the French word for "little cart." In Paris during the 19th century, professors at the Ecole de Beaux Arts circulated with little carts to collect final drawings from their students. Students would jump on the "charrette" to put finishing touches on their presentation minutes before the deadline.

Peoria Number 3 for High Tech Growth

Central Illinois Perspective
InterBusiness Issues
art & society
Peoria Progress


The Greater Peoria region ranked No. 3 in the nation among the “Top 25 Metros for High-Tech Employment Growth, 2006-2011,” according to the new “Technology Works” report by Engine Advocacy. The study cited progress in medical and advanced manufacturing technology, an abundance of technology research activities and resources like Peoria NEXT, the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and Caterpillar as key factors. Read the full report online at engine.is/techworks.
Midstate CollegePeoria NEXT announced the award of a $50,000 research grant to VirtuSense Technologies. VST, headquartered at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, is developing simulation technologies to improve medical training via collaboration with emergency physicians at OSF HealthCare and UICOMP. The grant will allow the Bradley University/Peoria Robotics spinoff to continue its research.
Today is National Poinsettia Day! December 12th marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who shipped cuttings of the native Mexican plant to his South Carolina greenhouse in 1825. He later propagated the plants and sent them to botanical gardens around the country. Celebrate with a visit to Luthy Botanical Garden, where its annual Poinsettia Show is happening now through December 30th. Call             (309) 681-3506       for more info.
You still have time to take part in the 2012 JA Auction! Through December 16th, bid on more than 120 items, including VIP experiences and overnight getaways. All proceeds benefit Junior Achievement of Central Illinois. Help support the mission of empowering young people to own their economic success by logging on to www.juniorachievement.biz.

Generation Y Planning for Economic Success

Focus Forward CI is an asset-based economic development strategy designed to engage all populations in a regional effort to transform mindset, economic performance, environment and leadership in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Mason counties. Leaders in this effort have identified Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based (S.M.A.R.T.) goals for creating this new strategy. These five-year goals for the region include:
  • increasing population to 386,475 by 2017 from 2010 Census figures of 375,218
  • creating more than 13,000 jobs
  • increasing nearly 20,000 job salaries by $5,000/annually
  • ramping up the number of bachelor and graduate degrees
  • increasing the 25-44 year-old age bracket from about 25 to 30 percent.
"Generation Y Planning for Economic Success" is a public meeting designed to engage the 25-44 population in the Focus Forward CI regional planning process. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Rhythm Kitchen Music Café, 305 SW Water St. in Peoria. For more info and to RSVP, visitfuturecentralileconomy.eventbrite.com.
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Friday, December 14th @ Peoria Riverfront Museum
Peoria County and the City of Peoria will host a joint legislative breakfast from 9 to 11am, featuring state senators Dave Koehler and Darin LaHood and representatives Jehan Gordon-Booth, David Leitch, Don Moffitt and Mike Unes. For more information, call            (309) 672-6056      .
Friday, December 14th @ Landmark Recreation Center
Community Workshop Training Center (CWTC) will host its “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” from 6 to 9pm. Come out in your worst holiday gear or purchase an ugly sweater from CWTC for $15 while supplies last. The event will feature a taco bar, cash bar, games, prizes and live music and dancing with Boogie Shooze. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at cwtc.org. All proceeds benefit the programs and services of CWTC. Call                   for more info.
Friday, December 14th through Sunday, December 16th @ Five Points Washington 
The Peoria Area Civic Chorale presents An American Family Christmas at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. Cost is $24/adults; $12/students. Call            (309) 693-6725       or email pacchorale@gmail.com to order tickets. Find out more at peoriacivicchorale.org.
Tuesday, December 18th @ The Gateway Building
Ring in the holiday season with The Jim Markum Swing Band from 7:30 to 9:30pm. Cost is $10. Seating is limited, so call             (309) 494-6713       to reserve your spot.

Rotary Club of Peoria-North

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Core Cities Are Growing Faster

"Brookings Institution demographer William Frey dug into a new set of Census figures and determined that in America's 51 largest metro areas, on average, the core cities had suddenly started growing slightly faster than their suburbs. Frey's analysis focused on larger metros, but as it turns out, much the same story had been happening in smaller metros such as Clarksville, Tennessee, or Lexington, Kentucky. A new study released Monday by Smart Growth America, the national community-development advocacy organization, expanded on Frey's work to examine the population growth rates in the center cities of small U.S. metros" 

Click to read more.


Manufacturing Jobs coming Back To America

An excellent article on how manufacturing jobs are coming back to America. A very good trend for the US. Of course, we produce a lot more with fewer people - and most of them have to very skilled.


The Atlantic and Atlantic Cities are an excellent source of info for city planners. And they are morphing from a once a month magazine to an always updated information flow.  Very nice.



Chicago New Americans Plan

Mayor Emanuel released the Chicago New Americans Plan, which outlines 27 initiatives to build a thriving, diverse and welcoming city over the next three years. The plan, which is the first of its kind in the nation, highlights the potential economic impact when the City supports the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses; develops, attracts, and retains talent and expertise from other countries; and aims to bolster the City’s status as a vibrant and welcoming international city.

“With residents from over 140 countries and more than 100 languages spoken in our city, Chicago is a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These immigrants are small business owners, teachers, parents, clergymen, elected officials, and leaders in our communities. This is why I am committed to making Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation. I thank the ONA Advisory Committee for assisting us in developing a plan that will ensure Chicago continues to thrive and grow and attract the world’s leading human capital to compete in the 21st century global economy and beyond.”