The series continues in Peoria to see where things play. The episode explores Frederick Douglass’s trek through town on a wintery night, the first people to call the place home, the colorful administration of Prohibition Era Mayor Edward Nelson Woodruff, the early years of LBGT activist and legend Howard Junior Brown, ideas for the future coming from Peoria’s Innovation Team, and what’s going on along the riverfront.
Refreshments will be served after the program.
More about the Participants
Dennis Anderson, a native of Illinois, joined the Journal Star as executive editor in 2012. The Journal Star has been named one of Editor & Publisher’s “10 Newspapers That Do It Right,” recently received the top award for General Excellence from the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors and the Illinois Press Association, and been named GateHouse Media’s Newspaper of the Year. He is a member of the Associated Press Media Editors and Illinois Associated Press Media Editors boards of directors. Prior to joining the Journal Star, he was top editor of the Journal-World in Lawrence, KS. While he was at the Journal-World, the paper won APME’s top Digital Storytelling Awards three years in a row. He also spent 10 years with Gannett newspapers, including the Norwich Bulletin in Connecticut and the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin in New York, and has worked at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, IL
Molly Crusen Bishop
Molly Crusen Bishop is a lifelong Peorian and an author, speaker, and storyteller. She is married to Doug Bishop and has five children and one grandchild. Molly loves history and Peoria and loves to share her passions with anyone she can get to listen to her. She loves to research, interview, and write or speak about history. The youngest and ninth child of Don and Joani Crusen, she grew up on the West Bluff in the house her great-grandparents built in the 1880s. She writes a history column in Woman’s View and is writing a column called “The Peorian Perspective” for The Peorian.
Anthony Corso has spent his career as an architect, urban designer, consultant, and educator working to make communities more livable and resilient. He is an advocate and practitioner of public interest design and continuously works to build collaborative partnerships in order to turn great ideas into action. Since returning to his hometown of Peoria in 2009, Anthony has worked as an architect providing design and consulting services to public and private clients, served as program director at Illinois Central College, represented Central Illinois on the board of the US Green Building Council Illinois chapter, and organized multiple community-driven events highlighting the role of built environment in public health, social connection, neighborhood economic vitality, and overall quality of life. In Spring of 2015, Anthony became the first Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Peoria where he directs the Innovation Team or i-team. The i-team’s role is to help city leaders, staff, and partners through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.
Michael J. Freilinger
Michael J. Freilinger is the President/CEO of the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria, a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation dedicated to the redevelopment of the Downtown/Warehouse District in Downtown, Peoria. Mr. Freilinger has over ten years of executive experience in the public sector as the County Administrator/Manager in Polk County, Des Moines, IA; Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL; and Tazewell County, Pekin, IL. While in Des Moines, Mr. Freilinger, in his capacity as County Administrator worked with the City of Des Moines on numerous urban redevelopment issues such as mixed-use housing; low to moderate income housing; parking; streetscape improvements; signage and way-finding; economic development; gap financing; historic rehabilitation; riverfront development, and the Iowa Events Center, a multi-building complex that includes a convention center, arena, and exhibit halls. In his current capacity as President/CEO of the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria, Mr. Freilinger has drawn upon his experience in Des Moines to act on behalf of the DDC and its stakeholders, businesses, property owners, developers, and residents of the downtown to accelerate the redevelopment of the Downtown/Warehouse District of Peoria.
Public Administration is the intersection of policy and people. This understanding led Kate Green into the field of government. Following professional experience in Washington D.C. and Springfield, she was driven to the local level after realizing a passion for diving deeply into the day-to-day impact that policy and programs have on people’s lives. Her academic pursuits took her to Bradley University, during which time she fell in love with Peoria. After a short stint away from the River City to earn a Master’s in Public Administration, Kate took a position in the City Manager’s Office where she was encouraged to explore her interests in resident engagement and performance management. When the opportunity arose to join the Innovation Team, Kate jumped in with both feet. Her favorite facet of the job is the opportunity to take a step back to evaluate the larger landscape around a problem, then join with City Departments, outside organizations, and residents to collaborate around potential solutions that not only meet the needs of government but more importantly the people it serves.
Nathan Tayler performs a wide range of vintage American blues & roots music, born of the soul of the heartland and the front porches of Canton, IL.
Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and folk musician with a natural affinity for American roots music. A master of bottleneck slide guitar, he weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyle of the Midwest. In the 1980’s he conducted the Schuyler Arts Folk Music Project, documenting the last of the pre radio generation of musicians along the Illinois River. From 1990 through 1998 he served as the performing host and co-producer of the nationally distributed, award-winning public radio performance series Rural Route 3. His one-man show, Abraham Lincoln in Song, received the endorsement of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the accompanying CD charted at #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in March of 2008. Chris has twice served as the Illinois Scholar for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on roots music, New Harmonies and his 2016 project, Oh Freedom!, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement was released on Martin Luther King Day of 2017 and charted at # 6 of the National Folk charts. Find more about Chris Vallillo.
Kevin Wood has been portraying Abraham Lincoln since 2000, giving more than 450 presentations in thirteen states and two other countries. He spent much of his early life in Metamora, IL, which Lincoln often visited as a circuit-riding attorney. His varied professional background includes investigation and cleanup of Superfund hazardous waste sites, ministry and missions, teaching and coaching.
For more information about this event, please contact Paul Durica at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 422-5583.