Chamber Holds 2021 Annual Meeting Banquet

The Chamber was so excited to hold our Annual Meeting Banquet at the Eagle Theater. Thanks to Liz Vincent for all her help along with Chef Rowan and his students of LACC for catering our event.  Thank you to our sponsors: Enbridge, UAW Local #2096, Accolade Healthcare, Fogarty’s Garage, PTHS District #90, County Market, OSF St. James Healthcare, Midwest Dental, State Farm Agent-Lisa Kelly, Pontiac Family Eyecare, Pontiac School District #429, Caterpillar, Bank of Pontiac, SOCU Pontiac Branch, Village of Saunemin, and Joan Bullard Realty. We honored 2021 students with Achievement certificates. They are: Pontiac Township High School Alexie Shimika Hoy, Madelyn Lee, Addison Rileigh Masching, Sydney Lane Shepherd, Alyssa Ryleigh Fox, Kimberly Ann Fitzsimmons, Claire Catherine Nyi, Kaitlyn Irene Hunt, Madison Marie Mills and Logan James Roe. Pontiac Junior High School: Jack Vogel and Lindsay Hooker. St. Mary’s School: Maria Long and Drew Lauritsen. Graymont Grade School: Jacob Dewald. Odell Grade School: Seth Mund. Saunemin Elementary School: Isabella Bunting. St. Paul School in Odell: Hannah Miller and Lilly Duffy. Grace Christian School: Elena Krause and Jaden Lucas. The Board is honoring all of our 2020 member businesses as our Business of the Year. We will be mailing out certificates for you and we thank you all for continuing to support us during the panedemic. We couldn’t survive without your partnership.

Chamber Welcomes Pops Pop Up with Ribbon Cutting

Chamber Board members, Debi Ores, Joan Bullard, Lisa Herr and Mike Weaver welcomed Pops Pop Up to the Chamber family with a ribbon cutting at 517 W. Howard St. Kathleen and Roger Sutter gave us a tour of all the antiques they have and WOW! Stop in, I think you’ll be surprised, like we were, with the amount of space there is. Bring the tissues, because it will bring back some feel-good memories.

Accolade Holds Ribbon Cutting

Accolade Healthcare held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the welcoming of family and friends back to in-person visits to the facility. Cake and punch were served following brief speeches by Malerie Orsowy, Administrator; Kathy Finkenbinder, Activity Director; Tiffany Baker, Human Resources and Emilee Roberts, LPN.

Meet Your 2021Chamber Board of Directors

Executive Board: President-Debi Ores, County Market; President-Elect- Paul Kelly, KSR Equipment; Past-President-Tom Hinz, Caterpillar, INC.; Treasurer-Carolyn Ledford, The General Store; Treasurer-Elect/Secretary-Diana Iverson, SOCU Pontiac; Board Consultant-Mike Weaver, District #429

General Board: Past-President-Tim Johnson, OSF St. James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center; Dr. Janelle Brown, Pontiac Family Eyecare; Joan Bullard, Joan Bullard Realty; Jeremy Merkens, Heller Motors; Tina Trevino, Bank of Pontiac; Lisa Herr, Graymont Co-Op; Drew Keller, State Bank of Graymont; Tiffany Baker, Accolade Healthcare; Blair Abraham, Enbridge

Staff: Executive Director-Cat Coppinger

The Chamber is Open

As the world begins to come back to life; so does the Chamber! Our office is open to the public for walk-ins Tuesday through Thursday 9a-2p and by appointment outside of that. Whether you are looking for Gift Certificates, phone books, calendars, information for your business, networking and more; we are always here to help.

Chamber Office Closed to Public-Open by Phone and Email

The health and safety of our staff, tenants and visitors are the number one priority of the Pontiac Chamber right now; therefore, our building will remain closed to walk-ins and open by appointment only. Looking for Gift Certificates? Email director@pontiacchamber.org or call or text 815-848-3297 and I’ll get them ready for pick-up. Have questions or need additional information concerning Chamber events? Email, call or text to the above.
Shop Local and Stay Healthy,
Cat-Executive Director

Health Insurance and COVID-19 Concerns

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States has left many people with questions about health insurance coverage. Here is some information from member and licensed Healthmarkets Insurance Agent, Pam Deaton.

Small business owners with at least one employee other than themselves
– Small group health insurance premiums are typically 30% lower and offer more coverage
options. If you own a business with less than 50 employees and still have individual
health insurance, talk to a licensed agent about small group coverage. This will help you
save time and money now.
– With small group health insurance you have more choices; more carriers, richer benefits.
– Small group plans allow you to enroll in coverage now, no waiting until November for you
and/or your employees to get health benefits.

Late pays and COVID-19 coverage
– Many health insurance carriers in Illinois are allowing longer grace periods for group,
individual plans and medicare. Typical grace periods range from 30-90 days depending
on the company. We encourage you to reach out to your insurance company for details,
do not let your plan lapse during these times; call them, they want to work with you on
paying your premiums.
– Most health insurance carriers are also covering COVID-19 testing and treatment, but
please check with your insurance company or call a licensed agent that can help get you
the information you need.

We hope everyone is staying happy and healthy. If you have any questions or concerns
regarding health benefits, please contact our office any time.

Healthmarkets – Pamela S. Deaton
309-287-3518
405 W. Front St., Suite A Bloomington, IL 61701

Livingston County Farm Bureau Hosts Legislative Breakfast

Cat and Danielle of the Chamber of Commerce recently attended the Livingston County Farm Bureau Legislator Breakfast held at the Pontiac Elk’s. Among many Farm Bureau members, in attendance were Senator Jason Barickman, Representative Tom Bennett, Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s assistant, Patrick Doggett and County Board Chair Kathy Arbogast. Matt Kilgus of the Livingston County Farm Bureau was our gracious host. The audience was updated on all levels of government.
Arbogast told us that the second proposal for the new Public Health Department is at a lesser dollar amount and has been approved by the Property Committee already. County Board also has stated that any cannabis facility will need to be 1500 feet away from schools, churches, etc… There is a property tax increase vote on the ballot asking citizens of the county if they support the tax for the Livingston County Health Care plan. Kathy also reported that the county has already seen $355, 000 in funds from the state gas tax increase. County has approved monies for bridge, culvert and road repairs.
Adam Kinzinger’s assistant, Patrick Doggett gave a brief summary of the issues Kinzinger has been addressing in Washington including the Coronavirus legislation that passed 415-2 and was approved by the President, freeing up emergency spending of $8 billion dollars in funds to go to the CDC and other organizations to help combat the virus spread. When asked about the need for infrastructure funding, Doggett stated that at this time there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope for a deal in the near future.
Representative Tom Bennett addressed the crowd updating us on bills he has proposed and committees he is currently serving. He reported that attendance soared by 37% at the 2019 State Fairs at both Springfield and Quoin brining in $5.7 million dollars to the State of Illinois. This in turn allowed the state to approve keeping the fairs open this year. Tom discussed bills he has worked on and proposed like a perjury bill, the FOID Card process and the mandatory HPV vaccine. He talked about the importance of taking the 2020 Census and the frightening fact that around50,000 Illinoisans left the state last year and sadly, the state has no answers for it.
Senator Jason Barickman reported that Governor Pritzker proposed to consolidate some pension systems for savings, but more needs to be done. The Senator said he is strongly opposed to the graduated tax increase saying if it is voted down then real spending reform will be put on the table for real discussion. It was noted that there are three names by which this tax increase is referred: the Graduated Tax, the Fair Tax and the Progressive Tax. Barickman agreed with Bennett that nothing is being done about the large number of residents leaving the state saying that there is a lack of recognition by the Democrats that it is already happening. When discussing the FOID Card system being broken, Barickman said he doesn’t see the card going away, if anything there will be more restrictions and higher fees added. On the brightside of politics, though it has been tough to come to agreements on big issues, he is seeing bi-partisan solutions. He and a Democrat have proposed a tax credit together for volunteer firemen that will help aid recruiting.
The morning ended with a Q&A from the audience to the panel which led the way for many great discussions.

Brenda Thompson Named Volunteer of the Year

The Pontiac Chamber of Commerce named Brenda Thompson the 2020 Volunteer of the Year and boy does she deserve it! Brenda has a big heart for giving of her time and her talents. She is listed to be in so many things we could fill this page; so, I will name a few, she has volunteered at Mosaic for nearly 7 years, reading to the clients and helping where she can. Brenda also spends time logging items donated to the historical society, raising money for her team with Relay for Life and supporting ministries at the First United Methodist Church. In what little down time she has she enjoys crocheting and spending time with her grandchildren. Congratulations Brenda! Brenda will be presented with her award Tuesday, March 31st at our Annual Meeting Banquet at the Pontiac Elk’s. You can make your reservations by calling 815-844-5131 or emailing director@pontiacchamber.org

Dale Larkin Named Bill Edwards Agri-Businessperson

We recently honored Dale Larkin of Stoller International as the 2020 Pontiac Chamber of Commerce Bill Edwards Agri-Businessperson of the year! Dale has grown up in Livingston County and loved the community so much he returned after college. He has been a loyal employee to Stollers and friend to the Ag community for many years. Lynn Stoller said “people come to see Dale not Stoller,” Lynn went on to say how Dale has gone above and beyond for his customers even coming in on Sundays if needed. He volunteers for Pontiac FFA events and Livingston County 4-H. Dale doesn’t stop there; he stays busy farming, enjoying time with his wife, Jenny and two kids Jake and Libby. Congratulations Dale! Dale will be presented with his award Tuesday, March 31st at our Annual Meeting Banquet at the Pontiac Elk’s. You can make your reservations by calling 815-844-5131 or emailing director@pontiacchamber.org