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

“Fargo” Turns Back Time in Downtown Pontiac

Downtown Pontiac was transformed to the 1950’s when the FX TV series “Fargo” was being filmed this week. Season 4 takes place in Kansas City, Missouri and is scheduled to premiere April 19, 2020.

(Photo credits go to Carolyn Ledford of The General Store and Cat Coppinger of the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce)

Pontiac Chamber Welcomes New Member

The Pontiac Chamber is happy to welcome, Pam Deaton a licensed health insurance agent located in downtown Bloomington. Pam represents Healthmarkets which is a nationwide insurance brokerage. She started her health insurance career more than 15 years ago and continues to help individuals, families, and small businesses understand and obtain the best health coverage. In addition to health insurance, Healthmarkets – Pam Deaton offers supplemental insurance such as cancer, accident, dental, vision and life policies; plus annuities, 401K Plans, and more.

When she isn’t busy managing her insurance business and giving back to the communities she serves, Pam loves to spend time with her 3 kids; Alycia (19), DJ (16), and Donovan (Don Don, 13). They all stay busy with school and sports; and yep, Pam likes to be the encouraging, loud sports mom.

A caring, giving, supportive, hard worker is how those that know Pam would describe her. She would like to say thank you to everyone for their business, support and dedication in helping her reach her goals.

Pontiac Chamber Welcomes New Member

The Pontiac Chamber is excited to welcome a new member! Robin Sorenson-Monat .Robin tell us, ” You only get 60 seconds to make a first impression and your hair and skin are the first thing people see.With my business I am able to help people build their confidence and their careers through a naturally based product line that promotes their BEST self forward. My family helps keep me grounded as well as busy!!! As a wife, mom of four a flexible career is a must! I’ve been in business over 4 years and have helped many people solve their hair and skin dilemmas all while offering them the flexible opportunity that I have grown to love. Chaos and confidence are a great mix and I am proud to be a Monat business partner and look forward to helping everyone find their perfect mix to create their own best first impression”.

Pontiac Chamber Helps Member

We love hearing from our members! Stacey Shrewsbury, Director, Heartland Community College Pontiac gave us some good news, “Thank you so much for your efforts on behalf of the chamber to promote the Essential Workplace Skills: Communicating Effectively class. We went from a possible class size of 6 to 17 in about 24 hours! The Chamber’s support in sharing this program information with area business was greatly appreciated.” We were happy to send an E-Blast to get the word out that seats were still available. This is a free benefit of being a Pontiac Chamber of Commerce member. What can we do for you?

Chamber Welcomes Gray’s Garage

The Pontiac Chamber is excited to welcome Gray’s Garage into our community of local business members. Gray’s Garage in Pontiac is the leading truck repair company serving Livingston county and the surrounding communities since 1963.  This company is still family owned and operated and specializes in heavy truck repair, towing, recovery, diesel engine service, alignments and so much more. Gray’s Garage services all makes and has current OEM diagnostic software and tooling.  Whether you need heavy truck repair, fabrication, relocation or state DOT test lane; they can get you back out on the road or the farm. Gray’s provides local family-friendly customer service in a relaxing atmosphere with a remodeled waiting area. If you haven’t been for a while, the Gray’s Garage family invite you to stop in and look at their updated facility. Gray’s Garage is located at 14437 E 2000 North Rd at the intersection of I55 and Route 23.  Find them at www.graysgarage.net and like them on Facebook or call 815-844-6163.

Liv. Co. States Attorney Speaks at Chamber Breakfast

A big “thank you” to Livingston County States Attorney, Randy Yedinak for speaking at our recent Issue and Eggs at the Old Log Cabin.  As always, the food was great and Randy’s presentation, breaking down some of our new laws, was informative. Randy was kind of enough to answers questions concerning the new cannabis law to increases in fines for Scott’s Law and passing stopped school buses. He explained it is illegal to watch streaming services while driving, there is no longer a statute of limitations on sex offenses and shocked us all by telling us how much 30 grams of cannabis is. That is the amount you can possess legally for recreational use and it’s a lot more than I imagined!

Our next Issues & Eggs is scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th at Edinger’s Filling Station. The presentation and a Q&A will be done by a representative of the U.S. Small Business Association. This event is $13 for members and $18 for non-members and includes the breakfast buffet.

To RSVP to these events please call Danielle at 815-844-5131 or email at admin@pontiacchamber.org.

Calvert & Martin Host Business After Hours at Baby Bulls

Thank you to  Calvert & Martin Funeral Home for once again hosting a Business After Hours honoring our City of Pontiac employees. Baby Bulls catered some delicious appetizers to a wonderful crowd. Thanks to everyone that brought their food donation to the local food pantries.

We were entertained by the Madrigal Singers from PTHS and Mayor Bill Alvey introduced the City employees.

Thanks to all who came out and we hope to see you next year!