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PEORIA – Blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives due to COVID-19. In response, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is encouraging those willing and able to donate blood.

“During this unprecedented moment, blood donation is more crucial than ever,” Koehler said. “We’re already facing a shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak, and we have to do our part so that those in need of a blood transfusion are taken care of.”

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and has emphasized that individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 from donating blood. There is also no known risk to the safety of the nation’s current blood supply, only the adequacy of the supply at this time.

“Our ask right now is for people to make and keep appointments to help local patients and fight the blood shortage locally," said MVRBC Donor Relations Manager Jim Watts. “We are the sole provider of blood products to all Peoria area hospitals, and it’s of the utmost importance that we ensure that local patients are able to receive the blood products they need.”

Donor centers implemented a disaster plan and are strictly enforcing existing protocol to keep environments safe and healthy for workers and donors. Donor services staff are already required to change gloves between donors and offer hand sanitizer at each station. Additionally, they have expanded existing cleaning and health hygiene practices. Centers are encouraging donors to use the EarlyQ app on the day of donation to take the questionnaire about your health history at home.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center advises those interested in donating not to give blood if they have been diagnosed with or are being tested for COVID-19, been within six feet of someone who has the virus or is being tested for the virus, or if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Donor centers are following recommendations from local, state and federal health agencies to keep staff, volunteers, and donors safe. For questions or concerns, please contact the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center at 800-747-5401 or visit their website.

Category: Press Releases

When and where do I file for benefits?

Your unemployment insurance (UI) claim should be filed once you have become unemployed. We recommend filing for benefits online at www.ides.illinois.gov.
If you have any questions, contact IDES Claimant Services at (800) 244-5631.

What information do I need to file for benefits?

  • Social Security number and name as it appears on your Social Security card.
  • Your driver's license or state ID.
  • The name of all employers you worked for in the last 18 months; the beginning and ending dates of employment for these employers; the mailing address of each employer; phone number and separation reason for each employer.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, your Alien Registration information

How much will I receive and how long does it last?

Your benefit amount is based on your recent income. The maximum benefit amount is $484 per week. Those who have a qualifying dependent receive an additional amount. Benefits are paid for up to 26 weeks. If an extension is approved by the federal government, you will be notified.

What does it mean to certify for benefits?

After filing a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, you must “certify” your eligibility to receive payment.

When do I certify for benefits?

After filing your claim for unemployment insurance benefits, you will receive a notice titled “UI Finding”. This notice will indicate your first certification date, which is approximately 2 weeks from the date you submit your claim. You will be required to certify on the date indicated on the notice and every two weeks thereafter in order to receive payment.

How do I certify for benefits?

The best way to certify for benefits is by going online to www.ides.illinois.gov/certify. You can also certify by calling (312) 338-4337.

When do I receive payment and where is it sent?

After completing your certification and your responses are approved, benefits are received within 2-3 business days. You will be issued a debit card automatically. You may, however, sign up for direct deposit when you file for benefits, or at any point thereafter.

What are Rapid Response Services?

Rapid Response Services are available to employers who are planning or have gone through a permanent closure or mass layoff, or a natural or other disaster, that results in mass job dislocation. The State Dislocated Worker Unit coordinates with employers to provide information to workers and employers about employment and retraining services designed to help participants retain employment when feasible, or obtain re-employment as soon as possible. For more information, visit Rapid Response Services for Businesses or contact your local Illinois workNet Center.

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Category: Latest

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SPRINGFIELD – Low income families and senior citizens seeking help filing their 2019 income taxes are able to receive free help through several state programs, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

“As Tax Day draws near, it’s vital that we ensure those who are in need receive the necessary help in an affordable, timely manner,” Koehler said. “By partnering with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the IRS and AARP we’re providing a way to relieve a burden for those who may be in need of it most.”

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, taxpayers who speak limited English and individuals 60 years of age or older.

Additionally, AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program focuses on helping low-to-moderate income individuals, with special attention to those over 50 years of age. An AARP membership is not required.

Illinois taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website tax.illinois.gov.

Category: News

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SPRINGFIELD – Local governments will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in grants to boost economic development and modernize infrastructure in their communities, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

“By offering local governments the chance to invest in themselves, we’re continuing to demonstrate a commitment to downstate,” Koehler said. “When downstate thrives, Illinois thrives.”

Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120