Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hello readers and particularly anyone interested in Charter Schools!

I'm inviting you to an event next Thursday, November 5th at the Civic Center in Peoria. WRITE THAT DOWN!!! Now, you can already tell this is long, but read the whole thing. I MEAN IT!

Now that it's on your calendar, let me explain what it is. For those of you who don't know, I work at Peoria Housing Authority. I recently took a bus trip with my boss to Chicago to learn more about the Peoria Charter School Initiative. It was a life changing experience, I cried the whole day, and was then asked to join their communication board. I could go on and on about what an eye opening experience it was. The Charter School Initiative is a grassroots effort started by local community members. Some are former principals, business leaders, parents and grandparents. They all have the goal of bringing a charter school to Peoria. Here are a few things you should know:

Charter Schools are public schools, so they are free.
You do not have to be "gifted." It is open to absolutely anyone, just as any other public school.
So what's the difference? Charter Schools offer a different approach to learning. 75% of the teachers are qualified... the rest of the time your students are being taught by experts in their field. For example, maybe a surgeon from a local hospital comes in to teach a class that is medical related. It's very hands-on learning. And school is never over! Parents come later and help students with labs, people hang out in the computer labs and do their homework with each other before going home. It's an entire different environment where they actually want to be at school. That has a lot to do with a big emphasis on culture... which is complicated. But trust me.
Parents are required to participate. Teachers call every parent or visit in person once a month and not just when something bad happens. They point out progress too.
There is a HUGE emphasis on college. College is not optional after charter schools. They start teaching you from 5th grade that you should think about what you want to be and where you want to go to school. In fact, in high school there are entire year-round mandatory classes dedicated to college, how to pick one, how to qualify, ACT prep, and how to apply for financial aid.

I was shocked with the students I met in Chicago. They were mature, well spoken and had such passion about learning and going to college. The schools had 100% graduation rate, 100% college placement! With numbers like that, we can't afford NOT to bring a charter school to Peoria.

Charter schools have a proven track record of success and we are robbing our students if we don't give them the option. District 150 has to approve the charter. The vote is November 23rd.


Thursday, November 5th at 5:30 PM, 20 students from a charter school just like the one we want in Peoria will be at the civic center so parents, teachers and the community can ask them anything they want to. Don't take my word for it. Go see for yourself and then come let your opinion be heard November 23rd. The students we met were inspiring. They were our tour guides, and mine actually said his old school was a joke. He didn't have to try to pass, he just had to show up. He said his charter school creates a different culture where learning is expected and high expectations are consistent. He wanted to try so he could keep up. He's been accepted to more than a dozen colleges and he admits he may not have even graduated if he had stayed at his old public school. The school walls were lined with "The Wall of Fame".... all the seniors' pictures and underneath... where they are going to college. I could go on and on but this is a novel already.

It doesn't matter if you have children or not, if you have children in District 150 or not, this is a positive change for the future for this entire area because we will be sculpting skilled and educated employees for the future. They will be future business owners and contributors to central Illinois. It is our job to make sure they have opportunities for excellence that they may not be finding in their current school system. I am not suggesting we don't have great schools already in place, but everyone learns differently and this is just an additional option for parents and students who don't feel what they have now is working. Please come hear what this is about. The students will tell the stories so it won't be some boring podium speech. We expect the panel to last about an hour. Then you make up your own mind. If you can come, let me know with a simple rsvp email. We'll try to get a head count. Thanks for reading!!!!

- Meghan

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I recently went back home to Peoria for a whole week! That's tough time to get off in the news business.

I can honestly say everything is better in Peoria. It just is. I don't know how to explain it but it's a feeling I don't get anywhere else I have ever lived or visited. Moving to South Carolina was a journey, a giant leap of faith and something my husband and I felt we should do to grow in our careers. I don't regret the decision, but being back in Peoria sure does solidify by decision to return and make it my permanent resting place. The funny thing is... I'm not the only one! I know so many people who left looking for bigger and better things, only to find themselves and realize they wanted to be back in Peoria. It's a city full of history and it has such a promising future. I'm not sure if the people who live there even realize what Peoria meant for the whole country as far as trade and growth and exports. Did you know Chicago was once part of Peoria County?

Peoria has always bucked national trends when it comes to real estate, business development and even popular network television programs. And I think it's great that Peoria sets its own standard for everything. There is no city like it and I hope I can find a career there where I can contribute to the city's growth and prosperity because...

I definitely want to play in Peoria.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Don't get me wrong... facebook, myspace, twitter.. they have a purpose and they work for those purposes. But they also give people an outlet to do a few other things that can be hurtful. I know people who use it to make others jealous or spy on an ex. Even if they're not "friends" with you, they can look on your friends pages and still see what's going on in your life. A girlfriend sees a picture a guy was tagged in with some pretty girls and all of a sudden, that's a fight. Maybe it's warranted, maybe it's not. But it has changed things dramatically. Then there are the times there is nothing vicious or mean about something you see... except that someone close to you seems like a different person and they seem to be posting things behind your back. They haven't done anything wrong but somehow it feels like a secret because you learn things about them you didn't know had you not looked at their "page." And what's worse, is they have a whole community involved in that part of their life... all which is foreign to you. It's awkward and uncomfortable and infuriating. I wish people would use these sites for what their meant for... keep in touch with old friends, use it as an outlet to post pictures and tag and all that good stuff. But remember that no communication is better than the one where you sit next to a friend or loved one and talk to them... or pick up a phone and give them the details of your day instead of posting them in tweets. Most importantly, do not allow anyone to feel like they are left out of your life because of what you post on the internet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Just when I thought the ousted Illinois Governor couldn't possibly get any more camera time... NBC wants him for a reality show called "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!" That's right... impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich wants to sweat it out in the Costa Rican jungle. One problem though.. he is currently not allowed to leave the United States. His defense attorney is asking a judge to lift that rule and allow him to be part of the show. I guess I can't blame Blago for wanting to do the show. His political career isn't looking good... and he does enjoy being in the spotlight. I'm not sure where else he would go from here. NBC says the show dumps 10 celebrities in the jungle to test their skills at adapting to wilderness. Thoughts??

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Issue of "Sexting"

If you are new to the word "sexting" it is the act of sending explicit texts or pictures through a cell phone. It's very popular among teens and unfortunately even younger minors. As it stands, teens across the country have wound up on sex offender registries because of scenarios like this: 17-year-old dates a 16-year-old... the girl sends her boyfriend an explicit picture of herself. They get in a fight and out of immaturity, he sends it to her entire family. Police get involved... and he is charged with distributing child pornography. He winds up registering as a sex offender and his neighbors get email alerts that they are living next to a child predator. There are a million issues here. First let's start with the end result...
Should a 17-year-old be on a sex offender registry for a picture his girlfriend sent him? Probably not. I remember what it was like to be 16 and I am pretty sure that most girls sending out picture of themselves know exactly what they are doing and like the attention. Is it immature? Absolutely. Should he have sent it on to her family? Absolutely not. But let's take a step back for a minute. There is a bigger issue when minors are sending pornographic pictures and texts to each other. As if there isn't enough pressure on teenagers, girls now have to compete with each other via cell phone??? This is an issue parents need to address and monitor. I know she's not paying her own cell phone bill. That means PARENTS: You have some control. PLEASE USE IT! And please talk to your kids about sexting and the repercussions later in life. Not only could their boyfriend get mad or jealous and send it to anyone in the world... but those pictures could pop up one day when your teen tries to get a job, run for office, or any other time they come across someone in life who wants to humiliate them.
This is a tough issue for me because although I think there should be consequences for forwarding a naked picture of someone... I also don't think boys like the example above should have that shadow cast over them when the girl never should have sent the picture in the first place. There has to be another way.
Lawmakers in Vermont are currently trying to legalize teen "sexting" so that teens in this situation won't have the stigma of being a sex offender. However, when we make it legal... it makes it okay for minors to send either other sexual images. We also can't say that's okay. I don't know what the solution is, but I will say... it starts at home. Parents take heed.
If anyone else has any brilliant suggestions, feel free to post!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


On my way to work almost daily I hit the breaks because I think I see a car that might be an officer. They are often in the corner of a used car lot, or an empty parking lot. However, they are facing the opposite direction, parked in the grass, and do not seem to be a car that is for sale or in the parking lot for any purpose. Upon closer inspection, these cars are definitely deserted and often beat up and might not even run. It makes me seriously wonder if troopers and police scour used car lots or other places of opportunity, notice a car that may look like a cruiser in the dark... and ask them to park it that way so it looks like someone is staked out. I guess if that is the goal, it works... because I slow down every time. But now that I've discovered this, I notice them more and more! Look around on your next drive, tell me if I'm crazy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where Are The Jobs?

Working in news, we obviously report every job fair imaginable right now. So many people are without work, my husband included. So we have these news releases, 1400 jobs... 1500 jobs... 600 jobs, etc. But there are still so many people without work! An HR recruiter actually told a local paper there are businesses here that needs jobs filled that can't do it because there isn't anyone qualified. She claims too many people do not have any computer skills. I'm sure there is some truth to that... and to those people, I say: get the skills! If you don't have a computer, ask a friend or neighbor to show you how to use it. Go to your local library. Having said that, I think her statement is completely untrue. I can name 20 people off the top of my head that are looking for jobs and have superb computer skills. I wonder if some of these companies are posting a lot of jobs for the media attention, and only hiring for a smaller portion. Obviously I can't prove that & of course I could be wrong. However, my husband has more skills than the average applicant and hasn't even had an interview... inside our outside his field. He's been told by several people, "Your resume looks great, but we're actually on a hiring freeze." This is from companies with several jobs posted. They claim they are posting the jobs so that they have some decent resumes, a "short list" if you will... once they can hire. I say, BOO! Don't post jobs if you can't hire for them. My husband's best option right now is a paper route. That's more than fine with him, but he would have taken a paper route a month ago had he known none of these other jobs were actually available. Just venting my frustrations... let me know your thoughts!