The President’s Message


Photo courtesy Raphael Rodolphi


This past September, members of the MBRA board and neighbors, along with Councilman Grayeb, Councilwoman Jensen, city staff, and representatives from Bradley’s Police and Student Affairs office, participated in a walking tour of the MBRA area.  We identified Barker Avenue as a street representative of the problems we are encountering within the entire MBRA boundaries – the slow degradation of the integrity of our neighborhood.  As we walked down Barker we noted properties, past and existing problems, asked for guidance on what is considered a code violation and how we as a neighborhood should address these issues.  Within a few days, Code Enforcement  was canvassing the neighborhood and issuing citations.

We followed up the walking  tour at our October membership meeting with a presentation from city staff on Code Enforcement.  Joe Dulin, Assistant Community Development Director and Raven Fuller, Neighborhood Enhancement Coordinator spoke to those in attendance and provided background on their process, types of things they look for and how we, as individuals within this neighborhood, can and should address issues that we all notice with properties.  They outwardly admitted that staff is limited and that citizens can assist code enforcement inspectors by reporting issues to the city.  They provided a number of ways to do so.

If you are using a smart phone, the city has an app, Peoria Cares, where you can report on a number of different issues including Zoning.  After selecting a category, you can type in the location of the property, provide a description of the problem and even take a photo of the property in question, and send it all directly to the city.

You can also do so through the city’s website,  Or you can report a violation the “ol’ fashion way” by calling Code Enforcement at 309.494.8620.  Raven Fuller, who I introduced earlier, is also a good resource for questions or reporting issues to.  She can be reached at 309.494.8636 or at  We will have a demonstration of the app/website at the November membership meeting.

Not everyone shares the values most of us have regarding home ownership and community.  And, unfortunately, city budgets over the years have forced a reduction in staff positions.  So it is critical for us to assume a specific role in the process of code enforcement.  Do not hesitate to immediately reach out to the city if you have a question or when you note a violation.  Document violations and forward them on to the board after reporting them to the city so that we can ensure that specific issues are being addressed.

Finally, I would like to invite you to the November membership meeting to not only view a demonstration of the Peoria Cares app/website but to also discuss the traffic concerns and issues present on Moss Ave and the surrounding streets.  There is a continuous issue with volume, speed and aggressiveness of drivers.  Scheduled to attend this meeting will be city staff including Public Works and the Peoria Police Department.  If you have concerns, I strongly urge you to attend.

Message from Councilman Chuck Grayeb


Much work needs to be done outside before the snow flies. University Street work continues, and 2016 will bring a new Sheridan Road from Richmond to McClure.  New business is opening on West Main, including Ribbon Records and a new Chicago style eatery at the old Mr. G’s ! Business people have exciting new projects coming to West Main,  and I will share details as these projects coalesce. You will love them!

More West Main murals are also in the offing.

Beth Jensen and I are working hard to get more solar powered speed reminder signs and secure the completion of an additional speed table, east of University on Moss Avenue.

Strong proactive code enforcement, with a more commonsense approach,  has already commenced, minus the neon stickers which will no longer be affixed to glass or siding. I want to thank Councilor Jensen for helping all of us in so many areas of City policy and operation .
Your City Council is hard at work on erasing  a several million dollar budget deficit  and implementing a green model resolution to the federal lawsuit involving the EPA and the City.

In the education arena, Peoria High has undergone 20 million dollars of improvements as it strives to meet 21 st century educational challenges.

At this writing, The Council is interviewing candidates for the vacated Weaver Council seat.

I  hope you all have a great Fall and Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for and hope Caterpillar will recover in due course.

Hoping to see you soon!

Westminster Presbyterian Church Jazz Vespers


On Sunday, October 18 at four in the afternoon, Westminster Presbyterian Church inaugurated a new Jazz Vesper service.  For some time the church felt the need to expand its worship format into new territory.  Looking over the various possibilities, they decided to stay within the tradition of Westminster’s commitment to using only the finest music for worship.  Thus, the decision to feature jazz,  the great American musical form.

Dave Hoffman and various friends fill the church with everything from cool to hot jazz in praise of God.  Dave doesn’t water anything down, so we hear the best of his art in this service of worship.

Vespers are a very old tradition in the Christian Church.  The form is simple with Scripture, Prayers and music … along with a short Homily (sermon). It is a forty minute service, keeping it within the bounds of possibility for even younger children.  We hope it will truly become a way to bridge all age groups … worshipping together each week. (We do provide a nursery for the smallest children.)

The service will continue through the first week of December.  The second Sunday in December is our traditional service of Lessons and Carols.  Then on the third Sunday of December, we will celebrate a Jazz Christmas that will be a surprise for all, and a real treat.

After the Jazz Christmas, we will take a break until the third Sunday of January.  From then the service extends weekly through the end of May, with the exception of Easter Sunday. Come and join us for Jazz Meets Faith at four each week at Westminster Presbyterian Church!

MBRA Annual Holiday Party & Potluck


A Tenant’s Rights – Part 2

excerpted from

In our October newsletter we addressed tenants access to habitable rental property, what a landlord may and may not be responsible for and ways for addressing any issues that arise.  This month we finish off the short series of what to do in a worst case scenario – when a landlord is not responsive to your requests for repair, assistance and relief.


There are often a number of free or low-cost mediation services that specialize in landlord-tenant relations. If your written request fails to get the repair done, you may want to seek out one of these mediation services. The service will get in touch with your landlord and invite him to come sit down with a neutral mediator to come to a resolution.

Report your landlord.

There are often situations where a minor problem is actually a violation of some building or housing code. In these situations, if you have not had luck with the prior two tips, you may want to contact your local authority. These agencies can come out and inspect the problem and contact or fine the landlord regarding the issue.

Bring a lawsuit against your landlord.

If nothing has worked, your last resort may likely be to bring a lawsuit against your landlord. In order to win your suit, you will need to prove that the problem resulted in a rental property that was not up to the value of the paid rent. If you can do so and win your suit, the judge will award you the difference between the rent you paid and the rent that should have been charged based on the condition of the rental property. However, a lawsuit will most likely end any good relationship you may have with your landlord, which is why it should always be a last resort.

Need help?

Code Enforcement Division at City Hall, 419 Fulton Street, Room 300, (309) 494-8654 or

Central Illinois Jazz Society

CIJSlogoThe following are the scheduled programs for the Central Illinois Jazz Society during the next three months.

Sunday, November 15:Illinois Central Jazz Train at 6:00 p.m. and at 7:15 p.m., in the Starting Gate Banquet Room, at the Landmark Recreation Center, 3225 N. Dries Lane, Peoria. Members $5.00; non-members

Sunday, January 24: Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band at 6:00 p.m. and Kevin Hart and the Vibe Tribe at 7:15 p.m., in the Starting Gate Banquet Room, at the Landmark Recreation Center, 3225 N. Dries Lane, Peoria. Members $5.00; non-members $7.00; students are free.

The Central Illinois Jazz Society is a non-profit organization that is open to anyone who enjoys jazz. You do not have to be a musician to be a member or to attend our programs. The purpose of the organization is to further the appreciation of jazz among residents of Central Illinois. We provide opportunities for jazz musicians to perform and for jazz fans to enjoy their favorite music. For more information, call 692-5330 or visit


The Splendor of Christmas Past

Ring in the holidays with the Peoria Historical Society’s annual historic home tour.  Enjoy the craftsmanship and ambiance of six historic homes while seeing them magically decorated for the holidays.  New this year are three homes in the Randolph-Roanoke Historic District.

Our two museum homes — the John C. Flanagan House Museum and the Pettengill-Morron House Museum — will be decked out in all their Christmas finery.  Santa Claus will make an appearance at the Flanagan House, so bring your cameras!  The four private residences will be exquisitely decorated and open for viewing.  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to tour these beautiful homes and learn about their unique history and architectural significance.

The homes will be open Saturday, December 5 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale November 1st.  Adult tickets are $15.00 each until December 3rd and $20.00 after.  Children 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

For more information on volunteering, or to purchase tickets, please contact the PHS office.  Tickets may also be purchased at Kelleher’s, Harp & Thistle and Gregg Florist.

This tour would not be possible without the willingness of the following homeowners to share their magnificent homes with the community:

Dr. George & Colleen Johnson
1609 West Moss Avenue

David Stotz & George Traylor
209 W. Columbia Terrace

Todd & Karla Dennhardt
311 W. Armstrong

Ballance-Herschel Home
(Home of the Junior League of Peoria)
256 N.E. Randolph

We would also like to thank the many, many volunteers who make this tour possible, and our sponsors — Good Earth Landscaping DCM, Inc., Medi-Weightloss Clinic, Maloof Realty and K & S RV Consulting — for each sponsoring a home.  Opportunities for sponsorships are still available and will be promoted throughout the tour.

Please contact the Peoria Historical Society if you would like to volunteer for the tour or to become a sponsor.  Volunteers are treated to a very special “speed tour” of all six homes prior to the event.  This “sneak peek” at all six homes is our way of saying thank you.

Special thanks go to Beth Johnson (volunteer and Trolley Tour Coordinator) and Suzie Adcock (PHS Trustee and Secretary) for serving as co-chairs of the Holiday Home Tour, which takes countless hours of planning and coordination.

Happy holidays!

Bradley University Names New President

By Chris Kaergard Gary Roberts
Journal Star political reporter
excerpted from the Peoria Journal Star

PEORIA — It will be a hilltop homecoming for Bradley University’s next president.

Gary R. Roberts, announced as the school’s 11th leader on Friday in a ceremony at Dingeldine Music Center, is the first alumnus to hold the position since Martin “Jerry” Abegg retired in 1992.

He’s a 1970 graduate of the school and was on the university’s 1969-70 champion GE College Bowl team.


Time to Hang the Holiday Greens

The holidays will soon be upon us, which means that time to Hang the Greens!! Please mark your calendar with the details and join us if you can.

  • Saturday, November 21st, 9:00 AM
  • Meet at Ed & Joanne’s house: 1705 W. Moss Ave.
  • Please bring work gloves, and a sturdy ladder if you have one!
  • Trucks are also needed for delivery of greens and bows.
  • Lunch for all volunteers afterward!

We’re looking to expand our ‘experienced’ volunteer base with some younger and agile helpers. Come to meet a few neighbors and decorate our neighborhood for this beautiful season.

The project usually takes about 2 1/2 hours, followed by a hearty lunch for the volunteers at Ed and Joanne’s.


The President’s Message

fall photo edited 6

Greetings everyone and welcome to Fall!

And welcome to a new chapter in the communications for the Moss Bradley Residential Association. For the past few years, this newsletter and accompanying website have been produced and maintained by Carolina and Steve Erke. Before that, by Kelly Kolton. As life is forever moving and changing, so it has for the Erke’s who we thank for their years of dedication to enhancing the communication of our membership. We wish them well with their business ventures.

As one chapter closes, another begins. I’d like to introduce all of you to our new “team” that will handle a variety of communications for our organization.

Colleen Johnson and Mary Ann Armbruster will be handling the responsibility of producing the monthly newsletter and Sarah Gruber will manage our Facebook page. We thank them for stepping up and taking on these responsibilities. It’s an important role they all play in our organization.

This summer has been atypical as we usually take a hiatus from membership meetings and board activities. However, this summer brought us a number of items that involved both entities.

The most notable, Washington School, called for two special membership meetings to review and ultimately accept the plan from Sam Mach and his wife, Thai Lam Phung, for a Buddhist Temple to inhabit the former school.

On Tuesday, September 8th, City Council approved the sale and authorized the City Manager to draft and execute the purchase contract. Mr. Mach now must perform his due diligence and close on the property.

We will continue to work with the city and Mr. Mach on the establishment of the temple. I know we all hope for this to be a success and add another layer to our already diverse neighborhood.





Message from Councilman Chuck Grayeb

Happy Autumn ! I hope all of you had a most enjoyable Summer.chuck-grayeb

A Buddhist Temple is coming to the Washington School Architectural Gem. I pray that this will be a lasting legacy for our Neighborhood, Community and State.

We will continue to monitor traffic through the entire West Bluff and make adjustments as the optimizers   continue to improve traffic flow through four key intersections.

We remain on high alert as it relates to recent criminal activity where some Bradley students were robbed. We also will continue our efforts to form an even stronger town/ gown relationship. I communicate directly with BU students and administrators whenever a problem arises. In turn, the City of Peoria is always anxious to affirm our enduring commitment to a successful Bradley University.

We continue to work on revitalization of our adjacent commercial corridors and are drawing more members of the creative class to West Main Street. We are hoping to secure a green settlement with the EPA and be able to do some infrastructure improvements in our D2 neighborhoods. We are hoping we secure a grant for a new City permeable lot abutting Main and University.

Speaking of green, doesn’t our Greenway look great!

I look forward to seeing all of you at upcoming MBRA meetings. In our City, gun violence continues to plague us. After a relatively quiet year, we had several homicides in just a few days. When I first ran for office in the early Nineties we had 25 in one year. We are at 13 at this writing. Our people are united against violence and criminality. We will prevail and have already solved a number of these homicides.

Finally, we are really fortunate to have Councilor Jensen leading and helping all of us. I rely on her advice and help every single day.

Finally, if you see any of our city workers out and about, say “hello” and let them know how much we appreciate their work.

Best wishes,


We Need Your Help

Years ago, MBRA had a number of committees which, over time, have become non-existent.  The board wishes to revitalize this structure and has instituted 3 committees: Communications; Social; and Welcome.

The Communications committee will be responsible for the internal and external communications of the organization including the newsletter, MBRA website, Facebook, email communications and other items as determined by the committee.  Current members of this committee include Colleen Johnson, Mary Ann Armbruster, Sarah Gruber, Alicia Butler and Brian Buralli.

Initial responsibilities for the Social committee will be assistance with and planning for a number of regular events: Membership meeting social, 4th of July Celebration, Annual Meeting & Potluck, Annual Holiday Party & Potluck. Other social activities will be established and planned by this committee.  Current members include Deborah Dougherty and Alicia Butler.

The Welcome committee will be responsible for identifying and welcoming new members to the neighborhood.  They will also be responsible  for communicating information regarding events within the neighborhood, and of course, the value of a membership within MBRA.  Other welcoming activities and materials will be developed by this committee.  Current members include Matt Kindred and Remy Winget.
We would love to have you be a part of any one of these committees and ask you to join us.  You can do so simply by emailing us at or notifying any board member at any upcoming membership meeting.

Thru the Windshield… how do we look to those passing by?

By Marjorie Klise

Some summer questions/observations:

We have lost many of our beautiful large trees in the last few years. They are so vital to the character of our neighborhood. Is there a re-planting plan in place?

Have you noticed the presence of new young families? Children out playing? Welcome, all! We need your fresh ideas….and your strong bodies.

Are we more comfortable with the new traffic pattern at the Main and University intersection? The water gardens looked poorly this spring but perked up and came alive by summer. Good ecological message as well as a visual plus.

Is the corner of Bradley and Duryea looking particularly icky of late?

The lot at Union Hill and Moss had great promise as the owners planted prairie flowers and grasses and planned new construction. We are hoping things progress in the months ahead to make that area an inviting entrance to our neighborhood.

Speaking of Union Hill….will we ever get the ‘green wall’ we were promised when the wall went up? And what about the new trees that were going to replace all those we lost to the parking lot?

Harry’s Garden looks so nice. Thank to Norma and Ray. Can we take some time to tell some ‘Harry” stories sometime soon?   What a guy!

And now, do you want to hear the best story of the summer? Just to acknowledge that we are a special people? Well, there was an important neighborhood meeting scheduled to discuss a possible major investment in the area. Mrs. and Mr. X planned to attend. They knew it was important. Their hair was combed, the car was ready, and then the phone rang. The doctor delivered great positive medical news! So they turned back and popped the champagne cork and stayed home to celebrate. We applaud their choice.

We know our priorities!

A Tenants Rights – Part I

excerpted from findlaw.c­­om

A tenant has a right to live in a habitable rental property, but what about cosmetic or minor problems that an apartment or rental house has. What repairs are landlords forced to repair, and what kinds of repairs may a landlord ignore?

Landlord repairs: What must a landlord fix?

Even if it is not in your rental agreement or lease, your landlord is required to keep your building and unit in a habitable condition. This means that your landlord must ensure that the building is structurally sound, provide hot and cold water, ensure that the roof is not leaking, and keep the plumbing, electrical and heating systems all in safe operating condition. Also, if a rental property has become infested with pests, landlords must often pay for an exterminator, unless the infestation was caused by your wrongdoing or poor housekeeping.

Landlord repairs: What does a landlord not have to fix?

There are minor problems that a landlord is not required by law to fix. These minor problems may include things like dripping faucets, running toilets, small holes in carpet, grimy grout or torn window screens. Even though these problems may be annoying for you, the tenant, to live with, your landlord may not be under any obligation to repair these issues.

There are only a few occasions when minor repairs may be required to be fixed. If the terms of your lease agreement state that the landlord will fix any of the problems you are having, then the landlord is under a legal duty to do so. In addition, if your landlord ever promised you a repair, either in writing or by talking with you, you may be able to hold your landlord to that promise. Lastly, state and local building codes, as well as state landlord-tenant laws may require your landlord to make repairs that would otherwise be a repair left to the landlord’s discretion.

Tips to get your Landlord to make Minor Repairs

There are a number of strategies that tenants can employ to get their landlords to make minor repairs. While tenants that are faced with uninhabitable conditions may elect to withhold rent or repair the problem themselves while deducting from the rent, tenants faced with only minor problems may get into trouble by doing the same thing.

Here are some tips to get your landlord to make minor repairs.

Put it in writing.

Landlord repairs of minor problems are taken care of more often when the request for the repair is made in writing. This is true for a number of reasons. First, by putting your request in writing, you give your landlord time to consider the request and how the repair might benefit him in the future.

Second, requests in writing give you the opportunity to lay out a convincing argument, point by point. Making a persuasive argument can lead you to your desired result. Also, you can show how a fix would benefit the landlord. For example, a running toilet can double or triple a water bill for a month, and making a $15 repair is much better than seeing a $200 increase on the monthly water bill.

Lastly, by putting your request in writing, you are can show the landlord the potential for injury caused by a minor problem. If you tell your landlord face-to-face that you are afraid that someone may trip and fall in the bathroom because of a loose tile, your landlord may become defensive and standoffish. However, by putting your concerns in writing, you can show the landlord that you are, in fact, on their side and that the repair will be in the best interests of the landlord.

Need help?

Code Enforcement Division at City Hall – (309) 494-8654

Next month – Problem Resolution