The President’s Message


The secret of success in any large organization is good communication. Associations like ours is no different. Organizations that have good means of communicating usually end up with a more informed and happier membership.

The means of communication available to us are include our monthly newsletters, our annual meeting, monthly membership meetings, the MBRA website –, and informational e-mails. We use these resources regularly to communicate with each other and deliver content and information that we believe is relevant and important.

Some of what we communicate to you is general in nature and is not overly time-sensitive. We typically convey that information through our membership meetings and monthly newsletter. Time-sensitive information is distributed through email. We do so as it is today’s ideal way of reaching people who are difficult to otherwise reach.

Some recent examples of time sensitive communications include the quickly-called special membership meeting regarding the Washington School RFP process and updates on the progress of the Westminster signage issue.

Are these items unfamiliar to you??

For our communication to be effective we need to have as complete a system as possible so that we are communicating with as many of our MBRA members as possible. Many of you have provided us with your contact information with the renewal of your annual membership. However, our list of detail is still incomplete for others of you.

I ask those of you who have not supplied us with your email addresses to consider doing so. Your email address will not be shared with anyone and will be used to communicate MBRA -related subject matter.

Providing us your email is a simple process by emailing In doing so, please provide us your name, address, phone number and of course, email address.


Hanging of the Greens

The holidays will soon be upon us, which means that it’s time to Hang the Greens!!

We’re looking to expand our ‘experienced’ volunteer base with some young and agile helpers! Come to meet a few neighbors and decorate our lovely neighborhood for this beautiful season. The project usually takes about 2 1⁄2 hours, followed by a hearty lunch with the volunteer crews at Ed and Joanne’s.

Please mark your calendar and join us if you can:

Saturday, November 22 at 9:00 AM

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

Renaissance Park Community Association Mural Update

Renaissance Mural 2The mural on the side of the Muir building is nearing completion. There are just a few small touch ups that need to be added and we expect that part of the project to be finished by November 1.

The second part of the project will involve installing six 6×6 foot panels on the front of the building, featuring artworks by local artists.

This project is being sponsored by the Renaissance Park Community Association and we are exceptionally grateful to Andrew Muir for giving us the use of his building for this project, Main Street Car Wash for being so accommodating while we were working, to Jessica Ball from the Art Garage for leading the project, Nick Viera from the University East Neighborhood Association for handling all of the technical and permit issues, and artists Angey Goudie, Shannon Slaight-Brown, Keith Wilson, Connie Andrews, Jessica Benassi, Jonathan Gonzalez, Brenda Gentry, Natalie England, and Alec de Jesus for their contributions.

The Art Garage is hosting a gallery opening on November 7 (First Friday) which will feature art from the mural contributors. In addition, when the entire project is finished, we will host an unveiling/ribbon cutting, which everyone is encouraged to attend.


Renaissance Mural 1

Thru the Windshield: How do we look to those passing by?

Submitted by Marjorie Klise

Look around. There is much to see in this neighborhood.

At first you might think this is the normal middle-class neighborhood. There are houses of varying sizes and shapes. Nothing too lavish and large. No mega mansions with three stall garages out front. Many of the small houses call for a second glance. Some yards are large and manicured, and others are smaller, detailed yards and there are some that are obviously played on by children on trikes and swing sets.

But don’t let our normalness distract you. Look closely at those front porches. The chairs are filled with people chatting and laughing and sipping adult beverages. Then look down that deadend street to see the raised platform with a live band playing and people relaxing in lawn chairs or on the curbside. The children run and dance and lick ice cream cones.

What about the couple busily digging and planting and reconfiguring the corner flower bed? Or the group of neighbors harvesting the crop grown by volunteers in our Greenway plot?
See the new ‘garden room’ going up?
See the new paint job?

Don’t miss the small group that is meeting to discuss who will represent us at the Historic commission meeting and who will host the holiday party.

Soon there will be some stalwart souls armed with ladders and pickup trucks assembling to hang the greens.

One neighbor helps another. If you need an answer, don’t hesitate to ask the question. When a problem arises, a solution will be found.

So look around and know that you are welcome in the Moss-Bradley neighborhood.

The Church Mouse Thrift Shop

The Church Mouse Thrift Shop
The Church Mouse Thrift Shop is owned and operated by the Lutheran Women of Greater Peoria (LWGP).

LWGP is a non-profit organization, whose members from the Lutheran congregations in the Peoria area are dedicated to supporting Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Lutheran Senior Ministries.
In 1983, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), with the help of a small group of very dedicated women, opened the doors of what would become so much more than ever imagined.

The Church Mouse had its early beginnings on Wisconsin Ave., but within a few years relocated to the corner of Sheridan and Main. This was home for the Mouse for 23 years, until growth required them to once again make a move. In October of 2011 they moved to their present location.

Today the Mouse is supported by 26 Lutheran congregations and over 100 volunteers!

The Church Mouse is dependent on donations and makes the most of every item received. Any unusable donations are properly recycled, given to local organizations, or sent to other countries. They believe it is their responsibility to use and share these “gifts” to the best of their ability.

The Church Mouse Thrift Shop 2

Get To Know Your Neighbor – Brian and Sarah Gruber

Get to Know Your Neighbor-GruberStreet:
Moss Ave

Lydia (5) and Max (2)

Where were you born:
Brian was born in Peoria and Sarah in Lafayette IN

Who was the most influential person to you:
Brian – My grandparents Sarah – My parents

What type of music are you listening to now:
We both love all genres of music and you could find everything from country to alternative rock to jazz and classical in our music collection!

What was your first job:
Brian – paper route Sarah – check-out clerk at a grocery store

What accomplishment are you most proud of:
We are proud to be contributing members of our community and supporters of many local nonprofit and civic organizations.

What is special about where you live:
We love the culture in our neighborhood. We have met so many wonderful neighbors that have made us feel especially welcome.

We had our eye on the property long before we purchased the house and when a friend recently asked if it felt like home yet, our response was that it felt like home before we ever moved in.

I think that is truly a remarkable quality of our neighborhood and we love it here!

The Latest from St. Mark School

The storied St. Mark Stunt Show returns on Nov. 14 & 15! Come see our show of skits centered around the theme of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Performances are on Fri. 11/14 at 7 p.m. and Sat. 11/15 at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dinner is also available at Saturday’s evening performance with the doors opening at 5 p.m.

Tickets to the show are only $5 for adults and children, $20 for a family, and $1 for seniors. Tickets for the dinner show are $10 a person with kids under five eating for free.

The talented women of St. Mark have put together a show that will have you laughing and singing along! Don’t miss it!

On October 2nd the Maggie Bertram Foundation presented Saint Mark School School with a check for $1,000 to further the Art and Music programs. Maggie was tragically killed in a car accident in 2012.

Supporting the Arts through the foundation allows Maggie’s love of the fine art to live on and grow in the Peoria area. Maggie was an accomplished dancer, artist, and musician.

This grant will allow our excellent art and music programs to explore innovative projects with our students.

We are very grateful to Maggie’s family and the foundation and are honored to receive this grant in her memory.

The Central Illinois Jazz Society

Submitted by: Dick Marsho, President

The Central Illinois Jazz Society
Serving Central Illinois Since 1978

Illinois Central Jazz Train at 6:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, November 16, 2014
The Starting Gate Banquet Room, located in Landmark Recreation Center
3225 N. Dries Lane, Peoria
(Parking is available in Landmark lot and across Dries Lane)

It’s November, so it must be time for the Illinois Central Jazz Train to make an appearance at Landmark for a CIJS Show. As always, this is a highlight on our performance schedule. We will be playing both sets on this concert. Members of the CIJS House Band will be featured prominently in the first set. The selections

will include Bluesette, There Is No Greater Love, Bugle Call Rag and What Is This Thing Called Love? The second set will showcase music from Indianapolis Jazz Legends Freddie Hubbard and Wes Montgomery. New arrangements of Montgomery’s Road Song and West Coast Blues and Hubbard’s The Intrepid Fox and Sky Dive will be included. We also have a couple of Gordon Goodwin’s compositions, a Maynard Ferguson romp, Louie Bellson’s Peaceful Thunder, and a beautiful new arrangement of Over the Rainbow featuring trumpeters Dale Rideout and CIJS board member John Cheek.

You will want to be sure to catch this excellent group at the following upcoming performances:

Dec. 1 – Peoria Pizza Works 7:00-10:00 pm

Dec. 16 – ICC Performing Arts Center (Christmas Concert Benefit for the American

Cancer Society – this is with the Original Skazz Band) 6:30 pm

The Central Illinois Jazz Society (CIJS) House Band will play during the first set, under the leadership of Larry Harms. The CIJS House Band features outstanding jazz musicians from the area. They will entertain you with a mixture of jazz styles. For more information call 692-5330 or visit For more information about our location, visit Food and beverages are available for purchase at this live jazz program.

Admission:  $5.00 Members     $7.00 Non-Members     Students are free

Upcoming Events: January 25

St. Mark Church

“Built in 1891 in the neo-gothic style, this church features elegant stained glass windows and are modeled sanctuary featuring the original marble alter. St.Mark has maintained a strongpresence in the neighborhoodsince its founding.”

St. Mark Church 2


St. Mark Church 1

Message from Councilman Chuck Grayeb

chuck-grayebMy friends: It is vitally important to your elected representative that we maintain amicable relations with our great friends atWestminster Church. We are part of the same community of interests. I certainly hope that reason prevails and that MBRA leaders and Westminster Church leaders resolve the sign issue once and for all. I would hope that this matter does not need togo to the HPC for evaluation. Surely, there is a better way!We must complete the great infrastructure upgrades before the snow flies and we will continue to do traffic enforcement on theWest Bluff. Over 400 citations have been issued to motorists.We are living through a time of momentous change. The upgrade and redesign of our aging infrastructure on almost 20streets is altering our social and cultural fabric. I also allocated money to redesign and transform the ugly and dated CityParking Lot behind the businesses on West Main. We will have a strong application calling for park areas intermixed with a new permeable EPA favored parking surface. I want to thank Council members Jensen, Akeson, Spain and City Staff for helping to move this along.

I want to thank Councilman Turner for visiting Main Street Liquors–a business which now has a City approved plan of operation. I would encourage the operators to get more involved in all the positive and energetic changes sweeping our District and the West Bluff. Also, I want to thank all of you for your understanding and support during this time of great renewal and change. MBRA is on the cutting edge because of its leaders and members. The Mayor and the entire Council share my excitement about the opportunities ahead for all of us.

Westminster Church Concert Series to Begin

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1420 West Moss Avenue, Peoria, is pleased to announce the renewal of the Gretchen Iben Concert Series for the 20142015 season.   A schedule of four events is planned with the opening one taking place on Sunday afternoon, December 7 at four in the afternoon.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols will be presented by the Westminster Choir,assisted by singers from the greater Peoria area as well as brass instrumentalists to bring a special festive note in the singing of favorite carols by the congregation. The Festival is designed in the manner of that done at Kings’s College, Cambridge,England, and broadcast around the world every Christmas Eve.  It is an event thattouches the heart in a special way at Christmas.  The event is under the direction ofJoshua Hearn, organist of Westminster Church.

The entire community is invited to join us as we kick off the Christmas festivities with this beautiful musical event.  Admission is free, and child care will be provided foryoung children.  Further information will be forthcoming in the next edition of thispublication. Plan now to make this one of the highlights of your AdventChristmas celebration!