Archive for December, 2018

Historical Society Creates New History Awards

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Two rooms included in the Tanner House Museum holiday open houses have been named recipients of a new history award from the Aurora Historical Society.   They are the Kitchen, which features homemade gingerbread and dried fruit decorations, and the Upstairs Sitting Room, which depicts a Victorian-era matron on a walk through a snowy park with playful children and mischievous dogs.

The “Victoria” award, given for the first time in 2018, recognizes rooms that capture some aspect of history especially well, according to Tanner House docent coordinator Karen Blee Nickels, who came up with the idea.

“Of course we still have the Favorite Room award,” she said, referring to the balloting by visitors to the house throughout the holiday season.  “People have a lot of fun, and sometimes a lot of difficulty, choosing their favorite room.  It’s a big part of the program.”

But the program guidelines encourage freedom in interpreting the holidays, according to Nickels.  This year, for instance, one room features a spaceship arriving at a dollhouse, carrying tiny space creatures bearing even tinier gifts.  Another shows a modern New Year’s Eve scene.   The Victoria awards will be a tip of the hat to the late-Victorian era of the house.

The awards in both categories are entirely for bragging rights, Nickels said.  There are no trophies or monetary rewards.

Rachel Rose Bee of Aurora designed the kitchen and created the scale-model Tanner House using an authentic gingerbread recipe.  She hung garlands festooned with citrus fruits and apples which she oven-dried over several days.   Patti Baroni, also of Aurora and a docent at the museum, used her collection of antique German dolls to create the starry-evening tableau.

Tanner House Holidays open houses are scheduled for every Friday from 4pm-7pm, and every Sunday and Wednesday from 1-4pm through January 30.  Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.  The museum is located at 304 Oak Avenue, the corner of Oak and Cedar, in the historic Tanner neighborhood on Aurora’s west side.  After December 30 the house will be closed until June except for scheduled groups.  Call 630-906-0650.

More information is available online at or on Facebook at aurorahistory.

Free STEAM Classes Now Available to Batavia, North Aurora Students

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Changes have been made to the Ripple Effect program to expand accessibility to both Batavia and North Aurora students, ages 8 to 12. Instead of being held at the Batavia elementary schools, all classes are now being held at Water Street Studios in downtown Batavia with sessions available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m. Online registration is open for all sessions running in 2019, January through April.

Ripple Effect is a free STEAM course that combines STEM topics with art. The three-week course, which explores dendrites and fractals, is provided by Water Street Studios and is generously funded by The Dunham Fund. It is completely free to Batavia and North Aurora students.

The course meets weekly for three weeks. Families may choose the three-week session that fits their calendar best. Parents should visit the Water Street Studios website for more information and to register online.

VNA’s Windel Inducted into American Academy of Nursing

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Linnea Windel MSN, RN, FAAN, was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing during a ceremony held on Nov. 3. This prestigious recognition highlights Windel’s leadership and contributions to advancing the mission of the Academy which is to serve the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy, practice, and science through organizational excellence and effective nursing leadership.

Windel has focused her career on improving the health of communities, and specifically, care for those with the greatest socio-economic challenges. Serving as president and CEO of VNA Health Care since 1999, she marshaled resources, public support, and grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Windel developed and implemented an effective, efficient, and innovative model of primary care that emphasizes the role of nurses, the importance of same-day care, and a broad range of services including home-based programs.

VNA Health Care is consistently recognized by HRSA as a Health Center Quality Leader and is now one of the largest FQHC’s in the U.S. and the largest in the Chicago suburbs. More than 500,000 patients have been served during Windel’s tenure, helping to improve outcomes and close health disparities using person-centered care and delivering that care at a lower than average overall cost.

“We are delighted but not surprised that Linnea has been selected for this impressive honor,” said Gary Ahasic, VNA board of directors chair. “She has dedicated her career to nursing excellence for the benefit of people with limited resources and I am so pleased that the American Academy of Nursing has recognized her significant contribution, not only to nursing, but to improving the lives of families across VNA’s service area.”

Windel received a BSN from Illinois Wesleyan University and a MSN from Aurora University. She is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows program. She has served on a number of national, state, and local boards, offering a perspective on the role of nursing and access to care for the most vulnerable.

VNA Health Care operates 14 clinics in suburban Chicago and serves over 72,000 people a year. VNA is nationally ranked as a top performing health center as a result of patient outcomes such as prenatal care, adolescent weight screening and counseling, vascular disease treatment, blood pressure control, healthy birth weights, and asthma care. VNA’s combination of convenience (by appointment or walk-in), patient-centered technology and expert care delivered with respect and compassion have led to these results. VNA is accredited by The Joint Commission.


#HappyHolidays from #AuroraChamber

Monday, December 17th, 2018

This week, we will be sending out a link to the fourth annual Economic Pulse Survey.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Happy Holidays »
Economic Pulse »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Caught On Camera »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Aurora Chamber, we wish you and your employees a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year. Recently, we have had a number of meetings with our partners and members to discuss and plan for 2019 projects. We look forward to sharing those programs with you, including:

• Workforce development advances and college and career fairs;
• City Council candidates and the spring primary and election;
• Aurora Young Professionals programming;
• City of Aurora ordinance developments; and
• Association Health Plans to save employers money.

Until next month, enjoy time with family and friends. Here’s to the region’s prosperity in 2019; cheers!

Economic Pulse

This week, we will be sending out a link to the fourth annual Economic Pulse Survey. Results of the survey will be shared with the business community at our annual lunch event. This year, the lunch is scheduled for early February at Stonebridge Country Club. Be sure and watch your email for the survey link.

Public Policy Updates

The House and Senate released their 2019 spring schedules for the 101st General Assembly. The current General Assembly will meet one more time during “Lame Duck Session” on Jan. 7 and 8. The new General Assembly will be sworn in on Jan. 9 and the Governor will be sworn in on Jan. 14. On Feb. 20, the Governor will present the Budget Address. Other dates of note include the Senate Committee deadline on March 22, the House Committee deadline on March 29, and the Senate and House Third-Reading Deadline on April 12. Committee and 3rd Reading deadlines may be extended by the Speaker or the Senate President. Additionally, individual bills may have their deadlines extended. Adjournment is scheduled for May 31.
Other Recent Policy News

Taxes, Infrastructure Proposals Discussed »
Ill. GA Reduces Govt. Duplication »
New Illinois Laws to Take Effect on Jan. 1 »
Nov. 30: This Week in Illinois in Springfield »
2018 Midterm Election Recap »
This Week in the General Assembly »
Ill. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Gaming Issues »
Highlights of Tax Reform for Businesses »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, PC
Katie Backovski
31 W. Downer Place, Suite 306, Aurora
(630) 892-0779

Randall Crossings Townhomes
Jennifer Slown
1279 Comiskey Ave., North Aurora
(630) 442-8070
Apartments & Condominium

Country Financial
Luke Singh
232 N. Cass Ave., Westmont
(630) 968-0414

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Company 251      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      ERC Delivery      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Quality Logo Products      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Chamber Offices Closed
Monday, Dec. 24 & Tuesday, Dec. 25

Chamber Offices Closed
Monday, Dec. 31 & Tuesday, Jan. 1

Jump Start Workshop
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 8:30-10 a.m.
Chamber offices

2019 Economic Pulse Lunch
Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 11:30 a.m.
Stonebridge Country Club, 2705 Stonebridge Blvd., Aurora

Caught On Camera

Caught On Camera

Thank you everyone who turned out to the 2018 Annual Holiday Celebration (left), including sponsors, elected officials, partner organizations, and members. We wish all of you a safe and wonderful holiday season. Nearly two dozen members joined us for the kick-off organizational meeting of the Aurora Young Professionals this month. Discussion and planning was held for activities in 2019, including professional development, community support, and more. For details on upcoming events and opportunities to market your brand in partnership with Chamber events, contact Maureen Gasek at (630) 256-3182.

For these and more photos of recent activities, please visit our Facebook page.

Member News

Luigi's Pizza and Fun Center

Congratulations to Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center on celebrating 65 years of service to the Aurora community. Recently, #AuroraChamber staff and Ambassadors presented a celebration plaque to Bill Poss and his team for the milestone. If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.
VNA Health Care Receives Proclamation for 100 Years of Service »
Employers Should be Aware of W-2 Scam, Protect Employee Information »
Tanner House to Sparkle with Holiday Decor »
Police, Fire Subject of Aurora Historical Society 2019 Calendar »
EEI Announces Two Junior Engineers »
Congratulations, West Aurora School District 129! »
Can You Save with an Association Health Plan? »
Volunteers Sought to Serve on City of Aurora Boards, Commissions »
Save the Date: March 1 – College & Career Fair »
Aurora Police First in State to Join ‘Neighbors’ App »

Did You Know?

Last fiscal year, the #AuroraChamber website saw more than four million hits from nearly 350,000 visitors. One of the most popular destinations was the Member Directory with nearly 275,000 hits – an average of nearly 400 hits per member. Is your directory listing up to date? If you see something that needs to be changed or added, contact Reba Osborne, director of membership, for assistance.


The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:

How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.

Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

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Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

Taxes, Infrastructure Proposals Discussed

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Proposals made to increase State gas tax to fund infrastructure needs. Illinois’ motor fuel tax on gasoline is 19 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1990. All revenue from the tax goes to the Motor Fuel Tax Fund. In Fiscal Year 2017, $1.35 billion in State revenue was collected (approximately the same amount as was raised in FY16).

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed raising the gas tax by 20 to 30 cents per gallon to fund a new Capital program and infrastructure improvements. That would more than double the current 19 cent per gallon State gas tax. IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn has also called for an increase in the State gas tax by at least 15 cents per gallon.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday, Dec. 12, didn’t dismiss the possibility of a gas tax hike to help pay for rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, but he also cautioned that a major capital construction program won’t come quickly when his administration begins Jan. 14.

Pritzker also said a new capital program and the revenue to pay for it isn’t something the lame-duck 100thGeneral Assembly should pursue when it returns to Springfield on Jan. 7.

Ill. GA Reduces Govt. Duplication

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

General Assembly takes step to reduce administrative expenses, consolidate operations. Under the setup in place in Springfield’s Capitol Complex heading into Fiscal Year 2019, the Illinois General Assembly had two separate nonpartisan research offices. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-monitoring and research arm, was in place to examine and oversee trends involving Illinois’ tax revenues, budgets, and spending. As a nonpartisan oversight panel with jurisdiction over cash flow issues, CGFA was in close contact with the General Assembly’s appropriations and revenue committees.

At the same time, another nonpartisan office – the General Assembly’s Legislative Research Unit (LRU) – was available to conduct research projects into issues of state policy other than appropriations and budget matters. For example, if a legislator or a legislative committee wanted to study the current status of legislation among the 50 states in issues such as criminal law or financial regulation, they could go to LRU and get a research report.

As time passed, it became clear that there was a good deal of overlap between the duties of these two offices. Running them separately had created a need for redundant taxpayer-paid staff. HB 3538 merged the two offices, eliminating full-time staff positions and reducing taxpayer costs. CGFA, co-chaired by House Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, will be the surviving office within the overall merger. This fall 2018 bill also streamlines some reporting requirements and allows for reports to be filed electronically. The new measure was signed into law as Public Act 100-1148 on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

New Illinois Laws to Take Effect on Jan. 1

Friday, December 14th, 2018

On Jan. 1, 2019, more than 250 new laws will be added to Illinois’ list of statutes.

During the two-year-long 100th General Assembly, 9,646 pieces of legislation were filed. Nearly 6,000 originated in the Illinois House and nearly 3,650 started in the Senate.


Of those 9,646 pieces of legislation, 1,268 passed both houses and 1,044 were approved by Governor Rauner.


The effective date of new laws can vary. Some legislation designates that the new regulations begin immediately upon becoming law. In other cases, legislation is date-specific, including the start of a new fiscal year or calendar year.

Among the 253 new laws taking effect on Jan. 1, here are 20 new initiatives added to Illinois’ law books that our members may be interested in.


Taxes & Fees

HB 4578 reduces the late fee penalty for LLC annual report filing from $300 to $100.

SB 3109 provides that all qualified applicants, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for Illinois professional licenses issued by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.


Technology & Infrastructure

HB 5752 creates the Broadband Advisory Council, a council to expand access to broadband services and technology.


Employment Law

SB 2826 expands coverage of Illinois Human Rights Act and gives victims of workplace stalking and harassment further protections by creating provisions such as a reasonable, unpaid leave for court dates.

SB 3411 allows places of employment, places of worship, or schools to petition for an order against a person stalking their locations. Once an order is granted, that person may have to give up their firearms and FOID card.

SB 2516 requires employers of mandated reporters to inform their employees of available mandated reporter training.

HB 4340 requires massage establishments, organizers of public events that require a permit, and all primary and secondary schools to post notices informing employees and other members of the public of a helpline to assist any person who is subject to human trafficking.

SB 2999 requires employers to reimburse employees for necessary costs incurred in order to fulfill their job responsibilities, including “bring your own device” policies which require employees to use personal cell phones, tablets, or computers for work purposes.


Economic Development

SB 3527 expands the River Edge Historic Tax Credit.

SB 405 requires a sexual harassment policy for all companies that make a bid under the state’s procurement code and requires companies that claim EDGE credits to include their sexual harassment policy in their annual report to the State.


Education & Workforce Development

HB 4658 expands training teachers in identifying warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior.

SB 2527 states school boards cannot limit the number of dual-credit courses a student may enroll in or the number of credits a student may receive from dual credit courses. Further, they cannot limit student enrollment in online courses.

SB 2838 requires a public university or community college to work with local high schools to grant dual credit to a student who completes an accredited course.

SB 3536 mandates early childhood education programs to collect and review chronic absence data and recommend fixes.

SB 3232 creates a five-year demonstration project to provide an intensive workforce training program for entry-level workers and a multi-generational healthy family initiative.

SB 2350 requires schools to conduct at least one law enforcement drill that addresses an active threat or an active shooter within a school building no later than 90 days after the first day of each school year

HB 4858 a local school district or community college may apply for DCEO grants for the acquisition of land, construction of facilities, and purchase of equipment, dedicated solely to the instruction of occupations in manufacturing.



SB 2777 requires that every prescriber of controlled substances complete 10 hours of continuing education in safe opioid prescribing practices.



HB 4944 allows truck tractors, semitrailers, or property-carrying vehicles weighing 10,000 to 26,000 pounds to be safety tested every 12 months.

SB 2511 requires that additional vehicle back-up lights emit a white or amber light.



HB 4377 requires any child under the age of two years be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.

HB 5547 requires the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit, on biennial basis, of state agencies and their cyber-security practices, with a focus on agencies holding large volumes of personal information.

HB 4288 allows all state National Guard members the protections afforded to all other branches of the military.

VNA Health Care Receives Proclamation for 100 Years of Service

Friday, December 7th, 2018

On Dec. 5, 2018, the City of Aurora presented VNA Health Care with a proclamation setting Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, as VNA Health Care Day in Aurora in honor of the organization’s 100th Anniversary.

Local community leaders and donors joined VNA Health Care to celebrate the organization’s century of service at a Founders’ Day Tea held at Moreton Arboretum. VNA Health Care was founded in Aurora on Dec. 5, 1918, by a small group of concerned citizens who came together to address the health care needs of the vulnerable population living in and around Aurora at that time.

“We cannot know precisely what was in the minds of the men and women who met at City Hall to form what would become VNA Health Care.” said Linnea Windel, VNA Health Care president & CEO, “What we do know is that their intentions were compassionate and that they moved to action, obtaining funding, securing space, hiring a nurse and engaging volunteer physicians, in order to open its doors within weeks of that inaugural meeting”.

Throughout this century of service, VNA has grown and adapted to serve the healthcare needs of communities across suburban Chicago. This special occasion was an opportunity to honor patients, supporters and community members who gathered to celebrate VNA’s accomplishments in extending high-quality, compassionate, and convenient care for all.

VNA Health Care operates 14 clinics in suburban Chicago and serves more than 72,000 people a year. VNA is nationally ranked as a top performing health center as a result of patient outcomes such as prenatal care, adolescent weight screening and counseling, vascular disease treatment, blood pressure control, healthy birth weights, and asthma care. VNA’s combination of convenience (by appointment or walk-in), patient-centered technology, and expert care delivered with respect and compassion have led to these results. VNA is accredited by The Joint Commission. 


Employers Should be Aware of W-2 Scam, Protect Employee Information

Friday, December 7th, 2018
Small businesses should be on-guard against a growing wave of identity theft and W-2 scams. Employers hold sensitive tax data on their employees – such as Form W-2 data – which is highly valued by identity thieves.
All employers are targets for the W-2 scam. This scheme has become one of the more dangerous email scams. Here’s how it works:
  • These emails appear to be from an executive or organization leader to a payroll or human resources employee.
  • The message usually starts with a simple greeting, like: “Hey, you in today?”
  • By the end of the email exchange, all of an organization’s Forms W-2 for their employees may be in the hands of cybercriminals.
  • Because payroll officials believe they are corresponding with an executive, it may take weeks for someone to realize a data theft has occurred.
  • Generally, the criminals are trying to quickly take advantage of their theft, sometimes filing fraudulent tax returns within a day or two.
This scam is such a threat to taxpayers that a special IRS reporting process has been established. Here’s an abbreviated list of how a business should report these schemes. They should:
  • Email to notify the IRS of a W-2 data loss and provide contact information. In the subject line, type “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. The business should not attach any employee personally identifiable information data.
  • Email the Federation of Tax Administrators at to get information on how to report victim information to the states.
  • File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Businesses and payroll service providers may be asked to file a report with their local law enforcement agency.
  • Notify employees. The employee may then take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission’s provides guidance on general steps employees should take.
  • Forward the scam email to

Tanner House to Sparkle with Holiday Decor

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Visitors to the free open houses at the Tanner House Museum in Aurora will find a variety of decor this December.  In addition to colorful traditional decorations throughout, the 1857 home itself will be featured as an authentically-built, to-scale gingerbread house in the kitchen, and in the library, tiny elf-aliens will be delivering gifts from a spaceship parked outside a dollhouse.

Also new this year will be the “photo booth” concept used in the parlor.  Visitors interested in taking selfies can dress up in vintage style with items provided by the Aurora Historical Society.  Docents will be available to snap the shutter.  A century-old view camera will be on display.

The open houses begin Sunday, December 9.  Openings are on Sundays and Wednesdays from 1pm-4pm, and on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm.  Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.  The museum is located at 304 Oak Avenue, the corner of Oak and Cedar, in Aurora, 60506.  The last day of the program is Sunday, December 30.

There is more information online at or on Facebook at aurorahistory.