Fireworks, Tree Lighting, Parade Featured at Winter Lights Festivities

November 11th, 2018

The 2018 Aurora Winter Lights Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will kick off the holiday season in the City of Lights this week.  Hosted by the City of Aurora and Aurora Downtown, the popular annual tradition will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, with festivities centered on Downer Place in downtown Aurora.

Parade
The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Downer Place and travel from Water Street (adjacent to City Hall) to River Street. Leading the parade with Mayor Richard C. Irvin will be newly-crowned Little Mr. and Little Miss Aurora, the Winter Lights Court, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and an exciting array of costumed characters, community groups, performers, and public safety vehicles.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Tree Lighting Ceremony will commence after the parade at the GAR Memorial Museum, 23 E. Downer Place. The ceremony includes a special performance by local teen singer Nathaniel Mojica, an award presentation for the winner of the Downtown Window Decorating Contest, and the community countdown to the lighting of the City’s official Christmas tree.
Fireworks, Photos with Santa, and more
Immediately following the ceremony, the fireworks extravaganza, sponsored by Chicago Premium Outlets, will light up the night sky and then guests can continue to enjoy the evening by visiting stores and pop-up shops in the immediate area and taking free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Tredwell Coffee, 14 W. Downer Place.
The event is free and open to the public.

11th Annual Holiday Food Drive

November 11th, 2018

Benefitting Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry

As a business person, like yourself, and a member of this community who believes that giving back is a privilege, I am asking you to become a partner in our continuing endeavor to eradicate hunger in our communities.

From Nov. 1 through Nov. 21, we will be sponsoring the 11th Annual Holiday Food Drive. Our sponsors and supporters this year again are Dolan & Murphy, Inc., Prisco’s Fine Foods, Cermak Fresh Market, Mariano’s, 95.9 The River FM, Aurora Fastprint, the Beacon News, Douglas Carpet One, and Gerald Subaru Naperville/North Aurora. In addition, something new this year, our sponsor, Aspen Lane Wine Company, has committed to match up to $5,000 on donations received in response to this letter. Please simply put “Aspen Match” on the bottom of your check.

The recipient of this effort is a local food pantry, Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, which distributes food to 6,500 struggling families each year. Those who receive food include anyone who is unemployed, families and single parents caring for children, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, persons with disabilities or chronic illness, victims of violence and emergency situations, employed individuals who need a supplement, or anyone who cannot afford to purchase enough food to adequately meet their nutritional needs.

This Thanksgiving Season, we hope to provide a substantial amount of non-perishable food items to Aurora Food Pantry as a result of our drive. About 950 families visit Aurora Food Pantry each week to receive food and an average of 115 new families request food each month for the first time. Of the 19,000 individuals who received food during the past year, 7,600 were children. By the end of 2018, Aurora Food Pantry will have distributed 3.7 million pounds of food to people who might otherwise have gone hungry.

Aurora Food Pantry and the people they serve throughout the Aurora area need your help and that is why I am reaching out to you, the business community.

The goal of the “Annual Holiday Food Drive” is to collect enough food and monetary donations to ensure that no one in our community is ever forced to go hungry simply because they cannot afford to buy food. Your monetary donation will be used to purchase food items that are not collected, but desperately needed, as well as to maintain an efficient distribution system to ensure food is available year-round. Aurora Food Pantry operates in a very cost-effective manner, distributing $7 worth of food for every $1 that is donated.

We would like to become a community where no one goes hungry and we need your help to feed our brothers and sisters in need. Please help us make the 11th Annual Holiday Food Drive the most successful to date by making a monetary donation for a Truckload of food or one of the other sponsorships below.

Thank you, in advance, for your assistance to those who are less fortunate and, if you have any questions, please contact me at Dolan & Murphy, Inc.

All gifts will be acknowledged with a letter from Aurora Food Pantry, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit Illinois corporation.

Sincerely,

Dan Dolan

Dolan & Murphy, Inc.

 

Donations can be made:

ONLINE: Visit www.aurorafoodpantry.org. Click on the 11th Annual Holiday Food Drive link. Insert donation amount. Complete credit card and other information. Submit.

 

MAIL: Complete the information below and return it with your donation to Dolan & Murphy, Inc., Attn: Daniel T. Dolan, 765 Orchard Ave., Aurora, IL 60506.

Make checks payable to “Aurora Food Pantry”

Name:

CompanyName:

Address:

Phone#:

Please check the appropriate line of sponsorship:

__ Truckload-$1,000

__ Trunkload-$500

__ Grocery cart-$250

__ Grocery sack-$110

Volunteers Sought to Serve on City of Aurora Boards, Commissions

November 11th, 2018
Mayor Richard C. Irvin invites volunteers to fill vacant positions on 10 of the City’s advisory boards and commissions, including the new Advisory Commission on Disabilities established in October.
“The work of our boards and commission is integral to the progress and success of Aurora,” said Mayor Irvin. “This a great opportunity for residents to bring new ideas to the table as we continue building Aurora together.”
The following boards and commissions currently have vacancies:
Advisory Commission on Disabilities 
The new Advisory Commission on Disabilities addresses the needs and concerns regarding equity, accessibility, and opportunities for individuals with disabilities while promoting access to resources and services available in the area.
African American Heritage Advisory Board*
The African American Heritage Advisory Board educates the community on the African-American impact on Aurora and around the world in the past and present while advising on pertinent issues and initiatives in the African-American community.
Bicycle, Pedestrian, & Transit Advisory Board
The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Transit Advisory Board advises on the planning and development process for bicycle, pedestrian, and public transit facilities.
FoxWalk Design Review Committee
The FoxWalk Overlay Review Committee promotes and guides redevelopment of the downtown while protecting its character as a historic center city.
Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Commission*
The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Commission fosters the preservation and maintenance of the GAR Museum, conducts fundraising, and provides meeting space for veteran and historical groups.
Historic Preservation Commission
The Historic Preservation Commission designates landmarks, historical districts, and urban conservation districts within the corporate limits of Aurora.
Human Relations Commission
The Human Relations Commission seeks to ensure anti-discrimination through Aurora and to serve as mediator in discrimination allegations.
Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board*
The Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board embraces, preserves, and promotes the heritage and contributions of Indian Americans while promoting civic engagement and encouraging Indian Americans to increase their involvement in Aurora’s growth.
Sustainable Aurora Advisory Board
The Sustainable Aurora Advisory Board provides input on sustainable and environmental policies and practices that reflect the community values.
Veterans Advisory Council*
The Veterans Advisory Council leads in the planning and implementing of veteran-related special activities, events, and programs in Aurora.
An online application – and additional information on meeting dates – is available at https://www.aurora-il.org/230/Boards-Commissions.
Interested volunteers can contact the Mayor’s Office for further details at (630) 256-3010 or MayorsOffice@aurora-il.org
*These boards and commissions accept non-Aurora residents who work or are stakeholders in Aurora.

#AuroraChamber News: Election Day Tomorrow — VOTE

November 5th, 2018

The single most powerful tool each one of us has is our voice and our vote.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Business Safety Program Offered »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Caught On Camera »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
Money-Saving Programs For Members »
About The Aurora Chamber »

BUSINESS SAFETY PROGRAM OFFERED

Operating in a crime-free environment is a key priority for the Aurora Chamber and our members. Officer John Martinez from the Aurora Police Department will conduct a workshop on practical strategies to ensure our members are best equipped to operate in a safe environment for their staff and property. Topics will include an overview of “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” Personal Safety, Robbery Information, Safety in the Workplace, Trespass Agreements, and a Q & A period.

The program will be held at the Chamber offices on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 2:30 p.m. For details, click here.

Public Policy Updates

Every vote matters.

The single most powerful tool each one of us has is our voice and our vote.

Kane County voters
DuPage County voters
Will County voters
Kendall County voters

Other Recent Policy News

Gov. Rauner Announces $1.5M in Recreational Trails Program Grants »
Ill. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Gaming Issues »
Highlights of Tax Reform for Businesses »
U.S. Chamber Foundation Launches Education, Workforce Fellowship Program »
Governor Signs Bill to Transition to Multi-year
Vehicle Registration Opportunity
»
Governor Signs Legislation to Help Keep Illinois Students in Illinois »
State of Illinois Sells $965 Million in Bonds »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

City of Aurora Public Art
Jennifer Evans
20 E. Downer Place, Aurora
(630) 256-3341
Art Galleries

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      Best Rates Heating and Cooling      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      ganc.io      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Lendio of Naperville      Magick Woods, Inc.      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group, LLC      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.      New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orochem Technologies, Inc.      Painters District Council 30      Palo Creative, PLL      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Pure Skin Solutions, LLC      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      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      T-Mobile     Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation      WSPY 

Calendar of Events

Grand Opening: Tredwell Coffee
Monday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
14 W. Downer Place, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.

Coffee & Connections
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 8 – 10 a.m.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora

Red Kettle Kick Off: Salvation Army
Friday, Nov. 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Paramount Theatre, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 7 p.m.

Grand Opening: Sport Clips
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
1720 N. Orchard Rd. Ste 130, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 9 a.m.

Grand Opening: 500 Station
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 4 – 6 p.m.
675 Station Blvd, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 4:45 p.m.

Grand Opening: M/I Homes
Thursday, Nov. 15, 4:30 – 8 p.m.
Gramercy Square, 4111 Calder Lane, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 4:45 p.m.

Lunch n Learn: IT Strategies
Thursday, Nov. 15, 12 – 1:30 p.m.
VIA, 2000 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva

Save the Date: Holiday Celebration
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Aurora Country Club

Caught On Camera

Caught On Camera

Among recent events, the Aurora Chamber celebrated the opening of Burger King (left) where owners presented a check to Roosevelt Aurora American Legion Post 84. Hairy Beast Dog Pawlour (right) opened in downtown Aurora. In addition to dog grooming packages, they offer clothing and more. For these and more photos of recent activities, please visit our Facebook page.

Member News

If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to info@aurora-chamber.com. Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.
Park District Earns Financial, Distinguished Budget Awards »
Save the Date: March 1 – College & Career Fair »
Aurora Receives National Grant to Offer Free Financial Counseling to Residents »
EEI’s Member Earns APWA CPII Certification »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Konen Insurance »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Umbrella Technologies »
W-2 Wage Earners Should Do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP »
An Estimated Tax Payment in 2018 Could Help Avoid a Penalty in 2019 »
Free Fall Leaf Collection Begins Next Month »
House Method Names Aurora ‘Most Underrated Town’ in Illinois »
Mayor Irvin Selected for Prestigious Leadership Program »
Aurora Police First in State to Join ‘Neighbors’ App »

Did You Know?

Caught On Camera

This month, there are a number of member-focused events happening. #ShopLocal is Saturday, Nov. 24, and #GivingTuesday is Tuesday, Nov. 27. Be sure and follow us on social media to see what local retailers and community organizations are doing to participate in these events.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP

West Aurora is organizing a College & Career Fair for area high school students in Kane, DuPage, and Kendall counties on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 8 to 11 a.m. If you are interested in participating, information may be found at www.bit.ly/wamarch1.

Money-Saving Programs For Members

Money-Saving Programs For Members

Can You Save with an Association Health Plan?

As you know, our Chamber provides you and your business with resources to help make your lives a little easier. We are always looking for valued partners who can help us provide value to our members.

We were recently approached with an opportunity to help our members buy insurance through an association health plan at a better rate than what we could do on our own. As you might know, there has been a lot of discussion about “Association Health Plans” in the media and the new law/Executive Order that was signed.

Our member has several insurance companies who are very experienced in providing association plan solutions to entities such as ours. Some of the benefits of buying insurance through this plan include:

• 5-15% lower rates than what you could get on your own
• Renewal rate cap of 7% once we get 500 employee lives in the plan
• All of the unused claim dollars are returned to you and your business

Read more here.

If you are interested in participating (with no obligation), please contact Joseph Henning, president and CEO.

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

www.aurora-chamber.com

Can You Save with an Association Health Plan?

November 5th, 2018

As you know, our Chamber provides you and your business with resources to help make your lives a little easier.  We are always looking for valued partners who can help us provide value to our members.

One of our Chamber members approached us with an opportunity to help our members buy insurance through an association health plan at a better rate than what we could do on our own.  As you might know, there has been a lot of discussion about “Association Health Plans” in the media and the new law/Executive Order that was signed.

Our member has several insurance companies who are very experienced in providing association plan solutions to entities such as ours.  Some of the benefits of buying insurance through this plan include:

  • 5-15% lower rates than what you could get on your own
  • Renewal rate cap of 7% once we get 500 employee lives in the plan
  • All of the unused claim dollars are returned to you and your business

We are looking to kick this new Association Plan off on January 1, 2019.  In order to get started, we will need to collect information from a sample of members that will help the underwriters get familiar with us and build the rate charts they will use when underwriting members who are interested in joining the plan.

The information we will need to collect from you is:

  • Most recent renewal, showing rates, who is covered and the benefit plan (deductibles, copays, etc.)
  • Census of all eligible employees, working 30 or more hours per week.

There is no commitment at this time. We are simply gathering a sampling for the underwriters to create the rate charts. You will find attached a spreadsheet to help gather the census information. Once I receive this information from you, I will forward it to the underwriters to get the plan put together.

If I could ask you to send this information to me as soon as possible, we would like to have an informational seminar to review the benefits and review next steps (how you can sign your business up) within 30 days. Again, there is no obligation on your part to participate in the plan at this time.

Park District Earns Financial, Distinguished Budget Awards

October 26th, 2018

The Fox Valley Park District has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its 2017 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government agency and its management team. This is the 20th consecutive time FVPD has achieved the award.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The District has also received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2017 budget. This reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of government budgeting. To receive the award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. This is the eighth time Fox Valley Park District has garnered the award.

The award letters recognize Diana Erickson, senior director of Finance & Administration, as the individual primarily responsible for having achieved the awards.

Chuck Anderson, president of the Fox Valley Board of Commissioners, said the award represents the highest attention to detail and a commitment to transparency.

“This recognition of the district’s financial management confirms the level of excellence that Fox Valley Park District maintains. Diana and her staff are there to lead and assist throughout a rigorous budget and audit process. We thank them for their efforts.”

There are more than 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on the GFOA’s website.

The Fox Valley Park District is a dynamic and growing park district that serves a diverse population of more than 230,000 people. Recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Agency, Fox Valley holds the nation’s highest honor as the 2009 National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in park and recreation management. Serving the communities of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, the District maintains 168 parks and 48 miles of inter-connected regional trails amid 2,500 acres of parkland. Connected by the Fox River, our communities are tied together by the District’s commitment to promote vibrant, healthy lifestyles through fun and safe recreation opportunities that are environmentally and fiscally responsible. The Fox Valley Park District … Where Fun Begins!

Gov. Rauner Announces $1.5M in Recreational Trails Program Grants

October 22nd, 2018

City of Aurora to receive $140,000

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week announced nearly $1.6 million dollars has been awarded for recreational trail development projects in 11 Illinois communities, helping them meet the growing demand for improved trails and outdoor recreation facilities.

“These projects will help provide safe places for children and families, hikers, bike riders and horseback riders to enjoy the outdoors,” Rauner said.

Funding for the grants is supported by the federal government’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which provides up to 80 percent reimbursement to local grant recipients for the cost of the trail projects.  Grant recipients provide the balance of the funding for the projects.

The RTP grant program in Illinois is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

“We are pleased to partner with the local government sponsors of these trail construction, improvement, and maintenance projects that will benefit trail users in communities throughout the state,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal.

“These projects are going to add to the state’s impressive collection of trails and strengthen multimodal connections in several of our great communities,” said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Not only will they improve transportation, but they will also enhance the quality of life for residents and families.”
Grants may be awarded for the acquisition of land from willing sellers, trail construction and rehabilitation, purchase of equipment for trail development and maintenance, restoration of areas damaged by unauthorized trail use, construction of trail-related support facilities (such as parking and restrooms), and educational programs.

The projects were recommended for funding by the Illinois Greenways and Trails Council, composed of representatives of statewide motorized and nonmotorized trail user organizations, statewide agency organizations, organizations involved in greenways and trails, and metro-area greenways and trails coalitions.

The City of Aurora will receive $140,000 for replacement of a crumbling concrete staircase which connects the south end of the East Branch of the Fox River Trail with New York Street in downtown Aurora. The Fox River Trail extends nearly 60 miles from Oswego north to near the Wisconsin border. The city will install a metal stairway to replace the concrete steps.

Ill. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Gaming Issues

October 22nd, 2018

One of the issues discussed by witnesses and panelists was the possibility of legalized sports betting in Illinois. This is a new industry for which the door was opened earlier in 2018 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Prior to the May 2018 decision in “Murphy v. NCAA,” most states were forbidden by federal law from allowing persons and businesses to open and operate bookmaking activities when the activities being bet on were sports contests and activities.

Until this year, people who wanted to place legal bets on single teams and games had to go to Nevada, which was exempted from the federal prohibition. The “Murphy” decision, however, struck down this ban and implicitly allowed the other 49 states to set up regulated sports-betting parlors and phone apps. Several states, such as New Jersey, responded to the Supreme Court decision by taking immediate action to legalize sports betting within their state lines. Federal law continues to prohibit sports bets that cross state lines, and an Illinois resident cannot legally place a sports bet in New Jersey. New Jersey sports betting operators are required, by law, to ask a prospective bettor to share his or her phone’s geo-location, and if the phone sends a “beep” that shows it is out of state the operator is not legally allowed to take the bet. Sports betting, if it is to be done legally within Illinois, will require the General Assembly to enact an Illinois sports betting law.

The Illinois House held a joint-panel hearing this week to examine questions relating to Illinois gaming in general, including what an Illinois sports betting law could look like. One outline discussed by witnesses before the hearing was the creation of a limited number of licenses for sports-betting host sites. For reasons of security and regulatory consistency, these licenses could be awarded to owners of existing large-scale gaming locations and destinations, such as casino riverboats and horse racetracks. The sports betting license-holders could then contract with Internet firms to create licensed sports-betting phone apps for legal wagering on sports contests from a customer’s smartphone.

Many concerns were raised at the Illinois House hearing, which was held on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Witnesses representing Illinois major-league sports and associations of major-league athletes expressed concerns about the integrity of some of America’s most-widely-admired sports, and the personal safety and privacy of the athletes who play them. Advocates voiced concerns about gambling addiction and underage gaming. The debate is expected to continue.

Ill. Unemployment Rate Matches Record Low

October 22nd, 2018

The 4.1% unemployment figure reported by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) matches the lowest number ever posted for this figure, a widely-cited index of economic health and activity in Illinois. Preliminary data, which is subject to revision as more numbers come in, indicates that nonfarm payroll total employment increased in the Land of Lincoln by 2,800 jobs in September as opposed to August 2018. The same figure, when counted on a year-to-year basis (September 2017 to September 2018) showed a net gain of more than 50,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

September 2018 job creation was especially strong in education, construction, and manufacturing. The Illinois manufacturing economy created an estimated 2,300 net new jobs in September 2018 alone, and created 14,600 new factory jobs over the past 12 months. It should be noted, however, that the Illinois manufacturing sector is not as dominant as it was in February 1999, the last time our State’s unemployment rate was 4.1%. Illinois’ overall job universe has adjusted over the past two decades. In line with overall worldwide trends towards automation, many Illinois jobs have moved from factories to offices and service-related employment opportunities.

Illinois’ September 2018 unemployment is slightly higher (0.4%) than the 3.7% national unemployment rate for the same month. The nationwide trend is towards the 4.0% level that economists refer to as “full employment.”

Get the Facts: Interactive Kiosks in Downtown Aurora

October 22nd, 2018