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Koehler urges caution to avoid scams in wake of Lewistown tornado

koehler 120418LEWISTOWN – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is urging area residents to be cautious of scams in the wake of a tornado that rolled through southern Fulton County last weekend.

“After these disasters happen, some people will inevitably prey on those affected,” Koehler said. “I urge all residents in Fulton County to proceed with caution and do their due diligence when accepting help.”

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity can report it to the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Springfield by calling 1-800-243-0618.

Saturday’s tornado moved through the Lewistown area, causing damage to structures and trees. No one was reported hurt or missing,

Area residents should follow these steps to avoid scams:

  • Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repair services. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
  • Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-243-0618) to check out a contractor and to learn if any complaints have been filed against a particular business.
  • Visit the Better Business Bureau’s central Illinois , St. Louis or Chicago websites to see if a business is a member and whether any complaints have been lodged against it.
  • Even if there is a need to act quickly, get written estimates from multiple contractors, and don’t be rushed into a deal.
  • Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
  • Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Never pay in cash.
  • Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
  • In the case of disaster repair, you have an additional right to cancel. If your insurance carrier denies coverage, you have the right to cancel the contract within five days of when your insurance carrier denies your coverage.
  • Ask to see required state and local permits and licenses. Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies. If the contractor does not have a required license, or if the name on the license doesn’t match the name on the contractor’s business card or truck, that should raise a red flag. Please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website to search licenses. Contact the Department of Insurance at (866) 445-5364 to verify that the public adjuster is licensed and in good standing.

 

 

Koehler: Keystone Steel sale is good news for Peoria Area

koehler 051618PEORIA – One of nation’s largest steel manufacturers has reached a deal to purchase a Peoria steel mill that has served the area since 1889.

The Dallas-based parent company of Keystone Steel and Wire, which is located on the south side of Peoria and employs nearly 1,000 people, announced this week that it will become part of Liberty Steel USA.

“The news today is great for the thousands of employees of Keystone Steel and the entire Peoria area,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “We have always been and will continue to be immensely proud of our manufacturing traditions in Peoria as well as the thousands of workers that make it possible.”

Koehler measure protecting students with asthma signed into law

Asthma Inhaler 5950870440SPRINGFIELD – Legislation protecting students with asthma by allowing their schools to keep backup inhalers on hand was signed into law today.

The measure, Senate Bill 3015, allows school nurses or other personnel to administer asthma medication that is registered in the name of a school district, public school, charter school or nonpublic school to a person in respiratory distress. Similar laws already apply to life-saving EpiPens, which are applied to combat severe allergic reactions.

Illinois expands tax incentive that will continue to benefit Peoria

koehler 072618PEORIA – A special economic development tool that spurred significant business investment in Peoria now will be available to other central Illinois communities that wish to replicate the river city’s success.

Senate Bill 3527, signed into law today on the Peoria riverfront, expands the successful River Edge historic preservation tax credit program to the entire state. Previously, the incentive only was available in Peoria, Rockford, East St. Louis, Elgin and Aurora, all of which are riverside communities that had sought to lure community investment and revitalize their economies.

State Senator Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat, was a chief co-sponsor of the measure. He has seen the physical transformations and job creation that can occur as a result of the River Edge program. Numerous redevelopment projects in the city’s Warehouse District and downtown benefitted from the incentive.

“It’s far more beneficial to help someone invest in a historic building or a struggling neighborhood than to let that property languish and become an eyesore,” Koehler said. “Revitalization puts people to work, increases property values, boosts pride in the community and leads to vibrancy and growth. There’s no down side.”

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) sponsored the legislation in the House.

The new law is expected to help clear the way for a nearly $100 million investment by OSF Healthcare, which has plans to take over the former Caterpillar Inc. headquarters at 124 SW Adams St. More than 700 OSF employees will work at the downtown site once renovation of the structure, built in 1905, is complete.

Senate Bill 3527 prioritizes five categories of eligible buildings for the tax credit, including those located in areas subject to a disaster declaration, those located in border communities and those previously owned by a governmental entity.

The law – which provides up to $15 million in credits annually for qualified projects – also enables the state to recapture any tax credits from developers who fail to meet program requirements.

Sen. David Koehler


46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Local Government; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Labor.

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representative(s): Michael Unes, Jehan A. Gordon-Booth