December 2019 Brian Simons of Peoria, a retired Caterpillar lab engineer, pursues his photography hobby Monday, Dec. 2 in the lush environs of Luthy Botanical Garden at Glen Oak Park.Peoria High’s Christopher Williams (24) knocks down Morton’s Grant Gudeman during their game Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Peoria High School. Peoria High defeated Morton 60-32.Andrew Fuchs, left, 3, of Franklin, creates his own engine noise as he pretends to ride a Can-Am Outlander ATV with his brother Christopher, 5, during the 2019 Greater Peoria Farm Show on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Peoria Civic Center.Ray Dirks, far right, and his friend Tony Malcom, in overalls, both of El Paso, chat about a restored 1937 Allis-Chalmers tractor on display Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Greater Peoria Farm Show in the Peoria Civic Center. Dirks is currently in the process of restoring his grandfather’s 1937 Allis-Chalmers tractor.Illinois Valley Central senior quarterback Alex Merlo helped lead the Grey Ghosts to their first undefeated regular season in school history. He is the 2019 Journal Star Small-School Football Player of the Year.Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gives the keynote address at the Women in Leadership luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center on the Bradley University campus..Limestone’s Nathan Thornton, top left, knocks the ball away and knocks down Washington’s Devon Vanderheydt in the second half Thursday, Dec. 5 in Washington. The Panthers defeated the Rockets 54-43.Life Skills teacher Christy Bachmann, in red, of the Association for the Developmentally Disabled of Woodford County (ADDWC), dances with clients Shannon Miiler, left, and Derek Pruitt during the annual Jimmy Binkley Christmas Party for Seniors on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the American Legion Post 979 in Bartonville.Sara Stotts, right, and Brenda Durham of the Grand Regency assisted-living facility, formerly Courtyard Estates, get a thrill out of their gift baskets during the annual Jimmy Binkley Christmas Party for Seniors on Thursday, Dec. 5 at American Legion Post 979 in Bartonville.Young dancers from Debby’s School of Dance in Creve Coeur get a last-second pep talk before their performance at the annual Jimmy Binkley Christmas Party for Seniors on Thursday, Dec. 5 at American Legion Post 979 in Bartonville.An eerie green light envelops the stage as lead vocalist Ivan Moody pauses for effect while Chris Kael, lower left, plays his bass and Jeremy Spencer pounds the drums during a performance by the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center. The band headlined the 105.7 The X Nutcracker Christmas concert featuring 5FDP and three other bands – Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire from the Gods.Flame pots explode in the background as guitarist Zoltan Bathory of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch performs Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center.Lead singer Matt Walst of Three Days Grace pumps his fist during the heavy metal band’s show Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center.Guitarist Chris Cain swings his hair around as he performs with Bad Wolves on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center.Drummer Richard Wicander of Fire from the Gods eggs on the crowd during their performance Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center.Fire from the Gods lead vocalist AJ Channer performs Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Peoria Civic Center.Lilah Brown, 2, munches on a s’more she and her dad Jason made during the “One Horse Open Sleigh” event Sunday, Dec. 8 in the Sommer Place neighborhood off Koerner Road in Edwards. The event was a fundraiser for The Ronald McDonald House.Steel girders cast shadows against a wall as a tour group inspects the interior of the long-shuttered Illinois National Guard Armory on Tuesday, Dec. 10 in Peoria. Plans are in the works to turn the historic building into a sports venue.Paint peels from the walls of a room inside the Peoria Armory, pictured here on Dec. 10, 2019.Bradley’s Gabi Haack, left, and Jackson State’s Cherelle Jones struggle for a loose ball in the second half Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Renaissance Coliseum. The Braves defeated Jackson State 78-69.A sleepy Audreigh Nold, 3 months, of Pekin, gets some quality time with Santa Claus during the Salvation Army/Journal Star Red Stocking Party on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Peoria Civic Center.Bradley’s Ari Boya (1) snags a rebound from Maryville’s Chris White in the second half Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Peoria Civic Center. The Braves routed Maryville 91-58. Grace Jenkins, left, a sophomore at Washington Community High School, and Luke Kamienski, a sixth-grader at St. Patrick Catholic School in Washington, work from inside a pair of giant boxes to distribute bags of rice for Journal Star Christmas Fund food baskets Sunday, Dec. 15 at Midwest Food Bank in Peoria. Volunteers worked an assembly line filling hundreds of boxes with food items to be distributed Monday to those in need throughout the Peoria area. Bradley’s Ville Tahvanainen celebrates a three-pointer against Georgia Southern in the second half Sunday, Dec. 15 at Carver Arena. The Braves defeated Georgia Southern 81-51.Brimfield’s Ella Cagwin, left, and Eureka’s Elle Zimmerman battle for possession in the first half Monday, Dec. 16 in Eureka. Brimfield defeated the Hornets 75-44.Dozens of protestors gather Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the intersection of Main and University to voice their support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.Dozens of protestors gather Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the intersection of Main and University to voice their support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.Julie Evans, right, of Washington holds up a pro-impeachment sign as Trump supporter Seth Dixon voices his support through a megaphone during a rally Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the intersection of Main and University in Peoria.Richwoods freshman Lauryn Hudson, right, grapples with classmate Maggie Urich during wrestling practice Dec. 17 at Richwoods High School. The Knights 50-member wrestling roster includes 16 girls.Richwoods freshman Kyley Bair, left, wrestles with junior Mykel Ellis as the rest of the Knights wrestlers line the wall from lightweight to heavyweight for a takedown contest during practice Dec. 17 at Richwoods High School.Richwoods wrestlers watch as head coach Rob Penney demonstrates a move during practice Dec. 17 at Richwoods High School.Peoria’s Skyler Smutek waves to a child in the crowd after the Rivermen defeated Knoxville 2-1 Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Peoria Civic Center. Maddie Illyzzi, 5, of Peoria works on some menorah artwork on a plate during a Hannukah celebration Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Peoria Hebrew Day School in Peoria.Shakyra Parkman of Peoria hugs her niece Dontaya Bennett, 10, as she breaks down in tears after reading a note from her mother Starsha Parkman, currently incarcerated at the Peoria County Jail, during a Christmas party for children of inmates Monday, Dec. 23 at the jail. At far left, is nephew Deontaye Bennett, 8. State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and members of her Doers of the Deed celebration led an effort to collect toys for 17 children of five inmates. Doers of the Deed honors local women who are trying to make a difference in their community.Jon Young, center in vest, of Bloomington, and Angelyn Toncray of Peoria lead a lesson in West Coast swing dance Sunday, Dec. 29 at the Second Chance Church in Peoria. Bradley’s Ja’Shon Henry, top, and Ari Boya, right, stop a shot from Drake’s D.J. Wilkins late in the second half Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Peoria Civic Center. Bradley defeated Drake 80-72.Bradley’s Nate Kennell (25) battles for a rebound with Drake’s Liam Robbins in the second half Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Peoria Civic Center.Cecelia Ensor, 4, left, her twin sister Eloise, in the foreground, and her brother Henry, 2, of Peoria, share a close encounter with the New Year’s Eve ball after the PNC NYE Kids Countdown on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Peoria Civic Center.Bathed in blue stage light, a couple dances to the sounds of jazz trumpeter Todd Kelly and his quartet Tuesday, Dec. 31 during a New Orleans New Year’s Eve party at the Betty Jayne Brimmer Performing Arts Center in Peoria Heights.