Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Pekin Worker Killed In Accident At Processing Plant

48 minutes ago

A worker was killed in Pekin Monday after he became trapped in a corn dryer at a processing plant.  Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten says a piece of metal fell on the man as he walked through the Illinois Corn Processing plant. He says rescue crews were trying to take the dryer apart to free the man when part of the dryer collapsed on him:

Police in Pekin say a man is dead after he became trapped in a corn dryer at a processing plant.  Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten says a piece of metal fell on the unidentified man as he walked through the Illinois Corn Processing plant and trapped him sometime before 11 a.m. today.

District 150 looks to parents for leadership, feedback

8 hours ago
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public School officials are hoping to strengthen ties with parents, as the district works toward finalizing a long-term strategic plan. 

District 150 board members  meet with the Parent-Teacher Organization at Glen Oak Community Learning Center at 5:30pm tonight. 

Peoria Looking At Business Incentive Guidelines

12 hours ago

The City of Peoria is continuing to re-evaluate incentives used to entice business investment.  It already has incentives on the books, including TIF rebates, revolving loan funds, and enterprise zones.   Assistant City Manager Chris Setti says staff are looking at guidelines to qualify for incentives, like how many jobs are created and the size of the investment:

Associated Press

Attorneys for former Illinois congressman Aaron Schock say they have reached an agreement with federal prosecutors on documents currently under review by a federal judge.

A Look At Peoria's Annual Christmas kick-off events

Nov 27, 2015
Peoria Area Community Events Santa Claus Parade

The 128th Annual Santa Claus Parade kicks off at 10:15 this morning at the Central Fire Station on Monroe Street in downtown Peoria. It’s the longest continuously running holiday parade in the U-S. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says the annual tradition is a large draw for the city:

Peoria’s October Unemployment Rate Rises

Nov 25, 2015

The unemployment rate rose in the Peoria area last month compared to the same time in 2014. The Illinois Department of Employment Security is reporting an unemployment rate of six-point-six-percent in October for the Peoria area. That’s nearly one-percent higher than the rate last month. The Peoria metro area lost 1,800 jobs year-over-year.

Amid Busy Travel, Area Law Enforcement Urge Caution

Nov 24, 2015

Area law enforcement agencies are urging motorists to drive safe during one of the heaviest travel periods of the year. They say drivers should always buckle-up, put away their cellphones, and never drink and drive.  Wednesday night is also one of the biggest party nights of the year. Illinois State Police Trooper Ross Green says people drinking should have a strategy before hitting the road:

The Peoria City Council is set to take up proposed tax hikes next month for next year’s budget.  The deadline to approve spending plan is drawing closer.

Peoria's School District 150 is increasingly diverse. It also faces challenges when it comes to college and career readiness.

That's the picture painted by the latest Report Card data from the Illinois State Board of Education.

The analysis shows District 150 is the most racially and ethnically diverse school district in Peoria County.

In 2015, black students make up more than half of the district’s population. Nearly ten percent identify as Hispanic. 

Uber launches in Peoria, ahead of holidays

Nov 24, 2015
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria residents now have an alternative to traditional taxi services. The low-cost, ride sharing company Uber launched in Peoria Tuesday morning.

Its service uber-X offers rides at a base fare of $2, plus 20 cents per minute, and $1.65 per mile. For example, the company says, a ride from Bradley Campus to Carver Arena would cost between six-to-eight bucks. 

Peoria is the seventh Illinois city to add the service. The popular ride share company is already operating in Chicago, Aurora, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Rockford, and Springfield.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Property owners living within the Peoria School District 150 will see a higher 2015 property tax bill.

The School board approved a $71 million tax levy request during its meeting Monday night. It’s about three percent more than last year’s request of $69 million.

The move comes in anticipation of Senate Bill 318 that would freeze property taxes. Interim Financial Officer Erik Bush says the levy hinges on projections that property values will rise about 2 percent.

Spain Files Paperwork For IL House Seat

Nov 23, 2015

Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain Monday filed his nominating petitions to seek the Republican nomination for the 73rd state House seat.  Longtime incumbent David Leitch announced he will retire late next year and is supporting Spain as his successor.  Spain says he turned in 1,200 signatures to get on the ballot, which is more than twice the legal requirement. 

ICC Interim President Resigning

Nov 23, 2015

The interim president for Illinois Central College is resigning.  Dr. William Tammone is leaving ICC at the end of the year to take a new job in Colorado.  Tammone spent six years at ICC at vice president of Academic Affairs and Provost.  He also helped launch the school’s first applied science degree program in secure software development.  The ICC Board of Trustees hopes to name a new interim before January 1st.  A search for a permanent president is already underway.  

Peoria Encourages Shop Local Effort

Nov 23, 2015

Peoria City, County and business owners are asking residents to shop local this Thanksgiving season.  The push to shop local comes as Peoria sales tax revenues struggle to grow, in-part because of online or nearby big-box stories.  Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Griffin says Peoria isn’t unique to the challenge:

pjohnkeane / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria County will have ten fewer polling locations, beginning with the March primary elections.

The Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners approved the updated list of polling locations during its last meeting on Nov. 17. But Executive Director Thomas Bride says even with fewer polling places, he doesn’t anticipate longer wait times.

“We’re always looking at the number of voters that would be using a polling place and make sure we have enough room for the equipment, for the voters,” Bride said. 

ICC Adding Security After Discovering Message

Nov 19, 2015

Illinois Central College is boosting its security after discovering an anonymous message.  Officials say the message is vague, but gives the school enough reason to heighten security measures with campus police and other law enforcement.  The college will be open Friday for business as usual.  People are encouraged to report suspicious behavior to Campus Police.

Caterpillar is considering whether to move production of mining and construction equipment out of its East Peoria campus.  The move would impact about 230 office and production jobs if finalized early next year.  But Cat officials say more reductions would have been needed if an early retirement offer wasn’t issued.  Henry Vicary is Cat’s Director of Community Relations and Guest Services. He says roughly 12-hundred Peoria-area Cat employees took the company’s early retirement program:

City Council Picks Replacement For Vacant Seat

Nov 19, 2015

The Peoria City Council is set to appoint a new member next week. The Council will vote to appoint Sid Paul Ruckriegel to the At-Large seat vacated by Chuck Weaver.  Ruckriegel would join the council before it votes on next year’s budget.  To that end, he says one priority is to incorporate thoughts from residents into the spending plan:

The Peoria City Council deferred voting on the 2016 budget to a meeting early next month.  The main issue is road funding:

Peoria Park District Board OKs 2016 Budget

Nov 18, 2015

The Peoria Park District Board gave final approval to it’s 2016 spending plan Wednesday night.  The budget includes some part-time layoffs and closing some growing houses at Luthy Botanical Garden.  The balanced budget filled an initially-projected 255-thousand-dollar-deficit for the Park District.  The Board is also consolidating office space and staff by closing a former state facility.  Park District Officials say that last year saw more drastic cuts, including closing Donovan Golf Course and privatizing a swim team to save money.

The first regularly scheduled food truck is set to debut Friday in Peoria’s Warehouse District.  Rhodell Brewery and Murray Place Development agreed to allow a Meat N place food truck to serve the brew pub every Friday from 4 PM to 8 PM.  Building owner Brian Murray says the food selections will complement the craft beers at Rhodell’s, and allow both to boost their business.  The move comes as the Murray Building has plans to eventually house new retail, commercial and residential space.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The committee set up to discover ways to reduce storm water runoff in Peoria held its last meeting of the year Wed. to present its findings and recommendations. But OneWater’s conversations are far from over.

OneWater’s proposed plan to pay for improvements to the city’s aging drainage infrastructure includes a fee based on a property’s impervious area, or non-absorbent surface, like black top.

The proposed monthly fee is $5 per 1,000 square feet. The committee cited examples -- like a car dealership with 106,988.9 square feet of impervious area would pay $535 monthly.  

The Peoria City Council will vote on property and motor fuel tax hikes Thursday night, among other increases.  It's part of a plan to put more than $5 million in new revenue for roads:

A central Illinois mayor is apologizing for taking part in a student video depicting a bank robbery and shootout that was recorded inside the village hall. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Homeowners will see a spike in their property taxes, if the Peoria School District 150 board approves a tax levy next week.

The board approved several measures during a special meeting Monday night in preparation for Senate Bill 318. The bill would freeze how much how much school districts and other governing bodies can levy for two years.

The bulk of District 150’s local revenue relies on the real estate market. Interim Chief Financial Officer Erik Bush says with the anticipated growth of the housing market, the tax levy is linked to increasing property values.

Bradley University students are teaming up with community groups to help bring down Peoria’s high rates of sexually-transmitted-infections and teen births.  One business is also playing a unique role in the effort:

Peoria Civic Center’s interim general manager is now in the permanent position.  Anne Clayton was the Civic Center’s Finance Director when she was appointed to the interim manager role in May.  The move follows a national search to find a  permanent replacement for Jim Wetherington, who stepped down after 25 years with the Civic Center.

Four Finalists For Vacant Peoria City Council Seat

Nov 13, 2015

The Peoria City Council has narrowed down the list of candidates to fill a vacant-At-Large seat to four people.  Zachary Oyler received the most council votes of support, followed by Sid Paul Ruckriegel.  Both Thomas Fliege and Rita Ali tied for third.  The Council is expected to pick the final candidate by a consensus vote next Tuesday.  That candidate would still need another council vote either in late November or early next month.

The Peoria City Council wants to explore ways to put more money toward road maintenance.