Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Bradley University is using tech to combat sexual assault and abuse.

The University announced Wed. it’s participating in an app that allows students to anonymously report incidents on and off campus.

BU says the app called “Reach Out” also encourages students to report situations of harassment and discrimination, including Title IV violations.

In addition to reporting incidents, Reach Out lists information about the medical, reporting, protection, and support options available both on campus and in the local community.

Early Voting in Full Swing in Peoria County

18 hours ago
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria County voters are casting votes by mail and early in person, more than any other election.

Election Commission says it expects nearly a third of voters will have already cast their votes by Election Day. As of Monday afternoon, a total of 3,000 Peoria County residents voted early in person. Commission Executive Director Tom Bride says he’s not surprised by the spike.

“Because it’s the first time we’ve really had it in a presidential election,” Bride said.

Business Group Urges City to Buy Water Company

Oct 26, 2016

The City of Peoria has the option to buy the water company every five years, with the next opportunity coming in 2019. Illinois-American Water Company currently provides the service.

Tanya Koonce

What has been known as Heartland Clinic is now Heartland Health Services and has a new heart shaped logo. They are also expanding the services offered.

Caterpillar’s third-quarter earnings report that came out Tuesday, comes with information that often doesn’t get much attention after the basic numbers. The company’s outlook includes preliminary financial considerations for 2017.

Peoria Family Seeks More Information

Oct 25, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A family grieving the death of a Peoria man shot last November is seeking more records detailing the incident. 29-year-old Desmun Underwood was killed in what police concluded was an attempted robbery where the shooter acted in self defense.

But mother Clara Underwood-Forman believes her son was murdered. She says reports from the Peoria County Coroner’s office about the location and number of bullet wounds don’t match photos taken of the body before the funeral.

Caterpillar Inc.'s third-quarter earnings are lower than this time last year, but earnings surpassed Wall Street expectations.

Cat reported its numbers before the opening bell today that show the company generated a net income of $651 million in the third quarter. That’s down $2 million from third quarter last year of $559 million. The company posted Q-3 earnings of 85 cents per share, which beat analyst estimates of 77 cents per share.

The Peoria Public School system is kicking off a family engagement pilot program this week.

Bob Hoffman is the consultant working with School District 150 to get more parents involved in their child’s school. Hoffman says the parent workshops, that start today, aim to give parents some tools to offer support and partnership in their community schools.

Plan Peoria

The City of Peoria is taking ideas on the future use of the land under the Riverfront Village Platform.

The 2.5 acre parcel of land is to become public space. It’s in the First District, represented by Councilwoman Denise Moore. She says Monday's public input session is an opportunity for people to say what they would like to see in the space.  


Civic Philanthropist and Former Caterpillar CEO Glen Barton has died. Barton retired as CEO of Caterpillar in 2004 after 43 years with the company.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A new converted residential space is opening its doors for potential tenants in Peoria’s Warehouse District. The Winkler Loft building was built in the 1926 to house Roszell’s Dairy. It later became home to Winkler Meats, which operated in the building until last year. 

The industrial building stayed in the family and is now being marketed as a 28-unit urban loft complex, with with 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. 

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis praised the development during a ribbon cutting ceremony Mon.

Peoria Police Offer Drop-off Site for Medicines

Oct 22, 2016

Peoria Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are offering people an opportunity to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances as well as over the counter medications for destruction. 

The Peoria Public Library main branch kicks off a community information and troubleshooting effort Saturday on the matter of opiate and heroin abuse.

Sherwood CC / Flickr

Home sales in the Peoria area were down more than 10-percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago.  Jana Heffron is the newly installed president of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says it’s not unusual for us to see a seasonal slowdown. But the average home sale price is also down three-point-eight percent. Houses sold in July, August and September spent an average of 78 days on the market, the same as a year ago.

Inaugural CityFest to Enliven Warehouse District

Oct 21, 2016
City of Peoria

After much work, comes a day of play for the City of Peoria. 

The city is putting on a block party in the Warehouse District Sat., called CityFest. The free event will provide entertainment along with an educational component. It’s being held on Adams St., the block between Pecan and Persimmon St., where the city recently completed green infrastructure upgrades, in response to the combined sewer overflow issue. 

The inaugural event will feature live music, craft beer and food trucks. City Fest is free and open to the public. 

If you go:

Fairview Firefighter and Soldier Killed in Kabul

Oct 21, 2016

Fairview firefighter and Army Sergeant Douglas Riney has died in Kabul, Afghanistan supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Democratic congresswoman and candidate for senate, Tammy Duckworth, made a campaign stop in East Peoria pitching her ideas for improving the nation’s roads and infrastructure Thurs.

“I really see it as an investment that will bring jobs here, it’s not just about the federal government spending money that then disappears,” Duckworth said. “It actually goes into the local economy.”

Duckworth says if she wins the Senate race, she will work across the aisle on a bipartisan agreement to fund infrastructure.

Pekin is close to selecting a new city manager.  

Mayor John McCabe says the city is negotiating terms with the candidate the council approved. Council members interviewed five of the 11 people selected by the city’s search firm, GovHR.

All of the candidates the council interviewed hold master’s degrees and have worked in municipal government.

City officials are not yet releasing the name of the person they are talking with. But they say negotiations are ongoing, and they hope to have the new city manager on board starting December first.

Detective Mike Eeten / Pekin Police Department

The Pekin Police Department is calling its effort to battle back against opioid overdose a success, at least this time. Pekin Police Tuesday responded to a call where a 33-year-old unresponsive female was turning blue with an abnormal breathing pattern. The responding officer administered Narcan. Police say it was a life saving measure.

Expo Focuses on 8th Graders, Future of Manufacturing

Oct 18, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The gymnasium at Woodruff Career and Technical Center buzzed with the sounds of robots, drones and welding machines Tues. 

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council brought together local employers and organizations from the manufacturing sector for an expo catered to eighth graders in Peoria County.

The Peoria Public School Board Building Committee is taking proposals for the future of Peoria Stadium.

The Committee laid out its planned time line in a scheduled meeting Mon.

School Board and Committee Member Dan Adler says the pace is fairly swift. The deadline for proposals on the future uses of the Stadium are due by November 10th. Adler says the committee will sort and evaluate the proposals with the idea of choosing the best one or more to present in a public meeting.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Friends of Peoria County Schools offered its first public forum last night at the Carver Center.

The two contenders for president aren’t the only candidates facing off in a televised debate this week.

On Monday, the two candidates competing for Illinois' 18th district seat are set to debate in Springfield.

The sole debate between US Representative Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) and Democratic challenger Junius Rodriguez is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm.


The televised debate at the State Journal Register will be streamed live on  



Caterpillar’s CEO is stepping down after more than four decades with the Fortune 500 company.

On Monday, Caterpillar announced CEO Doug Oberhelman is retiring. Oberhelman, who was appointed CEO in 2010, will remain the executive chairman until March 31. 

Cat says the board selected Jim Umpleby, the current group president of Responsibility for Energy and Transportation, to succeed Oberhelman. Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, will become CEO effective January 1.

Historic Bakery Gets Historic (New) Address

Oct 14, 2016
Trefzger's Bakery / Facebook

Trefzger’s Bakery opened in it’s new home yesterday. The official ribbon cutting on the historic bakery’s move to a refurbished old factory building is this morning at 8:30. Trefzger’s uses about 450 pounds of butter cream every day to trim the cakes and ice the cookies. With that large volume, co-owner Jeff Huebner says it was time for Trefzger’s Bakery to move to the larger building in Peoria Heights.


Bustos Urges Bipartisan Politics in Illinois

Oct 12, 2016

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos wants her fellow lawmakers to forget the contentious electoral environment and begin reaching across the political aisle when the new congress convenes next year.

Tanya Koonce

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he is still hopeful about passing the measure to change the federal funding formula used after a disaster.  Kirk made his comments in Washington today, nearly three years after the EF-4 tornado struck Tazewell County. FEMA denied funding to the town.

Home Health Care Providers Fight Overtime Cap

Oct 12, 2016

Home care providers are pushing back against a proposed cap on overtime. The Illinois Department of Human Services set a limit of 40 hours a week for personal assistants caring the severely ill or developmentally disabled last year. The state later temporarily rescinded the cap.

Despite the continued down global market conditions Caterpillar is maintaining its quarterly dividend of 77 cents per share for those on record as of October 24th.

Peoria Teachers Get Two Year Contract

Oct 12, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Board of Education for Peoria Public Schools voted Tuesday night to approve a new two-year contract with its teachers union. Teachers had overwhelmingly voted for approval Monday evening. The pact calls for a two-percent salary increase in each of the two years. That will add about two-million dollars annually to the school district’s budget.