Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Skeletal Remains Proved To Be Robert Bee

Sep 23, 2017

The skeletal remains found two months ago south of Pekin are that of missing teen Robert Bee. A statement released at 5:35 a.m. Saturday morning says the Illinois State Police Crime Lab made the conclusive identification Friday.

Bee, who would have turned 14 earlier this month has been missing since last November after school truant officers visited his home. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance and the exact details of when he disappeared remain murky.  

Peace Urged In The Wake Of Police Shooting

Sep 22, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County State’s Attorney is asking people to remain peaceful and reserve judgment on the police shooting Wednesday that resulted in the death of 25-year-old Eddie Russell Jr.


According to the Peoria County Coroner, the autopsy shows Russell was shot 18 times. Peoria Police confirm the evidence they found at the scene is consistent with 18 shots fired.


Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Marchers peacefully protested outside the Peoria Police Department today in response to the fatal shooting of Eddie Russell Junior. The 25-year-old was the suspect of an armed bank robbery Wednesday and was shot and killed after a standoff with police, a few hours later. 

The autopsy of Eddie Russell, Jr., who was shot and killed by Peoria Police Wed., confirmed he died of multiple gunshot wounds. The Peoria County Coroner reports Russell was shot 18 times.

That number is more than three times what the Peoria Police Chief reported in the hours immediately after the incident.

On Wed., before police fired at Russell, he emerged from his home and advanced toward officers with a raised gun. He was the suspect of an armed bank robbery earlier in the day.

Wikimedia Commons

Supporters of right to die legislation are hosting a public event in Peoria this weekend.

Having Faith for Breakfast in Peoria

Sep 22, 2017
Peoria Mayor's Prayer Breakfast 2017 / Facebook

More than 200 people turned out for the Peoria Mayor’s 43rd Annual Prayer Breakfast Thursday.


The so-called NFL-Farmer, Jason Brown was the speaker. He left professional football in 2012 after being signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2009 as the highest paid center in the NFL.


Brown started a 1,000-acre endeavor called First Fruits Farm where he and wife raise their family. It’s also a learning center for children. Most of the farm’s crops are donated to food pantries.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police shot and killed 25-year-old Eddie Russell Jr. Wednesday when he advanced toward officers with a gun.


Russell was the identified suspect in the armed robbery of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust on North Sterling just before 1:00 p.m. The robbery suspect had also fled in the direction of Russell’s family home.


Police spent the next two hours trying to make contact via telephone, bullhorn and opened the front door to have his mom try to make contact.


Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Nearly 700 new Americans and their supporters filled the Peoria Civic Center ballroom Wed. to take the Oath of Allegiance. It’s being called the region's largest naturalization ceremony.

Planning a New Natural Gas Pipeline for Pekin

Sep 20, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Ameren is in the planning process to install a new underground natural gas pipeline in Pekin. It’s being called the Pekin Reliability Enhancement Project or PREP.


The company is still finalizing the roughly 6.5-mile route it will propose to the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval to build.


The new 16-inch steel pipeline will replace the existing six-inch vintage steel natural gas pipeline that’s more than 80 years-olds.


Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A 31-foot tall bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was crane lifted from the back of a semi onto a concrete base, behind the Peoria Riverfront Museum, on Tues. A variety of spectators gathered on the museum terrace overlooking Water St. to watch the installation. 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell made his candidacy official Mon.

A group of business and community leaders in Peoria met with the Japanese Consul General Monday.

Consul General Naoki Ito was assigned to Chicago in February and vowed to pursue further economic opportunities for Japan in the Midwest.

La Favorita Opens in Peoria With Help from Family, DACA

Sep 18, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in Peoria says if it weren’t for the program, he wouldn’t have started his business.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A 768-pound pumpkin took home the gold during the weigh-in at the annual Pumpkin Festival in Morton.

City of Peoria

The Northmoor Road Project poses a new wrinkle for Peoria motorists starting today. Northmoor is closed at Rosemead Drive and the Exposition Gardens entrance. Peoria Public Works Director Scott Reeise says they’re closing the road to construct other underground utilities for a new signalized intersection.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A nonprofit human service agency in Peoria reintroduced a program that was previously suspended, due to the state budget impasse.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships the Nina and the Pinta are moored on Peoria Riverfront.

Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein To Step Down

Sep 14, 2017

Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein is stepping away from the position effective December 1st.

The Bradley University English Professor has served in the role for 14 years.  As state poet laureate, Stein offered nearly 250 presentations, poetry readings, school visits and judging activities. The Poetry Now project was one of his most notable endeavors. Stein presented his work at more than 5o libraries in Illinois and donated funds for the purchase of collections written by Illinois poets.

Mapleton Village Board Works Through Challenges

Sep 13, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A village board meeting in Mapleton last month included a public request for Mayor Carl Bishop’s resignation.

The letter, signed by five citizens may not seem like much. But it grows on the Village Board’s no-confidence vote. The tumultuous August board meeting also included six resignations and questions from the NAACP.

Council Discusses Consolidation of Peoria Township

Sep 13, 2017

A new state law sets guidelines for the dissolution or consolidation of townships. Peoria Township is entirely within the boundaries of the city of Peoria, and the city council sits as the township board of trustees. 

Jimcrone / Wikimedia Commons

Bradley University slid down a spot in the US News & World Reports' ranking of best regional colleges, but it still landed in the top ten.

Faced with trying to staff two huge, natural disasters, the Red Cross is trying to recruit more volunteers. And it's offering an accelerated training class, called "Just In Time," so more people can be ready to help as soon as possible.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons


In the past few decades, the sex industry has become easier to conceal, in part because of the internet. Back channels open pathways for anonymous transactions. Peoria Public Radio reports on one particular illicit business that's operating in many communities, including this one, in broad daylight.

City Council to Take up Portillo's Plan

Sep 11, 2017
Steven Lee / Flickr

The Peoria City Council Tuesday is expected to set in motion a process whereby a Portillo’s Restaurant will open next year in the city. Developer Willie Torchia has acquired the land at Sterling Avenue and Baumann Way, in front of the Westlake Shopping Center. He will spend about 700-thousand dollars to prepare the site and construct a building to lease to Portillo’s. He is asking the city to create a Special Service Area tax, where Portillo’s will add one additional percent to the tax rate on their sales. That money will reimburse Torchia for development costs.

Peoria Public High Schools were on lockdown this afternoon after reports of a gun at the career center. Students from the other three high schools come and go from Woodruff Career and Technical Center. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Heart of Illinois United Way has so far raised more than $1.4 million dollars in its annual campaign that kicked off Fri. 

Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The med-tech business incubator has helped launch or support more than 40 different entrepreneurial endeavors over the last decade.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

In response to President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a pastor in Peoria is urging his parishioners to keep the faith.  

Public Health Event Focuses on LGBTQ Youth

Sep 5, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

An advocacy group that promotes equal rights for gay and transgender people in Peoria is hosting a public health event this weekend, centered on children and teens.

Creative Commons

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Peoria police officers are renting a vacant building and launching a program for young boxers.