Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Peoria City Council To Fill Upcoming Vacancy

Oct 5, 2015

The Peoria City Council will soon have a vacancy.  At-Large Councilman Chuck Weaver will leave the post to fill a vacant term in the state senate.  City Attorney Don Leist says the council will have 60 days from Weaver’s resignation to pick a new councilmember.  He says the Council will likely issue a general notice and accept applications from those who are interested in the seat.  Whoever fills the seat will serve until the election in the Spring of 2017, according to state municipal code.  

182nd Airlift Wing Unveils New Training Simulator

Oct 5, 2015

A new simulator at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria aims to better prepare soldiers for battle.  The technology also saves money:

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois got a significant boost in its fundraising for the expansion of a veteran’s home today.

CEFCU wrote a $50,000 check to go toward the General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans that’s expected to cost $550,000. 

CEO Patty Fuchs says the five-bedroom facility is a transitional housing unit that also offers transportation, meals and clothing for veterans seeking employment.

Chuck Weaver Picked To Fill Vacant State Senate Seat

Oct 4, 2015

At-Large Peoria City Councilman Chuck Weaver is replacing Darin LaHood in the state senate.  A selection committee picked Weaver to fill the vacant 37th District senate seat after LaHood won election to Congress last month.  Weaver was one of 10 applicants for the appointment. He’s served on the Peoria City Council for more than four years.   

OSF, IPMR Celebrate Affiliation

Oct 1, 2015
UK in Israel / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Jewish Federation of Peoria is inviting children and their families to put their architect skills to work today.

The Federation is hosting a sukkah-building activity at the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum.

Sukkahs are huts that serve as a reminder of the ramshackle dwellings the Israelites lived in after fleeing slavery in Egypt. The tradition of building Sukkahs is part of Sukkot, the Jewish holiday that celebrates fall harvest. This year, Sukkot falls on Sept. 27 and ends on Oct. 4.  

If you go:

Admission: free

Ameren Offers Assistance to Peoria Residents

Sep 30, 2015
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Ameren Illinois provided an energy assistance workshop at Carver Center Wednesday. People who meet income eligibility guidelines were able to get up to $100 in energy assistance. They also received home energy efficiency kits. 

I Bird 2 / Flickr/Creative Commons

A descendant of a previous owner of the Dickson Mounds property is hoping his familial ties will help keep it open.

Dickson Mounds State Museum,  along with other historical sites and museums in Illinois, is closing due to the state budget stalemate.

Pekin School Gets Blue Ribbon Recognition

Sep 29, 2015

Residents Share Input On Proposed Regional Bike Plan

Sep 29, 2015
Alex Rusciano / Peoria Public Radio

County touts expansion of access to spending data online

Sep 29, 2015
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria County unveiled a new online portal that opens its financial data to the public. All County spending is public information, but the website bypasses the time and paperwork required to file Freedom of Information Act requests. 

“They have nothing to do except sit down at their desk in their bedroom at night completely anonymous, and they can find out what they want to find out,” County Auditor Carol VanWinkle said.


The portal comes from the online platform Open Government. 

Ride Pricing Changes Approved For CityLink

Sep 28, 2015
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public Schools board unanimously approved a budget and a revised purchasing policy during last night’s meeting. But the board’s key authority on both of these financial actions is leaving. 

CFO Mark Wilcockson’s resignation takes effect Friday. But Wilcockson says some of his influence will still be seen in next year’s budget process:

“I call it managing from the grave," Wilcockson said. " I won’t be here, but we’ve set up a calendar that basically starts next month, to start working we’ll have budget decisions by March of 2016.”

Tanya Koonce

Construction at a major Interstate 74 junction has given Tazewell County a windfall: $1.2 million over three years. County Administrator Wendy Ferrill says the revenue from 4,600 tickets for speeding and using cellphones in a work zone softens the blow of the state budget standoff. Tickets for speeding went from eight per month in 2012 to 74 per month in 2013, and 129 per month last year.

The Peoria Public School board has a final draft of its updated spending policy on Monday’s consent agenda. 

The changes aim to closely monitor district spending and require a system of approval before making purchases. Cloyd says the proposed rules are a response to a recent purchase of Microsoft Office software that cost the district nearly a quarter of a million dollars. That purchase didn’t require board approval. If approved, Cloyd hopes to have the policy take effect October 1.

Considering Options For The Peoria Boat Club

Sep 28, 2015

The future of a decades-old boat club in Peoria remains uncertain as the River Trails Apartment project moves forward.  The project would force the Peoria Boat Club to relocate part of its operation:

Peoria Installing Meters On Reverse-Angle Parking

Sep 28, 2015

Founder's Day ceremony highlights university achievement

Sep 25, 2015
Duane Zehr / Bradley University

Bradley University hosted its 119th Founder’s Day convocation honoring the school’s namesake, Lydia Moss-Bradley. 

Interim-President Stanley R. Liberty welcomed guests, which included current students, faculty and alumni.

Trustee Dave Bozeman gave the official remarks, addressing the university founder, as if she were alive and present. Bozeman praised Bradley officials for taking the time to evaluate candidates in the search for a new university President:

“Their commitment to Bradley during this time of transition is key to the future success of our university.”

BU rolls out new student engagement platform

Sep 25, 2015

Bradley University is offering a new social engagement platform for prospective students to interact with the school in a personalized way. inside BU is a web portal geared to give those interested in attending Bradley a unique window to the school’s offerings through handheld electronic devices. Tom Richmond manages enrollment marketing for Bradley. He says it a matter of communicating in a way natural to today’s 17-year-old.

The longtime executive director of the Peoria Public Building Commission is retiring December 1st. The members of the commission are talking about the future needs of the organization and what the position might call for when they hire a new chief.

Ardis Interested In Exploring Another Term As Mayor

Sep 24, 2015
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha Thursday. The annual feast of sacrifice honors the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son. At the Islamic Center in Peoria, the sermon’s theme was on hardships that Muslims face today. 

Imam Kamil Mufti’s message was direct: Islamophobia continues to plague the Muslim community. Mufti mentioned recent events, like a question posed to Donald Trump on how to rid the country of Muslims -- to which Trump responded, that he’s looking into it.   

Peoria Public Radio

On Thursday, Caterpillar announced plans for significant cost reductions and restructuring. 

Because Peoria is our global headquarters and we have the largest concentration of employees in Illinois, the impact here will be significant. Peoria has been Caterpillar’s home for 90 years and we know this is especially difficult and hard for our local employees, families and communities.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Historical Society has discovered what a curator is calling its “largest acquisition of historical material.” It includes paintings, letters and diaries. The collection is now part of the Pettengill-Morron House Museum that was one of the first homes in Peoria, dating to the mid 1800s.

The documents could help verify the house’s link to the underground railroad.

Moses Pettengill and his wife Lucy were outspoken abolitionists. And for that reason, historians have speculated that the Pettengill-Morron home was a stop on the underground railroad.