Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum is departing after nearly three years at the helm. Sam Gappmayer is leaving to be the director of John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He arrived at Peoria Riverfront Museum just after it had reported a deficit and lower than expected attendance numbers in its first year of operation.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Friends of Peoria County Schools launched its 'Vote Yes’ Campaign at Richwoods High School Thursday. Many of the 18 school districts within Peoria County were represented, along with State Senator Dave Koehler and the Regional Superintendent of Schools.

Andrea Tortora is managing the ‘Vote Yes’ Campaign. She says the 1/2-percent sales tax is needed in the face of underfunded state aid.

Voters to Decide on Peoria County Roads

1 hour ago
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria County voters will have two sales tax questions to consider on the November ballot. The Peoria County Schools Facility 1/2-percent sales tax question is getting another go and there’s a referendum seeking an additional 1/4-percent sales tax increase for roads.

  Peoria County kicked off a series of town hall meeting last night on its referendum requesting voters approve a 1/4-percent sales tax for roads.


Three Shot in Adams Street Bar

14 hours ago
Peoria Police Department

The Peoria Police Department is asking assistance in finding the people suspected in a shooting last night about 10:20 at  Kareena’s on S.W.Adams Street. Three people were shot, all with non-life threatening injuries.

Groundbreaking to Salute Fallen Soldiers

21 hours ago

Those who've worked to see the final addition to the veterans war memorial at the Peoria Courthouse Plaza are celebrating the pending construction this weekend.  

The proposed memorial called “Final Salute” is dedicated to soldiers from Peoria County who’ve served in the US military from World War II to present day. The total cost is estimated to top $400,000. Most of the funds are from private and corporate donors. Peoria County is committing $125,000 to the project. 

@TomDaschle / Twitter

The Former Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader is speaking at Bradley University Monday. Tom Daschle is speaking​ about his co-authored book “Crisis Point.” He wrote it with former Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

xtopalopaquetl / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Police say an arrest warrant for a first-degree murder charge has been issued for an 18-year-old man in the deadly shooting at a party on the University of Illinois campus.

Police said Wednesday that they're looking for Robbie Patton, of Champaign, and believe he's still in the area. 

 The early Sunday shooting came during at a fight at an apartment in the campus' main commercial district. George Korchev, a 22-year-old from Mundelein, was killed and three others were wounded. None of the victims was involved in the altercation. 

South Main Street in Washington Closed For Emergency Repairs

Sep 28, 2016
City of Washington

South Main Street in Washington is closed between Holland and Burton Streets for emergency repairs to the sanitary sewer. No service disruption is expected during the repair window. The roadway is expected to reopen Thursday evening. 

A detour route for both north and south bound traffic is Burton Street, Market Street, and W. Holland Street. Only local traffic will be allowed on Catherine Street and E. Holland Street west of S. High Street until further notice.  

Bradley University

The Illinois Women Artists Project has a new administrative home at Bradley University. The project was founded, and previously operated independently by, Channy Lyons. Lyons is also the producer of the Peoria’s Hidden Treasures series on WCBU.

Lutheran Hillside Village Campus is Growing

Sep 27, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Lutheran Senior Services is expanding at Lutheran Hillside Village. The continuing-care retirement community on Galena Road has two new additions. One new building has 24 beds for short-term rehabilitation and the campus also has 24 new assisted living apartments.

Peoria City Council Eyes New Subdivision Standards

Sep 27, 2016

The Peoria City Council got its first look Tuesday at proposed changes in road standards for new subdivisions.

The Peoria Public School Board approved a $179 million operating budget for this academic year. The District 150 spending plan factors in a $4.4 million operating deficit.

The deficit gap is an improvement from initial budget estimates, due to a slight increases in state funding.

Superintendent Sharon Kherat says they continue to cut where they can.

Tanya Koonce

Obed & Isaac’s Restaurant and Microbrewery is open for business in the Cornerstone Building in Downtown Peoria. Governor Bruce Rauner as well as other state and local elected officials and business people attended the ribbon cutting celebrating the new life of the 127-year-old structure.

Helge V. Keitel / Flickr/Creative Commons

The annual Community Health Needs Assessment published this week shows the tri-county region’s top areas of concern are healthy behaviors and mental health. The joint assessment between UnityPoint and OSF HealthCare includes three-year implementation plans to address the public health concerns raised by the study.  

Heidelberg Hearing Takes a Turn

Sep 22, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A startling turn of events stirred an emotional scene in what was expected to be a pretty mundane hearing in Peoria County Court Thurs. Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington reports on 73-year-old Cleve Heidelberg’s efforts to be exonerated after nearly half a century in prison.

Peoria County

A 49 year-old Peoria man has been declared a Sexually Violent Person, or SVP. Kirk Burks was already a registered sex offender.


He was convicted in 2008 of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse against 18 and 15 year old women. Burks was also convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1992 against three girls, 13 years old and younger.

Caterpillar Launches New Consumer Product Line

Sep 22, 2016

The world’s largest heavy equipment maker is scaling down a little for its latest product line.


The Caterpillar RP Series of portable generators are the first products released under the company’s new venture called Cat Home & Outdoor Power. It’s the first time Caterpillar is making consumer grade equipment.   


Bradley University

The headstones of Lydia Moss Bradley and her father Zeally Moss received honorary markers yesterday from the Daughters of the American Revolution. The family burial site and headstones in Springdale Cemetery now have permanently affixed markers recognizing Zeally Moss as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and Lydia Moss Bradley’s headstone as a Real Daughter. The Real Daughter designation identifies those whose fathers were soldiers. Zeally Moss saw the surrender of Cornwallis in the Revolutionary War.

AP Photo

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is headlining a campaign fundraising event in Peoria next week.

An invitation obtained by Peoria Public Radio says the 34-year-old businesswoman will meet constituents during a luncheon Wed. in an undisclosed location. The invite says the location will be released to those who register for the minimum $500 per person luncheon.

Considering the Future of Peoria Stadium

Sep 21, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

About 100 people attended the meeting on the future of Peoria Stadium last night. It started with a self-guided tour which was an opportunity to see the 100 year old stadium and 80 year old track.

  During the meeting Peoria District 150 administration made it clear, the idea of repurposing of the property to a commercial big-box store was no longer a consideration, because it was unacceptable to the community.

Microbrewery On Tap to Open Sept. 26

Sep 20, 2016
Google Maps

A Springfield-based restaurant and craft brewery is opening its second location in Peoria next week. Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery announced it's set to open Mon., with a ceremony that includes comments from Mayor Jim Ardis and Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Obed & Isaac's first location is just a few blocks away from the Governor's Mansion in the capital city. A spokesperson for the parent company, Conn's Hospitality Group, says Gov. Rauner is a regular, and he typically orders the brewery’s black IPA.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Several Hispanic groups gathered at churches and community centers in Peoria for Fiestas Patrias last weekend. The celebrations link together several Latin American countries, including Mexico, Chile and Guatemala, that celebrate their independence in September. 

Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington visited one of the parties gathering at the East Bluff Community Center, where much of the focus was on the next generation:

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr/Creative Commons

A public health researcher in Illinois is a leading voice in a growing national conversation about tightening regulations on chemicals found in household products. 

Gail Prins teaches urology, physiology and pathology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. Prins says research and knowledge about harmful chemicals are well documented, but policy prohibiting the use of certain substances is lacking.

Annual Founder's Day Ceremony Centers On Public Service

Sep 16, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Legacy and diversity were the major themes heralded during the Founder’s Day Ceremony at Bradley University Fri.

The annual event celebrates the revolutionary contributions of the school’s founder and namesake, Lydia Moss Bradley, in the year of her 200th birthday.

This year's commemoration was Gary Roberts’ first time as university president. He told the crowd seated at the Dingledine Music Center auditorium that Bradley’s best days are still ahead. Roberts cited higher enrollment and increased diversity in this year’s freshman class.

Caterpillar Restructuring Job Elimination Continues

Sep 15, 2016

  More salaried and management Caterpillar employees were walked off the job in East Peoria and Aurora Thursday.

OSF CEO To Retire in 2017

Sep 15, 2016

The Chief Executive Officer of OSF Healthcare System is retiring at the end of next year. Kevin Schoeplein started with the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in 1978. He became CEO of OSF Healthcare System in 2011 and holds numerous state and national health care board positions.


UnityPoint Health is preparing to make a multi-million dollar addition next year to enhance its behavioral healthcare services. The facilities upgrades are to focus on enhancing its Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center, and create specialized care units for adults and seniors.  


The No Joke Project

A nationally-known Christian author is producing a book and documentary called “The No Joke Project” that centers on the friendship between an Imam, Rabbi and Evangelical Pastor in Peoria.

Jim Henderson, who’s also an Evangelical pastor, has been featured in national media, including the Wall Sreet Journal and This American Life, for his efforts to befriend, rather than convert, “non-believers.”

Henderson told Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington that’s one reason why he felt compelled to document the story playing out in Peoria:

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Democratic candidate for the 18th district congressional district seat is giving his opponent 48 hours to “take a cue from Abraham Lincoln” and agree to debate. 

Eureka College professor Junius Rodriguez is running against the incumbent GOP Congressman Darin LaHood. Rodriguez says LaHood has denied requests to debate ahead of the November primary. Rodriguez made the call standing next to the statue of Lincoln outside Peoria’s courthouse.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The teacher shortage in Peoria District 150 meant the end of the contemporary school at Woodruff Career and Technical Center. It was one of three programs housed there.