Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Anti-Violence Rally Draws on Human Relationships

Jul 22, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A youth-organized anti-violence event on the Peoria Riverfront today gathered about 100 people. The event was organized by a group consisting largely of 16, 17 and 18-year-old Richwoods High School students and college Freshmen calling themselves the Coalition of Young Minds.

City of Peoria

Peoria Public Works Director Mike Rogers is leaving Peoria to take a new position in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Rogers will fill a newly-created position of Transportation Director. His last day in Peoria is August 26th.

In a statement, Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich thanked Rogers for his years of service. Rogers has served as Public WorkS Director since 2013.  A replacement has not yet been named.

Illinois Central College is getting a $1.2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The money will pay for a new program in collaboration with Peoria District 150. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger is introducing a new online portal to help taxpayers follow the money.

The website combines information from the Comptroller's accounting system with information collected by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Munger says the new Openbook portal allows anyone to look up the state’s contractors and see if they or their employees have contributed to a political campaign.

Peoria Public Radio

CHICAGO  - The term of the federal grand jury that heard evidence for more than a year on possible spending violations by ex-Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock has expired. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Officials from Illinois Office of Tourism stopped in Peoria to introduce its new marketing campaign that features local glass maker Hiram Toraason. 

Toraason makes and sells his glass wares out of a rehabbed 1930s machine shop on Evans St. The short video shows Toraason forming colored molten glass into whimsical sculptures and vases, while his voiceover narrates his passion for the craft.  

Illinois Tourism Director Cory Jobe says the idea was inspired by  trends shaping the tourism industry, primarily driven by millennials.

An attempt to change Illinois’ redistricting process has been found unconstitutional.

The so-called Independent Maps proposal would have asked voters to change the state constitution — so instead of legislators drawing House and Senate districts, that work would be done by an special commission.

Illinois has strict limits on changing the constitution by referendum, and a Cook County judge ruled that the remap proposal did not meet the requirements.

Independent Maps spokesman Jim Bray says the group will appeal.

The Mayor’s Community Coalition Against Heroin in Peoria hosted the first of two public forums Tuesday night. The civic and law enforcement team that initiated Peoria’ Don’t Shoot Program is expanding its focus to what is being called a national heroin epidemic.

C-SPAN Features Peoria's History

Jul 20, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

C-SPAN’s ‘2016 Cities Tour’ celebrated its Peoria-feature work  at City Hall Tuesday. The team of three C-SPAN producers are gathering interviews.

Web Tool Aims to Streamline Government Permitting for Biz

Jul 19, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria-based web startup DevBright launched an online tool last week that aims to streamline government permitting. The City of Peoria is expected to implement the software next month and other cities are expected to follow.

The e-permitting software GovPermit puts paperwork, like liquor licenses and building permits, online. It also offers those applications in different languages, for non-native English speakers.

Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County State’s Attorney is denying claims that his office has a conflict of interest that taints his ability to rule on a 1970 murder case.

Attorneys representing Cleve Heidleberg filed an amended petition earlier this month requesting a special prosecutor.

They allege in the filing that State’s Attorney Jerry Brady is too closely affiliated with the prosecutor that led the conviction against Heidelberg.

US Rep LaHood Takes to the Road in his District

Jul 18, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Congressman Darin LaHood kicked-off the first weekday of his Summer break with a business roundtable at the East Peoria Chamber of Commerce. About two-dozen area business leaders participated in the lunch meeting.

Peoria Gets a C-SPAN Close-Up

Jul 18, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A team from C-SPAN’s ‘2016 Cities Tour’ is in Peoria this week gathering interviews and video for BookTV and American History TV.

Information to Manage the Heat

Jul 18, 2016

The end of the week forecast is calling for it to be excessively hot, if not dangerously so. That has some municipalities offering cooling centers and the National Weather Service, the Illinois Department of  Health and Human Serves and IDOT offering caution:   

Tanya Koonce

The Tremont and Tazewell County community turned out today for the highway dedication ceremony that now honors Deputy Craig Whisenand. Whisenand died en route to a call last August 11th. The road dedication ceremony included Whisenand’s family, state and local representatives as well as other police agencies from around the state and riders with Concerns of Police Survivors - Cycle Across Illinois.

Joe Gratz / Flickr/Creative Commons

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria police officer has been found guilty of possession of child pornography.

Jurors took about three hours Thursday to convict 35-year-old John McCavitt of 15 counts of possession of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 25 and could be sent to prison for at least three years.

Second Quarter Peoria Homes Sales Up

Jul 14, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors reports homes sales are up 2.2% for the year at the end of the second quarter.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


If you were driving on SW Adams in Peoria during Wednesday's rainstorm, you may have noticed a number of motorcycles, and people holding American Flags in front of the Peoria Police Department.

Mike Egan is with the Patriot Guard. He says the group, mostly made of veterans, thought the flagline was in order. “The law enforcement community lost five officers last week in Dallas. But officers give their lives, work hard on the job every day. We just felt it was time for those of us who support law enforcement to show our respect.”  

Subconsci Productions / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria residents who identify as transgender will have more local options for health services, like hormone therapy.

Planned Parenthood announced Wed. its centers in Peoria and Pekin will begin offering hormone treatment and preventative care, specifically for transgender patients as soon as Aug. 1.

Peoria Transgender Society Co-chair Kristen Haley says it’s a step forward for improving options available in Peoria.

“Access to necessary healthcare services is the biggest challenge transgender people face, whether the reasons are economic or geographical,” Haley said.

The Peoria City Council overwhelming approved salary increases for the mayor, city treasurer and city clerk.

The raises are roughly two percent annually over the next four years, at which time the mayor will make about $58,000, the treasurer $123,000 and the clerk nearly $119,000.

In addition, the city manager received a $6,000 increase, making his salary to $188,000 a year plus benefits.

Legacy Audio

Peoria’s Downtown Development Corporation is planning to see Riverfront Village eventually become a linear park.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


The roughly $12 million in exterior updates and the new Ambulatory Surgery entrance at Unity Point Methodist in downtown is complete. Patients have been using the new entrance but today those who made the 18 month long effort possible are celebrating its completion.

Debbie Simon is the CEO of UnityPoint Health-Peoria. She says the project had a lot of complexity because the core business of patient care had to continue. But Simon says it was worth the investment.

The City of Peoria is looking for input from residents on its community-wide garbage hauling service.  The City is considering the renewal option on its contract with Peoria Disposal Company.

Two informational meetings to get public comment are scheduled for Wednesday. Both are from six to seven o’clock in City Hall council Chambers and at the North Branch Peoria Public Library.     

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A vigil held in downtown Peoria Sunday centered on dissolving the social boundaries that segregate the community.

Human rights groups organized the peaceful rally in Liberty Park in response to last week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas.

Marcus Fogliano, president of Peoria Proud, helped organize the event.

Fogliano praised the Peoria Police Department but says especially given Peoria’s segregation, the city is just as likely as anywhere else.

The Peoria International Airport is receiving more than $1.7 million for the rehabilitation of the airport’s apron. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Cheri Bustos jointly announced the funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the grant to help with concrete replacements from gates five down to Byerly Aviation. The  announcement builds on more than $1.6 million in federal funding provided last year.


Peoria International Airport has a new destination starting November 4th. PIA is adding nonstop flights to Charlotte, North Carolina. The new destination opens the East Coast to those travelers departing from Peoria. It also provides access to more than 700 daily domestic and international destinations. The Charlotte flights, will be operated the American Airlines subsidiary on 50-seat regional jets. Tickets for the flights go on sale Monday, July 11, 2016.


Details on the PIA to Charlotte flights that start November 4, 2016:

The flights will be operated by PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines on 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets.

American Airlines also operates nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) from Peoria International.

Peoria to Charlotte (PIA-CLT)

  • Flight 5464 Departs at 7:40 a.m. , Arrives at 10:50 a.m.
  • Flight 5465 Departs at 12:47 p.m. , Arrives at 3:43 p.m.

Charlotte to Peoria (CLT-PIA)

  • Flight 5465: Departs at 11:19 a.m. , Arrives at 12:22 p.m.
  • Flight 5466: Departs at 7:59 p.m. , Arrives at 9:03 p.m.

The Peoria Police Community Relations Advisory Committee issued a statement Friday, offering thoughts and prayers for the Dallas law enforcement community and all affected by the tragedy.

Local Actor's Debut Production Offers Hope

Jul 8, 2016
Anthony Hendricks

A Peoria native is debuting a play Fri. that he hopes will be a positive disruption to the news of fatal shootings this week.

Anthony Hendricks wrote and produced the show “Strangeland.” Its cast is comprised entirely of actors who are African American.

Hendricks grew up in Peoria and started acting as a student at Manual Academy. He studied theater at ISU and moved back to Peoria in 2001. Since then, he’s performed for several local theater companies over the years, and he’s starring in Corn Stock Theater’s upcoming performance of “Memphis” later this summer.  

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Peoria Journal Star Political Reporter and Columnist Chris Kaergard will no doubt feel lighter after tomorrow. Kaergard has been growing a #budgetbeard since May of last year, when the governor and state lawmakers failed to agree on a budget. But lawmakers finally achieved a stopgap spending last week and that means tomorrow Kaergard will get a clean shave.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The 67th annual HOI Fair starts up this evening.

Roxy Baker helps plan the fair. She says this year’s schedule of events focuses on agribusiness.

“We want the urban setting that we’ve become, we want those people to come in and see what it is, what agribusiness is.”