Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Man Arrested For Security Breach at PIA

20 hours ago
Peoria County Jail

Peoria International Airport was closed early Saturday morning for commercial flights. The terminal building was closed and various police agencies swept the airport and restored the secured environment after a man breached security about 3 a.m. while it was closed.


28-year-old Justin Deemie has been arrested and is hospitalized after the security breach and disruption at PIA.


PIA Reopens After Security Breach

Feb 17, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria International Airport terminal is reopened.

The airport was closed this morning for commercial flights. Incoming airport traffic was also stopped and diverted at Dirksen Parkway.

A statement from Airport Director Gene Olson and staff around 5:00 a.m.:

Pension Shift Tops Governor's Priorities

Feb 16, 2018
Dean Hochman / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed shifting the responsibility for funding teacher pensions to local school districts. The governor says schools will not have to raise taxes to make the payments if the state gives them certain tools to lower operating costs.


"Getting rid of mandates, getting rid of restrictions and limitations and freeing up out school districts and our local governments to lower their costs by having greater control over how competitive contracts are bid, how contracting is done, competitive bidding is done." Rauner says.

Rauner Touts CNA Pilot Program in Peoria

Feb 16, 2018

Methodist College in Peoria is piloting a program in which low-income young adults can improve their medical training. A grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity enables four women to work as certified nursing assistants while simultaneously going to school.

Peoria Pere and Courtyard Hotels In Foreclosure

Feb 14, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

  Pere Marquette and Courtyard Hotels in downtown Peoria are in foreclosure. The hotel properties were placed in receivership Wednesday by the emergency order of Judge Kate Gorman.


Efforts to refinance fell through Tuesday when the finance company Yam withdrew from negotiations. The hotel will eventually be sold at sheriff’s auction. That is a fairly standard practice in such foreclosures.

Peoria City Council Roundup

Feb 14, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

The MacArthur Highway bridge in Peoria will be closed for repairs this summer. The city expects bid letting early next month. The council then will approve a construction contract at its first meeting in March. The bridge will completely close in May and not reopen until the end of November. The new bridge will include a sidewalk on one side.

Pere Marquette Hotel Heads Toward Foreclosure

Feb 14, 2018
Robert Lawton / CC BY-SA 2.5 / Wikimedia Commons

Pere Marquette and Courtyard Hotels in downtown Peoria are in foreclosure. The hotel properties were placed in receivership Wednesday by the emergency order of Judge Kate Gorman.


Efforts to refinance fell through Tuesday when the finance company Yam withdrew from negotiations. The hotel will eventually be sold at Sheriff’s auction. That is a fairly standard practice in such foreclosures.


But Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says the hotel will stay open and operate under receivership for now.

UICOMP Gets New Financial Officer

Feb 12, 2018

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria has a new finance director. Eric Dubrowski is a familiar face to many in Peoria County Government. He’s the county's former Chief Financial Officer.

His new title with the college of medicine is Director of Fiscal Affairs.


Nick Straub currently handles financial affairs for the school. He is retiring in May after 18 years with UIC.


Peoria Teacher Arrested on Criminal Sexual Assault

Feb 12, 2018
Peoria County Jail

Peoria Richwoods High School teacher Phil Earhart has been arrested. The 30-year-old social studies teacher is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a 17-year-old female student.


The matter first came to light January 25th. The Peoria Police Department and DCFS were investigating and Earhart was placed on paid administrative leave.


Earhart was a member of the 2017 “40-Leaders-Under-40” class. In addition to teaching social studies classes, Earhart is also the sponsor for a number of student organizations.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell is abruptly stepping down. Mitchell says he is retiring after more than 27 years on the Peoria Police Department.

Former State Senator George Shadid Remembered

Feb 7, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Long-time public servant George Shadid was laid to rest Wednesday at Resurrection Cemetery in Peoria. Tanya Koonce reports:


GRANVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say they believe the suspect in last month's slaying of a northern Illinois teenager met the girl online before he picked her up at her house, drove her to a rural area and killed her.


200 Years on Display at PRM

Feb 2, 2018

The Peoria Riverfront Museum debuts a new display Saturday. The Bicentennial Exhibit includes more than 200 objects. 

Coroner: Number of Bullet Wounds Not a Surprise

Feb 2, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

  The preliminary autopsy for Daniel O. El shows he was shot 16 times. El was shot in an exchange of gunfire with Peoria Police after he fled a traffic stop.

City of Peoria

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis once again used his annual State of the City Address to implore the state legislature to develop a plan for pension reform. The state sets the pension benefit levels the fire and police retirees receive, but the city is responsible for paying those benefits. The mayor told the audience that in the next two years, the city will have to use all its property tax collections to pay just the pension liability.


Peoria Police Involved in Fatal Shooting

Feb 1, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

A routine traffic stop resulted in a police chase that has left a Peoria Heights man dead and an officer wounded. Three Peoria Police Officers were involved in the fatal shooting, days after six officers were cleared in last September’s fatal shooting of Eddie Russell Jr.


Group Advocates For Investor Owned Water Company

Jan 31, 2018

A group that goes by #ProtectPeoriaWater is speaking out against a public buyout of Illinois American Water.  

The City of Peoria has until November to determine whether it will purchase the water company under terms of the 123-year-old franchise agreement.

The Peoria Fire Department has an expanded advanced life support presence in the city. A new pilot program was authorized by Peoria Area Emergency Services. 

Peoria Police Shooting Ruled Justified

Jan 29, 2018
H.Wayne Wilson / Peoria Public Radio

  Six Peoria police officers were legally justified when they fatally shot Eddie Russell Jr. outside his mother’s house. Russell was a suspect in a bank robbery last September 20th.

Cong. Bustos: Why Tie Immigration To The Budget

Jan 29, 2018

Congress passed yet another short-term spending bill a week ago but only after a three-day government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government through February 8th.


That leaves lawmakers just 11 days to develop a spending plan for the fiscal year that began last October. Immigration issues, including the status of DACA children, are at the core of the impasse.

Caterpillar, Inc.

Caterpillar sales and revenue was up 35 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. The company is reporting full year sales and revenue of $45.5 Billion. That’s up 18 percent from 2016. Caterpillar’s full-year profit was $1.26 per share, compared with a loss of $0.11 per share in 2016.


Peoria City Council Acts On A Variety of Issues

Jan 24, 2018

The Peoria City Council Tuesday took a first step toward historic designation for the old Chase Bank building.

The block where the building sits had been in an urban industrial zone. That would have benefitted Caterpillar if it had built its new world headquarters there. With OSF HealthCare buying the property for its new ministries headquarters, it needed historic tax credits to make renovation financially possible.

Flickr Creative Commons/Dan Moyle

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors reports a strong fourth quarter that resulted in  2017 home sales out-performing the previous year. Home sales grew 10-percent year over year for the quarter that ended December 31st.

Mary Ann Ladendorf is the President of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says the fourth quarter saw a .2 percent increase in sales for the year:

“Our average price home was up. So we finished very strong.”   

Peoria Public Radio

The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport is celebrating 2017 passenger numbers. More than 635,000 people flew through PIA last year, making it the third busiest year in the airport’s history.

IL Pollution Control Board Eyes Changes to Standards

Jan 17, 2018
Sierra Club

The Illinois Pollution Control Board is taking public input on proposed rule changes Wednesday and Thursday in Peoria.

Environmental, respiratory-health and social advocates are urging the Board to uphold existing Multi-Pollutant Standards.

Dynegy, the Texas-based owner of Edwards Power station in Peoria County is seeking the rule changes opponents say could more than double air pollution.

18th District Congressman Darin LaHood is back to work in Washington D.C. Tuesday. The Peoria Republican says he believes Congress cannot let the government shut down.

Peoria police have a 29-year-old man in custody for the 2nd homicide of the year.

Morton Man Receives Carnegie Medal

Jan 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A Morton man has received the Carnegie Medal for his heroic action in 2015.


77-year-old James Vernon intervened between a knife-wielding man and a room full of children at the Morton Public Library. The Army Veteran and retiree was teaching a chess class when 19-year-old Dustin Brown entered the room with two knives, shouting his intent to kill people.  


Hall Headlines MLK Luncheon

Jan 15, 2018

Award-winning broadcaster and former NBC anchor Tamron Hall headlined the Martin Luther King Day Luncheon in Peoria. More than 1,100 people attended the 26th annual event.


Hall told those attending the luncheon even after 25-years in broadcast news she was nervous. The Texas native recounted humble beginnings speaking about the value of bringing dignity to any challenge.


The Peoria Zoo is looking for help naming its newest resident.