Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Peoria Police, DEA Collecting Unused Medications

Apr 28, 2016
plasticrevolver / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria Police Department is holding a drug drop off this weekend for residents to safely and anonymously remove unnecessary controlled substances from their medicine cabinets.

It’s part of a national take-back day in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration that aims to keep drugs from getting into the wrong hands. The Police Department says it will accept prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The collection is Saturday from 10 a-m to 2 p-m in the department’s lobby.  

Federal regulators are recommending that the city of Galesburg provide bottled water or filters to residents affected by high levels of lead in their drinking water.

NYU Prof to Discuss Psychology Behind Political Attitudes

Apr 25, 2016
New York University

In the midst of a heated election year, Bradley University is hosting a public lecture that aims to uncover how psychology shapes and influences political attitudes. 

John Jost teaches social political behavior at New York University and is a leading researcher on the topic.

His mother, Jean Jost, teaches medieval English literature at Bradley. She helped coordinate the visit. Jost wouldn’t go into detail about her son’s lecture, but says it will likely boil down to a conversation about nature-versus-nurture:

Wildlife Prairie Park is seeing promising results with the weight loss plans it implemented for many of the animals living at the facility outside of Peoria. 

Caterpillar First Quarter Financials Meet Expectations

Apr 22, 2016

Caterpillar's first quarter adjusted profit met Wall Street's expectations, even as sales declined and the company continues to deal with soft product demand.


Caterpillar earned $271 million, or .46 cents per share in the first quarter of the year. That‘s down 77-percent compared to earnings of $1.25 billion, or $2.03 per share a year earlier.


Caterpillar's first quarter results include sales and revenue of $9.46-billion, also a 25.5-percent decrease from a year ago.


Peoria Magazines

The Murray Building in Peoria’s Warehouse District has been approved by the National Parks Service for its design and construction methods as they relate to the Historic Tax Credit program.   

The CEO of the property management team heading up the redevelopment of the building says the Historic Tax Credits are significant to the feasibility of the Murray Place project.   

He says the approval of Tax Credits lays the groundwork going forward.

The Murray Building renovations are turning the old retail outlet into a mixed-use building.

Illinois Central College Names New President

Apr 21, 2016

Illinois Central College Board of Trustees unanimously approved Sheila Quirk-Bailey to serve as its next President. Quirk-Bailey is coming from William Rainey Harper College in Palatine where she is serving as the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness.

The ICC appointment is her first position serving as president. ICC Board Chair Sue Portscheller chaired the search committee. “After meeting her, both the search committee and the board of trustees were very confident that she will hit the ground running and be just what the college needs to move forward.”

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Two lawyers filed a petition Thursday requesting that a special prosecutor reopen a 1970 murder case involving the slaying of a Peoria Sheriff’s Sergeant.

Attorneys Andy Hale of Chicago and Don Jackson of Peoria filed a 98-page petition arguing Cleve Heidelberg was wrongly convicted. They say much of the incriminating evidence was manufactured and important physical evidence never surfaced in the courtroom, like the results of a latent fingerprint test conducted by the FBI.

East Peoria has a new finance director. 36-year-old Jeff Becker will replace Treasurer Theresa Gualandi who is retiring this summer.

  Becker’s worked for certified public accounting firm Clifton Larson Allen for the last three years assisting with city audits including East Peoria’s. Becker plans to set for the CPA exam in July.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and master’s in business administration both from the U of I Springfield.  

aag_photos / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria area home sales were up 3.8 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same time last year. That amounted to 954 houses or condominiums sales closed. 35 more than the first quarter of last year.

Becky Peterson is the president of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says there was dip in home sales for February but March was strong.

“Just March alone compared to last March was 7.6% which put us on the good side for the quarter of the 3.8. So we’re very pleased,” Peterson said.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

An unlikely legal team is filing a petition in Peoria Thurs. that seeks to reopen the 1970 murder case of a Peoria County Sheriff’s Sergeant. The petition argues murder convict Cleve Heidelberg, who’s serving a life sentence, is innocent.

But one retired Peoria County Sheriff's lieutenant stands by his conviction the right person is behind bars.

Emanuel Manias says it’s been more than 40 years since the murder, but he still thinks about it often. Sergeant Raymond Espinoza, was his partner, an expert shooter, and his best friend.

Peoria Library gets Smithsonian Exhibit

Apr 20, 2016
Smithsonian's Human Origins Program

The Peoria Public Library is one of 19 communities around the country to be hosting a traveling Smithsonian Exhibit this summer. The exhibit is titled Exploring Human Origins: What It Means to be Human.


Trisha Noack manages public relations for the Peoria Public Library System. She says the grant includes Smithsonian and Illinois scientists offering programs in Peoria, including a private presentation for clergy:

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bradley University's business programs are in the national spotlight. Bloomberg Businessweek listed BU’s Foster College 42nd in the nation in its annual rankings.

The university says the ranking reflects the hard work of the college’s faculty and staff as well as the career center staff.

The scores are based on metrics derived from students, employers, salaries and internships.

Police Investigating Death of East Peoria Man

Apr 19, 2016
Alan Cleaver / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Washington man was arrested Monday in connection to the death of 32-year-old Aaron S. Petzold, of East Peoria. 

East Peoria Police Department says in a news release that 31-year-old Kenneth Davis was arrested on charges of first degree murder. 

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says Aaron S. Petzold was taken to the hospital with a neck wound, around 10:20pm Monday, and died shortly after arrival.

Ingersoll wouldn’t give details about the injury. Ingersoll says more information will be released  after an autopsy is completed.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - Pekin could soon be getting a lot more colorful. The city council for the central Illinois community will consider an ordinance next week that would allow mounted vinyl murals featuring the work of local artists to be placed on buildings around town.

Supporters say the ordinance would help artists because they'd be paid by the building owners and because the murals would give them a lot of exposure.

WCTC Braiding Students Detangle Stereotypes

Apr 18, 2016
Denise Smith

Woodruff Career and Technical Center is expanding its course offerings. Next year, the school plans to add fire science and EMT pathways. 

Two years ago, Woodruff was one of the first schools in Illinois outside of Chicago to offer a course in hair braiding. The class allows high school students the ability to get a professional license after successfully completing 300 hours of practical experience.

Woodruff junior Arshiana Robinson-Walker says she first got interested in hair braiding long before she knew she could do it as a class.

Taaalia / Flickr/Creative Commons

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Active and retired firefighters in central Illinois are working to locate and honor the graves of 75 firefighters. 

Bob Willis and others combed Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington on Saturday and marked the location of certain graves with a GPS device. Willis, a retired Bloomington firefighter, recently took over project started by the Bloomington-Normal Firefighter Club 25 years ago. He is working to update grave locations at several cemeteries in the area.

Peoria County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

The Peoria County Sheriff corrections staff is offering an inside look at the Peoria County Jail. It’s part of ICC Adult Community Programs. Sheriff Mike McCoy and corrections staff are hosting dinner and tour of the jail Thursday. Limited seating space means pre-registration is required.

Bradley University and the Center for Collaborative Research are hosting the first ever Super Brain Summit. It’s a three-day online summit covering the continuum of learning self-regulation through the brain-body connections. 13 different presentations are planned through the run of the online summit from April 28th through the 30th. Continuing Education Credits are available. The Friday, April 22nd is the registration deadline.

Learn more about the Super Brain Summit.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria says it’s on track to accept students for its four-year program in 2017. 

UICOMP currently enrolls second, third and fourth year students after they’ve completed their first year at the campus in Champaign-Urbana. Pharmacology Professor Steve Lasley says UICOMP is finished planning for “phase one” that focuses on those first two years of medical school.

OSF St Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington,  St Mary’s in Galesburg and St Antony’s in Alton are being recognized for outstanding patient experiences. The award is from Healthgrades. It’s  an online resource for doctors and hospitals nationwide. The OSF facilities are among 22 hospitals in state receiving such an honor. The award is based on patient surveys.      


Caterpillar is maintaining its quarterly cash dividend of seventy-seven cents per share of common stock. That applies to stockholders on record as of April 25.

 Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman says he’s pleased to announce that CAT is maintaining the dividend despite continuing difficult marketplace conditions.

Caterpillar has paid a cash dividend every year since the company was formed.

AP Photo

Two Peoria Nursing Homes have been cited by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In January, Sharon Health Care Elms on North Rochelle is cited for failure to follow fall procedure policy resulting in significant patient injuries. The home is being assessed a $25,000 fine.

The Illinois Secretary of State is making his annual organ and tissue donor pitch during National Donate Life Month. Jesse White visited the Peoria Driver Services facility Wednesday to encourage people to become organ and tissue donors. Secretary White says it’s a chance to be a hero.

UICOMP Research Findings On Display

Apr 13, 2016
markus spiske / Flickr/Creative Commons

Healthcare students, professionals and the public have a chance to survey the latest medical research being done in the Peoria area. 

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria is holding its fourth annual  Medical Research Day on campus Wednesday. UICOMP pharmacology professor Steve Lasley says the experience gives medical students a competitive edge in residency applications, but additionally,  it gives attendees a chance to witness the range of topics pertaining to local health outcomes.

Gravel driveways could make comeback in Peoria

Apr 13, 2016

The city of Peoria is looking for ways to reduce solid surfaces like asphalt and concrete driveways, parking lots and sidewalks.

That could mean gravel driveways make a return in an effort to reduce a household’s stormwater utility fee. City councilwoman Beth Akeson says that could make it more attractive to convert an asphalt or concrete driveway to gravel.


eTransparency Unveiled in the Tri-County Area

Apr 13, 2016

  The Peoria Area League of Women Voters has a new e-Transparency survey. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports:


The survey covers about 40 local government's websites. Rick Fox is the eTransparancy project chair for the league. He says the 20 question survey looked at website details for each governing body including meeting schedules and agendas, financial information and Freedom of Information ACT particulars.


District 150 Approves Policy Addressing Nepotism

Apr 12, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Public School board is cracking down on nepotism -- or patronage or favoritism given to family members.

The board voted unanimously Monday in favor of adding a policy that aims to prevent situations where an employee would directly supervise a relative or spouse.

Board Vice President Rick Cloyd first proposed the policy in December. At that time, Cloyd said he’s seen problems arise in the district from supervisor-employee relationships that are too close to home. The new regulation requires board members to disclose relatives who work for the district.

CHICAGO (AP) - Four congressional staffers have told the U.S. House that they've been subpoenaed by the federal court in Springfield, Illinois, where a grand jury is conducting a probe into the spending of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock. 

The  financial chief for the House, Traci Beaubian, and three other staff members wrote letters notifying the chamber about the subpoenas that were read on the House floor Monday. The letters did not mention the subject of the subpoenas.

LabyrinthX / Flickr/Creative Commons

A recent investigation turned up findings that a high number of children in Galesburg are suffering from lead poisoning. 

A report by the Associated Press points to contaminated tap water. 

Peter Schwartzman serves on the Galesburg City Council. He says the results of tests done by the EPA and state health officials are available in water bills. Speaking on WILL’s “The 21st” Friday, he said more needs to be done.