Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Rivermen to become part of SPHL

May 16, 2013

It appears hockey will stay alive in Peoria. The Southern Professional Hockey League announced its adding the Bloomington Blaze and Peoria Rivermen to its league for the upcoming season. The Rivermen were at risk of leaving Peoria after the Vancouver Canucks told the Civic Center it won’t run its American Hockey League team in the city. But the owners of the Bloomington Blaze who are also former Rivermen executives came forward to say they will operate both teams and were moving to have both become part of the SPHL. A press conference discussing the move will happen next Wednesday.  

Tazewell County: zero tolerance on repeat felony DUI

May 15, 2013

  Tazewell County is targeting repeat D-U-I offenders. State’s Attorney Stu Umholtz says his office is permanently implementing the so-called “No-Refusal” protocol for felony DUI offenders as well as those with aggravating factors at the time of the stop. Umholtz says DUI offenders remain a serious threat to public safety, and repeat offenders have learned to refuse testing, thwarting evidence to prosecute.

Area medical research on display at symposium

May 15, 2013

New medical research was on display at the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria.  More than 40 resident physicians with the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria presented their findings.  

U.S. Transportation Secretary and Peoria- native Ray LaHood could get his name on a stretch of Interstate 74 within the city.

Students complete 100-mile challenge

May 15, 2013

An annual event that aims to get District 150 kids healthier culminated in a walk along the riverfront. About 250 primary and middle school students participated in a challenge to walk 100 miles and lift 10-thousand pounds throughout the school year.

Peoria County Deputies remembered

May 15, 2013
Alex Rusciano / WCBU

The Peoria County Sheriff’s Office held its annual memorial service for fallen officers.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

The ceremony remembered four officers killed in the line of duty, including Deputy James Mulay ten years ago.  Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy says the ceremony also highlights the latest challenges for area law enforcement:

Grant request for 10 new Peoria Police Officers

May 15, 2013

The Peoria Police Department is submitting a federal grant application for 10 new police officers. The Peoria City Council unanimously approved the application. But the city would have to pay 25% of the entry-level officers’ salaries and benefits in the first three years, and would be obligated to pay all expenses for the fourth year, while maintaining its staff number for the life of the grant. 

Schock calls for top IRS official to resign

May 14, 2013

U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock is calling on the acting IRS commissioner to resign after the agency gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for tax exempt status.  Schock, a Republican, is on the Ways and Means Committee that oversees tax policy. He says the Ways and Means Committee is launching an investigation into the IRS controversy

OCEARCH team in Peoria

May 14, 2013

A national not-for-profit group is working to get young students interested in the oceanic ecosystem through its research projects.

The Peoria Park District is putting some state parks grant funding to work on building a Nature Center in Tawny Oaks. It’s next to Singing Woods off Route 88 in North Peoria. Bonnie Noble is the Executive Director of the Peoria Park District. She says the more than $217,000 state grant gets the Tawny Oaks Nature Center project started: 

District 150 braces for possible state funding cuts

May 13, 2013

Peoria School District 150 is bracing for a potentially bleak financial picture next school year.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the state could cut funding to the district by more than $6 million:

River City Marathon prep

May 13, 2013

  The Bob Michel Bridge over the Illinois River will be closed Sunday morning May 19th from 6:30 to 9:00. The bridge is being closed to make way from the River City Marathon runners. Illinois State Police will be stationed on both sides of the bridge. Motorist are advised to plan ahead and use alternate routes.  

Investors plan to keep Rivermen in Peoria

May 13, 2013

The Peoria Rivermen Hockey Team is set to remain in the city, but local investors are applying to operate in a different league. The Vancouver Canucks told the Civic Center it won’t run its American Hockey League team in Peoria leaving the city without a team. Now the owners of the Bloomington U-S Cellular Coliseum team are asking the Southern Professional Hockey League for the rights to have another team in Peoria. Bart Rogers is a former Rivermen executive and a manager of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. He says the move aims to keep Peoria’s hockey tradition alive:

Local contractors hear how to land state business

May 13, 2013

More than 40 large and small local construction contractors got the chance to hear how they can land state contracts. The Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center of Bradley University and State Senator Dave Koehler Monday hosted an outreach program for the area companies.

Conservation TIF closer to approval

May 13, 2013

The creation of a new Conservation Tax Increment Finance district in downtown Peoria is a step closer to reality. The 84 acres of land is bordered by Madison Street and the Riverfront from the north to south. Fayette and Irving streets make up the eastern border and Liberty Street is to the west.

New proposed regional EDC

May 13, 2013

Details about the new regional Economic Development Council are taking shape. It’s part of a transition process from the current EDC recommended by an economic development consultant.  

Wildlife Prairie Park is again locally owned

May 12, 2013

Wildlife Prairie State Park in Peoria County is dropping the state designation from it name in an effort to gain more efficient management. Governor Pat Quinn jointed a bi-partisan group of local lawmakers Saturday to recognize the return of the park to the Forrest Park Foundation of Peoria.  

State assessing flood damage in Peoria County

May 10, 2013

State and federal damage assessment teams are in Peoria County, surveying properties following last month’s severe flooding.  The assessment process is required for area counties to qualify for federal disaster funding.  Jonathon Monken directs the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  He says residents affected by the flooding shouldn’t wait to clean up properties or file flood insurance:

Peoria Chiefs Stadium has new name

May 10, 2013

The Peoria Chiefs Stadium now has a new name. The Chiefs and Caterpillar announced Friday the facility will now be called Dozer Park. The agreement is part of a 10-year, two-million dollar investment by Caterpillar for the naming rights to the ballpark. It’s part of a larger effort by the city of Peoria, investors, and other parties to keep the struggling stadium financially afloat.

Peoria County hopes to open its new nursing home facility in late June or early July.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports that’s about a month later than originally planned: 


Illinois Senate approves pension overhaul

May 9, 2013

 

  The Illinois Senate approved an overhaul of the state's pension systems Thursday. It comes one week after the Illinois House approved a more severe set of benefit cuts. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the differences in those plans were at the heart of the debate:

Illinois Senate approves pension overhaul

May 9, 2013

 

  The Illinois Senate approved an overhaul of the state's pension systems Thursday. It comes one week after the Illinois House approved a more severe set of benefit cuts. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the differences in those plans were at the heart of the debate:

  Governor Pat Quinn is asking for federal help in the recovery after this spring’s flooding.

Bustos pushes for year-round federal school grants

May 9, 2013

To help them complete their education, students should be able to attend college year-round. And that's the goal of a bill introduced Thursday by Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos - the Access to Education and Training Act.

State officials to host housing event in Peoria

May 8, 2013

Officials with the Illinois Housing Development Authority will be in Peoria next weekend to help area residents with down payment assistance on a home and foreclosure prevention. The event aims to give residents access to various housing programs all in one place.

Peoria School District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan delivered her third State of the Schools address.  About 300 people attended the breakfast meeting at Four Points Sheraton.  Lathan says the district is having to operate on a slim budget as it grapples with annual deficits and less state funding.  She says the recent two-year contract extension with the Peoria Federation of Teachers helps the district financially:

Police looking for missing teen

May 8, 2013

The Peoria Police Department is seeking help in finding a missing teenage girl. 16-year old Amanda Simon was reported missing on April 30th. She’s Hispanic with brown eyes and long black hair with highlights. She’s five-foot-one and was last seen wearing a black short sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and carrying a black and red backpack with hand-drawn hearts on it. Anyone with information on Simon is encouraged to call the police department.   

East Peoria residents affected by a landslide last month say they want a plan from the City to help.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the city says it won't use tax dollars in the recovery: 


Peoria City Council swears in new members

May 7, 2013

The Peoria City Council welcomed its new members to the horseshoe last night. Four of the five district seats are changing hands.  Council members Dan Irving and Barbara Van Auken part ways with the horseshoe after failed re-election bids last month. Councilman Clyde Gulley stepped down from his first-district post, making way for Denise Moore. Moore is the first black female ever elected to Peoria’s city council.

SUV, body recovered from Illinois River

May 7, 2013

The Peoria Fire Department pulled a body inside a white SUV from the Illinois River Tuesday, following four days of recovery efforts.  Peoria Police say the body is that of 33-year-old Clarence Hanson, who was reported missing over the weekend.  Peoria Fire Department Chief Kent Tomblin says the recovery was a result of multiple departments working together.

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