Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is scheduled to present his budget address in Springfield later this week.

Illinois has once again run out of money to help needy students go to college. The cutoff to be considered for a MAP grant expired over the weekend. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.

  A 22-year-old Pekin man faces federal charges of for a conspiracy to distribute heroin that led to the deaths of three people.  Anthony Mansini is charged with distributing more than 1,000 grams of heroin since 2008.  The federal indictment says he belonged to a heroin conspiracy that killed three people last year.  Pekin Police Chief Greg Nelson says the case is significant: “It’s big for Pekin because we were able to arrest somebody that we could show is responsible for deaths, and since that arrest we have not had any deaths.  Herin is back, it’s cheap, it's potent and dengerous.

Governor Pat Quinn reached a tentative contract deal with the state's largest government-employee union early this morning. It comes as the union had increasingly been talking about going on strike. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.       

Illinois lawmakers Thursday heard arguments over whether to ban future sales of so-called "assault weapons." Chicago and Downstate legislators remain split on the issue. And as IPR’s Chris Slaby reports, police officials are split too.

An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is one step closer in Illinois.

Officials in Illinois have found the first cases of a devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome in that state. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says laboratory tests confirmed the fungal disease in two species of bat in four counties, including Monroe County in the Metro East. IDNR endangered species manager Joe Kath says bats play an important role in the environment — and in our economy.

For the 2nd year in a row, tuition and housing rates at Millikin University are NOT going up. The small private school in Decatur announced Thursday that full-time undergraduate tuition for the academic year starting in the fall would stay at 27-thousand-8-hundred-52 dollars a year --- the same as this year and the year before. Meanwhile, the average annual housing rate will stay at 5-thousand dollars.

It was billed as a "day of pensions" in the Illinois House. But it turned into about a half-hour's worth. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more on why Illinois lawmakers are having such a hard time confronting the state's 100-billion-dollar problem.

Area passenger rail hopes hit funding snag

Feb 28, 2013

Chances are slim for securing current federal funding to help bring passenger rail service between Peoria and Bloomington/Normal.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:  The Mayors from Peoria and Normal traveled with staff to Washington D.C. in January asking for $4 million to pay for the rail project’s environmental review and pre-engineering costs.  Officials with the federal transit administration are now saying that there’s no federal planning money currently available to help pay for the project.

Changes coming in healthcare

Feb 28, 2013

Iowa Health System and its affiliate Methodist Medical Center hosted an informational session yesterday on Coordinated Care.  More than a hundred business people attended the event to learn more about changes coming to the healthcare system. 

Despite the snow, hundreds of shareholders came to Deere and Company for its annual meeting. Wednesday morning at world headquarters in the Quad Cities (Moline), they voted on routine business, watched videos, listened to the CEO, and asked a few questions. 

  A proposal advancing in the Illinois General Assembly would prohibit colleges and universities from requiring students to reveal social media passwords. But that ban would not apply to elementary and high schools.  IPR’s Chris Slaby reports. Universities would be barred from asking for social media passwords or forcing students to open up their accounts. Elementary and high schools can require kids hand over passwords if they believe the accounts have evidence the student violated school policy. But schools' policies would have to warn parents that's a possibility.

The Illinois Senate hasn't provided a single vote in favor of three appointments by Governor Pat Quinn to the Southern Illinois University board of trustees.

People decide to own guns for a variety of reasons. Some buy them for protection or hunting – or for history. IPR’s series “Our Guns” has been profiling local gun owners. Today we delve into the world of antique gun collecting. Illinois Public Radio’s Alex Keefe visited one of the country’s biggest antique arms auction houses, in northwest Illinois.

An Illinois legislative hearing on college affordability Wednesday shows the cost of updating university housing has students paying more.

Wednesday brought the latest in a long line of proposals to fix the state's underfunded pension systems. The measure also comes as members of the Illinois House of Representatives are set to have a marathon debate on pensions Thursday. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey has more.         

  Peoria County is looking to better gauge how well it’s Planning and Zoning staff interact with residents. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:  Peoria County Administration says it’s been hearing accounts that staff in the Planning and Zoning Department allegedly aren’t being courteous or professional in the field in some cases.  Scott Sorrel is Assistant Peoria County Administrator.  He says the County will start surveying people: “We have no way of saying whether that’s a true statement or not.

PIPCO recognized by state

Feb 27, 2013

PIPCO Safety Director Bob Janssen is the winner of the 22nd annual Governor’s Award for Workplace Health and Safety. Janssen has worked for the Peoria Industrial Piping Company for 21 years. Illinois Department Of Labor Director Joseph Costigan says jobs in construction have some of the highest rates of injury in the country. He says Janssen exemplifies great leadership in achieving safer jobs throughout our communities.

Peoria County seeks input for economic development plan

Feb 27, 2013

Peoria County’s Economic Development Department is hosting a set of public forums this week. The department is seeking public input on how individual counties fit into the regional economic plan. The forums aim to identify the assets of individual communities within the counties. Local residents, officials and business owners can attend the forum tonight from 6-7 at West Peoria City Hall, tomorrow from 6-7 at the Princeville Heritage Museum or Tuesday March 5 from 7:30-8:30 at the Chillicothe City Hall.

OSF HealthCare System is taking over eight medical sites from Proctor Hospital.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

Peoria primary election sees low voter turnout

Feb 26, 2013

1st District Peoria City Council candidates Gary Sandberg and Denise Moore secured spots on April’s general election ballot.  Moore captured more than 70-percent of the vote. Sandberg got 20-percent. They beat out challenger Randy Emert in Tuesday’s primary election.  In the Fifth District race, incumbent Dan Irving and challenger Casey Johnson tied to captured the most votes, beating write-in candidate Dan Adler.  The Peoria City Election Commission reports more than 500 people voted in the First District race and 650 voted in the Fifth District.

Adams and Jefferson streets in downtown Peoria could be changed from one to two-way. But that likely will not happen anytime soon. The Peoria City Council is asking city staff to create an implementation plan for transition. That would include how extensive the city would go with the street changes. Most city council members also voiced concern about how much the effort might cost and how the city might pay for it. At-Large Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain offered the motion to create the implementation plan.

District 150 prepares for federal funding cuts

Feb 25, 2013

Peoria School District 150 is preparing for significant cuts to its federal funding that supports low-income students and teacher improvement efforts.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports: 

 District 150 says it’s expecting a 10-percent cut to its Title I funding next school year.  That amounts to about $730,000 that pays for tutors, supplies and parental involvement efforts for low-income students.  District budget analyst Carla Eman says that the potential cut means choosing between what programs can be scaled back or instead paid for with dollars from the district Education fund:

The Peoria City/County Health Department is proposing new rules to manage independent waste-water systems. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports area realtors are expressing concern over the proposed changes:

A new report projects Illinois’ state budget will go from bad to worse if legislators don’t address some key issues. IPR’s Tony Arnold reports.

The first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court has died. Mary Ann McMorrow was 83. A statement from the Supreme Court says she died Saturday after a brief illness. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more. McMorrow's election to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1992 was just one of a series of achievements in a career that spanned more than 50 years. She was the only woman in her law school class, in the early 1950s. After that, she was the first woman to prosecute felonies in Cook County.

A new look for PPD Cars

Feb 22, 2013

The Peoria Police Department is getting a new look for its patrol cars. The new black and white design will take the place of the 15-year-old design on the current white fleet of cars. The new design was first applied to the tactical Command Vehicle and the Armadillos. The ten new police cars the department is ordering this year will be the first patrol vehicles outfitted with the new graphics. The new cars will be black with the white vinyl graphics applied to the doors after they arrive.The new car design is expected to cost about $100 more than the current graphics design.

A new look for PPD Cars

Feb 22, 2013
Peoria Journal Star

The Peoria Police Department is getting a new look for its patrol cars. The new black and white design will take the place of the 15-year-old design on the current white fleet of cars. The new design was first applied to the tactical Command Vehicle and the Armadillos. The ten new police cars the department is ordering this year will be the first patrol vehicles outfitted with the new graphics. The new cars will be black with the white vinyl graphics applied to the doors after they arrive.The new car design is expected to cost about $100 more than the current graphics design.

Court reinforces opinion for IL concealed carry law

Feb 22, 2013

  A federal appeals court in Chicago won't revisit a ruling that says Illinois has to let people carry guns in public. The decision came as state lawmakers were hearing from gun-rights activists and opponents in Chicago. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.  After a three-judge panel gave Illinois until June to pass a law allowing concealed carry, Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the full Chicago appeals court to rehear the case.

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