Peoria Public Radio News

Health
6:49 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Learning the Affordable Care Act

Health care insurance and the changes coming for employers was the topic of a seminar offered by the Peoria Chamber of Commerce. Laura Minzer is the Vice President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. She says communication between employees and employers will play a key role in navigating the coming changes. Minzer says health care is very personal and is already complicated.  

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Transportation
6:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Transportations officials conference in East Peoria

The 26th annual Innovations Conference on Asphalt and Transportation (ICAT) kicked-off with an address from Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman. Oberhelman presented the ICAT Sustainability Award to the Director of Illinois Tollways Kristi Lafleur. The award recognizes the state tollway’s $12 billion “Move Illinois” plan. The plan includes several sustainability elements over it’s 15-year life span. Oberhelman is one of eight keynote speakers for the event that includes U-S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis is an ICAT Executive Board Member.

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Politics
5:50 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Sen. Kirk supports same-sex marriage

  Another prominent Illinois Republican has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. U-S Senator Mark Kirk made his announcement on his website Tuesday. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey has more: 

 Kirk framed his support for same-sex marriage in light of his debilitating stroke last year.He says, "Our time on this earth is limited, I know that better than most." He says, "Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle."Kirk is only the fourth Republican member of Congress to publicly endorse same-sex marriage.Gregory Angelo, director of the pro-gay-rights Log Cabin Republicans, welcomed the news. He says opposing same-sex marriage is a long-term loser for the GOP.
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Government
5:37 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Durbin learns about Peoria’s Don’t Shoot program

  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin met with area law enforcement officials to learn about Peoria's anti-violence initiative.   The Don't Shoot program is based on the book by David Kennedy and addresses ways the community and law enforcement can reduce violent crime. Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says shootings are down 26-percent since January compared to the same time last year.

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Economy
6:34 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Dress for Success Peoria helps 2,000th client

  Dress for Success Peoria is celebrating its two-thousandth client preparing to find employment.  The non-profit group helps women by providing professional attire and a network support to help them find a job.  Sarah Fletcher is the Director of Dress for Success Peoria.  She says the milestone is significant:

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Government
4:44 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Transfers from Dwight Prison to Pontiac

The closure of the Dwight Correctional Center last week means other state prisons will be able to ramp up staff.  As IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports, most employees transferred from Dwight start at their new posts Monday.

Listen to the story.

The Tamms prison in deep southern Illinois used to house the so-called "worst of the worst" inmates who'd committed the most heinous crimes, or misbehaved in other prison and were thus isolated as punishment. When Governor Pat Quinn ordered Tamms closed last year, those inmates were moved to the Pontiac prison.

Warden Randy Phister says there have been no problems with the Tamms inmates since they arrived, some in August, others in December. That's despite Pontiac not getting any additional staff to help with the 140 extra inmates. Pontiac prison guard Frank Turner, who’s also President of the local AFSCME union, says that forced an average of 56 overtime shifts a day.  

"You have to have them bodies here to protect the public and the institution and protect the inmates from each other. Somebody has to be here. And if you have to work 16 hours you have to work 16 hours," says Turner.
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Education
3:13 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

UIS to offer classes for veterans

Veterans and active members of the armed forces will have classes just for them at the University of Illinois Springfield. Students will discuss their time in the military and must also complete an in-depth writing assignment about a life-changing experience. Kevin Beeson, a visiting instructor at UIS, teaches other experiential learning courses. He says he's watched as other students bond over shared life experiences. Beeson says he created the class after interviewing students with military backgrounds and noticing the bond they share. 

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Sports
2:43 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Vancouver Canucks buying Peoria Rivermen

The Vancouver Canucks are buying the Peoria Rivermen hockey team.  The St. Louis Blues confirmed the sale of its franchise, pending approval by the American Hockey League.  The Rivermen are leaving Peoria at the end of the season.  The Blues notified the Civic Center last week that it was buying out the remainder of its contract for a reported $90,000. The Blues had two seasons remaining on their Rivermen contract with the Civic Center.  The news comes after multiple seasons of low attendance at home games.  

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Peoria Public Radio News
7:22 am
Mon April 1, 2013

College prep focus of District 150 pilot program

Peoria School District 150 is touting a pilot program to help parents and high school students prepare for college.  

Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

The College Bound Peoria program launched last fall and now has 20 students and 28 parents. The program gives parents financial information, shares tips on how to save for college and takes students on tours of state and private schools in the Mid-West. York Powers is the District 150 Family and Community coordinator. He says the program’s goal is to help students adapt to an ever-changing academic environment:

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Peoria Public Radio News
6:23 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Local man trying new method to revitalize Peoria's neighborhoods

Certain parts of the heart of Peoria keenly reflect the leftover effects of what our culture has long called ‘white flight’. The City of Peoria has a pronounced effort to create a vibrant and lively downtown. The trouble with that is the housing stock that immediately surrounds the city’s downtown. Parts of it teeters on the edge of condemnation, or at least, it’s not someplace where those with even moderate means would choose to live.

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