Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

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.

Indiana’s attorney general says his state’s gun laws aren’t what’s fueling crime in Chicago. 

Illinois Public Radio's Michael Puente reports.

It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of guns recovered by Chicago police over the last four years came from Indiana. 

Savings from medicaid cuts fall short

Feb 21, 2013

Illinois officials say savings from cuts to Medicaid have fallen short by $464-million dollars. That's about 30 percent of the expected 1.6-billion dollars in cuts to the health program for the poor.

Julie Hamos, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, gave a status report on the cost-cutting measures to a legislative committee Thursday in Springfield.

Groups reach fracking agreement in Illinois

Feb 21, 2013

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on Thursday's announcement.  

It was an unusual sight: supporters of the oil and gas industry sharing a podium with environmental activists. They've agreed on legislation that would regulate the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

Jack Darin, with the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, says fracking is coming to Illinois, so it's better to compromise on new rules than to do nothing.

Simulation training for OSF resident physicians

Feb 20, 2013

Resident physicians at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center are using simulation training to learn how to put neck and chest catheters into a patient.  The simulation walks-through how to prepare the patient, use the tools and insert the catheter. Jessica Short is a clinical research coordinator with OSF.  She says the training allows resident physicians to learn at their own pace: 

Manual health program includes food, exercise tips

Feb 20, 2013

High school students at Manual Academy are learning ways to eat better and exercise.  The Healthy Living program is being funded through a grant from the American Cancer Society.  The program includes nutrition information and exercise routines every week.  Tina Schallhorn is a pediatric dietician with Methodist Medical Center.  She says the class teaches people about sugary foods and drinks like soda:

East Peoria pursues trail funding

Feb 20, 2013

The City of East Peoria is pursuing funding to construct a new recreational trail. The proposed trail would stretch from Riverfront Drive, along Camp Street, to Main Street. East Peoria has already received nearly $150,000 in grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation to design the project. The city is now seeking a $300,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to build the trail. The IDNR grant requires a 50-50 match from the city. Ty Livingston is the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development.

New proposal would make income tax increase permanent

Feb 20, 2013

The Illinois income tax increase would be made permanent in the latest proposal to fix the state's underfunded pension systems. The increase, from 3 percent to 5 percent, was set to begin easing back in 2014.

But Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says the state can't afford that. He says Illinois taxpayers didn't create the pension problem, but it's a problem they're stuck with.

State workers strike still in question

Feb 20, 2013

It's not clear whether Illinois government is making preparations for a strike by state workers. Governor Pat Quinn was repeatedly asked about it Wednesday. But as IPR's Brian Mackey reports, he didn't answer the question head-on.
                                    
AFSCME, the state's largest government-employee union, has been negotiating a new contract for more than a year. The administration is demanding that workers forego raises for at least three years, and pay a lot more for health insurance.

Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to federal charges

Feb 20, 2013

Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior and his wife, Sandi, are both pleading guilty to federal criminal charges Wednesday. As IPR’s Alex Keefe reports, the government also released new details in the case.

Residents protest same-sex marriage in Springfield

Feb 20, 2013

Hundreds of Illinois residents crowded both inside and outside the state Capitol Wednesday, protesting same-sex marriage. They wore bright yellow buttons depicting stick figures of one man and one woman.
David Smith is the Illinois Family Institute's executive director. He says limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is not a form of discrimination.

"Marriage benefits society. It's the perfect environment to raise the next generation of children. Children do best in a mother-father home," Smith says.

More than 225 people turned out at the Peoria Riverfront Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘The Feminine Mystique’. The book written by Peoria native Betty Friedan, is thought to have started the women's rights movement in the 1960's.
Seven Peoria women of note in the community spoke to how the book and it’s social implications have shaped or changed their lives.

Food carts could come to downtown East Peoria

Feb 19, 2013

  East Peoria is looking to allow food carts in its new downtown area this spring.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the idea is to boost more foot-traffic in the city’s new Levee District: East Peoria City Staff proposes allowing six food carts around the Civic Plaza area that includes the new library, meeting space and potential future city hall.

Peoria Public Library has a new chief

Feb 19, 2013

The Peoria Public Library has a new executive director that is a familiar face. The Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved Leann Johnson during its regular board meeting. Johnson has served in the interim position since November when the previous executive director separated from the Peoria Public Library. Johnson has been with the library for 28 years, served as interim executive director three times and was the Assistant Director for 17 years. She has a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois.

State moving on passing concealed-carry law

Feb 19, 2013

   Illinois is moving forward to meet a deadline to pass a law allowing people to carry guns in public. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more. Illinois is the last state without any form of concealed-carry, and a federal court says that has to change. It gave lawmakers until early June to do so. Gun-rights enthusiasts filled a hearing room in Springfield as a House committee heard from activists on both sides of the issue.Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association, made several demands for the concealed-carry law.

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