Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Humana’s Community Center in Peoria has a new home. The new community location is in the Westlake Shopping Center behind Five Guys and next door to the UPS store. A robust crowd turned out for the ribbon cutting and grand open celebration.

  The owner of Peoria’s Pere Marquette Hotel wants to re-finance debt to avoid a possible foreclosure. Indure Build-to-Core, the real estate wing of the IBEW union and the principal lender, has filed foreclosure proceedings in circuit court.

Pere Marquette owner Gary Matthews wants to refinance the hotel through a loan from Yam Capital. The principal lender would be repaid at a reduced rate along with other creditors. The proposal would include repayment of nearly $50 Million to the city of Peoria for a loan and bonds issued to fund construction.

Peoria Fire Chief Resigns

Jan 9, 2018
City of Peoria

The City of Peoria will be looking for a new fire chief. Chuck Lauss will leave the position of chief effective January 31st.

In the short term, he will help his daughter work on her house in Portland, Oregon. Longer term, the 58-year-old Lauss intends to look for employment in emergency service outside the central Illinois area.

Lauss has been chief in Peoria for two years. He became assistant chief in 2013. Prior to that, he headed Caterpillar’s fire department for five years, and preceding that was fire chief for seven years in Pekin.

Federal Tax Plan Won't Help Lag in Skilled Workforce

Jan 8, 2018

Research indicates 60-percent of the workforce in a community needs post-secondary credentials of some type for a thriving economy.

Peoria Zoo / Facebook

If you didn’t hear the news over the weekend, it’s a girl! Vivian the Giraffe a resident of the Peoria Zoo, welcomed her second baby at about 2:40 Sunday morning. The baby girl weighed in at 122 pounds and 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Both mother and daughter are doing well. You can follow Vivian and her baby girl’s progress on Peoria Zoo’s Facebook page.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Multiple fire departments are responding to a large fire at Uftring Chevrolet in Washington off Business 24 and Mt. Vernon Drive. Emergency crews are working the fire scene and lane reductions remain in place along Business 24/ Washington Rd. Officials are asking motorists to avoid the area until the scene is secure.

This story will be updated.

Kroger to Close Two Peoria Stores

Jan 4, 2018
Google Earth

Kroger is closing two Peoria stores. The Harmon Highway and Wisconsin Avenue stores are closing at the end of the month. The Harmon Highway fuel center is also closing. A statement from the company says Kroger executives have long monitored operations, hoping the stores could return to profitability, but recent evaluations suggest such improvement is no longer realistic.

About 150 employees will either lose their jobs or move to other locations when Kroger closes two of the pair of stores.

New Illinois Laws In 2018

Dec 29, 2017

Laws about divorce, pets and traveling elephants will take effect January 1.

With Gov. Bruce Rauner's approval, Illinois legislators designated August 4 as Barack Obama Day in the state. That law along with more than 200 others take effect January 1.

In addition to overhauling the school funding formula and passing a spending plan for the first time in two years, lawmakers approved new consumer protections, rules for electric bikes and animal welfare measures.

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1. That’s after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who’d sued to block it.

PDC Announces Christmas Tree Disposal

Dec 28, 2017
Chris Marchant / Flickr/Creative Commons

The City of Peoria is reminding residents that Christmas tree disposal is part of the city’s normal collection day service.

Year In Review: WCBU Looks At Top Stories in 2017

Dec 26, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio



From sex trafficking to online hate speech, Peoria Public Radio's readers  engaged with a wide range of stories in 2017. Through thousands of pageviews, our audience followed along as the year presented news like we've never seen before.

Peoria Historical Society / Facebook

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A brighter and more colorful Abraham Lincoln is returning to the Peoria Historical Society early next year.

Animal Shelter to Host Christmas Pawty

Dec 21, 2017
tatyanalevitskaya / Creative Commons

Dogs and cats at Peoria’s animal shelter also get to tear into wrapping paper for the holidays.

Peoria County Animal Protection Services is hosting a “Christmas with the animals” Fri. at 10 am.  

PCAPS says the animals will receive gifts filled with treats and toys for them to claw open.

The event also includes a special promotion for humans interested in adopting a furry companion for Christmas. With a $50 donation to the Humane Society, adopted animals can be delivered by Santa on Dec. 23.

More details can be found here.

ELITE Choir Spreads Holiday Cheer

Dec 20, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Gym-goers getting a lunch hour workout Wed. were treated to the sweet-sounding harmonies of carolers.  

Peoria Public Radio

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois is benefiting from a $10 million grant from Google.

David Quitoriano / Flickr/Creative Commons

Area health providers are urging residents to limit hospital visits, due to heightened flu activity.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria man convicted of beating and severely burning  a 2-year-old girl by putting her into a scalding hot shower to punish her has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. 

Fireworks will remain as part of the Peoria Park District July third festivities.

Peoria Breaks Ground for Chicago-Style Eatery

Dec 13, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria government and business leaders helped break ground on the highly-publicized Portillo’s Restaurant Wed. The national chain is opening a location across from Northwoods Mall. The business is already stirring mixed reactions.

Peoria Public Radio

Efforts to build an apartment complex on park land along Peoria’s riverfront will continue for another six months.

Rep. LaHood: 'Tax Reform Plays in Peoria'

Dec 12, 2017

House and Senate Republicans are hustling on a compromise tax overhaul this week, in hopes of getting it to the President’s desk by Christmas. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Paramedics in Peoria seemed relieved for the opportunity to talk openly about their experiences responding to overdose calls.

Steppenwolf Theatre

Theatergoers in Chicago are getting a lifelike glimpse of Peoria’s city hall. A play at the Steppenwolf Theater is using a replica of council chambers. The “The Minutes” follows a fictional city council, but the dark comedy invokes real-world critique of American politics.

Peoria Police Department

The Peoria Police Department is issuing a ‘buyer beware notice’ to crack cocaine users. A new form of fentanyl laced in rocks of crack is responsible for the deaths of two people Tuesday, contributed to the death for a third, and has one man in critical condition.

Greater Peoria EDC

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council will have a new executive director at the helm in the new year.

Peoria Park District Targets Additional Cuts for 2018

Dec 7, 2017
Peoria Park District / Facebook

The Peoria Park District will vote next week on cutting several facilities in order to balance its 2018 budget. Park District Executive Director Emily Cahill says three recommended cuts are in areas where other options exist.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


The Future Energy Jobs Act or FEJA is a year old. A bipartisan chorus of elected officials, union and business leaders are heralding it for making a significant impact in the state economy.

City Council Approves 2018 Budget, Increases Fees

Dec 6, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The City of Peoria has a budget for next year, but the vote was not unanimous.

Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for LGBTQ rights in Illinois say while 2017 brought setbacks at the federal level, the state passed three laws aimed at improving equality.

A New Voice Calls Peoria Firefighters Into Action

Dec 5, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  The Peoria Fire Department has a new emergency alert system. It’s an automated voice that makes the initial pronouncement for EMS and fire calls. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports on the voice teaming up with human 911 dispatchers: