Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

ABC Radio / Wikimedia Commons

The legal fight continues over where the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen should rest.


Dec 16, 2016

Message from the Illinois State Police District 8 Safety Education Office:

Winter Weather & Travel Advisory

Dec 16, 2016
Peoria Public Health Dept

  The National Weather Service (NWS) has a Winter Weather Advisory in place this weekend in the Peoria Region. That’s expected to bring cold weather, windy conditions, and a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow.

Local Health Departments encourage travelers to be aware of slippery roads. They are also offering warming centers for people who need shelter during this cold weather.

Peoria City/County Health Department encourages families to remember these tips:

Tanya Koonce

Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten is running for Tazewell County Sheriff. Eeten, who also serves as the public information officer for the Pekin Police Department, made the announcement today. He says he’s filed his Republican candidacy and campaign committee structure with the state board of election.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Auditor is resigning her position, effective Dec. 31, citing the recent county budget cuts.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr/Creative Commons

Heroin was -- and continues to be -- a major topic of concern in 2016, both nationally and in Peoria. 


In July, Mayor Jim Ardis announced the creation of his Community Coalition Against Heroin to look at causes and possible solutions for the increasing cases of overdose and addiction.

Several members of the coalition, including County Sheriff Mike McCoy, are expected to join a televised town hall discussion tonight on WTVP.

Caterpillar Layoffs Cut Deeper

Dec 14, 2016

More Caterpillar workers are being walked-off the job today in the Peoria area.

Steve Johnson / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved Illinois American Water’s request for a rate increase, but at lesser amount.


Illinois American asked for a $49.5 million increase last February. Instead, the ICC approved a $35.3 million increase.

The Commerce Commission ruled some expenses the company sought to recover with rate increases were too high by more than $14 million.

Illinois American Water serves customers from far Southern Illinois to the Chicago suburbs.

Pekin Police continue to search for 13-year old Robert Bee, who was reported as a runaway more than three-weeks ago.

State and Federal agencies are also participating in the search. Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten says the combined agency effort has placed a tremendous amount of manpower to search, interviews and lead follow-ups. 

There have been no confirmed sightings of Bee since his disappearance Nov. 18, and there are no new leads.

Walters Brothers Gives More Toys ... For Tots

Dec 13, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

 U.S. Marines Corp Reservists from Peoria loaded toys on their truck Tuesday at Walters Brothers Harley-Davidson. Santa helped. The Marines coordinate the Toys for Tots campaign.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

OSF HealthCare unveiled its new Women’s Health and Advanced Fertility Office on the North Side of Peoria Tues.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria led the ceremony with a blessing, followed by a sprinkling of holy water in each of the offices and examining rooms.

Bishop Jenky praised the new facility, calling it an extension of Saint Francis’ mission in Peoria.

“This allows women more choices, and it allows the hospital to enact its core mission to live in harmony with our Catholic faith,” Jenky said.  

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - Tazewell County is now home to a special court that will handle cases involving people with mental health issues.  The County opened its new Mental Health Court last week. 

Chief Public Defender Luke Taylor says the court will work with offenders to address problems with counseling and medication, with a goal of keeping them out of jail. 

 Officials say the Tazewell County jail houses about 500 people each year with mental health issues that range from minor to severe, and many are repeat offenders. They say it costs much more to hold and feed them in the jail than the $40,000 the county board earmarked for the new court.

Former Congressman Aaron Schock has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

It happened Monday afternoon in Springfield’s federal courthouse. That’s just across the street from what had been one of the 35-year-old Republican’s district offices.

Peoria Considers the Economics of Its Land Use

Dec 12, 2016
Strong Towns / You Tube

A private consultant is offering a different look at economic development and land use in Peoria.

Former Congressman Aaron Schock is due to be arraigned in a Springfield courtroom Monday afternoon.

@Cubs / Instagram

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs' World Series trophy is hitting the road on a tour that includes a stop in Peoria. 

In a news release, the team announced the tour will begin at the Cubs Team Store on Michigan Avenue on Dec. 9 and at City Hall on Dec. 15. After that, the trophy will make stops throughout Illinois. Among the cities the trophy will visit before Opening Day are Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Freeport, the Quad Cities, Rockford and Springfield.

The trophy will visit South Bend, Indiana, as well as Des Moines and other Iowa communities. It will also be taken to Mesa, Arizona in time for spring training. 

Rivian Automotive Considers Closed Mitsubishi Plant

Dec 8, 2016
BidItUp Auctions Worldwide

Rivian Automotive is in discussions to purchase the vacant 2.4 million square foot Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal.

Horizon Club Students Get a Frozen Field Day

Dec 8, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Middle Schoolers from Peoria’s school district braved the below freezing temperatures and laced on ice skates Thurs.

The Peoria Public School Foundation and PNC Bank sponsored two days of ice skating this week for more than 200 students enrolled in the Horizons Club. The club meets weekly and aims to prepare students for high school, students and beyond.

Foundation President Cindy Morris says this week’s ice skating outing is a reward for good behavior, but it’s also a chance to give some students a new experience.

National Center for Transgender Equality

A large survey of transgender Americans paints a grim picture of pervasive discrimination and harassment affecting that population.

The Transgender Society of Peoria and service providers estimate between 1,000-1,500 transgender people live in the Peoria region.  

Wikimedia Commons

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois State Geological Survey says it has been awarded a pair of federal grants worth a total of more than $12.6 million to try to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels.

The Geological Survey said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Energy grants will pay for a project to research the feasibility of commercial-scale underground storage of carbon dioxide. The work will build on a pre-existing project in the Mt. Simon Formation in Decatur.

 The second Energy Department-financed project will study the details of potential storage at another site in east-central Illinois.


The 1st District Peoria City Council Seat has some competition in the April 4th. David Berry is challenging the incumbent, Councilwoman Denise Moore.  He made a formal announcement yesterday. Berry says the incumbent is doing a good job on the whole but he would like to see more:

“Now issue I am seeing overall 1st District is that when it comes to public funding it’s nearly 100-percent going to private sector projects and in some cases there are zero dollars going to job train and continuing education.”

David Quitoriano / Flickr/Creative Commons

32 year-old Tracy Long of Pekin will spend 24 months on probation, along with other sanctions, for falsifying medical reports and stealing narcotics for personal use last year at Maple Lawn Healthcare in Eureka.


Long, a nurse, pleaded guilty to the Class 4 Felony of Unlawful Acquisition of a Controlled Substance.

Peoria Residents Turn Out for Better Racial Equity

Dec 7, 2016

The community discussion on racial inequity in Peoria last night was arguably one of the largest community turnouts for a public meeting in recent history. Nearly 320 people showed up to participate in the interactive meeting on racial disparity at the Gateway Building.

United Way agencies across the United States are receiving $11.5 million in contributions from Caterpillar employees and retirees and the company Foundation.  This amount includes a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Caterpillar Foundation.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

73-year-old Cleve Heidelberg is spending his Christmas in prison, for the 46th straight year. Heidelberg’s 1970 murder conviction of a Peoria Deputy is still under review. But a hearing scheduled for the end of December could mean a shot at a new trial -- even freedom -- in the New Year.

Federal prosecutors say they don't want former Illinois congressman Aaron Schock's corruption case moved from Springfield to Peoria.  Schock last month requested the move, arguing that the court in Peoria was more convenient and appropriate for his case.

CityLink General Manager Al Stanek is retiring at the end of year. Stanek has served in the position since February 2015. His retirement announcement comes as the Regional Mass Transit Authority continues to negotiate with its bus driver’s.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Board has three new members. The body remains a democratic majority with a 10-8 make up of Democrats and Republicans. But this board is less gender diverse than its predecessor.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Caterpillar is celebrating the life saving teamwork of seven people who administered CPR when their colleague collapsed. 49-year-old Mark Whiting went into cardiac arrest about a month ago while speaking at an offsite work meeting. Seven of his colleagues responded.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The election of Donald Trump presents a clean slate for the US to craft comprehensive immigration policies. That was one conclusion that panelists from a variety of political and professional backgrounds could agree on, during a discussion at the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Mon.

“With a comprehensive immigration policy, which has been lacking for years and years and years, it needs to be overhauled. And in order to achieve economic security, we’re going to have to have a plan," Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Co-Chair Dave Bender said.