Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Veterans Invited to Annual Appreciation Breakfast

Dec 2, 2016
pixabay/Creative Commons

Veterans and their families are invited to chow down on homemade pancakes and sausage, served up by Illinois politicians in Peoria this weekend.  

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth’s (D-Peoria) office announced she’s hosting her 8th Annual Veterans’ Appreciation Breakfast Sat. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Peoria Heights. 

Several news makers are expected to wait tables, including Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Peoria Public Schools’ Superintendent Sharon Kherat and Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady. 

Peoria County Jail Records

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria County judge has sentenced a 21-year-old man to 43 years in prison for the death of his 4-month-old son in March.

Marcus Shockley Jr. of Peoria pleaded guilty in the death of Marcus Shockley III and was sentenced Wednesday. Prosecutors say Shockley threw the baby on a bed, slapped the child and bit him on the shoulder. The baby was declared brain dead and died March 10. Doctors said the baby was bruised and suffered brain swelling and bleeding.

 The child's mother, 20-year-old Shanterryona A. Anderson, is serving a 30-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to endangering the life or welfare of a child.

Caterpillar cautioned investors gathered at a conference Thurs. that early Wall Street forecasts were “too optimistic” about the year ahead.

Earlier analysts’ consensus from October projected earnings per share of $3.25 and revenue of $38 billion.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Board is slated to approve its 2017 budget tonight. The board has to fill a two-and-a half million dollar shortfall, for this year and next.


County Board Chairman Andrew Rand says fund reserves will be depleted in three years at this pace. He says expenses are outpacing revenues about one percent a year, compounded by declines in the major revenue sources of sales taxes, fines and fees.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public School Building Committee is asking those who submitted a proposal for the future of Peoria Stadium to move forward with developing a business plan. The Building Committee yesterday talked through the three page proposal Adam White and others submitted. The proposal calls for replacing Peoria Stadium with modern facilities and operating it as a nonprofit with a board of directors and full-time person to run the operation.


The city is seeking suggestions on ways to improve the social and economic challenges that disproportionate affect Peoria’s African American residents.

It comes in response to a recent ranking by the site 24/7 Wall Street that named Peoria “worst-in-the-nation,” in terms of racial disparities.

The data used to assign that unflattering designation shows the median income for black residents is less than half that of whites. The survey also included the unemployment rate, which is three times higher in Peoria’s black population, compared to whites.  

The meeting will take the form of small group discussions on the subjects of economic disparity, health, employment and education. The small group discussions aim to find potential solutions.

An Illinois man has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the death of a missing woman whose body was found in a shallow grave.  66-year-old Clifford Andersen of Standard entered the plea in Putnam County court to felony concealment of a homicidal death. 

Education, Prevention Efforts Continue on World AIDS Day

Nov 30, 2016
Sham Hardy / Flickr/Creative Commons

As President-Elect Donald Trump assembles his cabinet, it’s becoming clearer that he will likely attempt to alter the US’ healthcare system.

His appointments to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have already worked in varying capacities to alter health care funding in their respective states.

That is worrisome to those involved in prevention efforts, like University of Illinois Chicago professor and researcher Jennifer Brier.

CityLink and Peoria area transit workers have reached a contract extension agreement.


The Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Local 416 contract expires Wed. The contract extension keeps nearly 140 bus drivers and maintenance workers on the job through January 31st. It also allows time for the union and CityLink managers to schedule more negotiations.

104 members of Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Local 416 unanimously approved a strike authorization Sunday.

O'Dea / WikiCommons

The public is getting a look inside a medical marijuana dispensary opening next week in East Peoria.

“By normalizing this and opening it up to the community, it allows for physicians to be more comfortable with learning about it,” Ben Rediger, a spokesman for the dispensary NuMed, said.

State regulations specify that medical cannabis dispensaries be open only to registered patients, caregivers and state-credentialed employees. After the facility is licensed by state regulators, the dispensary area is closed to everyone else. 

It's the Winter Weather - Get it Together Campaign

Nov 30, 2016
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Snow plows are ready to hit the road to handle the ice and snow winter generally offers in the Midwest. Peoria area public works officials, I-DOT and the Illinois State Police are also reminding people to adjust their following distance and awareness behind the wheel the first time mother nature delivers snow and ice.

The final field of candidates is set for Peoria City municipal and township offices in the spring elections. Mayor Jim Ardis is facing two challengers. Marie Kennell and Couri Thomas both filed candidate petitions Monday.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Lawyers for former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock want his corruption case moved from Springfield to Peoria.

Police Ask For Help in Finding a Child

Nov 28, 2016

The Illinois State Police have issued an Endangered Missing Person Advisory on the 13 year-old Pekin boy who ran away 10 days ago.  


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Transit workers in the Peoria area have voted to authorize a strike but their officials with their union say they're hoping to avoid a walkout.

Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Local 416 members voted 104-0 Sunday for strike authorization. Union president Ron Cox says the union is negotiating with CityLink over health care and contract length. The current contract with about 140 workers expires at midnight Wednesday.

CityLink is the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District . It serves Peoria, Peoria Heights and West Peoria. It also has contracts with Pekin and East Peoria.

falkenpost / Google/Creative Commons

The death of longtime dictator Fidel Castro has again sparked interest in Cuba.

Meantime, Illinois lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, are already delving deep into developing economic ties with the island nation. 

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) gives credit to President Barack Obama for opening up trade with Cuba. Lahood says Cuban trade is important for companies, including Caterpillar because 75 percent of the tractors built in East Peoria are shipped to foreign destinations.

Arctic Activities Return to Downtown Peoria

Nov 25, 2016
RuiPereira / Flickr/Creative Commons

For the second year in a row, a corner of downtown Peoria has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

It’s part of the second annual PNC Winterfest, which includes a skating rink and a 100 foot long slide -- made of ice.  The rink is located on the corner of Fulton Ave. and Jefferson St., adjacent to City Hall. 

PNC Winterfest officially opens Fri. and continues through mid-January. Prices and skating hours can be found here.

Flickr Creative Commons/prsa-ny

The Illinois Supreme Court is carrying out a new certification process that's aimed at bringing accountability to the state's problem-solving courts.  Problem-solving courts address mental health and addiction issues of people in the criminal justice system by connecting them with treatment.

Historic Peoria Heights Building Attracts New Commerce

Nov 23, 2016
Columbia University Libraries

A Peoria Heights building originally constructed in the 1860s to manufacture bicycles has found yet another life.

The Rouse Hazard building at 4416 North Prospect Rd. previously housed auto pioneer Charles Duryea, a boxing ring, and most recently, a motorcycle maintenance shop.

Katie Kim, CEO of The Kim Group that renovated the building, sees value inside its old walls.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Hundreds of volunteers at South Side Mission are already three days’ into the prep work for tomorrow’s large-scale feast.

The kitchen is alive with the hum of industrial-sized mixers and the clanking of baking sheets.

This is Chef Chris Franzoni’s 12th year overseeing the massive culinary production. He says the South Side Mission plans to deliver 3,300 meals and serve 200 in the gymnasium for Thanksgiving.

Franzoni says aside from the pay, the work is worth it, after seeing the relief on people’s faces when they get their meals.

Tanya Koonce

AAA Chicago Motor Club anticipates 2.5 million people in Illinois will travel for the holiday weekend.  2.3 million are expected to drive between Wednesday and Sunday.

Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public Schools are preparing to sell $50 million in bonds to pay for a mighty list of school facilities’ improvements.

The bonds will be paid for with the revenue from the 1/2-percent sales tax increase Peoria County voters approved in Nov. 8 election. PPS' School Board approved the underwriting agreement with Stifel Nicolaus and Company, on a 5-1 vote.

Chief Financial Officer Mick Willis says he recommended the company because the way it structures the bonds will be beneficial to the school district.

A Canton man told a judge he went "redneck fishing" with a pipe bomb as a tribute to his late grandfather. He hauled in a 90-day jail sentence.  Twenty-six-year-old Marc McCulley's felony conviction also got him 30 months' probation after he was sentenced last week in Peoria County Circuit Court.

Aaron Schock is accused of allegedly using government and campaign money to subsidize a lavish lifestyle, as well as pocketing thousands of constituents' dollars.   The indictment unveiled this month says the 35-year old former Illinois Republican congressman hosted annual Washington tours and meet-and-greets, charged a special fee and secretly kept some of the cash. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

An Egyptian-born imam is running for the vacant Peoria City Council At-Large seat.

36-year-old Amr Elsamny works for several local nonprofits and advocacy groups, including the Peoria Community Against Violence and the Interfaith Alliance. 

Elsamny announced his candidacy at City Hall Mon., flanked by supporters from various faith groups, including St. Paul Baptist Church and the Universalist Unitarian Church. 

Matt Johnson

National Transportation Safety Board officials are leading the investigation of the natural gas explosion that killed one person and demolished buildings in Canton.

AFSCME to Gov. Rauner: Don't Dictate, Negotiate

Nov 17, 2016

Illinois state government public service workers are planning a day of demonstrations across the state amid cost-cutting efforts by Gov. Bruce Rauner.



Ameren Worker Killed in Canton Blast Identified

Nov 17, 2016
H. Wayne Wilson / Peoria Public Radio

Authorities have identified an the utility worker who was killed in a natural gas explosion as 38-year-old Arturo Silva Jr., of Mapleton.

1 Killed, 11 Injured in Canton Gas Explosion

Nov 17, 2016
H. Wayne Wilson

A gas explosion on the square in Canton Wednesday killed one person and injured 11. The blast occurred shortly before 6 P.M. behind the Opera House, but damaged numerous businesses within several blocks of the site. Ameren Illinois spokesman Tucker Kennedy says a company apprentice was fatally injured and three other employees were hurt in the explosion.


BREAKING: A major explosion in Canton this evening on the square left one person dead, others injured and caused massive damage to multiple businesses. More than 500 residents in the area are without power. Natural gas has been cut off to the community until further notice. The public is asked to avoid the area as a precaution while Emergency Management and clean-up crews work to secure the site.