News

Lincoln K-8 Starts School Year On Better Footing

2 hours ago
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Students who returned to Lincoln K-8 School this month entered a drastically different environment, compared to last year.

Peoria District 150 allocated about $270,000 to implement the ELITE program at Lincoln last fall. That change, among others, is helping turn things around.

ELITE founder Carl Cannon says he and his colleagues were shocked by what they saw when they arrived at Lincoln last year. The scene was so chaotic, he called it a “Hollywood” School.

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A new teacher who made a music video to welcome his students has become a bit of a star with his fourth-graders.  Dwayne Reed's video was posted on YouTube this week and has already been viewed more than a half-million times and earned him an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Remap Proposal

Aug 27, 2016

The Illinois Supreme Court has blocked voters from deciding whether to change how legislative boundaries are drawn.  The proposal was meant to make legislative maps less political.  But the justices who ruled against it focused on one particular reason why the remap proposal can’t appear on the November ballot.

Accessing life insurance benefits in Illinois will be easier, thanks to a new website and state law signed today by Governor Bruce Rauner.  What happens if a family grieving the loss of a loved one is owed life insurance money, but doesn't make a claim for it?  In some cases, the insurance companies held onto the money.

A Decatur woman's ambition to become a nurse has led to new legislation allowing some convicted felons to petition the state for a health care worker license.  Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure into law that has personal meaning for 43-year-old Lisa Creason.

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation requiring insurance companies to locate beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies and pay them the money they're owed.  The state also is launching a website to help Illinois residents find out if they are a beneficiary of an insurance policy or annuity left by someone who died.

Illinois' contribution to the state's largest public-pension fund is expected to increase by more than $400 million next year after the board overseeing the account lowered its expected rate of return on investments. 

HerrWick / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The board of Illinois' largest public-pension fund could take action that would increase the state's annual contribution by hundreds of millions of dollars amid a budget crisis. 

Teachers Retirement System trustees are expected to vote Friday to lower the assumed rate of return on the fund's investments. The move comes as pension systems across the United States are seeing lackluster returns and analysts are warning they should adjust expectations.

Illinois State University

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State University says it believes that both its overall enrollment and freshman enrollment will set records for a third consecutive year.

Figures available during this first week of classes are only preliminary, but they show more than 3,600 freshmen and more than 21,000 students in all.

 Illinois State spokesman Jay Groves says official figures will not be available until next week. 

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The debate over Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, can get pretty heated.  But a long-time seller of non-GMO grain says he won’t get worked up over the issue. Illinois Public Radio's Rich Egger reports.

The Illinois Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on whether a constitutional amendment belongs on the ballot, even though election officials are set to certify the ballot tomorrow.

Robert Kozloff / Facebook/University of Chicago

Incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago have received a letter from the dean of students informing them of the school's commitment to free speech.  Dean of Students Jay Ellison writes that the university does not condone safe spaces where students can "retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own." 

The candidates for Illinois comptroller, Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger and Democratic Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, are working to show their independence from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

The White House is firing back at Sen. Mark Kirk for his comment that President Barack Obama was "acting like the drug dealer in chief" when the administration made a $400 million cash payment to Iran.  The Illinois Republican criticized Obama over the payment, which was contingent on the release of American prisoners. 

The nonprofit Catholic organization SSM Health says it will provide birth control pills at 26 clinics inside St. Louis-area Walgreens stores that it began operating today.  Four groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote letters to SSM and Walgreens on Aug. 18, asking whether the clinics would be restricted by religious doctrine from allowing consultations on birth control.

A federal judge has ruled a suburban Chicago terrorism suspect mentally unfit to stand trial on charges he placed what he believed to be a bomb outside a bar.  U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman has concluded 22-year-old Adel Daoud is sincere in his belief that aliens, the Illuminati and Freemasons are conspiring against him.

Insys Therapeutics Inc.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against a Phoenix-based pharmaceutical company for alleged deceptive marketing of an opioid drug meant for cancer patients.  The lawsuit claims Insys Therapeutics Inc. marketed its sublingual fentanyl spray Subsys to doctors who prescribed large amounts of painkillers instead of to cancer doctors.

Transportation officials with the state of Illinois say they'll study flood prevention methods after the Illinois State Fair was swamped this year.  Heavy rains, as much as nearly 5.6 inches on the first full day of the fair Aug. 12, swamped campgrounds and forced fair officials to cancel some events.

Peoria 10th Circuit Court Judge Al Purham stands by his original ruling: The 1970 case involving Cleve Heidelberg must be reinvestigated by the Illinois Attorney General.

"I believe in transparency," Purham said.

That was his final statement in the courtroom Thurs., after hearing arguments from the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s office in defense of his decision not to reopen Heidelberg’s case.

At issue was State’s Attorney Jerry Brady’s personal ties to the trial's lead prosecutor, who Brady contacted before determining not to reopen the case earlier this year.

City Names New Director of Public Works Department

Aug 25, 2016
City of Peoria / Facebook

The City of Peoria is promoting from within to fill the office of public works director.

On Thurs., the Peoria City Administrator announced Scott Reeise will fill the vacant position.

Reeise, a Morton native, was named assistant director of public works in 2015 and is also the city engineer. The Bradley University alum started his career with the City of Peoria as a Civil Engineer in 2004.

Reeise’s public works director appointment is effective August 27th.

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Peoria Police are looking into the cause of a crash that left one man dead and another critically injured.

The County Coroner says 26-year-old Jacoby Cotton died at approximately 1:15am after his motorcycle crashed in the 5900 block of Knoxville Ave.

Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says autopsy results out today could clarify the extent of the injuries. Toxicology results take 10 days to process.

Cotton was riding with Brandon Hardin, who was transported to OSF after police arrived on the scene of the single-vehicle crash.

Gill Fights To Remain On Ballot As Independent

Aug 25, 2016

Illinois makes running for office much harder for candidates who file as independents than those who identify as Democrats and Republicans. As Brian Mackey reports, that law is being challenged in federal court.

David Gill’s campaign gathered more than 8,000 valid signatures for his independent run for Congress. Although that was way more than the Democrat and Republican had to collect, it wasn’t enough.

In his lawsuit, Gill argues the higher signature requirement is all about protecting the major parties from competition.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Governor Bruce Rauner announced the creation two minority business advancement programs at the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Conference in East Peoria.

He says the state is creating a sheltered market, first to find a minority owned IT consulting firm, with food service, healthcare and construction as other target areas.

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The Salvation Army Shelter in Pekin closed in June for a complete renovation and is looking toward its rebirth. The Rust Transitional Shelter is looking to open its doors in about 30 days.

Tunnel to Tower Foundation

A ceremony kicked off the opening of the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit in East Peoria today. The exhibit, from the Tunnel to Tower Foundation, is traveling to Boyd Gaming establishments, and is currently set up at the Par-a-dice in East Peoria.

Chicago police are debunking Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim that department officials told him they can reduce crime by being tougher.  During a Monday interview on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor," Trump said Chicago's police force doesn't have "the right people in charge." He added he met "very top police" who told him if a specific person were put in charge, violence could be stopped "in one week."

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s narrowing his focus to fix the state’s political system.  Because he says there hasn’t been enough progress on other issues.   Governor Rauner has put aside his economic policy initiatives with the passage of a temporary state spending plan. And now says he has a few other issues to focus on.

Even as Governor Bruce Rauner denounces higher insurance premiums in Illinois under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is trying to tamp down those concerns.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released an analysis that projects roughly two-thirds of Illinois consumers would still be able to buy a plan for less than 75 dollars a month... even if rates next year increase by 50%.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has expanded its collection on Illinois poets with a trove of documents, manuscripts and photographs related to Edgar Lee Masters.  The museum announced that the Edgar Lee Masters Home and Museum in Petersburg has given it hundreds of items, including an 1834 letter by Masters' grandfather and family photos. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says a pending move by Illinois' largest public-pension fund could increase the state's required payment by hundreds of millions of dollars.  It says that would have a "devastating impact" on education and social services. 

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