Bradley University Selects Provost

17 hours ago
Bradley University

Bradley University has named a new Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.

University President Gary Roberts announced Monday that Walter R. Zakahi will begin his duties July 1.

Zakahi has been Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Keene State College in Keene, New  Hampshire, since 2014. Previously, he had served as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State University.

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Despite a higher unemployment rate this year, Peoria still ranks in the top 20 nationally for graduates in STEM -- or science, technology, engineering and math -- to live. 

That’s the findings of a recent study from the San Francisco-based finance company, Nerd-Wallet. The fourth annual report ranked Peoria 13 out of 330 places nationwide.

It’s a slight decline compared to last year, but he says the city’s relatively low cost of living was significant in its high ranking.  

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public School students are taking the end-of-the-year Northwest Evaluation Test, starting Monday.

The NWEA assessment is used to measure student performance by comparing scores with the baseline test at the beginning of the school year.

Trewyn K8 was the lowest scoring school in the district last year.

Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington met an enthusiastic Trewyn fourth grader who’s urging her classmates to do better this year:

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is set to get a new leader in July.  He has experience running presidential libraries.

Illinois' governor today used his executive authority to centralize, and potentially speed up an administrative process that's in play when a doctor misbehaves, a welfare recipient has a problem with benefits, or an employee alleges discrimination. 

A measure to change Illinois’ constitution affecting how legislative districts are drawn is one step closer to making it onto the November ballot.  The Independent Maps campaign has raised more than 580,000 signatures in support of the proposal, twice the number required.  

No overtime for home care workers

Apr 29, 2016

Starting this weekend home care workers paid by Illinois won’t be allowed to work over 40 hours a week. That’s because Governor Bruce Rauner says the state can’t afford to pay overtime and a new federal law requires it.  

An Illinois state senator is urging the state to strip Dennis Hastert of the taxpayer-funded pension he receives from when he was state legislator. 

Illinois is one of 33 states not tracking the use of a toxic firefighting foam that has prompted the military to check U.S. bases for potential groundwater contamination caused by chemicals.

Students living illegally in the U.S. who struggle to pay for college because they don't qualify for financial aid are urging Illinois lawmakers to make them eligible for state help.

Police at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus are investigating the appearance of three large swastikas in campus buildings.  Administrators say an employee has been fired over an apparently unrelated noose left on a table in a work area.

Peoria Fire Department Receives Grant for New Gear

Apr 29, 2016
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The Peoria Fire Department has received a $2,500 grant from Ameren Illinois to offset the cost of purchasing new safety gear and equipment.

The funds will help equip new firefighters with a pair of steel-toed boots, fire resistant pants, fire resistant coat, leather firefighting gloves, a helmet, and a self-contained breathing apparatus, the City of Peoria said in a news release. The grant funds come from the Ameren Cares program.

CSU Graduation Ceremony Turns Into Political Rally

Apr 29, 2016
Chicago State University / Facebook

Seniors at Chicago State University now have their degrees after surviving a tumultuous year. The university was scheduled to close Friday because of the 10-month long state budget impasse. There was some funding this week but the university remains on the brink.


That was obvious at this week’s graduation. The event was not a solemn ceremony. Instead, it was a political rally for students capping a very political school year. Illinois Public Radio’s Tony Arnold reports.

Before the graduation ceremony - students in black robes and green sashes were running around backstage - finding the right place to line up. Eric Giddens was in the hall with his nursing school classmates.

ARNOLD: You got a job lined up?


GIDDENS: Well yeah. I had clinicals and some of the clinical sites, they told me I could come back afterwards and try so hopefully I’ll get in.

Giddens says he’s graduating in spite of everything else going on. Chicago State didn’t get any state money for 10 months because of the impasse at the Statehouse. Neither did any other Illinois public university. But Chicago State was the closest to closing. Administrators even canceled Spring Break - and moved up graduation just to make sure it’d have the money for seniors like Giddens to finish the semester.

GIDDENS: When we were going through school, everything got rushed up, all the deadlines got pushed up and it was like really stressful. But now that it’s over with, I’m just happy that we made it. And I feel for the classes that come after us because they’re gonna have it a lot harder than we did but hopefully everything gets resolved.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois patients who want to use medical marijuana legally will try again to expand the program to include chronic pain, diabetes, migraine and other health conditions. Monday's meeting of the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could lead to new recommendations, but Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has twice before rejected the board's suggestions. 

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WILMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - For the first time, a national grassland preserve in northeastern Illinois has added to its bison herd through newborns - and not just one or two.

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner was met with a mixed reception Thurs., when he stopped at the University of Illinois Urbana campus. The governor was there to congratulate students who had won awards for innovative technology. 

Rauner received applause from those who came to see the awarding of the Illinois Innovation Prize. But he was heckled by demonstrators who blamed him for the budget impasse that’s held up state funding for higher education -- except for some recently approved stopgap funding.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - A faculty union at the University of Illinois' Champaign-Urbana campus plans a five-day strike after contract talks with the school Wednesday ended without a settlement. 

Shawn Gilmore is president of the Nontenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546. He says union members voted "overwhelmingly" Wednesday evening to authorize a five-day strike. The strike is to start Thursday with picketing is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. at the English Building. The union went on a two-day strike earlier this month.

Peoria Police, DEA Collecting Unused Medications

Apr 28, 2016
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The Peoria Police Department is holding a drug drop off this weekend for residents to safely and anonymously remove unnecessary controlled substances from their medicine cabinets.

It’s part of a national take-back day in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration that aims to keep drugs from getting into the wrong hands. The Police Department says it will accept prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The collection is Saturday from 10 a-m to 2 p-m in the department’s lobby.  

Rauner hopeful for budget deal by end of next month

Apr 27, 2016

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he's hopeful he and Democratic lawmakers can reach a 2-year budget deal by the end of next month.   The state's already gone 10 months without a budget and that's left higher education and human services crippled. 

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's attorney says his client accepts the sentence and will focus on addressing his health issues and "healing the emotional damage" inflicted on his family and friends. 

Illinois business leaders say they want the state to invest more money in early education to meet the demands of a growing job market centered on math and science.

Members of a tax policy group based in Washington D.C., came to Springfield today to oppose two pieces of legislation that would change Illinois' income tax from a flat rate to rates based on how much a taxpayer earns. 

A new report says University of Chicago Medicine is asking for too much in its $269 million expansion proposal.

Lawyers for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the largest state employees' union are making their case about whether negotiations on a new labor agreement have stalled.

Federal regulators are recommending that the city of Galesburg provide bottled water or filters to residents affected by high levels of lead in their drinking water.

Federal agencies plan to spend $57.3 million this year on preventing invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, where scientists say they could disrupt food chains and out-compete native fish.

Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty last year to breaking banking laws for making illegal withdrawals to conceal a dark secret from his past. Sentencing guidelines suggested that the former House speaker would probably serve no more than six months in prison.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Democrats are advancing plans preventing people with mental illnesses from legally owning firearms.

The plans target state gun owner's identification cards, which allow people to possess firearms. The bills are up for consideration this month by the House and Senate chambers. 

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Inmates who maintain connections with their families are less likely to return to prison, but the cost of keeping in touch is proving quite high for many. Prison phone call rates are unregulated.

In Illinois, that's resulted in calls totaling over $4 per minute. 

Danielle Chynoweth of Urbana is with the Center for Media Justice, which has worked on this issue nationally. 

"One third of families of the incarcerated went into debt to pay for phone calls and visits alone.  These are people taking out loans to pay their phone calls," she said.

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The Illinois Labor Relations Board began hearings Monday on whether contract negotiations between Governor Bruce Rauner's administration and the state's biggest public employee union-- AFSCME-- are at an impasse. 

Rauner walked away from the bargaining table in January and wants the labor board to determine there is an impasse. If the governor wins AFSCME members would have to take the state's last, best offer on things like wages and health insurance... or they could strike.