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Increases in admission fees have been approved for the Museum of Science and Industry and Chicago History Museum starting Feb. 1.
 
The Chicago Park District Board approved the hikes on Wednesday to help offset increased building maintenance and operations costs at both museums. It's the first fee increases for the Museum of Science and Industry since 2013. The Chicago History Museum's fees were last increased in 2016.
 

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OSF HealthCare intends to rehabilitate the former Chase Building in downtown Peoria. Caterpillar had purchased the building several years ago in anticipation of building its new headquarters. With the relocation of Caterpillar headquarters to north suburban Deerfield, the building sat empty. Caterpillar is donating the century-old building that once housed the Block and Kuhl Department Store and the nearby Peoria Professional Building, plus contributing three-million dollars to the project.

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The Peoria City/County Health Department is urging people who feel sick or have a fever to stay home. Peoria Health Department Officials say there is widespread flu activity in the Peoria Region. A statement from the agency says local hospital emergency departments and the emergency 911 system are responding to a higher number of people seeking care for flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat, muscle and body aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

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New details are emerging about the Obama Presidential Center including design revisions for a taller and sleeker museum tower and hundreds of new trees.

The changes are part of the plans that the Obama Foundation submitted to city of Chicago officials on Wednesday. Other changes for the estimated $350 million project include more green space, 400 new trees, more links to an existing science museum and underground parking.

The facility will be built along Lake Michigan on Chicago's South Side.

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Two teenage boys who pleaded guilty in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed live on Facebook have been sentenced to five years of probation.

In a plea deal with Cook County, Illinois, prosecutors, the teens pleaded guilty to child pornography in November.

The victim, now 16, and her mother looked on from the rear of the courtroom as Judge Patricia Mendoza sentenced the boys on Wednesday. Both teens were originally charged with aggravated sexual assault and manufacturing and dissemination of child pornography.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will run uncontested in the Democratic primary after state Sen. Michael Hastings dropped out of the race.

Another building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds is in need of emergency repairs in order to avoid a potential roof collapse.

New details are emerging about the Obama Presidential Center including design revisions for a taller and sleeker museum tower and hundreds of new trees. 

The curator at the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College has been selected as its new director.

Northeastern Illinois University has named four finalists for president, a post that has been vacant since fall 2016.

Peoria's Assistant Fire Chief Will Be Next Chief

Jan 10, 2018
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The search for a new fire chief in Peoria was short.

With the announcement Monday of the departure of Chief Chuck Lauss at the end of the month, assistant chief Ed Olehy has already been named to the top job beginning February 1st.

The field of Democrats vying for the chance to replace U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez is narrowing. 

Lawyers for a transgender woman say Illinois' Department of Corrections has agreed to move her from her current male prison where she says she's suffered brutal abuse by guards and inmates.

More Financial Redemption for Peoria Pere and Courtyard

Jan 10, 2018

Action by the Peoria City Council last night will help keep the Hotel Pere Marquette open. Hotel owner Gary Matthews is behind in paying his lenders, which includes the city of Peoria.

The council approved a special service area (SSA) allowing the hotel to charge an additional four-percent sales tax on room nights. The tax will raise approximately $400,000 a year to help the city pay for bonds it issued to help restore the hotel.

More Financial Redemption for Peoria Pere and Courtyard

Jan 10, 2018

Action by the Peoria City Council last night will help keep the Hotel Pere Marquette open. Hotel owner Gary Matthews is behind in paying his lenders, which includes the city of Peoria.

The council approved a special service area (SSA) allowing the hotel to charge an additional four-percent sales tax on room nights. The tax will raise approximately $400,000 a year to help the city pay for bonds it issued to help restore the hotel.

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.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner's former communications director is suing the administration over emails on the signing of a controversial plan allowing taxpayer-funded abortions. The Cook County lawsuit was filed last week. Rauner hired and fired numerous employees over the summer, including several from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute. Among them was Diana Rickert, who left Rauner's office as a communications director following the flap over an institute political cartoon critics called racist.

While a new Illinois law allows for easier voter registration, potential voters should still double-check their status. 

Authorities say they've arrested the former hotel owner of what was Peoria's Four Points at Sheraton. 

  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.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  CHICAGO - The Democratic Illinois attorney general candidates vying for their party's nomination are vowing to fight policies enacted by President Donald Trump's administration, including on immigration and marijuana.

Seven of eight Democrats participated Monday in one of the first forums before the March primary. The candidates discussed their views supporting legalizing marijuana and Illinois' immigrant-friendly laws.

  Governor Bruce Rauner has boasted that fixing Illinois inequitable school funding formula was his top accomplishment of the past year. But Monday, he struck down a measure needed to implement that reform. Our education reporter Dusty Rhodes explains.

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  AURORA, Ill. - Libraries throughout the Chicago suburbs are making efforts to welcome and accommodate people who are homeless.

Libraries in Aurora and Naperville have joined others across the country in receiving training from Ryan Dowd on how to work with homeless patrons. Dowd is the director of Hesed House, a shelter in Aurora.

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Aurora officials will host a major ultimate Frisbee event this summer when USA Ultimate brings its 2018 Masters Championships to the area. The July 20-22 event will be at the Stuart Sports Complex in Montgomery.

USA Ultimate is the national governing body for the sport and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. It's working with the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau , the Aurora Area Sports Alliance , Ultimate Chicago and the Fox Valley Park District.

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.

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Advocates for youth are urging Illinois to end the incarceration of young people in large facilities. They say these settings do not address their needs and safety concerns. Stephanie Kollmann is with the Children and Family Justice Center's legal clinic ​at Northwestern’s law school. She says the state should consider moving toward small-scale community settings that offer a more personal approach.

 “The number one goal of adolescent development is to be able to get youth toward adult independence and successful, thriving lives. Prisons unfortunately build  walls between youth and community, and that’s exactly the resources that they will need in order to move on successfully.” Kollman says. 

Illinois  attorney general candidates vying for the Democratic nomination are scheduled to participate in one of their first candidate forums ahead of the March primary. 

State records show that the flu season in Illinois appears to be peaking early this year.

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