This week, we talk with William Butler from the Contemporary Art Center. They're hosting their annual Fine Art Auction Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The event includes both a silent and a live auction, along with musical entertainment. Butler talks about some of the works featured in the auction, how it's designed to benefit both the Center and the participating artists, and some of the other ongoing activities at the CAC.

A street parking ban has been issued in the city of Peoria. The city of Creve Coeur has also issued a parking ban. Both bans are in effect until further notice. In related news, the Illinois State Police says drivers should prepare before getting on the road. That means checking tire tread, having a full tank of gas, and a supply of blankets in the car. The State Police advice to travel only if absolutely necessary. Road condition reports are available online at getting-around-Illinois-dot-com. 

Indiana’s attorney general says his state’s gun laws aren’t what’s fueling crime in Chicago. 

Illinois Public Radio's Michael Puente reports.

It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of guns recovered by Chicago police over the last four years came from Indiana. 

Corn Stock Theatre presents a rock-and-roll story of gender identity, set to music inspired by 1970s “glam” rock, with its production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Douglas Okey has this review for WCBU and the Live Theatre  League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of WCBU or the Live Theatre League.

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce. He' s playing the title role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which continues tonight and tomorrow night at Corn Stock Theatre. Joyce talks about the origin of the show, the process of "becoming Hedwig" each night, and what it's like fronting the Angry Inch -- the on-stage band that peforms during the show.

Savings from medicaid cuts fall short

Feb 21, 2013

Illinois officials say savings from cuts to Medicaid have fallen short by $464-million dollars. That's about 30 percent of the expected 1.6-billion dollars in cuts to the health program for the poor.

Julie Hamos, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, gave a status report on the cost-cutting measures to a legislative committee Thursday in Springfield.

Groups reach fracking agreement in Illinois

Feb 21, 2013

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on Thursday's announcement.  

It was an unusual sight: supporters of the oil and gas industry sharing a podium with environmental activists. They've agreed on legislation that would regulate the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

Jack Darin, with the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, says fracking is coming to Illinois, so it's better to compromise on new rules than to do nothing.

Simulation training for OSF resident physicians

Feb 20, 2013

Resident physicians at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center are using simulation training to learn how to put neck and chest catheters into a patient.  The simulation walks-through how to prepare the patient, use the tools and insert the catheter. Jessica Short is a clinical research coordinator with OSF.  She says the training allows resident physicians to learn at their own pace: 

Manual health program includes food, exercise tips

Feb 20, 2013

High school students at Manual Academy are learning ways to eat better and exercise.  The Healthy Living program is being funded through a grant from the American Cancer Society.  The program includes nutrition information and exercise routines every week.  Tina Schallhorn is a pediatric dietician with Methodist Medical Center.  She says the class teaches people about sugary foods and drinks like soda:

East Peoria pursues trail funding

Feb 20, 2013

The City of East Peoria is pursuing funding to construct a new recreational trail. The proposed trail would stretch from Riverfront Drive, along Camp Street, to Main Street. East Peoria has already received nearly $150,000 in grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation to design the project. The city is now seeking a $300,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to build the trail. The IDNR grant requires a 50-50 match from the city. Ty Livingston is the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development.

New proposal would make income tax increase permanent

Feb 20, 2013

The Illinois income tax increase would be made permanent in the latest proposal to fix the state's underfunded pension systems. The increase, from 3 percent to 5 percent, was set to begin easing back in 2014.

But Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says the state can't afford that. He says Illinois taxpayers didn't create the pension problem, but it's a problem they're stuck with.

State workers strike still in question

Feb 20, 2013

It's not clear whether Illinois government is making preparations for a strike by state workers. Governor Pat Quinn was repeatedly asked about it Wednesday. But as IPR's Brian Mackey reports, he didn't answer the question head-on.
AFSCME, the state's largest government-employee union, has been negotiating a new contract for more than a year. The administration is demanding that workers forego raises for at least three years, and pay a lot more for health insurance.

Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to federal charges

Feb 20, 2013

Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior and his wife, Sandi, are both pleading guilty to federal criminal charges Wednesday. As IPR’s Alex Keefe reports, the government also released new details in the case.

Residents protest same-sex marriage in Springfield

Feb 20, 2013

Hundreds of Illinois residents crowded both inside and outside the state Capitol Wednesday, protesting same-sex marriage. They wore bright yellow buttons depicting stick figures of one man and one woman.
David Smith is the Illinois Family Institute's executive director. He says limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is not a form of discrimination.

"Marriage benefits society. It's the perfect environment to raise the next generation of children. Children do best in a mother-father home," Smith says.

More than 225 people turned out at the Peoria Riverfront Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘The Feminine Mystique’. The book written by Peoria native Betty Friedan, is thought to have started the women's rights movement in the 1960's.
Seven Peoria women of note in the community spoke to how the book and it’s social implications have shaped or changed their lives.

Food carts could come to downtown East Peoria

Feb 19, 2013

  East Peoria is looking to allow food carts in its new downtown area this spring.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the idea is to boost more foot-traffic in the city’s new Levee District: East Peoria City Staff proposes allowing six food carts around the Civic Plaza area that includes the new library, meeting space and potential future city hall.

Peoria Public Library has a new chief

Feb 19, 2013

The Peoria Public Library has a new executive director that is a familiar face. The Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved Leann Johnson during its regular board meeting. Johnson has served in the interim position since November when the previous executive director separated from the Peoria Public Library. Johnson has been with the library for 28 years, served as interim executive director three times and was the Assistant Director for 17 years. She has a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois.

State moving on passing concealed-carry law

Feb 19, 2013

   Illinois is moving forward to meet a deadline to pass a law allowing people to carry guns in public. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more. Illinois is the last state without any form of concealed-carry, and a federal court says that has to change. It gave lawmakers until early June to do so. Gun-rights enthusiasts filled a hearing room in Springfield as a House committee heard from activists on both sides of the issue.Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association, made several demands for the concealed-carry law.

State AFSCME union talking possible strike

Feb 19, 2013

The state's largest public employees' union is talking more about a strike.  Henry Bayer, Executive Director of the AFSCME union, says contract talks with the governor's office are going nowhere.  IPR’s Sean Crawford reports.  

Bayer says a strike is a real possibility,  and he says Governor Quinn is the catalyst.  Bayer says Quinn's termination of the union's previous contract and his attempts to force cuts in pay and benefits has workers ready to go on the picket line.          

BU launches Friedan tribute website

Feb 19, 2013

Bradley University’s website now has a page that honors Betty Friedan.  The University and the Betty Friedan Tribute Committee launched the Tribute page.  It honors the Peoria native and leading figure in the Women’s Rights movement.  People can visit the page at  The University says the launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of Friedan’s book ‘The Feminine Mystique.’  The website will be updated regularly with the latest scholarship and news about Friedan.

A newly coordinated effort in Peoria aims to reduce substance abuse in young people. Nearly 150 people attended the first Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Peoria County meeting. The S.A.P Coalition aims to impact those between 13-to-25 in the county. Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll is leading the effort. She says there were 32 drug related deaths of Peoria County residents last year. She says the process will be gradual. Ingersoll says they are starting with encouraging 100 percent school participation in the next Illinois Youth Survey.

Supreme Court denies George Ryan appeal

Feb 19, 2013

Former Illinois Governor George Ryan’s last-ditch effort to appeal his criminal conviction is being denied.  The U.S. Supreme Court made that decision Tuesday.  IPR’s Alex Keefe reports: Ryan’s lawyers have argued for years his corruption conviction should be re-considered after a change in the so-called “honest services” law. The change would require prosecutors to prove a defendant took bribes - and Ryan’s lawyers argued the government never proved that.  But on Tuesday, justices denied Ryan’s appeal without explanation. 

Former congressional candidate sues IRS

Feb 19, 2013

  A 2012 Democratic candidate for Congress is suing the Internal Revenue Service, saying a tax loophole allowed groups like the American Action Network to spend millions on negative campaign ads.  Former 13th district candidate and Bloomington physician David Gill is filing the suit, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The plaintiffs contend the IRS has failed to act against 501-C4 organizations that accept large contributions to influence elections.

Bustos, Loebsack tour defense contractor

Feb 19, 2013

  To show their opposition to sequestration, and its possible impact on eastern Iowa and western Illinois, two members of congress toured a defense contractor in the Quad Cities Tuesday. Dave Loebsack from Iowa's 2nd district and Cheri Bustos from Illinois' 17th worry that automatic federal spending cuts, due to take effect next month, could affect hundreds of jobs in their districts.  Loebsack agrees the federal budget should be cut, but it should be done carefully. 

Investigation continues in Leuthold murder

Feb 18, 2013

Peoria Police are making slow but steady progress in Denise Leuthold’s murder investigation. That’s according to Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard. The 39-year-old Luthold was found shot to death in her home in the 700 Block of West Mossville Road last Thursday. The chief says there were signs of forced entry at the home and some items were taken. However the chief says there is no reason for people to panic or feel security is of extra concern. “I don’t see a lockdown or soft lockdown as necessary. This crime is several days ago, whomever the suspect is has moved on.

AMT to provide permanent service in Chillicothe

Feb 18, 2013

Advanced Medical Transport is permanently providing ambulance services to the Chillicothe Area.  AMT has handled the community’s calls since Chillicothe Ambulance Rescue 33 was suspended last August by the local regulatory authority. That happened after Rescue 33 failed to meet response time terms as part of a probationary period.   AMT executive director Andrew Rand says the agency currently spends $1,300 a day to maintain the temporary service in the Chillicothe area.  He says AMT still won’t break even providing permanent service to the area.

Young girl dies from flu in McLean County

Feb 18, 2013

Influenza has killed an eight year old girl in McLean County. This is only the second child death related to flu in the state this season. Kera Simon is a spokeswoman for the McLean County Health Department: 

A proposal in the Illinois Senate could give landlords of apartments across the state the power to evict residents who commit a crime.


This week on Peoria's Hidden Treasures, we’re looking at works of art on Water Street in downtown Peoria.On the wall above the Water Street Café is a mural depicting New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parade. Revelers include a court jester, a centaur and a bull and a mermaid. A few blocks away is a sculpture called “Peoria Portal.” Consisting of a column of raw granite, a column of bronze, and a modern arch, the piece encapsulates a history of architectural ideas. Across from Contemporary Art Center stands a sculpture, “Flight of the Cakewalkers,” by Peoria’s Preston Jackson.

Catholic Times

In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's announcement of his resignation, Springfield’s Bishop says the next pope should be a "thinker" who can reach out to other religions and non-believers.  Bishop Thomas John Paprocki says Benedict excelled at that.Paprocki says he’s not surprised Benedict stepped down, given what he calls the pope’s declining health and advanced age. Benedict was 78 when he was elected pope in 2005, one of the oldest in history.  Paprocki says he expects the next pope will be younger.