Despite the snow, hundreds of shareholders came to Deere and Company for its annual meeting. Wednesday morning at world headquarters in the Quad Cities (Moline), they voted on routine business, watched videos, listened to the CEO, and asked a few questions. 

  A proposal advancing in the Illinois General Assembly would prohibit colleges and universities from requiring students to reveal social media passwords. But that ban would not apply to elementary and high schools.  IPR’s Chris Slaby reports. Universities would be barred from asking for social media passwords or forcing students to open up their accounts. Elementary and high schools can require kids hand over passwords if they believe the accounts have evidence the student violated school policy. But schools' policies would have to warn parents that's a possibility.

The Illinois Senate hasn't provided a single vote in favor of three appointments by Governor Pat Quinn to the Southern Illinois University board of trustees.

People decide to own guns for a variety of reasons. Some buy them for protection or hunting – or for history. IPR’s series “Our Guns” has been profiling local gun owners. Today we delve into the world of antique gun collecting. Illinois Public Radio’s Alex Keefe visited one of the country’s biggest antique arms auction houses, in northwest Illinois.

An Illinois legislative hearing on college affordability Wednesday shows the cost of updating university housing has students paying more.

Wednesday brought the latest in a long line of proposals to fix the state's underfunded pension systems. The measure also comes as members of the Illinois House of Representatives are set to have a marathon debate on pensions Thursday. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey has more.         

Some relief on Mississippi River water levels

Feb 27, 2013

  Recent heavy rains and snow falls have the region’s shippers breathing a sigh of relief.   It was feared that low water levels on the Mississippi River would shut down shipping last month, but shippers say they're now back to handling full loads.  Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Peterson says despite the good news, extended drought conditions mean river levels could drop again.  “We’re still in a drought, we’re going to expect possibly low river levels if we don’t snowpack and precipitation over the spring and summer.

Layoffs at multiple unemployment offices begin Friday

Feb 27, 2013

Layoffs at several state unemployment offices will begin Friday.  And the move has nothing to do with the federal sequestration.  Ironically, it's brought on by a better economy.   Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jay Rowell says his agency runs the opposite of the economic cycle: "So when companies start to lay off workers at the start of an economic recession, we're busier.  We then receive more money from the federal government. We're entirely federally funded.

  Peoria County is looking to better gauge how well it’s Planning and Zoning staff interact with residents. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:  Peoria County Administration says it’s been hearing accounts that staff in the Planning and Zoning Department allegedly aren’t being courteous or professional in the field in some cases.  Scott Sorrel is Assistant Peoria County Administrator.  He says the County will start surveying people: “We have no way of saying whether that’s a true statement or not.

PIPCO recognized by state

Feb 27, 2013

PIPCO Safety Director Bob Janssen is the winner of the 22nd annual Governor’s Award for Workplace Health and Safety. Janssen has worked for the Peoria Industrial Piping Company for 21 years. Illinois Department Of Labor Director Joseph Costigan says jobs in construction have some of the highest rates of injury in the country. He says Janssen exemplifies great leadership in achieving safer jobs throughout our communities.

Peoria County seeks input for economic development plan

Feb 27, 2013

Peoria County’s Economic Development Department is hosting a set of public forums this week. The department is seeking public input on how individual counties fit into the regional economic plan. The forums aim to identify the assets of individual communities within the counties. Local residents, officials and business owners can attend the forum tonight from 6-7 at West Peoria City Hall, tomorrow from 6-7 at the Princeville Heritage Museum or Tuesday March 5 from 7:30-8:30 at the Chillicothe City Hall.

Review - "Rashomon"

Feb 27, 2013

A murder trial becomes the basis for questions about credibility and truth in the classic play “Rashomon.” A production of the play opened last weekend at Illinois Central College Theatre. Cara Rosson 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.

OSF HealthCare System is taking over eight medical sites from Proctor Hospital.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

  Former state lawmaker Robin Kelly is the last Democrat standing in the race for Jesse Jackson Junior’s old congressional seat.

House panel approves same-sex marriage measure

Feb 26, 2013

Same-sex marriage moved one step closer to becoming the law of Illinois Tuesday.  A House panel voted to advance the measure. Now it has to get through the full House, where backers acknowledge they're still trying to round up votes.Although Democrats have a large majority, not all of them are expected to support it.  Representative Luis Arroyo of Chicago voted "yes" in committee.

Peoria primary election sees low voter turnout

Feb 26, 2013

1st District Peoria City Council candidates Gary Sandberg and Denise Moore secured spots on April’s general election ballot.  Moore captured more than 70-percent of the vote. Sandberg got 20-percent. They beat out challenger Randy Emert in Tuesday’s primary election.  In the Fifth District race, incumbent Dan Irving and challenger Casey Johnson tied to captured the most votes, beating write-in candidate Dan Adler.  The Peoria City Election Commission reports more than 500 people voted in the First District race and 650 voted in the Fifth District.

Adams and Jefferson streets in downtown Peoria could be changed from one to two-way. But that likely will not happen anytime soon. The Peoria City Council is asking city staff to create an implementation plan for transition. That would include how extensive the city would go with the street changes. Most city council members also voiced concern about how much the effort might cost and how the city might pay for it. At-Large Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain offered the motion to create the implementation plan.

85 billion dollars in across-the-board budget cuts set to begin this Friday would have an immediate impact at Scott Air Force Base in the Metro East. About 13,000 work at the military base and its one of the largest employers in the St. Louis region.

Illinois House Republicans want to cut the corporate income tax and reduce the cost to start a business. It’s 750-dollars now to become a limited liability corporation, or LLC, in Illinois.

Colleagues and friends are remembering the late lawyer and judge Mary Ann McMorrow. She became a lawyer in an era when women were told they were taking jobs away from men, and rose to become the first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court. McMorrow died over the weekend at the age of 83. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey has more on a career path that, when it began, would have been unthinkable.

District 150 prepares for federal funding cuts

Feb 25, 2013

Peoria School District 150 is preparing for significant cuts to its federal funding that supports low-income students and teacher improvement efforts.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports: 

 District 150 says it’s expecting a 10-percent cut to its Title I funding next school year.  That amounts to about $730,000 that pays for tutors, supplies and parental involvement efforts for low-income students.  District budget analyst Carla Eman says that the potential cut means choosing between what programs can be scaled back or instead paid for with dollars from the district Education fund:


The Peoria City/County Health Department is proposing new rules to manage independent waste-water systems. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports area realtors are expressing concern over the proposed changes:

A new report projects Illinois’ state budget will go from bad to worse if legislators don’t address some key issues. IPR’s Tony Arnold reports.

The first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court has died. Mary Ann McMorrow was 83. A statement from the Supreme Court says she died Saturday after a brief illness. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more. McMorrow's election to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1992 was just one of a series of achievements in a career that spanned more than 50 years. She was the only woman in her law school class, in the early 1950s. After that, she was the first woman to prosecute felonies in Cook County.

A new look for PPD Cars

Feb 22, 2013

The Peoria Police Department is getting a new look for its patrol cars. The new black and white design will take the place of the 15-year-old design on the current white fleet of cars. The new design was first applied to the tactical Command Vehicle and the Armadillos. The ten new police cars the department is ordering this year will be the first patrol vehicles outfitted with the new graphics. The new cars will be black with the white vinyl graphics applied to the doors after they arrive.The new car design is expected to cost about $100 more than the current graphics design.

A new look for PPD Cars

Feb 22, 2013
Peoria Journal Star

The Peoria Police Department is getting a new look for its patrol cars. The new black and white design will take the place of the 15-year-old design on the current white fleet of cars. The new design was first applied to the tactical Command Vehicle and the Armadillos. The ten new police cars the department is ordering this year will be the first patrol vehicles outfitted with the new graphics. The new cars will be black with the white vinyl graphics applied to the doors after they arrive.The new car design is expected to cost about $100 more than the current graphics design.

Court reinforces opinion for IL concealed carry law

Feb 22, 2013

  A federal appeals court in Chicago won't revisit a ruling that says Illinois has to let people carry guns in public. The decision came as state lawmakers were hearing from gun-rights activists and opponents in Chicago. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.  After a three-judge panel gave Illinois until June to pass a law allowing concealed carry, Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the full Chicago appeals court to rehear the case.

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.