Alex Rusciano

News Producer

Alex Rusciano has been WCBU’s news producer and reporter since 2010.  His beats include covering Peoria Public Schools, Peoria County government and the City of East Peoria. He also covers general community matters as they arise. Alex graduated from Michigan State University, with a major in Journalism. Alex lives in Peoria, and enjoys hiking, running and travel.  

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Most Pekin Illinois American Water customers are no longer under the boil order brought on by the water main break.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police are looking for a suspect in a murder of a 25-year-old South Side resident earlier this month.  They say 22-year-old Darren D. Brown is wanted for first degree murder in the shooting death of Nikko Smith.  He's 165 lbs, six-foot with black hair and brown eyes. Earlier in the week police said that the latest string of homicides did not appear to be gang-related. 

Alex Rusciano / Peoria Public Radio

The City of Peoria Public Works Department is preparing a 2000 foot temporary flood wall along the river’s edge. The Rapid Installation Barrier System is a four foot wall that will cover roughly from the Riverfront Market area down to the Gateway Building.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The 15-year old Peoria boy swept away in a rain-swollen creek yesterday has been found. 

Demarcus Jackson was transported to OSF Medical Center in Peoria. Police say Demarcus Jackson was swimming in the creek Sunday afternoon when he was pulled downstream by a strong current. His brother and friend were able to escape the creek. Efforts to find the boy were suspended Sunday night because of high water levels combined with the current. Peoria police said then the search would resume once the creek was safer for firefighters.  But Peoria Police Captain Mike Scally says Jackson was found about 7:30 this morning: 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  The inaugural Sculpture Walk Peoria officially debuts tomorrow, Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 3:00p.m. The event is sponsored by Arts Partners and includes 15 mobile pieces of art in the warehouse district. The pieces will be changed out each year.

A three-year grant will pay for in-depth science and math training for more than 100 regional school teachers this summer. 

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is awarding 100 weather alert radios as part of a contest to promote safety.  

Peoria Police Officers responded to a physical altercation on Garden Street in South Peoria Thursday hours after regional leaders talked state cuts.  Officers made several arrests in the incident that also led to an officer-involved car accident. Peoria Police shift commander Jared Ginglen says police services could hurt if state budget woes are passed onto the city:

Alex Rusciano

The first district is no longer a food desert thanks to an established warehouse store.  UFS added a grocery section to their Southwest Adams location.  

Darin LaHood running for Schock’s seat

Mar 17, 2015

State Senator Darin LaHood is officially running to replace outgoing Congressman Aaron Schock in the 18th District.  Schock resigns at the end of the month following questions surrounding taxpayer spending and donor relationships.  State Representative Mike Unes is also considering a run for Congress during a special election later this year.  State Senator Jason Barickman, a Bloomington Republican, has expressed interest. Other possibilities include former State Representative Jil Tracy of Quincy, who left her seat for an unsuccessful bid as lieutenant governor last year.  Reports are that state senator Bill Brady is NOT going to run for Schock’s seat.  

U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock says he’s resigning March 31st following weeks of intense press scrutiny. The news comes after questions surrounding Schock’s travel expenses and relationships with donors:

Caterpillar announces it's staying in Peoria

Feb 20, 2015

The world’s largest heavy equipment maker announced plans to build a 31-acre campus in downtown Peoria.  The news comes after Caterpillar considered building options for two-and-a-half years.

A top spokesman for U.S. Representative Aaron Schock has resigned.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's office is out with the list of medical marijuana applicants that have been awarded permits. 

The group working to revitalize Peoria’s struggling neighborhoods hopes to help school districts or community groups improve their football fields. Peoria’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, is partnering with the NFL Foundation to award up to 200-thousand-dollars in matching grants to fix-up football fields in rough condition. Area school districts and non-profit groups need to submit proposals for the funds by the end of March.

The coal-fired power plant near Bartonville is working with the state EPA to to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions according to parent company officials.

A new three-year health initiative is launching in Peoria. The goal is to reduce obesity rates in targeted areas with after-school nutrition classes. Health Board member Sharon Williams says the initiative also offers tips on budgeting for healthy food:

The US EPA is expected to require the City of Peoria to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in sewer improvements. But officials say it’s unclear exactly when the figure will be known.

Peoria County is looking to start negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad to secure a recreational trail.  Peoria Public Radio's Alex Rusciano reports:

Peoria County is poised to loan an environmental tech company $2.5 million to expand its footprint. ELM, LLC has more than 800 employees in 16 states.  It also makes air treatment systems for plants and builds large containers to ship natural gas.  Lee Graves is the CEO of ELM.  He says Peoria County’s loan will also help the company add to its workforce in addition to helping fund its product line:

The potential for re-development of the Madison Theater looks to be on hold. The owners of the Madison Theatre and NXG Development have elected to drop negotiations. 

Officials in the Tri-County area are launching a regional food hub next year to help more people eat fresh produce. The Tri-County Fresh Food Hub has a facility in East Peoria and will work with farmers to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to people living in so-called ‘food deserts’.  

Governor Pat Quinn’s running mate is criticizing Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s support for what Vallas says would be taxes on food and drugs. Paul Vallas says Rauner’s support for a consumption tax is unfair to middle and working class residents:

District 150 support staff are getting ready for a visit from the American Federation of Teachers. Loretta Johnson is the Secretary/Treasurer of the national group.  

The Pekin Police Department is responding to questions surrounding the arrest of Thomas Anthony. Initial reports say the 55-year-old allegedly attempted to lure and abduct a child at a Hardees in Pekin. Anthony was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct.  

A health and wellness fair is being held Tuesday from four to six at the Neighborhood House in Peoria.  The “Let’s Get Healthy” block party is a free event for Peoria and Tazewell County residents at 1020 South Matthew Street.  

Congressman Aaron Schock introduced legislation that boosts competitive grant funding for full-service community schools. Schock is a co-sponsor of the Full-Service Community Schools Act. 

The unemployment rate in June fell in every metro area in the state for the third month in a row.

Jury finds Leuthold guilty of murder

Jul 21, 2014
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

It took the jury about 90 minutes to convict Nathan Leuthold for the murder of his wife Denise. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports the missionary was found guilty of first degree murder.