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.  

Ways to Connect

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Day three in the Nathan Leuthold murder trial saw testimony from 20-year-old Lithuanian student Aina Dobilaite. She was the woman who Nathan Leuthold allegedly was having an affair with before his wife was killed last year. 

A District 150 middle school will offer an International Baccalaureate program to students starting this fall.

ACLU suing the City of Peoria

Jun 12, 2014
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the City of Peoria for police actions surrounding a controversial Twitter parody  account. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports:

The suit says the City violated 29 year-old Jon Daniel’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. Daniel is the creator of the At-Peoria-Mayor account. He says its wrong that police searched his home in April, detained him and his roommates and seized all electronics to find the author of the Twitter account that had already been suspended.“My hope it he federal court will make clear that government officials can not use the power of police to threaten, intimidate and punish simply because they dislike or are offended by being the joke of a parody.”

Daniel says he’s never met the mayor and is not politically active. 

A new Peoria community group with anti-violence message

Apr 30, 2014

Newly formed citizens group Peoria Community Against Violence met for the first time Tuesday at the downtown Peoria library. The new volunteer group is part of the city’s Don’t Shoot anti-violence program. 

Alex Rusciano



A train derailment in northern Peoria County left more than 40 rail cars off the tracks but no injuries. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train was heading west near the community of Laura, Illinois. The incident came as severe thunderstorms moved through the area. Andy Williams is a spokesman with BNSF. He says no roadways were blocked by the train, and crews are working to clear the two rail lines:

More needs to be done to change the public perception on immigration reform. That's the message from a panel of business, religious and government officials that met in Peoria Thursday. The group wants to see the U.S. House pass the immigration reform measures passed earlier in the Senate.

Tazewell County aims to reduce teen drinking

Apr 7, 2014

The Tazewell Teen Initiative is hosting a Town Hall meeting at Tremont High School Tuesday night. The event runs from 7:00p.m. to 8:30p.m. and is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. 

13 men were the focus of the third Don’t Shoot Peoria call-in last night at the Main Street Public Library. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

It was part of the anti-violence program that has officials and community members tell offenders to put down their guns or face tough prosecution.

There’s a traffic detour for Peoria drivers to get around the water main break. Starting early Tuesday afternoon, NON-truck traffic on southbound Route 29 in Peoria will take Jefferson Street to Van Buren, Adams Street and Hayward Streets, back to Jefferson Street. The portion of Adams Street from Hayward to Van Buren will be temporarily converted into two-way traffic separated by barrels during this time.

North Peoria residents continue to speak out against the proposed Louisville Slugger Sports Complex off route 91. Residents in the neighboring Timberbrook Subdivision voiced concern about increased noise and light if the dome and 10-baseball diamonds are built. 


A nationally known author and sociology professor returned to Peoria Monday to speak about the legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior.

Tazewell County residents affected by the November 17th tornado will likely pay property taxes on lower assessed values this year.  

The City of Peoria saw a 60-percent increase in murders last year compared to 2012. Six more people were killed last year compared to the year before. But the latest numbers show a 15-percent drop in violent crime and a 12-percent decline in property crime.

The speed limit on most interstate highways in Illinois is increasing to 70 miles per hour starting this month. But there are some exceptions. The speed limit is, for example, still 65 mph on Interstate 74 through Peoria and for a portion of I-55 around Springfield.

Alex Rusciano

Communities in Tazewell County have sent in their cost estimates for clean-up following last month’s E-F4 tornado. Officials say the state needs to submit nearly 18-million-dollars in costs for local municipalities to get federal help in paying for recovery. There was some initial concern communities would not meet that guideline.

The Red Cross says it's expanding its focus for recovery efforts in Central Illinois following last month's devastating tornadoes. Red Cross Communications Director Erin Miller says the initial focus following the storm damage was for getting victims food, water and shelter. 

Peoria Heights leaders are working to establish rules for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers that may want to locate there.

Washington Tornado Information and How to Donate

Nov 22, 2013
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


Washington update and East Peoria tornado damage assessment complete

Nov 20, 2013
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Weather condition may slow progress on the recovery efforts in Washington. Peoria Public Radio's Alex Rusciano has an update on the latest recovery and cleanup efforts following Sunday's tornado: 

Washington officials gave an update this morning for residents impacted by Sunday’s storms, and on the number of homes destroyed in the Tazewell County community. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano was there and has this report. 


In the aftermath of Sunday's tornadoes, the City of Pekin will once again enforce a  9pm to 6am curfew for areas on Sheridan from 2nd  to 8th street, including areas north between those streets to Lakeside. Pekin Police will continue to heavily patrol all damaged areas. Residents are encouraged to call the following numbers if they need assistance, or are wanting to volunteer. This is a hotline that went live Thursday set up by the Emergency Operations Center.

Homeowners (needing assistance) 309-698-5001

Volunteers 309-698-5002

Tornadoes Level Homes Across Tri-County Area

Nov 17, 2013
Alex Rusciano

Heavy storms and at least one tornado ripped through Central Illinois Sunday morning. Peoria Public Radio's Alex Rusciano reports the storms devastated parts of Washington.


 Hundreds of people picked through the rubble of what remained of their homes in the town of about 15-thousand.  The tornado destroyed entire blocks of homes.  Resident Susan Newton lives next door to the Trails Edge neighborhood that was heavily damaged.  She says the tornado demolished most of her street while she was at church


The Peoria International Airport now has 350 new parking spaces. The Airport Authority demolished an old storage building to make room for the additional parking just west of the terminal building. Airport Director Gene Olson says the space will make parking easier for passengers as the holiday travel season ramps up. The new parking is in addition to 100 spaces the airport built last year.   

Political, military and academic officials observed the 24th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday at Eureka College.  Eureka has a section of the wall that fell, marking the end of the Cold War.  Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar was one of the guest speakers to mark the anniversary.  He says the Berlin Wall fell because both President Ronald Reagan and Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev were willing to compromise:

Illinois Department of Corrections

About 800 people on parole and probation were invited to get help from the state Department of Corrections on re-entering society. The state DOC held one of its Summit of Hope events in Peoria Tuesday. The event lets those with convictions find ways to pursue higher education, get a job and become involved in community groups.

Caterpillar has won a national award for its efforts during the Hurricane Sandy recovery.  Congressman Aaron Schock announced that that company received the honor from the Defense Logistics Agency.  Cat received the award for providing generators and accessories during the relief efforts.   

The Tri-County regional Planning Commission is set to discuss creating a special search committee for a new executive director.  The agenda for the full commission meeting also says the body will talk about revisions to its personnel handbook.  

The Peoria Friendship House is getting ready to begin its annual Stuff-a-Bus campaign to collect food for its pantry. The not-for-profit held a kick-off luncheon Wednesday.

A Peoria-area gas station owner was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return. Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Tony Nijher of Metamora was sentenced to 45-months in prison to one count of mail fraud and 36 months for filing a false return. Judge James Shadid ordered Nijher to also pay more than 700-thousand-dollars in restitution. The 51-year-old filed false tax returns for gas stations in Peoria Heights and Washington.    

The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center in Peoria is getting federal funding to help make small and mid-sized manufacturing firms more competitive. More than 700-thousand-dollars is coming from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  The goal is to help the Peoria Center create jobs and boost profits for area manufacturers.  U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos announced the funding.