Tanya Koonce

News Director

Tanya Koonce is the News Director at Peoria Public Radio.  She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University, and a M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.  Tanya started her news career in TV, managed two political campaigns after college, worked in state government and did some state association work before going back to school.  Post master’s degree, she’s worked in commercial radio and operated her own freelance agency before taking a reporter position at WCBU in 2001, and becoming news director in 2008. She’s currently serving as the Treasurer of the Illinois News Broadcaster’s Association, lives in Peoria and loves discovering interesting people, places and things.   

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Memorial Day Remembrances Planned in Peoria Area

5 hours ago
Virginia Guard Public Affairs / Flickr/Creative Commons

As of this week, the Defense Department reports 4,424 US soldiers have died in the war in Iraq. 2,349 soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2001.  

Several events are are going on in the Peoria area for Memorial Day to honor fallen American soldiers.

Saturday, May 28, 2016:

10:30 The American Mausoleum in Peoria is hosting a service.

11:00 East Peoria’s observance is at the Fondulac Cemetery off of  Washington Road.

Sunday, May 29th, 2016:

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


More than 150 people toured the new Ray LaHood International Terminal at the Peoria International Airport Monday.


It was an opportunity to see the $11 million facility before it’s commissioned. The two-story, 21,000 square foot structure includes full-service Customs and Border Protections capacity as well as two additional gates for domestic or international travel.


A Peoria attorney has been disbarred by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The Commission is an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Foster Pet Outreach

Foster Pet Outreach is getting a new office to handle adoptions. The nonprofit agency has been working out of foster homes for the 23-year life of the effort.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio


The East Peoria City Council is preparing to put a new budget in place.

The public hearing Tuesday night was the initial step in the approval process. The nearly $55.5 million spending plan represents a .003 percent increase from last fiscal year.

Commissioner John Kahl says the city’s reserve funds are lower than he’d like. Finance Commissioner Gary Densberger says he shares that concern, but he’s counting on the bond payments for East Side Center being retired next year.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The City of East Peoria is planning ahead for residents in the year 2066.

The City of East Peoria is placing a time capsule Saturday during the cornerstone dedication for the Civic Complex.  

Director of Building and Inspections Robert Cole says items being placed in the sealed container are on display at the Fondulac Library, and everybody can participate in the fun.  

Hakan Berberoglu

About 700 people gathered at the Civic Center to hear business and civic leaders attempt to overturn stereotypes and fears about Muslims and the Islamic faith Monday night.

The event "Peace for Peoria" was created to bring people of diverse faiths together to unravel some of the questions surrounding Islam. The local star-studded cast of speakers included Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, Bradley University President Gary Roberts, and presidents of the two major hospital systems. 

Authorities leading the Don't Shoot initiative to reduce gun crime in Peoria say the program may be showing big dividends. 

Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy says they’ve seen the number of people in the jail reduced nearly by half during the last 18 months. He owes a large part of the shift to the Don’t Shoot Program, but he says there’s still more to be done to further reduce gun violence.

lady_lbrty / Flickr/Creative Commons

Members of the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance and Illinois People’s Action are renewing their call for environmental justice and a transition to clean energy in the greater Peoria area.  

Dynegy recently announced plans to shut down five units split between its Baldwin and Newton Plants.

Tracey Fox is with the Health Communities Alliance. She says burning less coal is a step forward for the state. But Fox says  the economics used to decide the plant closures was one-sided in the fact that they are also some of the least polluting.


Flags on Bradley University’s campus are being flown at half staff to mark the death of Junior Ashley Borja from Plainfield.

The  engineering student was killed in a four car accident Thursday afternoon when her car crossed the median on south bound Interstate 55 in Livingston County.   

 "Our hearts go out to her family and friends. She was a vibrant young woman who will be missed by all," Bradley University President Gary Roberts said in the statement Friday.


Tanya Koonce

The Peoria Police Department negotiated a stand off today that involved a man with a gun near Glen Oak School at Wisconsin and Republic. 

Peoria Magazines

The Murray Building in Peoria’s Warehouse District has been approved by the National Parks Service for its design and construction methods as they relate to the Historic Tax Credit program.   

The CEO of the property management team heading up the redevelopment of the building says the Historic Tax Credits are significant to the feasibility of the Murray Place project.   

He says the approval of Tax Credits lays the groundwork going forward.

The Murray Building renovations are turning the old retail outlet into a mixed-use building.

East Peoria has a new finance director. 36-year-old Jeff Becker will replace Treasurer Theresa Gualandi who is retiring this summer.

  Becker’s worked for certified public accounting firm Clifton Larson Allen for the last three years assisting with city audits including East Peoria’s. Becker plans to set for the CPA exam in July.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and master’s in business administration both from the U of I Springfield.  

aag_photos / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria area home sales were up 3.8 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same time last year. That amounted to 954 houses or condominiums sales closed. 35 more than the first quarter of last year.

Becky Peterson is the president of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says there was dip in home sales for February but March was strong.

“Just March alone compared to last March was 7.6% which put us on the good side for the quarter of the 3.8. So we’re very pleased,” Peterson said.

Peoria County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

The Peoria County Sheriff corrections staff is offering an inside look at the Peoria County Jail. It’s part of ICC Adult Community Programs. Sheriff Mike McCoy and corrections staff are hosting dinner and tour of the jail Thursday. Limited seating space means pre-registration is required.

Bradley University and the Center for Collaborative Research are hosting the first ever Super Brain Summit. It’s a three-day online summit covering the continuum of learning self-regulation through the brain-body connections. 13 different presentations are planned through the run of the online summit from April 28th through the 30th. Continuing Education Credits are available. The Friday, April 22nd is the registration deadline.

Learn more about the Super Brain Summit.

OSF St Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington,  St Mary’s in Galesburg and St Antony’s in Alton are being recognized for outstanding patient experiences. The award is from Healthgrades. It’s  an online resource for doctors and hospitals nationwide. The OSF facilities are among 22 hospitals in state receiving such an honor. The award is based on patient surveys.      


Caterpillar is maintaining its quarterly cash dividend of seventy-seven cents per share of common stock. That applies to stockholders on record as of April 25.

 Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman says he’s pleased to announce that CAT is maintaining the dividend despite continuing difficult marketplace conditions.

Caterpillar has paid a cash dividend every year since the company was formed.

AP Photo

Two Peoria Nursing Homes have been cited by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In January, Sharon Health Care Elms on North Rochelle is cited for failure to follow fall procedure policy resulting in significant patient injuries. The home is being assessed a $25,000 fine.

The Illinois Secretary of State is making his annual organ and tissue donor pitch during National Donate Life Month. Jesse White visited the Peoria Driver Services facility Wednesday to encourage people to become organ and tissue donors. Secretary White says it’s a chance to be a hero.

Tremont Medical Clinic is becoming part of the OSF HealthCare system. The clinic was welcomed into the OSF family at a blessing and dedication ceremony this evening. The transition means the facility will be renamed OSF Medical Group Tremont. The office will remain on South Locust Street and many of its medical staff will remain with the clinic through the transition.

zerojay / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria City Council and District 150 School board had a rare, joint meeting yesterday looking for ways to collaborate. 

Sidewalks were a key topic.

The school district’s grade reconfiguration means more students will be within the state-determined one-and-a  half-mile walking distance to school next year.

Trewyn School will have a large number of new walkers. Fixing the sidewalks in Trewyn’s perimeter alone would cost about $1 million; nearly four times what the city spends annually on sidewalks in need of repair.

The Peoria County Election Commission has found a new home.

The Board of Elections Commissioners is expected to vote on the newly proposed location at 4422 N Brandywine Dr. next week.

The merger of the Peoria City and County elections offices means the agency needs a bigger, more suitable location.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Updated at 12:00 PM

The Peoria International Airport was on heightened alert Thursday morning, after TSA officials found a suspicious package, before 7am.  

A TSA screener x-ray showed what appeared to be three sticks of dynamite and a mason jar filled with liquid, in an unmarked checked bag, the Peoria County Sheriff said.

The sticks were actually dog toys that belong to 38 year-old Michelle Davidson who reports using them in security training.  


The union contract between WEEK/WHOI and its newsroom union employees expires at midnight Thursday, and the two parties have not yet reached an agreement.

The no-strike and no-lockout provisions of the contract are also void at that time. Gary Moore is the SAG-AFTRA Union Steward. He says the news employees are planning to be back at the bargaining table in April and will continue to make their case for a fair contract.

Dan Walther will be the newest member of the Peoria District 150 School Board. Walther won the 3rd district school board seat with 65% of the vote to Terry Spayer’s 35%.

73rd District State Representative David Leitch says it was a strange election day for him. It's the first time in 28 years that his name has not shown-up on the ballot for the Illinois House of Representatives or Senate.

Voter turnout was 43.5% in Peoria County. That accounts for 47,616 votes cased. It also exceeds 2008 voter turnout in Peoria when Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama.

Caterpillar is affirming its commitment to sustainability by partnering with SunSelect Produce. The collaboration will grow greenhouse vegetables using carbon dioxide and heat energy waste produced at Caterpillar’s Mossville power plant.  

Goodwill warns of scam

Mar 10, 2016

Goodwill of Central Illinois is warning people about a scam involving solicitations for donations to its Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event.