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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Tanya Koonce

The Peoria Art Guild remains dark for the time being. It’s been on reduced operations since December. 

Muffet / Flickr/Creative Commons

An effort to revitalize vacant properties into community assets might get some extra love and recognition in Peoria this Valentine’s Day.

The City is asking residents to participate by using the hashtags #LoveThatLot and #GrowPeoria with photos of revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods.

The effort coincides with the national #LoveThatLot campaign sponsored by the Center for Community Progress.

Cass Herrington

A former assistant for President Ronald Reagan says none of the current GOP presidential candidates can be likened to “The Great Communicator.” 

The state of the City of Peoria remains in balance, according to Mayor Jim Ardis. 

Caterpillar’s year end report shows sales and revenue down 15% for last year and 29% from its peak in 2012. That accounts for a continued decline in equipment sales in the fourth quarter. The company’s annual outlook for 2016 was also reduced and anticipates another 10% decline.

Caterpillar’s year end report shows sales and revenue down 15% for last year and 29% from its peak in 2012. 

Bradley University

The Alumni Center on the campus of Bradley University was standing room only last night. That was the community turnout welcoming the university’s 11th president, Gary Roberts, who is also a 1970 Bradley graduate.

Roberts says he looks forward to working with the local community and calls it essential.

“Bradley and the Peoria and central Illinois communities are integrally linked and we are dependent on one and other," Roberts said. "When one succeeds, the other benefits, and if one has a failure, the other suffers.”  

Images_of_Money / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors is reporting its most successful year since 2007.  Home sales for the tri-county area increased more than six and half percent year to year. 5,479 homes sold last year.

The average home sale price was more than $145,000. Becky Peterson is the President of the Peoria Area Association of Realtor. She says the housing inventory is also well positioned for buyers and sellers.

Peoria Civic Center / Facebook

The first ever outdoor ice skating venue at the Peoria Civic Center is being called an overwhelming success. PNC Winterfest organizers says they optimistically took the tagline: ‘Peoria’s Newest Holiday Tradition’ when they announced it last summer. But 11,700 people laced up ice skates and took to the outdoor rink between November 30th when it opened and Monday when it closing.

Bradley University

The Peoria Police Department has a new Assistant Chief. PPD announced Captain Lisa Snow was promoted to Assistant Chief Monday. Snow has been with the Peoria Police Department for 25 years. She started in patrol in 1990 and has a Doctorate from the U of I. Assistant Chief Snow and her husband Police Lieutenant Kenneth Snow live in Peoria.     

The City of East Peoria Public Works Department is planning a special pick up of tree limbs and other debris dropped in last week's storms starting Monday, January 18th.  

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 25 people attended the meeting last night on the Riverfront Park concept site plan. Most of the 90 minute meeting heard questions and concerns from those who oppose the redevelopment. They question whether the land the city is proposing as a replacement for Riverfront Park meets the state’s eligibility requirements.  

Illinois Department of Transportation

The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding people to bookmark its digital address: getting-around-illinois-dot-com. The site and its map is suitable for computers and smartphones and offers 24 hour access to current winter road conditions. It aims to provide motorists the latest information on what to expect before heading out.

The City of Peoria public works department is going through neighborhoods in an effort to complete the first pass of debris pick up from last week’s storm. The city is not using the regular trash pickup schedule because of the varied amount of damage throughout the community.

UnityPoint Methodist compiled a list of the most popular names given to babies born at its facility last year. 

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is working with a group of cycling enthusiasts from throughout the region to create what they are calling BikeConnect HOI.

The steering committee of 23 people include representatives of the communities in the tri-county area, the Illinois Department of Transportation and area cycle clubs.

Nick Hayward is a senior planner with the regional planning commission.

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Peoria Congressman Ray LaHood’s new book is being released today during an interview with Judy Woodruff at Public Television Station WTVP. 

 

The Republican’s book is titled “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics” and was written with Frank Mackaman. LaHood served 14 years in Congress before being named U.S. Transportation Secretary during President Obama’s first term.  

Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce talked with LaHood about his political memoir and the resonance it holds: 

 

isbe.state.il.us

A Woodruff Career and Technical Center math teacher is Illinois’ Teacher of the Year. Peoria District 150 teacher Kim Thomas received the top educator award over the weekend at the annual Those Who Excel Banquet in Normal.

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Peoria Police are still investigating the homicide of 14-year old Tommie Forest as the community mourns the loss of youth.

Police responded to a ShotSpotter Alert near the 24-hundred blocks of North Flora and North Ellis early Saturday morning.

Three additional male juveniles were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries from two scenes.

Forest lived on Sterling and was pronounced dead in the backyard of 24-05 Flora.

Tanya Koonce

Those gathered at the Peoria Labor Temple this morning honored the life and work of former IBEW Local 34 Business Manager Mark Ayers. 

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc

 

Mitsubishi Workers canceled the strike authorization vote scheduled for today. A post the UAW 2488 Facebook feed says, “due to late bargaining advancements, the strike vote scheduled has been suspended to a later date.”

The statement goes on to says they have a few items to finish up today/ Thursday, but the fully believe they will have an agreement to present to the Membership on Sunday.

The Tazewell County State’s Attorney has filed felony charges against the man a Creve Coeur police officer shot early Tuesday morning outside Lucky Break bar.  

The Peoria County Animal Protection Services is closed for shelter adoptions today. The unexpected closure is necessary for construction at the front entrance of the facility.

Pekin water main break & detour update

Aug 12, 2015

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

Peoria Park District / Peoria Zoo

The Peoria Zoo has said a sad farewell to its last California sea lion. 

Kitmondo.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria-based Caterpillar is reporting 2nd quarter adjusted profit per share of $1.27. It’s a 42 cent decrease from the second quarter of 2014. But it still topped analysts’ expectations by a penny.    

Sales and Revenues posted at 12.3 billion dollars. That’s down 13 percent, in the second quarter of 2014 and is last down when compared with expectations.

The company is still expecting a challenging second half of the year. But CEO Doug Oberhelman says Caterpillar continues its “track-record of solid operational performance in the face of difficult conditions.”

Predatory lending likened to 'Shark attacks'

Jul 10, 2015
Cass Herrington / WCBU News

Community activists with Illinois Action rallied against “shark attacks” in Peoria Thursday. They were using the poplar Discovery Channel 'Shark Week' T-V reference to call for more regulatory controls on so-called predatory lending practices.

Heaven’s View Christian Fellowship Pastor Cliff Parks says several payday loan storefronts are just steps from the front door of his church. He has seen grave side-effects on his parishioners.

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Hundreds of bridges are structurally deficient or obsolete in Central Illinois. To that end, Representative Cheri Bustos says Congress needs to pass a long-term transportation bill. Marty Helfers is the Executive Director of the West Central Illinois Building Trades. He says long-term funding means more stability for local jobs:

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