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. Tanya’s currently the Treasurer of the Illinois News Broadcaster’s Association. She lives in East Peoria and loves discovering interesting people, places and things.   

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The Peoria Fire Department is reporting four arsons over a four-day period. Two car and two house fires since Saturday are being investigated, after it was determined they were intentionally set. Arson investigators say each fire involved a large amount of accelerant, and each was set in the middle of the night.

 

The Peoria area housing market remained stable in the first quarter. 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth is sponsoring legislation to remove a common roadblock for those with a criminal record. 

Police statewide are targeting distracted driving with special patrols for the rest of the month. 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The end appears near for The Bon-Ton Stores that operate seven retail nameplates, including Bergner's stores in Peoria, Pekin, Bloomington, and Champaign.

 

Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group won the auction the court considered for approval Wednesday. A statement from Bon-Ton says the bankruptcy court was expected to approve "the sale and wind-down of the Company's operations."

 

Peoria Police Department

Lonnie Smith, 46, made his first court appearance in Pekin Friday on charges that include the drug-induced homicide of Anthony Phillips.

16-year-old Jermontay Brock is charged with first degree murder for the death of Anthony ‘AJ’ Polnitz at a house party last weekend. Brock is being held on $1 Million bond.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police have made an arrest in last weekend's shooting that killed two at a house party.  A 16-year-old was arrested without incident about 7:40 Wednesday night in the 2700 block of West Trewyn.

18 year-old Bradley University pre-med major Nasjay Murry from Chicago and 22-year-old Anthony Polnitz of Peoria were shot and killed about 1:40 Sunday morning at a crowded house party at the corner of Bradley and Western Avenues. Another female Bradley student was injured in that shooting.

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The East Peoria man whose truck was struck in the accident on I-74 at Pinecrest in Drive Monday evening has died. The Peoria County Coroner says 39-year-old Wayne Farrow succumb to the traumatic head injuries he sustained.

 

IDOT District 4

A semi carrying a combine failed to make it under the overpass at Pinecrest Drive on Interstate 74 Monday evening. The semi was traveling eastbound about 6:30 when it struck the overpass. Debris from the combine struck the 2003 Ford pickup truck traveling behind the semi and flatbed.

Two Illinois Congressmen talked bi-partisan politics and policy Wednesday at Bradley University. The Institute for Principled Leadership and Dirksen Congressional Center sponsored the event. 

OSF HealthCare and Peoria Public Schools are partnering to create a Trauma Recovery Center at Trewyn School next year. The center is designed to offer victims of violent crimes and other extreme situations wrap-around services to help them survive and prosper post-trauma.

Demand for downtown residential opportunities in Peoria is on the rise, according to a new study.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria Health Department are issuing warnings about synthetic cannabinoids after multiple people who've used them suffered severe bleeding.

Peoria Public Radio

Ten months after his release from prison, Cleve Heidelberg is dead. The 75-year old was in failing health at the time of his release last spring. He was found in an apartment in the 4200 block of Knollridge Rd. with no external trauma or sign of injury according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.

 

Heidelberg was released after serving more than 47-years in prison. He was convicted of murdering Peoria County Sheriff Sgt. Raymond Espinoza in 1970. His conviction was vacated last April.

 

In the 18th Congressional District race Republican incumbent Darin LaHood walked away with 79 percent of the vote over Don Reints. LaHood will look to retain his seat in the November election running against repeat Democratic contender Junius Rodriguez. Rodriguez won 42 percent of the vote in a three-way race yesterday against Brian Deters and Darrel Miller. 

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Peoria Police says social media posts asserting attempted abductions in the area are false.

In fact police say the posts that started on Friday are absolutely false. Police say they spoke to the original poster and it was determined her Facebook account was hacked. But apparently the modern-day rumor mill had already taken root, as that story and additional ones continued to emerge in slightly varied forms Saturday and Sunday.

Bradley University’s Athletic Director will spend another five years with the institution. Chris Reynolds is also getting a new title. 

MacArthur Highway between Moss Avenue and West Romeo B. Garrett Avenue will be closed starting next week through the end of the month. Illinois American Water is installing about 100 feet of water main on M-L-K Drive. The relocation is related to the upcoming bridge replacement. Detour routes will be posted. Motorists are encourage to avoid the area.

All the evidence Spring is coming might stimulate some otherwise inexplicable house cleaning and purging.

Tanya Koonce

It’s IHSA March Madness kickoff weekend in Peoria. The two weekend run of the event started Friday. It’s the 23rd year the boy’s basketball tournament is being hosted in Peoria. 

The Transportation Security Administration has new advanced screening procedures nationwide.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  A pipe bomb at Pekin City Hall Thursday made a momentary scare and a real-time test of emergency response practices.  

Bradley University

The Bradley University Police Officer’s union has voted no confidence in Chief Brian Joschko. The Police benevolent says it’s the third time the union has taken such an overwhelming-majority vote and they have lost all trust and faith in Chief Joschko’s ability to lead the department.

 

Peoria County Sheriff's Office

A Pekin man has been sentenced to a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges of defrauding an elderly man out of nearly $100,000. 42-year-old Deryl Wright will spend most of that time in prison. His sentence includes another three years of supervised release and repayment of the money he swindled, with interest. That amounts to nearly $100,600 in addition to court fines and fee.

 

Peoria Public Radio

Early voting begins in Peoria County Monday. Peoria County Election Commission Assistant Director Elizabeth Gannon says Early Voting and

the mailing of Vote by Mail ballots also starts Monday.

Gannon says the Public Test of the system is rescheduled for Thursday at 1:00pm.

The Appellate Court in the First Judicial District has reversed the previous circuit court’s decision. Scott Drury’s name will appear on the ballot. That had delayed the start of voting in many Illinois Counties. Others have already moved ahead.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell is abruptly stepping down. Mitchell says he is retiring after more than 27 years on the Peoria Police Department.

200 Years on Display at PRM

Feb 2, 2018

The Peoria Riverfront Museum debuts a new display Saturday. The Bicentennial Exhibit includes more than 200 objects. 

Peoria Police Involved in Fatal Shooting

Feb 1, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

A routine traffic stop resulted in a police chase that has left a Peoria Heights man dead and an officer wounded. Three Peoria Police Officers were involved in the fatal shooting, days after six officers were cleared in last September’s fatal shooting of Eddie Russell Jr.

 

The Peoria Fire Department has an expanded advanced life support presence in the city. A new pilot program was authorized by Peoria Area Emergency Services. 

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