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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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: 



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.


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.

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.


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:


Cases of Lyme Disease have turned up in Tazewell County. There are two confirmed and another anticipated case of the bacteria. 


  The U.S. Coast Guard issued a no wake zone Thursday for the entire Illinois River.

A statement from the Coast Guard says recreation vessels are banned from the river between Havana and about Chillicothe. That’s river mile marker 102 to 190.

Towboat operators are also being told to use caution and are prohibited from laying up from mm 136-138 and mm 166.5 -178.

The advisory will remain in place until the Coast Guard issues a cancelation notice.


Approximately 120 Caterpillar employees at the East Peoria facility are being laid off indefinitely. The layoffs take effect June 29th. A statement from the company says it’s making necessary moves to bring production in line with demand. Some of the additional moves that have already been implemented include temporary shutdowns and reductions in what the company calls its flexible workforce. Caterpillar says more permanent measures are necessary in the near-term to balance the continued weakness in the global mining and construction industry. 

William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

A bronzed sculpture of jazz trumpeter and band leader Miles Davis will soon be unveiled in the Illinois town where Davis was born. Artist Preston Jackson is scheduled to do the unveiling in downtown Alton Sept. 12. Davis was born in Alton in 1926 and moved to East St. Louis a year later. He would later play with such stalwarts as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey before dying of a stroke in 1991. Utility provider Ameren Illinois recently donated $5,000 toward the project in the city's Riverbend community, which is located near downtown along the Mississippi River.


Peoria Police Department Facebook page

  The Peoria Police Department is implementing a new emergency communications system today. Peoria Police started using the new digital radio interface with sign-on this morning.  The Peoria County Sheriff's Office has been using the system since earlier this year. The Peoria Fire Department is set to transition June 23.  The the digital system upgrade replaces the decades-old analog infrastructure. The new technology adds capability for first responders to have direct interagency communication.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Glen Oak Park has a new resident in the historic building that once served as the Park District office. The Junior League of Peoria and its community partners are cutting the ribbon and opening the new Children’s Museum and PlayHouse Friday after nearly 15-years in the making.

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: 

Construction has resumed on the exterior of UnityPoint Methodist Medical Center. The construction project was halted last week when a worker fell about 30 feet from the scaffolding. The East Moline Glass Company employee remains hospitalized.  

Tanya Koonce

The UnityPoint Methodist College is getting a new campus. The former American Furniture Building is being reconstructed with Student Housing built on adjacent land to house both the nursing and health sciences programs. 

Tanya Koonce

Illinois Senator Mark Kirk toured the ADM Plant on the Riverfront in Peoria Wednesday. Senator Kirk says getting a new trade agreement is necessary for companies like Peoria-based Caterpillar and ADM:

The public is invited to attend Bradley's final practice at Dozer Park before the Braves head to Louisville for the weekend's NCAA Baseball Regional.

Tanya Koonce

State and local police are out in force for the traditional kick-off of summer. An estimated 33-million motorist will take to the nation's roadways this weekend. 

An Honor Flight takes off from Peoria International Airport early Tuesday morning. 22 World War II veterans, 37 from the Korean War and seven terminally ill Vietnam Vets are making the journey to the Memorial in Washington D.C. 

ICC President retiring

Apr 30, 2015

  Illinois Central College President John Erwin is retiring effective Friday, May 1, 2015.

Erwin’s held the position for more than 14 years. As President, Erwin led ICC’s expansion of academic programs and the school’s footprint.

  ICC moved into the shuttered Zeller Mental Health Center building that now serves as the school’s North Campus, opened a southern location in Pekin and added student housing during Erwin’s tenure. He also oversaw a number of additional building construction and expansion projects.

Tanya Koonce

Bradley University hosted the state’s largest naturalization ceremony of the year. About 2,000 people gathered at the Renaissance Coliseum for the ceremony. Paul Phillips is a Supervisory Immigration Services Officer out of Chicago. He says typically there are quarterly naturalization ceremonies.  

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: