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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Congressman LaHood’s office is scrambling to secure extra tickets to the upcoming presidential inauguration.

The Peoria County Board already has a resolution for the New Year.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The bells that accompany the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign leave an unmistakable holiday song in the crisp winter air. 

Jason Howell / Wikimedia Commons

The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program is being extended for a year.

The Peoria City Council is looking to fill an at-large seat, at least for a little while.

The resignation of At-Large Councilman Ryan Spain leaves a vacancy the council is looking to fill.

The mayor’s office is accepting applications from those interested in serving on the council in an at-large capacity.

Those interested in applying are asked to submit a cover letter, resume and any other supporting documentation to the mayor's assistant Brenda Hopwood.

Tunstall / Flickr/Creative Commons

Two Democratic Illinois lawmakers are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign a measure to ensure consumer choice for those with disabilities. 

Tanya Koonce

Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten is running for Tazewell County Sheriff. Eeten, who also serves as the public information officer for the Pekin Police Department, made the announcement today. He says he’s filed his Republican candidacy and campaign committee structure with the state board of election.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Auditor is resigning her position, effective Dec. 31, citing the recent county budget cuts.

Steve Johnson / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved Illinois American Water’s request for a rate increase, but at lesser amount.

 

Illinois American asked for a $49.5 million increase last February. Instead, the ICC approved a $35.3 million increase.

The Commerce Commission ruled some expenses the company sought to recover with rate increases were too high by more than $14 million.

Illinois American Water serves customers from far Southern Illinois to the Chicago suburbs.

Pekin Police continue to search for 13-year old Robert Bee, who was reported as a runaway more than three-weeks ago.

State and Federal agencies are also participating in the search. Pekin Police Detective Mike Eeten says the combined agency effort has placed a tremendous amount of manpower to search, interviews and lead follow-ups. 

There have been no confirmed sightings of Bee since his disappearance Nov. 18, and there are no new leads.

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The 1st District Peoria City Council Seat has some competition in the April 4th. David Berry is challenging the incumbent, Councilwoman Denise Moore.  He made a formal announcement yesterday. Berry says the incumbent is doing a good job on the whole but he would like to see more:

“Now issue I am seeing overall 1st District is that when it comes to public funding it’s nearly 100-percent going to private sector projects and in some cases there are zero dollars going to job train and continuing education.”

David Quitoriano / Flickr/Creative Commons

32 year-old Tracy Long of Pekin will spend 24 months on probation, along with other sanctions, for falsifying medical reports and stealing narcotics for personal use last year at Maple Lawn Healthcare in Eureka.

 

Long, a nurse, pleaded guilty to the Class 4 Felony of Unlawful Acquisition of a Controlled Substance.

United Way agencies across the United States are receiving $11.5 million in contributions from Caterpillar employees and retirees and the company Foundation.  This amount includes a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Caterpillar Foundation.

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CityLink General Manager Al Stanek is retiring at the end of year. Stanek has served in the position since February 2015. His retirement announcement comes as the Regional Mass Transit Authority continues to negotiate with its bus driver’s.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Board has three new members. The body remains a democratic majority with a 10-8 make up of Democrats and Republicans. But this board is less gender diverse than its predecessor.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Caterpillar is celebrating the life saving teamwork of seven people who administered CPR when their colleague collapsed. 49-year-old Mark Whiting went into cardiac arrest about a month ago while speaking at an offsite work meeting. Seven of his colleagues responded.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria County Board is slated to approve its 2017 budget tonight. The board has to fill a two-and-a half million dollar shortfall, for this year and next.

 

County Board Chairman Andrew Rand says fund reserves will be depleted in three years at this pace. He says expenses are outpacing revenues about one percent a year, compounded by declines in the major revenue sources of sales taxes, fines and fees.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public School Building Committee is asking those who submitted a proposal for the future of Peoria Stadium to move forward with developing a business plan. The Building Committee yesterday talked through the three page proposal Adam White and others submitted. The proposal calls for replacing Peoria Stadium with modern facilities and operating it as a nonprofit with a board of directors and full-time person to run the operation.

WCBU

The city is seeking suggestions on ways to improve the social and economic challenges that disproportionate affect Peoria’s African American residents.

It comes in response to a recent ranking by the site 24/7 Wall Street that named Peoria “worst-in-the-nation,” in terms of racial disparities.

The data used to assign that unflattering designation shows the median income for black residents is less than half that of whites. The survey also included the unemployment rate, which is three times higher in Peoria’s black population, compared to whites.  

The meeting will take the form of small group discussions on the subjects of economic disparity, health, employment and education. The small group discussions aim to find potential solutions.

CityLink and Peoria area transit workers have reached a contract extension agreement.

 

The Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Local 416 contract expires Wed. The contract extension keeps nearly 140 bus drivers and maintenance workers on the job through January 31st. It also allows time for the union and CityLink managers to schedule more negotiations.

104 members of Amalgamated Transit Union Workers Local 416 unanimously approved a strike authorization Sunday.

O'Dea / WikiCommons

The public is getting a look inside a medical marijuana dispensary opening next week in East Peoria.

“By normalizing this and opening it up to the community, it allows for physicians to be more comfortable with learning about it,” Ben Rediger, a spokesman for the dispensary NuMed, said.

State regulations specify that medical cannabis dispensaries be open only to registered patients, caregivers and state-credentialed employees. After the facility is licensed by state regulators, the dispensary area is closed to everyone else. 

The final field of candidates is set for Peoria City municipal and township offices in the spring elections. Mayor Jim Ardis is facing two challengers. Marie Kennell and Couri Thomas both filed candidate petitions Monday.

falkenpost / Google/Creative Commons

The death of longtime dictator Fidel Castro has again sparked interest in Cuba.

Meantime, Illinois lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, are already delving deep into developing economic ties with the island nation. 

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) gives credit to President Barack Obama for opening up trade with Cuba. Lahood says Cuban trade is important for companies, including Caterpillar because 75 percent of the tractors built in East Peoria are shipped to foreign destinations.

Tanya Koonce

AAA Chicago Motor Club anticipates 2.5 million people in Illinois will travel for the holiday weekend.  2.3 million are expected to drive between Wednesday and Sunday.

Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Public Schools are preparing to sell $50 million in bonds to pay for a mighty list of school facilities’ improvements.

The bonds will be paid for with the revenue from the 1/2-percent sales tax increase Peoria County voters approved in Nov. 8 election. PPS' School Board approved the underwriting agreement with Stifel Nicolaus and Company, on a 5-1 vote.

Chief Financial Officer Mick Willis says he recommended the company because the way it structures the bonds will be beneficial to the school district.

BREAKING: A major explosion in Canton this evening on the square left one person dead, others injured and caused massive damage to multiple businesses. More than 500 residents in the area are without power. Natural gas has been cut off to the community until further notice. The public is asked to avoid the area as a precaution while Emergency Management and clean-up crews work to secure the site.

Tanya Koonce

Junction City Ventures along with several other business sponsors are working with Peoria Public Schools to launch a student-run company. It’s called AppsCo.

Tamie Yost

The 2nd Annual Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication kicks-off tomorrow at Bradley University. Symposium participants include its namesake, alumni and L.A. Dodgers Play-by-Play announcer Charley Steiner as well as the play by play announcers for the Cubs, the Cardinals and ESPN. Female sports writing pioneer Diane Shah is also participating.

Tanya Koonce

Illinois Senator-Elect Tammy Duckworth thanked supporters in Chicago, Springfield and Peoria. Duckworth says she remains committed to working in a bipartisan fashion for manufacturing jobs, roads, waterways and rail as well as college loan refinancing.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Early voting in Peoria County has surpassed 2012.  The Peoria County Election Commission reports nearly 21,300 voters cast their ballots early.

That's about 200 more votes cast in early voting than the last presidential election.

6,100 people elected to vote by mail. That’s more than double the number who cast -what was still called an "absentee ballot" during the last presidential election cycle.

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