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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Pekin is close to selecting a new city manager.  

Mayor John McCabe says the city is negotiating terms with the candidate the council approved. Council members interviewed five of the 11 people selected by the city’s search firm, GovHR.

All of the candidates the council interviewed hold master’s degrees and have worked in municipal government.

City officials are not yet releasing the name of the person they are talking with. But they say negotiations are ongoing, and they hope to have the new city manager on board starting December first.

Detective Mike Eeten / Pekin Police Department

The Pekin Police Department is calling its effort to battle back against opioid overdose a success, at least this time. Pekin Police Tuesday responded to a call where a 33-year-old unresponsive female was turning blue with an abnormal breathing pattern. The responding officer administered Narcan. Police say it was a life saving measure.

The Peoria Public School Board Building Committee is taking proposals for the future of Peoria Stadium.

The Committee laid out its planned time line in a scheduled meeting Mon.

School Board and Committee Member Dan Adler says the pace is fairly swift. The deadline for proposals on the future uses of the Stadium are due by November 10th. Adler says the committee will sort and evaluate the proposals with the idea of choosing the best one or more to present in a public meeting.

Tanya Koonce

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he is still hopeful about passing the measure to change the federal funding formula used after a disaster.  Kirk made his comments in Washington today, nearly three years after the EF-4 tornado struck Tazewell County. FEMA denied funding to the town.

Despite the continued down global market conditions Caterpillar is maintaining its quarterly dividend of 77 cents per share for those on record as of October 24th.

Tanya Koonce

Democratic 18th District Congressional Candidate Junius Rodriguez says Congressman Darin LaHood’s judgment and character are in question for continuing to support the GOP Presidential nominee. Rodriguez says LaHood’s failure to follow Congressman Rodney Davis’s lead and renounce Trump was a bellwether moment:

Tanya Koonce

Eighty-six people have been shot in Peoria this year. Now Peoria Police are using a tool that will help them solve more gun crime. The National Integrated Ballistic Information System has been in place for about 6-weeks.

The auction planned for the shuttered Mitsubishi Plant in Normal is postponed. The property that's large enough to hold 50 football fields was slated to go up for auction October 18th.

Tanya Koonce

The U of I Colleges of Medicine are meeting at the Jump Trading Simulation Center in Peoria to overhaul the systems curriculum and training of future doctors.

Tanya Koonce

The Vice President of Diversity at ICC Rita Ali is running for the 5th District Peoria City Council Seat. Ali made the announcement at her home in North Peoria where most of the homes in her subdivision featured one of her Red and White Ali yard signs.

Bradley University and Caterpillar are teaming up with NASA for what’s being called the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The goal is for teams to develop technologies to build a habitat on Mars using 3D printing.

Tremont Fire Department / Peoria Public Radio

Illini Concrete Products in Tremont was destroyed yesterday in a fire and subsequent explosions. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports the fire call came in about 12:30.

Tremont Fire Chief Jim Lonergran says one of the workers discovered the fire. He says by the time they were on-scene, the building furthest from the road was collapsed and two of the buildings were fully involved.

City of Pekin GIS Office / Twitter

All segments of Veterans Drive in Pekin are now open. Some construction remains, causing lane closures, but through traffic will still be allowed. The reopening of VFW Drive also brings some changes to the traffic pattern. The VFW and 14th Street intersection as well as the 5th Street intersection are no longer 4-way stops. Veterans Drive traffic does not stop at 14th Street or 5th Street.

 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum is departing after nearly three years at the helm. Sam Gappmayer is leaving to be the director of John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He arrived at Peoria Riverfront Museum just after it had reported a deficit and lower than expected attendance numbers in its first year of operation.

@TomDaschle / Twitter

The Former Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader is speaking at Bradley University Monday. Tom Daschle is speaking​ about his co-authored book “Crisis Point.” He wrote it with former Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Bradley University

The Illinois Women Artists Project has a new administrative home at Bradley University. The project was founded, and previously operated independently by, Channy Lyons. Lyons is also the producer of the Peoria’s Hidden Treasures series on WCBU.

The Peoria Public School Board approved a $179 million operating budget for this academic year. The District 150 spending plan factors in a $4.4 million operating deficit.

The deficit gap is an improvement from initial budget estimates, due to a slight increases in state funding.

Superintendent Sharon Kherat says they continue to cut where they can.

Tanya Koonce

Obed & Isaac’s Restaurant and Microbrewery is open for business in the Cornerstone Building in Downtown Peoria. Governor Bruce Rauner as well as other state and local elected officials and business people attended the ribbon cutting celebrating the new life of the 127-year-old structure.

Helge V. Keitel / Flickr/Creative Commons

The annual Community Health Needs Assessment published this week shows the tri-county region’s top areas of concern are healthy behaviors and mental health. The joint assessment between UnityPoint and OSF HealthCare includes three-year implementation plans to address the public health concerns raised by the study.  

Peoria County

A 49 year-old Peoria man has been declared a Sexually Violent Person, or SVP. Kirk Burks was already a registered sex offender.

 

He was convicted in 2008 of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse against 18 and 15 year old women. Burks was also convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1992 against three girls, 13 years old and younger.

AP Photo

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is headlining a campaign fundraising event in Peoria next week.

An invitation obtained by Peoria Public Radio says the 34-year-old businesswoman will meet constituents during a luncheon Wed. in an undisclosed location. The invite says the location will be released to those who register for the minimum $500 per person luncheon.

UnityPoint Health is preparing to make a multi-million dollar addition next year to enhance its behavioral healthcare services. The facilities upgrades are to focus on enhancing its Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center, and create specialized care units for adults and seniors.  

 

Penn State Special Collections Library / Flickr/Creative Commons

Community race relations was the topic of a 2-hour Town Hall meeting Thurs. on Peoria's Public Television station.

More than 50 members of the Peoria and Bloomington/Normal Communities participated. Long-time civil rights advocate Ernestine Jackson says such race relations conversations have no value, unless people are also considering their attitudes and thinking:

Sandra Alphonse / Flickr/Creative Commons

Singer Patti LaBelle is the key note speaker for the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Annual Luncheon in Peoria. It’s the 25th year for the MLK Luncheon but this is the first year it will be followed by a concert.  

 

The event is sponsored by Public Employees for Community Concerns.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A meeting at the Tri-County Urban League Mon. included three Peoria City Council members and took on the subject of black life in the community.

The city ranks as one of the worst in the country for African Americans. Last year, the black median household income was less than half that of whites, and the unemployment rate for black residents was more than double.

Tanya Koonce

The Washington Police Department and Tazewell County Coroner’s office are investigating the death of a 37-year-old woman found on the Wood Street Bicycle Trail Tues.

Rep. Duckworth Joins Unions in Labor Day Parade

Sep 6, 2016
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

 

Democratic US Senate Candidate and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth attended this year’s Labor Day Parade in downtown Peoria.

Duckworth, a Gulf War Veteran, was a pilot in the Army National Guard and  flew out of Peoria for more than 18 years. She says that makes the Peoria Labor Day Parade a particularly special place for her to celebrate the purpose of the holiday.

More than 300 support and management employees of Caterpillar have been laid off, effective yesterday. Many of the affected employees were engineers, and were escorted out of building AC and the Tech Center in Mossville. Other management and support staff in Peoria, East Peoria and Morton facilities were also laid off. The exact number is not being released.

 

Saundi Wilson Photography / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria has a new tool in the fight against gun violence. The installation of the Integrated Ballistics Identification System is complete.

The sophisticated electronic and optical technology captures the unique fingerprint on a shell casing used to link it to the gun and potentially the person who fired it. That information is digitally compared to evidence stored in the database.

It’s technology from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Chicago and the Metro East already have the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

B.A.D. / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Community Summit of the Mayor’s Coalition Against Heroin drew about 85 participants.

The agenda included comments from Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and the coalition, police, a doctor, a recovering heroin addict, a family member and representatives of the Human Service Center.

Peoria Police Captain Loren Marion III says debunking the myths around heroin and opioid addiction is essential in furthering the effort to squash the epidemic:   

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