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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The redevelopment of Taft Homes is taking shape. The Peoria Housing Authority Board unanimously approved taking the next steps in relocating the 216-unit housing complex from near the riverfront. But it’s estimated to cost nearly $45-Million to build the proposed four to six new apartment buildings across the city.

The Peoria Art Guild’s Fine Art Fair is being recognized as one of the top 100 in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine. The recognition is in this month’s edition of the magazine. The Peoria Art Guild staff says the honor showcases the level of quality the Fine Art Fair aims to achieve, as well as the exemplary craftsmanship of the artists that attend. 

Peoria Reads! announces next book selection

Sep 2, 2013

This year’s Peoria Reads! selection honors the many 50th anniversary milestones of the Civil Rights era. The community reading project is inviting people to read Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High.

Some lane closures will remain in effect in the Peoria area as IDOT suspends road work for the Labor Day holiday. 

Tanya Koonce / WCBU

  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin toured Caterpillar’s Visitor's Center with the company’s CEO touting the merits of the Senate-passed immigration reform bill. Durbin says the bill will have a dramatic impact on economic growth in the country, offering companies like Caterpillar, ADM and Kraft the opportunity for more skilled labor workers. But he says it's also not an easy path to becoming a citizen: 

The body found in the home of Gary Sandberg is believed to be that of the at-large city councilman.  Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says good friends went to Sandberg’s home at 1213 South West Adams Street this afternoon to check on him. They called 911 about 2:15, saying they had found a man deceased. 

The Peoria City Council spent nearly three hours in executive session after last night’s regularly scheduled business meeting.

Long-time employees of local businesses, like Pekin’s Excel Foundry, can be certified to teach on a part-time basis. The state certification is for part-time teaching and is limited to a specific skill as part of a school district’s curriculum. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday signed the bill that in-part creates the special teacher certification law. 

Caterpillar says the third party ticket vendor for its visitor’s center has experienced a security breach. That has the potential to impact those who’ve purchased tickets to Cat’s Visitors Center online or at the box-office. It does not include Caterpillar’s adjacent Merchandise Center or the company’s systems or hardware.

The Peoria County Coroner says the man fished out of the Illinois River Tuesday night likely died from drowning. Johnna Ingersoll identified the man as 31-year old Matthew Nettles of Washington. She says there was no evidence of trauma and she’s following through with toxicology testing.


Caterpillar now owns the entire city block next to its world headquarters in downtown Peoria. Cat spokesman Rusty Dunn says the company completed the move with its purchase of the Peoria professional Building on Main Street. 

New name, structure for Heartland Partnership

Jun 3, 2013

The Heartland Partnership now has a new name and structure. The group of organizations that used to function in the Partnership have been reduced, refocused, and in at least one case, completely disbanded. The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and the CEO Council are the two private businesses remaining under the newly-named Greater Peoria Business Alliance.

Peoria news briefs

May 27, 2013

The City of Peoria is getting a graffiti removal machine. The Altamount Neighborhood Association is selling the machine and supporting equipment to the Peoria Police Department for one dollar.  The seven-thousand-dollar graffiti removal machine was purchased through a grant from a local rotary club. Paul Wilkinson is a member of the Altamount Neighborhood Association that’s experienced and removed gang graffiti. Wilkinson helped make the transaction possible.     

Richerson out as PRM President and CEO

May 16, 2013

Jim Richerson is no longer running the Peoria Riverfront Museum. The announcement comes after the Museum failed to provide Peoria County with contractually required financial information. Peoria County voters approved a quarter of one percent sales tax increase to build the museum in 2009.

The Peoria Park District is putting some state parks grant funding to work on building a Nature Center in Tawny Oaks. It’s next to Singing Woods off Route 88 in North Peoria. Bonnie Noble is the Executive Director of the Peoria Park District. She says the more than $217,000 state grant gets the Tawny Oaks Nature Center project started: 

The Peoria Police Department arrested Nathan Leuthold Wednesday morning for the murder of his wife, Denise Leuthold on February 14. Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says  his department arrested the 37 year-old Leuthold in Pekin during a traffic stop they initiated. He says people have shared information that’s helped his department meet the probable cause standard to make Leuthold’s arrest. But Settingsgaard says detectives are still actively following-up on details.  

The City of Peoria launches its new website Wednesday, but it was recently released in a soft launch. We’re talking with the city’s new Chief Information Officer, Sam Rivera, and Rachel Cook who coordinates Technical Support for the city and headed-up the project. If you would like to follow along with the conversation on the city’s website the address is Peoriagov.org.