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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Voter turnout was 43.5% in Peoria County. That accounts for 47,616 votes cased. It also exceeds 2008 voter turnout in Peoria when Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama.

Caterpillar is affirming its commitment to sustainability by partnering with SunSelect Produce. The collaboration will grow greenhouse vegetables using carbon dioxide and heat energy waste produced at Caterpillar’s Mossville power plant.  

Goodwill warns of scam

Mar 10, 2016

Goodwill of Central Illinois is warning people about a scam involving solicitations for donations to its Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event. 

The 21st annual IHSA Boy’s Basketball March Madness tournament takes place in Peoria for the new two weekends. 

Editorinsneezes/Wikimedia Commons

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Champaign city officials are pumping up the idea of the tavern crawl via group bike.    The city council has approved a liquor license that does not permit Slowride Inc. to serve alcohol, but allows riders to bring their own. It will pay $250 a year for the license. 

The 20-foot-long, pedal-powered vehicles that travel 4 mph to 7 mph are restricted from streets with speed limits of 35 mph or above.

 Owner Steve Bloomstrand also wanted permission to put video advertising on the back but the council voted 5-3 against the idea.  

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Home health care workers, seniors and their loved ones gathered at Hurlburt House in Peoria yesterday to denounce cuts proposed for the Community Care Program. It helps income eligible Illinois residents 60 and older live independently longer. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner is proposing a $200 million cut to the program.

Robin Tucker is the service coordinator at Wallick Properties in Peoria. She says programs like Community Care are critical for seniors. 

Claus Rebler / Flickr/Creative Commons

Area hospitals are asking people to voluntarily limit their hospital visits.

The request is based on data from the Peoria City/County Health Department that indicates more flu activity throughout the region. The guidance for limiting hospital visits includes those who are not feeling well or have experienced flu-like symptoms in the last seven days.

Hospital visitors should also be at least 18 years old. The idea is to limit patient exposure to children who have a higher risk for transmitting viral infections.


Caterpillar Group President Ed Rapp’s recent announcement of his retirement in the face of an A-L-S diagnosis has generated an overwhelming response from those wanting to help. To meet that call Rapp has established a donor advised fund called Stay Strong vs ALS. The Caterpillar Foundation is making a one million dollar donation and giving another million for employee, retiree and dealer employees.

To learn more, visit the Stay Strong vs. ALS Fund website. GO>

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address seemed to engender two primary responses: Those who support his message and those who indict it. The Illinois Manufacturers Association applauded it. The Illinois Policy Institute praised it and so did the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. But home health care works disagreed.

Nancee Custer works for Community Care. She picketed with other home health care workers yesterday outside Lutheran Social Services in Peoria. Cluster says the budget gridlock is the Governor’s fault:

Tanya Koonce

More than a dozen Peoria community leaders gathered with teachers and students at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Center this morning in support of Pre-K education. 

City of East Peoria

The City of East Peoria will have a new program next month to help those with certain medical conditions after a hospital stay. 

The Mobile Integrated Healthcare Services Pilot program has OSF Healthcare partnering with the Fire Department to do home visits. Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Beck says they’ll start the program visiting those with Diabetes, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. 

KCIvey / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria County Election Commission shifts gear Wednesday into what is called grace period registration.

People can still register but starting today they must cast their ballot at the same time. Tom Bride, the executive director of the Peoria County Election Commission, says there are lots of voting opportunities.

OSF HealthCare has the regulatory approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to make the former Streator hospital a freestanding emergency center.

Tanya Koonce

The Peoria Art Guild remains dark for the time being. It’s been on reduced operations since December. 

Muffet / Flickr/Creative Commons

An effort to revitalize vacant properties into community assets might get some extra love and recognition in Peoria this Valentine’s Day.

The City is asking residents to participate by using the hashtags #LoveThatLot and #GrowPeoria with photos of revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods.

The effort coincides with the national #LoveThatLot campaign sponsored by the Center for Community Progress.

Cass Herrington

A former assistant for President Ronald Reagan says none of the current GOP presidential candidates can be likened to “The Great Communicator.” 

The state of the City of Peoria remains in balance, according to Mayor Jim Ardis. 

Caterpillar’s year end report shows sales and revenue down 15% for last year and 29% from its peak in 2012. That accounts for a continued decline in equipment sales in the fourth quarter. The company’s annual outlook for 2016 was also reduced and anticipates another 10% decline.

Caterpillar’s year end report shows sales and revenue down 15% for last year and 29% from its peak in 2012. 

Bradley University

The Alumni Center on the campus of Bradley University was standing room only last night. That was the community turnout welcoming the university’s 11th president, Gary Roberts, who is also a 1970 Bradley graduate.

Roberts says he looks forward to working with the local community and calls it essential.

“Bradley and the Peoria and central Illinois communities are integrally linked and we are dependent on one and other," Roberts said. "When one succeeds, the other benefits, and if one has a failure, the other suffers.”  

Images_of_Money / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors is reporting its most successful year since 2007.  Home sales for the tri-county area increased more than six and half percent year to year. 5,479 homes sold last year.

The average home sale price was more than $145,000. Becky Peterson is the President of the Peoria Area Association of Realtor. She says the housing inventory is also well positioned for buyers and sellers.

Peoria Civic Center / Facebook

The first ever outdoor ice skating venue at the Peoria Civic Center is being called an overwhelming success. PNC Winterfest organizers says they optimistically took the tagline: ‘Peoria’s Newest Holiday Tradition’ when they announced it last summer. But 11,700 people laced up ice skates and took to the outdoor rink between November 30th when it opened and Monday when it closing.

Bradley University

The Peoria Police Department has a new Assistant Chief. PPD announced Captain Lisa Snow was promoted to Assistant Chief Monday. Snow has been with the Peoria Police Department for 25 years. She started in patrol in 1990 and has a Doctorate from the U of I. Assistant Chief Snow and her husband Police Lieutenant Kenneth Snow live in Peoria.     

The City of East Peoria Public Works Department is planning a special pick up of tree limbs and other debris dropped in last week's storms starting Monday, January 18th.  

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 25 people attended the meeting last night on the Riverfront Park concept site plan. Most of the 90 minute meeting heard questions and concerns from those who oppose the redevelopment. They question whether the land the city is proposing as a replacement for Riverfront Park meets the state’s eligibility requirements.  

Illinois Department of Transportation

The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding people to bookmark its digital address: getting-around-illinois-dot-com. The site and its map is suitable for computers and smartphones and offers 24 hour access to current winter road conditions. It aims to provide motorists the latest information on what to expect before heading out.

The City of Peoria public works department is going through neighborhoods in an effort to complete the first pass of debris pick up from last week’s storm. The city is not using the regular trash pickup schedule because of the varied amount of damage throughout the community.

UnityPoint Methodist compiled a list of the most popular names given to babies born at its facility last year. 

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is working with a group of cycling enthusiasts from throughout the region to create what they are calling BikeConnect HOI.

The steering committee of 23 people include representatives of the communities in the tri-county area, the Illinois Department of Transportation and area cycle clubs.

Nick Hayward is a senior planner with the regional planning commission.

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: