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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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.

Michael Gil / Wikimedia Commons

Two people were killed in a collision Mon. afternoon with an IVC school bus.

More than 60 Mossville School Students were on the bus when the 2002 Hyundai, Elantra struck it between the front and rear drivers' side wheels.

34-year-old April Turner and 58-year-old Mark Lane, both of Chillicothe, were killed in accident.

The children on the bus where on their way home from school about 3:30 when the crash occurred. The car was traveling southbound on Route-29 when it collided with the bus in the intersection of Cedar Hills Drive.

State Sen. Dave Koehler says he’s introduced a bill that will allow local governments to receive federal funds even if the state doesn’t have a budget.

That was a problem for local agencies like the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria had last year when the state didn’t have a spending plan.

The state budget also serves as the allocation mechanism for federal funds designated for such agencies. The Peoria Democrat says he introduced the bill, after talking about the idea with Director of Airports Gene Olson.

Roo Reynolds / Flickr/Creative Commons

The first Allegiant Flight from Charlotte North Carolina landed at Peoria International Airport today. That was closely followed by the first flight departing for the new destination.

sun dazed / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria Fire Department is reminding people about changing their smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries at the same time they set their clocks back.

The annual fall back time change happens at 2am Sunday, making it 1am.  

Peoria Fire Department Prevention Division Chief Phillip Maclin says they are also encouraging people to check the manufacture date of smoke detectors. 

@goodforshona / Instagram

Race, Inequality and Policing was the topic of a Town Hall Meeting last night at Manual High School.

About 200 people attended the Illinois Central College event. Much of the panelist conversation was about the recent 24/7 Wall Street ranking that placed Peoria "worst in the nation" for African American life.

Peoria City Councilwoman Denise Moore represents zip code 61605, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the state. She says young adults have to get involved to improve the situation.  

ttarasiuk / Flickr/Creative Commons

Morton Unit School District 709 will continue using case-by-case decision-making when it comes to transgender student’s using restrooms and locker rooms.

The board of education voted 4-3 against the so called Student Physical Privacy Policy, crafted by the Alliance for Defending Freedom. That policy would have required all students use the restrooms that align with the sex specified on their birth certificate.

Bradley University

Many have already cast a ballot in vote by mail or early voting. But some are still weighing their options in the final week leading up to election day.  Two Political Science Professors at Bradley University are helping us break down some of the things voters are deciding on in this election.

The annual state school report cards are out. Here's what the data reveals about Peoria Public Schools in the 2015-2106 school year.

Bre LaRow / Flickr/Creative Commons

 

As Halloween parties get underway, State and Local law enforcement, as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation, are reminding drivers to exercise some extra awareness. IDOT Spokesman Brian Williamsen says children will also be out past dark.

"You know it’s dark outside, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier," Williamsen said. "Kids are going to be out when they probably normally would not be out, so definitely be aware of that.”

 

Tanya Koonce

IDOT says the lengthy Interstate 74 project in Morton is complete.

Interstate 74 is now three lanes in each direction from Pleasant Hill Road to Morton avenue. The 1-55 interchange is also reconfigured to improve access to Morton Ave and that community. Morton Mayor Ron Rainson says thank you doesn’t seem like enough:

Tanya Koonce

What has been known as Heartland Clinic is now Heartland Health Services and has a new heart shaped logo. They are also expanding the services offered.

Caterpillar’s third-quarter earnings report that came out Tuesday, comes with information that often doesn’t get much attention after the basic numbers. The company’s outlook includes preliminary financial considerations for 2017.

The Peoria Public School system is kicking off a family engagement pilot program this week.

Bob Hoffman is the consultant working with School District 150 to get more parents involved in their child’s school. Hoffman says the parent workshops, that start today, aim to give parents some tools to offer support and partnership in their community schools.

Plan Peoria

The City of Peoria is taking ideas on the future use of the land under the Riverfront Village Platform.

The 2.5 acre parcel of land is to become public space. It’s in the First District, represented by Councilwoman Denise Moore. She says Monday's public input session is an opportunity for people to say what they would like to see in the space.  

Caterpillar

Civic Philanthropist and Former Caterpillar CEO Glen Barton has died. Barton retired as CEO of Caterpillar in 2004 after 43 years with the company.

Sherwood CC / Flickr

Home sales in the Peoria area were down more than 10-percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago.  Jana Heffron is the newly installed president of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says it’s not unusual for us to see a seasonal slowdown. But the average home sale price is also down three-point-eight percent. Houses sold in July, August and September spent an average of 78 days on the market, the same as a year ago.

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.

 

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