Area counties getting money for bridge projects

Jun 27, 2013

Fulton, Marshall, Mason and Peoria Counties are getting more than $580,000 dollars for bridge projects.

Daryl Scott

Peoria hosted nearly 100 antique rally car drivers, and several hundred spectators Monday at the Gateway Building. Peoria Public Radio’s Daryl Scott reports the 2013 Hemmings Great Race took their lunch stop on the riverfront.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, and the Elite Pulses of Hope drumline welcomed the racers, including rookie Brad Epple, who says his first three days behind the wheel of his 1965 Corvette have gone without a hitch.

The Peoria Riverfront is a lunch stop for the 2013 Hemmings Great Race Monday. The annual road rally starts Saturday in St. Paul Minnesota, and features 100 participants with vintage cars and trucks. Drivers, including Peoria native Richard McKone, are converging on the Gateway Building around Noon Monday for a lunch break before heading to Hannibal, Missouri. The public is invited to greet the drivers as they arrive, and look at the antique cars on display. 

YPG to use All-America City award to promote Peoria

Jun 19, 2013

Members of the delegation responsible for helping Peoria become an All-America City say their work is not complete. The Peoria Chamber’s Young Professionals Group brought home the award this week following a weekend competition with 19 other cities in Denver. The group also won two awards, one for producing a video about the city, and another individual recognition. 

The District 150 School Board heard from residents against a proposal from Wal-Mart to redevelop the historic Peoria Stadium property.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports: 

 The District owns the 80-acre stadium site, and the Peoria Park District leases about 30 acres to use for softball diamonds.  The proposal has the District selling some or all of the stadium property to Wal-Mart through the city.  District 150 Treasurer Dave Kinney says the District is looking at creative ways to generate additional revenue amid unpredictable state and federal funding:

The Peoria Police Department would hire six additional officers if it secures a federal grant through the Department of Justice.  City Manager Patrick Urich says the initial grant application was to hire 10 officers over four years with a 25-percent local match.  Urich says new changes mean that the city would instead pay for the majority of the officer salaries if it receives the grant.  He says the city plans to only hire six officers to compensate for the change:

Peoria Council votes to create new TIF district

May 29, 2013

The Peoria City Council approved the area’s latest Tax Increment Financing District last night.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the council voted 10 to one to create the South Village TIF: 

Area memorial day events

May 24, 2013

Several Memorial Day events are planned this weekend to honor past and present soldiers. The American Legion Post Two conducts services Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Cemetery at 10:30, Parkview Cemetery at 11:15 and at noon at Veterans Park.  

Area unemployment down from March, up from last year

May 23, 2013

The number of people filing unemployment claims decreased one percent from March to April.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports the unemployment rate at 7.9 percent in the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area.  That’s up a half-a-percent from the same time last year.  2,600 fewer jobs were added last month compared to April last year.  That’s largely due to a temporary layoff in manufacturing jobs.  But more than 1,000 jobs were added in educational-health services compared to the same time last year. 

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: 

Peoria School District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan delivered her third State of the Schools address.  About 300 people attended the breakfast meeting at Four Points Sheraton.  Lathan says the district is having to operate on a slim budget as it grapples with annual deficits and less state funding.  She says the recent two-year contract extension with the Peoria Federation of Teachers helps the district financially:

$100,000 fireworks display returning to Peoria

Apr 30, 2013

The Red, White and BOOM celebration is coming back to Peoria for the 27th year. The cities of Peoria and East Peoria as well as UnityPoint Health-Methodist come together with other area organizations to host the 100-thousand dollar firework production. East Peoria Mayor Dave Mingus says the event is a signal of unity between the two communities:

"Since then, of course, its not just unity between our community, but it's the whole unity with the entire region - all the people it draws in. It gives me great satisfaction to see families down there at the riverfront, both sides, you can hear what's going on," Mingus says.

Peoria is a finalist for All-America City Award

Apr 24, 2013

The city of Peoria is in the running to receive an All-America City Award. The Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria announced the city is one of 20 finalists for the designation. It would be the fourth time the city has received the award. The last time Peoria won was in 1989.

Flooding preparations south of Peoria

Apr 23, 2013

The river is still rising on the stretch of the Illinois River south of Peoria.  IPR’s Bill Wheelhouse reports:

Peoria police search for double shooting suspect

Apr 8, 2013

Peoria Police are looking for a suspect in a double shooting Sunday that killed a 17-year-old boy.  Police say Marquis Costic is wanted in the shooting at Warren and Butler Streets that left Treyshawn Blakely dead. Police say another unidentified person was shot during the same incident and taken to a local hospital.  Costic is described as a five-foot-seven black male with braided hair. Police say they did NOT recover the semi-automatic murder weapon at his home, but did find other weapons.  Costic is considered armed and dangerous.

Peoria police warn of illegal drug use

Apr 5, 2013

The Peoria Police Department is warning the public of the dangers of using illegal drugs.  They say the city has seen three deaths and two hospitalizations this week that might be heroin or drug-related.  Police say they’re not condoning the use of illegal drugs.  Police say people need to warn loved ones of the potential dangers of using illegal substances. 

Durbin learns about Peoria’s Don’t Shoot program

Apr 2, 2013

  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin met with area law enforcement officials to learn about Peoria's anti-violence initiative.   The Don't Shoot program is based on the book by David Kennedy and addresses ways the community and law enforcement can reduce violent crime. Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says shootings are down 26-percent since January compared to the same time last year.

Dress for Success Peoria helps 2,000th client

Apr 1, 2013

  Dress for Success Peoria is celebrating its two-thousandth client preparing to find employment.  The non-profit group helps women by providing professional attire and a network support to help them find a job.  Sarah Fletcher is the Director of Dress for Success Peoria.  She says the milestone is significant:

Review - "Godspell"

Mar 20, 2013

Peoria Players Theatre continues its current season with the musical “Godspell.” Marty Lynch has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria.

Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Area unemployment jumps significantly from December

Mar 14, 2013

The number of people filing unemployment claims jumped 1.7 percent from December to January.  TheIllinois Department of Employment Security reports the unemployment rate at ten percent in the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area.  That’s also a nearly one-percent increase from the same time last year.  Even so 800 more jobs were added from the same time last year due to gains in Educational-Health Services.  But the manufacturing and Business Service areas saw declines year-to-year.

Peoria to hold first marathon

Mar 13, 2013

The first ever Peoria marathon is taking place this Spring. As Peoria Public Radio’s Deborah OldenKamp reports the Run River City Marathon also features a marathon relay, a 25-K, and a 5-K, as well as a youth run.

The marathon series is May 19th, with events beginning at 7 that morning. Marathon organizer Adam White says four years ago Champaign began their marathon events.

Peoria School District 150 says it wants voters to consider a one-percent sales tax increase on some retail sales.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports the District says new revenues are needed amid shrinking property tax and state aid funding: 

 District 150 is expecting a $10 million decrease in general state aid next school year.  District 150 also lost nearly four-million-dollars in property tax revenues the last two years.  Officials say that means less money for roof repairs, technology upgrades and health-life safety projects.  School Board member Rick Cloyd says he supports asking Peoria County voters to consider a one-percent sales tax increase:

Peoria’s Warehouse District is moving forward. Local, state and federal officials gathered in downtown Peoria for a symbolic ground-breaking. The event kicks off the Warehouse District and Washington Street improvement projects. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined Mayor Jim Ardis, former Mayor Dick Carver and others to kick-off the $30 million effort.

The Peoria man who allegedly murdered his wife on Valentine's Day was seeing a young Lithuanian woman in the United States.  Multiple media outlets are reporting that was the message during a 20-minute bond-hearing for Nathan Leuthold. Prosecutors say Leuthold met the woman in Chicago about 20 times and also bought her clothes. A Peoria Police Detective also reportedly told prosecutors that they found a handwritten note believed to be from Leuthold’s wife, Denise. The note said she knew he wanted her dead and running around with a 20-year-old was making her look bad.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Their concert Saturday night features music of Mozart, Rossini, Maurice Ravel and Jacques Ibert. Stelluto talks about the pieces on the program and how they fit together. The concert will also feature a performance by winners of the Peoria Symphony Guild's young artist competition.

Don't Shoot Peoria

"Don't Shoot" is a community-wide effort to reduce gun violence in the Peoria area. The local initiative ties in with the book "Don't Shoot" by criminologist and author David Kennedy. This program is collaboration between federal, state, and local law enforcement, prosecutors, as well as community members and leaders. This is the first of four roundtable discussions of the "Don't Shoot" project on WCBU, and it examines the history of the anti-violence initiative and how it will apply to the Peoria region.

This week, we talk with William Butler from the Contemporary Art Center. They're hosting their annual Fine Art Auction Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The event includes both a silent and a live auction, along with musical entertainment. Butler talks about some of the works featured in the auction, how it's designed to benefit both the Center and the participating artists, and some of the other ongoing activities at the CAC.

Corn Stock Theatre presents a rock-and-roll story of gender identity, set to music inspired by 1970s “glam” rock, with its production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Douglas Okey has this review for WCBU and the Live Theatre  League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of WCBU or the Live Theatre League.

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce. He' s playing the title role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which continues tonight and tomorrow night at Corn Stock Theatre. Joyce talks about the origin of the show, the process of "becoming Hedwig" each night, and what it's like fronting the Angry Inch -- the on-stage band that peforms during the show.