Tazewell County

This week, we're talking with Leigh Ann Brown and Rachel Berchtold about the Fourth Friday Tazewell Art Loop. Like First Fridays, these monthly events are intended to showcase local artists and musicians; however, the Tazewell County effort also includes a partnership with local small businesses. Berchtold and Brown talk about the value of building partnerships between the business and arts sectors, and about some of the special events on tap for tonight. There's also a scavenger hunt that runs all summer.

Eric Leubehusen/USDA

The U.S. Drought Monitor says portions of Central and Western Illinois remain abnormally dry. The agency’s update includes all of Peoria county and portions of Tazewell, Woodford and McLean counties for the second consecutive week.

Creative Commons

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s office issued a variety of citations during its distracted driver enforcement program last month. Chief Deputy Jeffrey Lower says 44 tickets were issued during the two-week “drop it and drive” campaign.

BREAKING: Waffle House Shooting Suspect in Custody

Apr 23, 2018
Metro Nashville Police / Twitter

The Metro Nashville Police Department has announced that the Antioch Waffle House shooting suspect, 29 year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Illinois, has been apprehended.  Via Twitter, officials confirmed Reinking was nabbed in a wooded area several miles from the crime scene.

Tanya Koonce

Authorities say a central Illinois man has died in an officer-involved shooting.

Peoria Police Department

Lonnie Smith, 46, made his first court appearance in Pekin Friday on charges that include the drug-induced homicide of Anthony Phillips.

In the 18th Congressional District race Republican incumbent Darin LaHood walked away with 79 percent of the vote over Don Reints. LaHood will look to retain his seat in the November election running against repeat Democratic contender Junius Rodriguez. Rodriguez won 42 percent of the vote in a three-way race yesterday against Brian Deters and Darrel Miller. 

Tazewell County Circuit Clerk Offers Amnesty

Feb 23, 2018
Tazewell County Circuit Clerk's Office

The Tazewell County Circuit Clerk’s Office is offering a sort of amnesty to people with outstanding court fines and fees.


If a person’s court fines and fees fall 60 days into arrears, the account is turned over the collection and a 30 percent fee is attached. Collection fees will be waived for one week in March.


It’s the first time the Tazewell County Circuit Clerk’s office is offering amnesty since the introduction of the Compliance Office in 2014.


Tazewell County Board Studies Property Tax Increase

Oct 11, 2017

Tazewell County’s planning to operate on about $63-Million in its next fiscal year starting December first. The county is also expecting a one-point-two-million dollar deficit.

Tazewell County Consolidated Dispatch Takes Shape

Sep 29, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

As of Thursday, Tazewell County and its municipalities have all approved the intergovernmental agreement for the consolidation of its emergency call dispatch centers.

A former Pekin Police officer is hospitalized from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound. Police were called to Williamsburg Apartments at about 2 a.m., on a report of three shots fired. 

Tanya Koonce

The Tazewell County Auditor is planning a run for the office next door, so to speak. Republican Shelly Hranka says she’ll run for the County Clerk’s office.

Leigh Ann Brown and Kelly Scarfe are in the studio this week to talk about the Tazewell Art Loop, held the fourth Friday of every month. Similar to First Fridays, the event offers opportunities to meet local artists, tour their studios and see works in progress. The Tazewell event also highlights locally-owned businesses. The organizers have developed walking tours for four participating communities: Morton, Tremont, Delavan, and Pekin.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department and Pekin Police are working to determine what happened to 13-year-old Robert Bee. 

UPDATE: Human Remains 'Consistent' With Missing Pekin Boy

Jul 24, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Update (12:30pm): Information gathered this morning from human remains is “consistent” with that of Robert Bee, the missing boy from Pekin.

But the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is quick to point out that no positive identification can be made until DNA testing confirms a match.

The Sheriff’s office says a forensic pathologist's examination this morning determined that based on the skeletal and dental remains, it could be Robert Bee.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Pekin Police Department, Tazewell County Coroner’s Office and Illinois State Police, are continuing the investigation.

This story is developing. Continue to check back for updates.


The Tazewell County Sheriff's Department and the Coroner's Office are working to identify skeletal remains found Monday afternoon in South Pekin. 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker made several stops around the state Thurs. One of them was at the Tazewell Community Area Project or TCAP. 

Tazewell County Teens Learn to Drive for Life

May 19, 2017
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  More than 100 Tazewell County teens went through the Ford Driving Skills for Life training Thursday at the Army National Guard Base in Peoria.

Peoria Public Radio's Tanya Koonce reports, it was the 10th anniversary of the initiative in Tazewell County after 15 teens were killed in car accidents in 15 months.


Jim Graham is the Global Manager of Ford Driving Skills for Life. He was in Tazewell County when the program was introduced and returned Thursday.

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - Tazewell County is now home to a special court that will handle cases involving people with mental health issues.  The County opened its new Mental Health Court last week. 

Chief Public Defender Luke Taylor says the court will work with offenders to address problems with counseling and medication, with a goal of keeping them out of jail. 

 Officials say the Tazewell County jail houses about 500 people each year with mental health issues that range from minor to severe, and many are repeat offenders. They say it costs much more to hold and feed them in the jail than the $40,000 the county board earmarked for the new court.

A central Illinois man has pleaded guilty to charges related to an incident in which he tried to kill another man in anger over child pornography charges he faced.  20-year-old Dustin Brown entered two guilty but mentally ill plea agreements that produced a sentence range of 16 to 94 years in prison.

Tanya Koonce

The Tremont and Tazewell County community turned out today for the highway dedication ceremony that now honors Deputy Craig Whisenand. Whisenand died en route to a call last August 11th. The road dedication ceremony included Whisenand’s family, state and local representatives as well as other police agencies from around the state and riders with Concerns of Police Survivors - Cycle Across Illinois.

Dan Walther will be the newest member of the Peoria District 150 School Board. Walther won the 3rd district school board seat with 65% of the vote to Terry Spayer’s 35%.

Pekin Police Department

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - A man has been arrested in connection with a pipe bomb that exploded under a bridge over the Illinois River in central Illinois.

A news release from the Pekin Police Department says 26-year-old Marc A. McCulley of Pekin was arrested early Sunday after police received a tip on the department's Facebook page. 

McCulley is charged with possession of explosives or incendiary devices, disorderly conduct and reckless conduct. He's being held in Tazewell County's jail. It wasn't immediately clear whether he has an attorney. 

Amid Power Outages, Some Food Storage Reminders

Dec 29, 2015

The Tazewell County Health Department is reminding businesses and residents about safe food handling following this week’s power outages.  The department says residents should monitor home refrigerators carefully for temperature changes following prolonged power outages.  Officials say food that is above 41-degrees for more than two hours cannot be used and must be thrown out, regardless if it was in a refrigerator or freezer. Also, food stored in a commercial freezer can preserve food safely for up to 36 hours if the door is closed as much as possible.  

A mental fitness exam will be done on a 19-year-old central Illinois man accused of trying to kill a 75-year-old man and attack children at the Morton Public Library.

Inventorchris / Flickr/Creative Commons

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - Police have identified a badly decomposed body found in a wooded area as a Pekin man who disappeared in June.

Tazewell County Coroner Jeff Baldi says 59-year-old Lionel "Lonnie" Graham's cause of death wasn't determined during a Wednesday autopsy. He says it could remain undetermined due to the extent of the damage to the remains.

 A deer hunter found Graham's remains in thick, swampy woods in North Pekin on Tuesday. The woods are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Conservation.

Kaje / Flickr/Creative Commons

NORTH PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - A decomposed body has been found in a wooded area between Illinois Route 29 and the Illinois River.

The North Pekin Police Department was notified about the body Tuesday afternoon.

 The shredded condition of the clothing indicates the body could have been there for months. Authorities have made no identification and have been unable to determine the person's gender. 

The Tazewell County State’s Attorney has filed felony charges against the man a Creve Coeur police officer shot early Tuesday morning outside Lucky Break bar.  

A central Illinois judge has convicted a former Pekin woman of intentionally depriving two dogs of food and water until they died. 43-year-old Regina Robards was found guilty Tuesday of the felony charges of aggravated cruelty to a companion animal. She faces up to three years in prison when she's sentenced Oct. 29. The case started in November when her landlords found the dogs' emaciated remains. Robards' defense attorney Maureen Williams told Tazewell County Judge Paul Gilfillan that Robards wasn't pleading guilty. But Williams didn't present a defense. Robards remains free on bond.

The light poles around the Pekin Courthouse and surrounding area are dressed in Blue ribbons. Police and volunteers are gathering at 6:00p.m. to hang more ribbons.

Changes ahead for local emergency call centers

Aug 3, 2015

The Peoria County Emergency Telephone System Board is facing some changes to 911 dispatch centers before the end of this year. 

The monthly surcharge on phone bills will increase to 87 cents for both wireless and landline phones. The existing surcharge is 80 cents for wireless and 73 cents for land lines. County ETSB chairman David Tuttle says it also plans to add a 911 texting service. Tuttle says that would benefit those who cannot speak or hear.