Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

A farmers market has opened in central Illinois despite the continued demolition of a riverfront platform.

  PEORIA, Ill. - Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria County will soon see construction on new cabins. It’s part of a $2.4 million capital campaign.

The Forest Park Foundation, that operates Wildlife Prairie Park recently launched the fundraising campaign for the project. The 14 cabins will overlook a bison and elk enclosure at the park. New fences will also be constructed, enabling the animals to approach the back decks of the cabins.

Foundation president Mark Spenny says the cabins will enhance the quality of lodging the park offers.

Peoria NAACP Denounce PPD Valor Awards

May 18, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The NAACP says the Peoria Police Department’s annual Valor Awards are a “slap in the face,” to the family and friends of Eddie Russell Jr. The awards for bravery and valor Wednesday went to the six officers who were on the tactical response team that shot and killed Russell September 20th, last year.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The man who jumped to his death off the Murray Baker Bridge Thursday morning was Shawn Talbert of Peoria.


The 27-year-old stopped his car on the Tazewell County side of the bridge at about 7:10 a.m. and jumped. Three westbound cars also crashed resulting in a pileup. The series of events caused significant traffic delays in both directions on Interstate-74.


The search for Talbert spanned more than three hours and involved ten state, local and maritime agencies.


The Morton man accused of the Waffle House mass shooting in Tennessee has spoken to a reporter at a Nashville TV Station. 29-year-old Travis Reinking had remained silent since the shooting and his arrest. But in the call to WTVF’s Nick Beres, Reinking said he wanted to talk about his case, his mental health, and his two appointed lawyers. In that call from the Davidson County Jail, he said he is “perfectly healthy” and he was aiming to represent himself in the case.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Fire and Rescue Divers recovered the body of the man who jumped from the Murray Baker Bridge Thursday morning.

The unidentified man stopped his westbound car on the Murray Baker Bridge about 7:10, exited on the passenger side, continued to bridge wall and jumped. Three more cars traveling westbound then crashed in a pileup. The series of events snarled I-74 traffic in both directions.

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.

Kristin McHugh

Reconstruction of Peoria’s Allen Road-Willow Knolls Drive intersection is expected to begin next month. City officials unveiled the preferred plan at a public meeting Wednesday night. It involves new signals, reconfiguration of medians, new sidewalks and a bike path. City engineer Bill Lewis says a roundabout was considered for the aging intersection, but a public survey overwhelmingly favored traffic signals.

Creative Commons

Illinois veterans interested in learning more about Veterans Administration care options are encouraged to call the V.A. Illiana Health Care System this afternoon. The V.A. is hosting a special phone-a-thon between 2 p.m and 6 p.m to assist veterans who are not currently receiving care, including those who don’t believe they are eligible because they haven’t served in a combat zone. Interested veterans should call 217-554-3379 this afternoon for expert assessment.

Metro Nashville Police Department

 The family of one of the Nashville Waffle House shooting victims is suing Travis Reinking’s father. Christian Perez filed suit against Jeffrey Reinking of Morton in Tazewell County Circuit Court Monday.


Perez’s brother, Joe R. Perez, Jr., was one of four people shot and killed in the early morning hours of April 22. Tennessee authorities have charged 29-year-old Travis Reinking with the shooting.


  SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The foundation that supports the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is selling a black dress once owned by movie star Marilyn Monroe to raise funds to repay a loan used to buy artifacts relating to the 16th president.


The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is putting nine items up for auction in Las Vegas June 23, including photos of the 1950s movie icon. Julien's Auctions says the wool dress could sell for more than $60,000.


  Business and economic activity is stable in the Greater Peoria region. That’s according to the quarterly composite index released by Bradley University’s Departments of Economics and Management and Leadership at Foster College of Business.

The analysis shows regional economic growth between January and March was up .4-percent over the same period in 2017.  

Susan G. Komen Foundation

Peoria Police are reminding motorists to plan ahead before driving toward the Metro Center area Saturday morning. The local Race for the Cure begins at 8 a.m., and will cause traffic delays at a number of intersections along University, Northmore, Fairmont, Glen, Oak Glen, and Isabel. In addition, parking is banned at Metro Center and the P.N.C parking lots during the race. Thousands of participants and spectators are expected at the annual event sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Police officials say delays should end around 10:30 a.m..

David Simeral / Western Regional Climate Center

Portions of Western and Central Illinois are abnormally dry as planting season continues. The U.S. Drought Monitor added the region to its weekly summary Tuesday. All of Peoria county and portions of Tazewell, Marshall, Woodford and McLean counties are included in the report.

Jump Simulation Center

Peoria’s Jump Simulation is being honored as one of the best in the world. The health care and engineering center is one of 20 globally to earn accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in five distinction areas.


Lincoln’s historic rail depot renovation is garnering statewide recognition. The Illinois chapter of the American Public Works Association says the revitalization is its “Project of the Year.” The $4 million project included the complete renovation of the depot building, a new boarding platform and upgraded passenger amenities.

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.

Peoria Police To Take Up Residency at Mall

May 10, 2018

The Peoria Police Department and Northwoods Mall are teaming up in a proactive move at the start of summer.


The Police Department is opening a substation on the upper level of the mall near Sears. The space for the satellite police station is being provided rent-free.


It’s a move that comes after a couple of highly publicized fights in the common part of the mall outside one of the main youth attractions.


Peoria Police are investigating the death of a 74-year-old Peoria man as a homicide.

Cory Doctorow / Flickr/Creative Commons

  CHICAGO - Several rural Illinois counties have taken a stand for gun rights by co-opting the word sanctuary. It’s a word that many conservatives associate with a liberal policy to skirt the law.

At least five counties recently passed resolutions declaring themselves sanctuary counties for gun owners - a reference to so-called sanctuary cities such as Chicago that don't cooperate with aspects of federal immigration enforcement.

Peoria Public Radio Says Farewell to Daryl Scott

May 4, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

After more than 12 years at WCBU Daryl Scott is leaving to take another position.  There are so many things he does at the station, we needed to try to tell him how much he means to us and offer him a proper send-off:

Tanya Koonce

Ameren shareholders are holding the company accountable for coal ash contamination at current and former facilities in Illinois and Missouri.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The East Peoria Levee District and Civic Plaza has a new reading garden. The new community space was dedicated Wednesday. The garden cost just over $500,000 to build. It was paid for entirely by private donations raised through the East Peoria Foundation. Sue Yoder-Portscheller is the president of the Foundation. She says the garden was designed to anchor downtown and be green, growing and family centered.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Friendship House in Peoria has received one of the 20 grants the Illinois Treasurer's Office is awarding to non-profit organizations. The total pot of $400,000 comes from filing fees non-profits pay to incorporate. Friendship House is getting a $25,000 grant. Executive Director Robert Montgomery says the money will help them work toward doubling the meals they provided last year out of their food pantry. Specifically it will help expand the program they call Friday night take-out.


Restored LeTourneau Steel House Unveiled

May 2, 2018
Peoria Historical Society / Facebook

A tiny, two-bedroom home fashioned from steel is now a museum exhibit in central Illinois. It was designed to give small working-class family access to cheap homes during the Great Depression.  

Such homes were built in Peoria in the mid-'30s for about 150 families. One of the surviving homes is now at the Wheels O' Time Museum in Dunlap.

Peoria Public Schools

Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat says she is “surprised and honored” to be named a 2018 Superintendent of Distinction. The award comes from the Central Illinois Valley Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

Peoria Stadium Revival Plans Revealed

May 1, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The aging Peoria Stadium could have new life and a cricket field could be created under a student plan. Peoria Public School students, with assistance from school district officials, offered the latest proposal last night for restoration of the 80-acre site. Richwoods High School student Mariah Cooley says plans include stadium and track renovation and an enlarged fitness trail.


Police Investigate A Central Peoria Homicide

Apr 30, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police are investigating the death of 49-year-old Ronald Harris. Harris was found Monday about 10:40 a.m. at 1004 W. Virginia.

Police and Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood have been nonspecific on the kind of injuries that caused Harris’s death.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio


A man was killed in a house fire last night just before 10 P.M.. Peoria Firefighters and Paramedics responded to 952 S. Shelly St. to find the house fully engulfed. Extra manpower was necessary to knock down the fire.

Peoria officials will use a state grant to turn downtown office space in the central Illinois community into subsidized housing for the homeless.