Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Peoria City Council Tuesday Night Round-Up

Mar 28, 2018

The Peoria City Council met on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 for a regularly scheduled meeting. Here is a brief round-up of some of the business conducted and issues discussed by council members.

Shuttle Service Ending

An Illinois hospital has partnered with seven EMS providers to test a new app to improve communications.

Peoria Public Radio

Ten months after his release from prison, Cleve Heidelberg is dead. The 75-year old was in failing health at the time of his release last spring. He was found in an apartment in the 4200 block of Knollridge Rd. with no external trauma or sign of injury according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.


Heidelberg was released after serving more than 47-years in prison. He was convicted of murdering Peoria County Sheriff Sgt. Raymond Espinoza in 1970. His conviction was vacated last April.


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. 

Wikimedia Commons

Peoria Police says social media posts asserting attempted abductions in the area are false.

In fact police say the posts that started on Friday are absolutely false. Police say they spoke to the original poster and it was determined her Facebook account was hacked. But apparently the modern-day rumor mill had already taken root, as that story and additional ones continued to emerge in slightly varied forms Saturday and Sunday.

First Lady Encourages Expansion of IFC

Mar 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  First Lady Diana Rauner says she hopes to expand the newborn home- visiting pilot program called Illinois Family Connects (IFC). It started in Peoria and Stephenson Counties last year.

Rauner met with program stakeholders and those interested in knowing more Thursday in Peoria. The first lady has spent her career in early childhood care.

Simulating Poverty Realities in Greater Peoria

Mar 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 80 area professional participated in a poverty simulation at the Peoria Dream Center.

The Heart of Illinois United Way hosted the event. Stephen Peterson is the Vice President of Resource Development for the organization.  He says the simulation aims to help participants start to understand what it might be like to live at or just above the poverty level month to month.  

Cody Schindler / WCBU

Richwoods High School was a part of a national conversation on school violence Wednesday. Students participated in a sit-in, lining the hallways of the school. 

FIRST Robots Enter Bradley Coliseum

Mar 14, 2018

  Robots are moving in to take over the Renaissance Coliseum at Bradley University. The FIRST Robotics Central Illinois Regional Competition is taking place in the arena this weekend.


It’s free and open to the public. The intense weekend competition is largely considered a varsity sport for the mind.


IHSA March Madness Celebrates The Irish in Peoria

Mar 14, 2018


  The final weekend of IHSA March Madness is this weekend in Peoria. It's the 23rd year for the boy’s basketball tournament at the Peoria Civic Center.

It coincides with the FIRST Robotic Championship happening at Bradley’s Renaissance Coliseum as well as the St Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday.

CityLink is offering shuttles in 20-30 minute increments from participating hotels. The mass-transit buses are running continually from 9:30 a.m. through 11:00 p.m.



Peoria to Implement Stormwater Utility Fee in June

Mar 14, 2018
Abby flat-coat / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Flickr

The city of Peoria needs to fund repairs to some 400 stormwater problem areas, costing about $17 million. That is in addition to paying for a fix for the city’s combined sewers that empty stormwater and sewage into the Illinois River during heavy rainfall. Along with a possible sewer rate increase, the stormwater fee could help the city bring in additional revenue for upcoming projects.  

Bradley University’s Athletic Director will spend another five years with the institution. Chris Reynolds is also getting a new title. 

MacArthur Highway between Moss Avenue and West Romeo B. Garrett Avenue will be closed starting next week through the end of the month. Illinois American Water is installing about 100 feet of water main on M-L-K Drive. The relocation is related to the upcoming bridge replacement. Detour routes will be posted. Motorists are encourage to avoid the area.

All the evidence Spring is coming might stimulate some otherwise inexplicable house cleaning and purging.

Tanya Koonce

It’s IHSA March Madness kickoff weekend in Peoria. The two weekend run of the event started Friday. It’s the 23rd year the boy’s basketball tournament is being hosted in Peoria. 

The Transportation Security Administration has new advanced screening procedures nationwide.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  A pipe bomb at Pekin City Hall Thursday made a momentary scare and a real-time test of emergency response practices.  

Bradley University

The Bradley University Police Officer’s union has voted no confidence in Chief Brian Joschko. The Police benevolent says it’s the third time the union has taken such an overwhelming-majority vote and they have lost all trust and faith in Chief Joschko’s ability to lead the department.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Another candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination has opened a campaign office in Peoria 14-days out from the election.

Peoria Sierra Club members are helping State Senator Daniel Biss and his running mate, Rockford State Representative Litesa Wallace with the office. They rallied with supporters Tuesday at the N. North St location.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Tariffs and Gun Control

Mar 6, 2018

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he wants tariffs on imported aluminum and steel is causing concerns for some industries.

Brewing companies fear there may be rising prices for aluminum cans. Auto manufacturers are concerned over price hikes in steel.

U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has a different fear. While he recognizes the harm caused to American industry by foreign steel selling below the cost of production, he doesn’t want to harm the biggest economy in the state.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Marriott Pere Marquette and Courtyard Hotels will have a new owner later this month. The historic hotel complex and its companion Courtyard entered foreclosure last month.

Bob Howard is the receiver of the property. He says the lead lender INDURE Build-to-Core is planning to purchase the hotels and parking deck in an auction March 19th.


Public Domain / Creative Commons

  SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A Peoria lawmaker is co-chairing a new caucus made up of members of the Illinois House and Senate from both parties devoted to children's health.

     A statement Wednesday from the office of the Senate president, Democrat John Cullerton, announced the creation of the bipartisan children's health caucus. It says the caucus will closely examine data on the health of children and adolescents in Illinois.

Peoria County Sheriff's Office

A Pekin man has been sentenced to a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges of defrauding an elderly man out of nearly $100,000. 42-year-old Deryl Wright will spend most of that time in prison. His sentence includes another three years of supervised release and repayment of the money he swindled, with interest. That amounts to nearly $100,600 in addition to court fines and fee.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Some roads in the region nearest the Illinois River are closed or impassable.


In the Rome Area: about 6 blocks of Riverbeach Road is underwater. The 14100 block to the 14700 block is impassible as well as Front Street between Washington and Knox.


Chillicothe Township Supervisor Mike Ratcliff says parts of Portage, Lakeview, North and River Lane are also underwater. That includes:


Portage: between High and Proctor


Life Skills Re-entry Center Is A First

Feb 26, 2018

Illinois is the first state in the nation to develop a life skills training program for high risk and medium risk prisoners.

Illinois began the program at the Kewanee Life Skills Re-entry Center last year. It offers education and treatment programs that are up to two years in length.

Peoria County Jail Records

PEORIA, Ill. - A Pekin man is set to be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to charges that he defrauded an elderly person out of nearly $100,000.


The U.S. Attorney's office says the case of 42-year-old Deryl Wright is one of 250 defendants across the country to be charged as a result of a coordinated effort by federal and local law enforcement agencies to combat elder fraud.


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.


ICC Diesel Tech Program Gets a New Specimen

Feb 20, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  A recently retired CityLink bus has a new job that will pay big dividends. The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District donated the bus to the Diesel Powered Equipment Program (DPET) at Illinois Central College.  

Jeff Gardner coordinates the program at the East Peoria Campus. He says the 35-foot diesel bus will provide students another type of hands-on experience to add to their skill set.

Sen. Duckworth: Keep Crop Insurance at Current Levels

Feb 20, 2018
Sen. Tammy Duckworth / Facebook

President Donald Trump has proposed a 33 percent cut to the crop insurance program. That has left area farmers concerned about their ability to weather any storms that could damage their crops. A group of farmers gathered at the Peoria County Farm Bureau Monday and told U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth crop insurance not only should be kept at current levels, it should be expanded to dairy farmers.

Peoria REACHes to Address Opioid Epidemic

Feb 19, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Recovery Project is planning a broad-based opioid awareness event in April at the Peoria Civic Center.


Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says the goal of the group is to 'REACH a solution'. “The Acronym stands for Recovery, Education, Advocacy, Community, and Health.”  

Ardis was one of many community leaders who joined in the announcement for the event. Others included the Peoria Police and Fire Chiefs, the Peoria County Sheriff, State's Attorney and Coroner and others.