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. Tanya’s currently the Treasurer of the Illinois News Broadcaster’s Association. She lives in East Peoria and loves discovering interesting people, places and things.   

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Demand for downtown residential opportunities in Peoria is on the rise, according to a new study.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria Health Department are issuing warnings about synthetic cannabinoids after multiple people who've used them suffered severe bleeding.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Peoria Public Radio

Early voting begins in Peoria County Monday. Peoria County Election Commission Assistant Director Elizabeth Gannon says Early Voting and

the mailing of Vote by Mail ballots also starts Monday.

Gannon says the Public Test of the system is rescheduled for Thursday at 1:00pm.

The Appellate Court in the First Judicial District has reversed the previous circuit court’s decision. Scott Drury’s name will appear on the ballot. That had delayed the start of voting in many Illinois Counties. Others have already moved ahead.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell is abruptly stepping down. Mitchell says he is retiring after more than 27 years on the Peoria Police Department.

200 Years on Display at PRM

Feb 2, 2018

The Peoria Riverfront Museum debuts a new display Saturday. The Bicentennial Exhibit includes more than 200 objects. 

Peoria Police Involved in Fatal Shooting

Feb 1, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

A routine traffic stop resulted in a police chase that has left a Peoria Heights man dead and an officer wounded. Three Peoria Police Officers were involved in the fatal shooting, days after six officers were cleared in last September’s fatal shooting of Eddie Russell Jr.

 

The Peoria Fire Department has an expanded advanced life support presence in the city. A new pilot program was authorized by Peoria Area Emergency Services. 

Caterpillar, Inc.

Caterpillar sales and revenue was up 35 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. The company is reporting full year sales and revenue of $45.5 Billion. That’s up 18 percent from 2016. Caterpillar’s full-year profit was $1.26 per share, compared with a loss of $0.11 per share in 2016.

 

Flickr Creative Commons/Dan Moyle

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors reports a strong fourth quarter that resulted in  2017 home sales out-performing the previous year. Home sales grew 10-percent year over year for the quarter that ended December 31st.

Mary Ann Ladendorf is the President of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says the fourth quarter saw a .2 percent increase in sales for the year:

“Our average price home was up. So we finished very strong.”   

Peoria Public Radio

The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport is celebrating 2017 passenger numbers. More than 635,000 people flew through PIA last year, making it the third busiest year in the airport’s history.

18th District Congressman Darin LaHood is back to work in Washington D.C. Tuesday. The Peoria Republican says he believes Congress cannot let the government shut down.

Peoria police have a 29-year-old man in custody for the 2nd homicide of the year.

Melanie Hayes [Flickr] / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0

The Peoria City/County Health Department is urging people who feel sick or have a fever to stay home. Peoria Health Department Officials say there is widespread flu activity in the Peoria Region. A statement from the agency says local hospital emergency departments and the emergency 911 system are responding to a higher number of people seeking care for flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat, muscle and body aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Humana’s Community Center in Peoria has a new home. The new community location is in the Westlake Shopping Center behind Five Guys and next door to the UPS store. A robust crowd turned out for the ribbon cutting and grand open celebration.

Authorities say they've arrested the former hotel owner of what was Peoria's Four Points at Sheraton. 

Peoria Fire Chief Resigns

Jan 9, 2018
City of Peoria

The City of Peoria will be looking for a new fire chief. Chuck Lauss will leave the position of chief effective January 31st.

In the short term, he will help his daughter work on her house in Portland, Oregon. Longer term, the 58-year-old Lauss intends to look for employment in emergency service outside the central Illinois area.

Lauss has been chief in Peoria for two years. He became assistant chief in 2013. Prior to that, he headed Caterpillar’s fire department for five years, and preceding that was fire chief for seven years in Pekin.

Peoria Zoo / Facebook

If you didn’t hear the news over the weekend, it’s a girl! Vivian the Giraffe a resident of the Peoria Zoo, welcomed her second baby at about 2:40 Sunday morning. The baby girl weighed in at 122 pounds and 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Both mother and daughter are doing well. You can follow Vivian and her baby girl’s progress on Peoria Zoo’s Facebook page.

 

Kroger to Close Two Peoria Stores

Jan 4, 2018
Google Earth

Kroger is closing two Peoria stores. The Harmon Highway and Wisconsin Avenue stores are closing at the end of the month. The Harmon Highway fuel center is also closing. A statement from the company says Kroger executives have long monitored operations, hoping the stores could return to profitability, but recent evaluations suggest such improvement is no longer realistic.

About 150 employees will either lose their jobs or move to other locations when Kroger closes two of the pair of stores.

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