Year In Review: WCBU Looks At Top Stories in 2017

Dec 26, 2017


Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio


From sex trafficking to online hate speech, Peoria Public Radio's readers  engaged with a wide range of stories in 2017. Through thousands of pageviews, our audience followed along as the year presented news like we've never seen before.

Here are the most-viewed stories of in 2017:

10. Multiple law enforcement agencies executed search warrants at three Caterpillar offices on March 2. Federal agents entered Caterpillar’s World Headquarters Building on South West Adams St. in Peoria, Building AD in East Peoria and the Morton offices, following accusations of tax fraud. (story)



Peoria Assistant Fire Chief Ed Olehy looks on in the background as Peoria's Emergency Communications Center Manager Dave Tuttle produces a picture of Debbie. It's her voice that's used in Peoria's new alert system from the company called Locution.
Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

9. The Peoria Fire Department's new automated alert system is delivered by a real person, a music teacher named Debbie. (story)

8. In Nov., the Peoria Police Department issued warnings about a new form of cocaine, laced with fentanyl. The department blamed the drug for the deaths of three people in the same week. (story)

7. Civic and political groups, including Change Peoria, organized protests in Feb., after they "caught wind" of Rep. Darin LaHood’s schedule. The backlash arrived as numerous House Republicans returned to their districts and were met by crowds of protesters at town hall forums. (story)

6. Metamora Township Schools closed in early Oct., after online threats surfaced that showed intent of a shooting. The threats came days after white freshman football players sent a racist video to their black teammates. (story)

5. Former Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy unexpectedly announced his resignation in June to join the Washington Police Department. WCBU's Tanya Koonce reported on the same day, County Jail Superintendent Brian Asbell, took the oath of office to fill the remainder of McCoy's term. (story)

Loreece Haddad, 83, sweeps glass fragments Thurs., following an early morning vandalism. Her daughter, Marie Batrouni, came to help get the restaurant ready to open for business as usual.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

4. The family-owned Lebanese restaurant Haddad's was vandalized in April. A vandal apparently lobbed a brick at the storefront and shattered a window, leaving the cafe fully exposed. Loreece Haddad, 83, spent the morning sweeping, instead of assuming her usual kitchen duties, preparing for lunchtime patrons. (story)

3. Metamora Township Schools grappled publicly with a racist incident that resulted in the suspension of four freshman football players. (story)

On Tues., members of the community listened to statements from the Metamora Township High School superintendent and families affected by a racist video that was sent to black high school students.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

2. WCBU's newsroom investigated the proliferation of sex trafficking, concealed behind darkened windows of unlicensed 'massage' businesses. The Washington-based NGO Polaris estimates there are as many as 9,000 illicit massage businesses in the US, and 300 in Illinois. It looks like there are at least 20 in Peoria and Tazewell Counties.  (story)

1. When 74-year-old Cleve Heidelberg woke up in his jail cell on May 22, he didn’t know he’d be stepping outside hours later in civilian clothing. In fact, Heidelberg was notified just minutes before that he’d be released, for the first time in 47 years. (story)

Cleve Heidelberg (right), 74, grinned as he spoke to reporters Mon., just minutes after he learned of his release from Peoria County Jail.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio