Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

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.

Jason Mrachina / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Five central Illinois men are facing charges they violated federal waterfowl hunting laws in Fulton County.  Rick Hamm of Chillicothe is charged in connection with a guided waterfowl hunt southwest of Havana during the December 2015 regular hunting season. Zachary Entwistle of Morris, Trent Gustafson of Chillicothe, James Schupp of Wyoming and J. Weston Schupp of Bradford were also indicted.


Jeremy Brooks / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Massage parlors in Peoria now face registration requirements. The Peoria City Council last night passed the measure, but with a new name. It is called the bodywork ordinance because it also affects other businesses like acupuncturists. City assistant Corporation Counsel Chrissie Peterson says the city now requires employees to be at least 18 years of age.


Indictment Falls Against Teen in Double Homicide

Apr 25, 2018
Scott*/sjmoorman / Creative Commons

 A grand jury has indicted the 16-year-old accused of killing two people at a house party near Bradley University April 8th.


The Grand Jury returned the 5-felony counts Tuesday. Jermontay Brock is charged as an adult with three counts of first degree murder, one count of aggravated battery and another of unlawful possession of a firearm.


Caterpillar, Inc.

A boost in equipment sales propelled Caterpillar's first-quarter profit, as a strong global economy helped support construction and energy industry projects.

Construction equipment sales rose 38 percent during the quarter, while energy and transportation equipment sales rose 26 percent. North America remained the company's biggest market, with its Asia/Pacific region coming in as its next biggest. CAT boosted its full-year outlook by $2 per share.

The AWARE Foundation, Inc. / Facebook

Authorities say foul play is not suspected in the death of a Peoria man found near the Illinois River bank Monday afternoon.  The body of 26-year-old Maurice Wells was discovered just after 2:30 P.M. near Mossville.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood says Wells’s autopsy was inconclusive. Harwood reports there were no obvious injuries, and based on a review of the temperatures over the past month, it is likely Wells had been in the location where he was found since he went missing. Wells was reported missing in late March.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department / Twitter

The Morton man accused of killing four people with an AR-15 rifle at a Tennessee Waffle House has been formally charged with four counts of criminal homicide and is being held on a $2 million bond. Court records say 29-year-old Travis Reinking was charged Monday.  He is due in court Wednesday. 

 Police say Reinking was wearing a green jacket and nothing else Sunday when he stormed the restaurant in southeast Nashville and opened fire with the military assault-style rifle, first in the parking lot and then inside. Police credited a quick-thinking customer who wrestled the gun away from preventing more bloodshed. 

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.