Peoria Public Radio News

Local news stories and features from Peoria Public Radio.

Pere Marquette Hotel Heads Toward Foreclosure

Feb 14, 2018
Robert Lawton / CC BY-SA 2.5 / Wikimedia Commons

Pere Marquette and Courtyard Hotels in downtown Peoria are in foreclosure. The hotel properties were placed in receivership Wednesday by the emergency order of Judge Kate Gorman.


Efforts to refinance fell through Tuesday when the finance company Yam withdrew from negotiations. The hotel will eventually be sold at Sheriff’s auction. That is a fairly standard practice in such foreclosures.


But Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says the hotel will stay open and operate under receivership for now.

UICOMP Gets New Financial Officer

Feb 12, 2018

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria has a new finance director. Eric Dubrowski is a familiar face to many in Peoria County Government. He’s the county's former Chief Financial Officer.

His new title with the college of medicine is Director of Fiscal Affairs.


Nick Straub currently handles financial affairs for the school. He is retiring in May after 18 years with UIC.


Peoria Teacher Arrested on Criminal Sexual Assault

Feb 12, 2018
Peoria County Jail

Peoria Richwoods High School teacher Phil Earhart has been arrested. The 30-year-old social studies teacher is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a 17-year-old female student.


The matter first came to light January 25th. The Peoria Police Department and DCFS were investigating and Earhart was placed on paid administrative leave.


Earhart was a member of the 2017 “40-Leaders-Under-40” class. In addition to teaching social studies classes, Earhart is also the sponsor for a number of student organizations.

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.

Former State Senator George Shadid Remembered

Feb 7, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  Long-time public servant George Shadid was laid to rest Wednesday at Resurrection Cemetery in Peoria. Tanya Koonce reports:


GRANVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say they believe the suspect in last month's slaying of a northern Illinois teenager met the girl online before he picked her up at her house, drove her to a rural area and killed her.


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. 

Coroner: Number of Bullet Wounds Not a Surprise

Feb 2, 2018
Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

  The preliminary autopsy for Daniel O. El shows he was shot 16 times. El was shot in an exchange of gunfire with Peoria Police after he fled a traffic stop.

City of Peoria

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis once again used his annual State of the City Address to implore the state legislature to develop a plan for pension reform. The state sets the pension benefit levels the fire and police retirees receive, but the city is responsible for paying those benefits. The mayor told the audience that in the next two years, the city will have to use all its property tax collections to pay just the pension liability.


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.


Group Advocates For Investor Owned Water Company

Jan 31, 2018

A group that goes by #ProtectPeoriaWater is speaking out against a public buyout of Illinois American Water.  

The City of Peoria has until November to determine whether it will purchase the water company under terms of the 123-year-old franchise agreement.

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. 

Peoria Police Shooting Ruled Justified

Jan 29, 2018
H.Wayne Wilson / Peoria Public Radio

  Six Peoria police officers were legally justified when they fatally shot Eddie Russell Jr. outside his mother’s house. Russell was a suspect in a bank robbery last September 20th.

Cong. Bustos: Why Tie Immigration To The Budget

Jan 29, 2018

Congress passed yet another short-term spending bill a week ago but only after a three-day government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government through February 8th.


That leaves lawmakers just 11 days to develop a spending plan for the fiscal year that began last October. Immigration issues, including the status of DACA children, are at the core of the impasse.

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.


Peoria City Council Acts On A Variety of Issues

Jan 24, 2018

The Peoria City Council Tuesday took a first step toward historic designation for the old Chase Bank building.

The block where the building sits had been in an urban industrial zone. That would have benefitted Caterpillar if it had built its new world headquarters there. With OSF HealthCare buying the property for its new ministries headquarters, it needed historic tax credits to make renovation financially possible.

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.

IL Pollution Control Board Eyes Changes to Standards

Jan 17, 2018
Sierra Club

The Illinois Pollution Control Board is taking public input on proposed rule changes Wednesday and Thursday in Peoria.

Environmental, respiratory-health and social advocates are urging the Board to uphold existing Multi-Pollutant Standards.

Dynegy, the Texas-based owner of Edwards Power station in Peoria County is seeking the rule changes opponents say could more than double air pollution.

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.

Morton Man Receives Carnegie Medal

Jan 16, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

A Morton man has received the Carnegie Medal for his heroic action in 2015.


77-year-old James Vernon intervened between a knife-wielding man and a room full of children at the Morton Public Library. The Army Veteran and retiree was teaching a chess class when 19-year-old Dustin Brown entered the room with two knives, shouting his intent to kill people.  


Hall Headlines MLK Luncheon

Jan 15, 2018

Award-winning broadcaster and former NBC anchor Tamron Hall headlined the Martin Luther King Day Luncheon in Peoria. More than 1,100 people attended the 26th annual event.


Hall told those attending the luncheon even after 25-years in broadcast news she was nervous. The Texas native recounted humble beginnings speaking about the value of bringing dignity to any challenge.


The Peoria Zoo is looking for help naming its newest resident. 

US Rep Bustos Visits Keystone Steel & Wire

Jan 12, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos toured Keystone Steel and Wire in Bartonville Friday.


The Rock Island Democrat sits on the transportation and agriculture committees. She says doing her “Cheri on Shift” tour and work at Keystone helps her to be more informed of the needs of working people in her district.


Peoria Community Rallies to Combat Food Deserts

Jan 12, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

More than 65 people turned out today at Peoria’s South Side Mission for a roundtable on what happens when two neighborhood Kroger stores close.


The discussion event planned by Democratic State Senator Dave Koehler was initially expected to have about 16 people participate.

Specifically, the idea of food co-ops was the topic for consideration as well as other potentially sustainable solutions to the community's growing food deserts.


Google Maps

OSF HealthCare intends to rehabilitate the former Chase Building in downtown Peoria. Caterpillar had purchased the building several years ago in anticipation of building its new headquarters. With the relocation of Caterpillar headquarters to north suburban Deerfield, the building sat empty. Caterpillar is donating the century-old building that once housed the Block and Kuhl Department Store and the nearby Peoria Professional Building, plus contributing three-million dollars to the project.

Melanie Hayes [Flickr] /

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.

Peoria's Assistant Fire Chief Will Be Next Chief

Jan 10, 2018

The search for a new fire chief in Peoria was short.

With the announcement Monday of the departure of Chief Chuck Lauss at the end of the month, assistant chief Ed Olehy has already been named to the top job beginning February 1st.