Two Peoria mayoral candidates face petition challenges in their attempt to appear on the February 2021 primary ballot.

Preparing a shot
Hans Pennink, File / AP

Some central Illinois counties should expect to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of this month.

Joe Deacon / WCBU

The grim consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to grow as Tri-County health officials on Friday reported eight new deaths in one day.

The latest fatalities bring the death toll for Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties to 277 since the start of the pandemic, with 65 added in the last two weeks – and 20 in just the past three days.

The region added 356 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the tally to 19,431 since mid-March. Peoria County has produced more than half of the cases (9,941) and almost half of the deaths (138).

Kristin McHugh

Peoria-area hospitals are seeing more bed space used by COVID-19 patients, but it's been manageable--so far.

Dr. Samer Sader is chief medical officer for UnityPoint's central Illinois hospitals.

"We have had a significant increase in the numbers of patients who are requiring hospitalization," Sader said. "This has been going on for the last few weeks. Every few days, we seem to get a little bit better, and then we immediately have a bit of a spike again."

Contemporary Art Center of Peoria

On this week’s episode of Out and About, host Jenn Gordon is joined by William Butler of the Contemporary Art Center to talk about A Small Wonder Gift Shop - a unique pop-up shopping experience at the Contemporary Art Center where you can safely peruse and buy art from over 40 local artists in time for the holidays.
A Small Wonder Gift Shop

Police are investigating after a man was shot in the head Thursday evening in the North Valley." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Officers responded to a call of a man down at Monroe and Lavaille just after 8 p.m.

The man was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police said a group was gathered inside a house when an argument broke out, ultimately leading to the shooting. The suspect ran away before police arrived.

City of Peoria

After 14 years of negotiations, it appears the City of Peoria and the U.S. EPA have struck a deal on a consent decree outlining a course for the city to correct the combined sewer overflow issues that have long plagued it.

The city council is slated to vote Tuesday on approval of an agreement with the federal regulator over the longstanding problem, wherein raw sewage flows into the Illinois River following heavy rainfall events.

Tim Shelley / WCBU

The Tri-County area eclipsed 19,000 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as health officials reported the second-highest increase in infections in one day since the start of the pandemic.

" class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">The region has added 429 new cases in the preceding 24 hours, pushing the tally to 19,075 – a gain of nearly 1,099 in the last three days.

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

The wallaroo that roamed the streets of Peru on Wednesday afternoon likely will need a new home.

" class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">Chief Doug Bernabei of the Peru Police Department said a man who recently moved to the LaSalle County area owned the marsupial as a pet.

Mike Rundle / WCBU

Perhaps the best way to describe Steve Roach, an usher known for his antics at Dozer Park and the Peoria Civic Center, is to recall a photograph taken in July 2018." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Tim Shelley / WCBU

Tri-County Area health officials Wednesday reported seven new COVID-19 related fatalities in the past day as Illinois posted its deadliest 24 hours since the start of the pandemic.

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A north-central Illinois community spent Wednesday afternoon chasing after a wallaroo.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Peoria-area shoppers won’t hear bells ringing at the Salvation Army’s traditional Red Kettles for a while.

" class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">The traditional holiday donation collectors normally stationed outside storefronts will not be manned for at least five days as a COVID-19 health precaution.

Hawkeye Hotels

The alternate COVID-19 housing site at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in downtown Peoria has quietly reopened in time for winter." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Adam Duvall is the housing navigator for Advocates for Access. He's subcontracted with the Heart of Illinois Continuum of Care to manage referrals to the site that reopened last month after a summer lull in COVID-19 cases.

A n0-snow November was a welcome change for Peoria Public Works.

City of East Peoria Facebook Livestream

East Peoria's property tax levy is expected to remain the same next year.

The $5.5 million levy will see a slight $25,000 bump, but property owners aren't expected to pay more any more in property axes.

The city has held the line on its chunk of the overall property tax bill for the past two decades, but Commissioner Dan Decker said it's the correct move, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

If you ever lose sight of the fact that everything on this planet is connected, just take a walk down to the banks of the Illinois River." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

You can easily see that connection in a passing barge as it chugs along the waterway that connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and onto the Gulf of Mexico. Many of those barge containers are filled with central Illinois corn.

Joe Deacon / WCBU

Statistics reported Tuesday by Tri-County area health officials show 75 fewer COVID-19 patients in Peoria-area hospitals and 29 fewer in home isolation from the previous day.

The Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin
David Mercer / AP

A recent COVID-19 outbreak at the Tazewell County Jail is under control, but the same can't be said for the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin.

Courtesy We Hear You

Bradley University graduate and social justice advocate Pierre Paul is leading a team working on a program to help hearing impaired individuals.

Joe Deacon / WCBU

Nearly 250 patients are now being treated for COVID-19 in Peoria-area hospitals as Tri-County area health officials Monday reported a daily average of almost 380 new cases over the four-day holiday weekend.

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

In the last month, the Woodford County Health Department hired and trained up to six new contact tracers. Three of them already have quit.

Hersey Hawkins, arguably the best player in Bradley University basketball history, is headed to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

The Northern Tazewell Fire Protection District will contract with the Washington Fire Department for full-time ambulance service, starting Tuesday.

A group of Bradley University students is participating in a challenge that will assist NASA’s goal to put U.S. astronauts back on the moon within three years.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Heart of Illinois Food Pantry Network is encouraging healthy donations during its 12 Days of Giving campaign in December. " class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

Kaitlyn Streitmatter is the SNAP educator for the University of Illinois Extension, serving Peoria, Tazewell, Mason and Fulton counties.

(AP Photo/Juan Karita, FILE)

Studies show blood plasma donated by people recently recovered from COVID-19 can provide some real benefits to those currently battling the disease. But in central Illinois, there's not enough to go around.

WCBU's On Deck has everything you need to know to start your day for Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. WCBU's Joe Deacon talks to a group of Bradley University students participating in a NASA challenge aimed at putting astronauts back on the Moon. Plus, Tim Shelley speaks with UnityPoint Health-Methodist Chief Medical Officer Dr. Samer Sader about Central Illinois' desperate need for more convalescent plasma donations to treat COVID-19 patients.

Tim Shelley / WCBU

For a second straight day, Tri-County health officials on Wednesday reported 10 more COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

Now Hiring sign
Jeff Chiu / AP

There are 16,000 fewer jobs in the Peoria area than there was this time last year — a sign of just how large the pandemic looms over the local economy.