Peoria

Authorities in Lee County have charged two brothers, both in their 60s, in connection with a grisly 1983 beating death in which the victim's body was found naked, bound and gagged in a hog pen.

Ameren Illinois says about 5,200 customers remain without power in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties following this week’s severe weather.  That includes parts of North and Central Peoria, Pekin and East Peoria still remaining without power.  Recent Rains North of Peoria have also swelled the Illinois River to flood stage.  Peoria Public works crews began a limited sandbagging operation Wednesday to protect the City-owned River Station building, along with parking restrictions by the river along water street.  

Peoria Road Crews Change Winter Weather Tactics

Dec 29, 2015

The City of Peoria is taking a few new approaches to tackle winter weather on the road.  The City previously relied on a special salt-spray for roads to prevent hazardous conditions.  Sie Maroon is with the Peoria Public Works Department.  He says crews this season will aim to start spraying the material far before severe winter weather:

More than 45,000 homes were without power Monday as powerful winds and freezing rain pushed through the region.  Ameren Illinois says about 23,000 customers still remain without power as of Tuesday morning in the Tri-County area.  The wind and rain caused trees and power poles to fall, prompting several temporary road closures in the area.  Emergency crews in Peoria Heights also evacuated the 1000 block of Hines Avenue due to a gas line break.   City of Peoria fire stations and police station are open as warming centers for residents without power.

Peoria Heights Crafting Commercial Corridor Study

Dec 16, 2015

The Village of Peoria Heights is crafting a long term plan for its main business corridors.  The Village received a more than $45,000 grant to hire a consultant to look at ways to improve the business corridors along Prospect and War Memorial Drive.  Peoria Heights Administrator Matt Fick says the plan will help the Village better market is business, housing and recreational sites:

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman presented the mayors of Peoria and East Peoria with two trucks Monday.  Both cities purchased the trucks to help combat the winter weather.  Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says the trucks highlight a connection between the city and the region’s largest-employer:

The City of Peoria is getting some academic help in tackling its combined-sewer-overflow problem.  The City is in talks with the EPA about ways to fix the overflow issue that periodically ends up polluting the Illinois River.  To help meet that goal, architecture students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shared green infrastructure designs.  Professor Danika Cooper says proposals include South Side bicycle networks and parkland that captures rainwater while giving residents new greenspace:

Peoria Officially Opens Allen/Alta Roundabout

Dec 10, 2015

After months of construction and delays from other projects, the Allen and Alta Road intersection re-opened Thursday.  The intersection closed this past spring for upgrades, including removing the four-way-stop and installing a roundabout.  City Engineer Scott Reeise says the move will help remove the long-waits for many drivers during the morning and evening rush hours:

Boys & Girls Club Of Greater Peoria received a $50,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation.  The funding will allow the group to purchase laptops, tablets and digital cameras for the My.Future technology program.  The initiative allows Club members to learn technology skills including robotics, coding, game design and online journalism.  The goal is to better prepare youth with skills needed to compete in the digital economy.

The Peoria City Council approved a budget that more than doubles the amount of money it spends on road maintenance next year.  The Council signed off on property, motor fuel and hotel taxes that would put more than $5 million in the city’s road budget.  City Manager Patrick Urich says the investment speeds up planned improvements:

Peoria Salon Offers Free Haircuts For Job Seekers

Dec 7, 2015

The Peoria Community Against Violence initiative partnered with a local salon Monday to help people get a job.  Employees at Identity Salon on Prospect Road volunteered their time to give free haircuts to people seeking employment.  Cosmetologist Alyssa Hartl says offering free haircuts can play a big role in getting a job:

State, Local Officials Urge Winter Driving Safety

Dec 1, 2015

The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging motorists to take special steps this winter to stay safe.  I-DOT workers in Central Illinois treat 4,300 miles of roadway with special salt treatments before and during snowfall. Jennifer Rudzinski is with I-DOT. She says drivers need to give plow-operators enough space on the roadway:

Peoria Looking At Business Incentive Guidelines

Nov 30, 2015

The City of Peoria is continuing to re-evaluate incentives used to entice business investment.  It already has incentives on the books, including TIF rebates, revolving loan funds, and enterprise zones.   Assistant City Manager Chris Setti says staff are looking at guidelines to qualify for incentives, like how many jobs are created and the size of the investment:

A Look At Peoria's Annual Christmas kick-off events

Nov 27, 2015
Peoria Area Community Events Santa Claus Parade

The 128th Annual Santa Claus Parade kicks off at 10:15 this morning at the Central Fire Station on Monroe Street in downtown Peoria. It’s the longest continuously running holiday parade in the U-S. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says the annual tradition is a large draw for the city:

Peoria’s October Unemployment Rate Rises

Nov 25, 2015

The unemployment rate rose in the Peoria area last month compared to the same time in 2014. The Illinois Department of Employment Security is reporting an unemployment rate of six-point-six-percent in October for the Peoria area. That’s nearly one-percent higher than the rate last month. The Peoria metro area lost 1,800 jobs year-over-year.

Amid Busy Travel, Area Law Enforcement Urge Caution

Nov 24, 2015

Area law enforcement agencies are urging motorists to drive safe during one of the heaviest travel periods of the year. They say drivers should always buckle-up, put away their cellphones, and never drink and drive.  Wednesday night is also one of the biggest party nights of the year. Illinois State Police Trooper Ross Green says people drinking should have a strategy before hitting the road:

The Peoria City Council is set to take up proposed tax hikes next month for next year’s budget.  The deadline to approve spending plan is drawing closer.

Bradley University students are teaming up with community groups to help bring down Peoria’s high rates of sexually-transmitted-infections and teen births.  One business is also playing a unique role in the effort:

Four Finalists For Vacant Peoria City Council Seat

Nov 13, 2015

The Peoria City Council has narrowed down the list of candidates to fill a vacant-At-Large seat to four people.  Zachary Oyler received the most council votes of support, followed by Sid Paul Ruckriegel.  Both Thomas Fliege and Rita Ali tied for third.  The Council is expected to pick the final candidate by a consensus vote next Tuesday.  That candidate would still need another council vote either in late November or early next month.

The Peoria City Council wants to explore ways to put more money toward road maintenance.

The Peoria Zoning Board of Appeals voted Thursday to overturn a decision that barred a medical cannabis dispensary from opening.

Peoria Council Talks Road Funding, Tax Hike Connection

Nov 10, 2015

The Peoria City Council continued hashing out spending priorities for next year’s proposed budget.  

The City of Peoria held a public input session on substitute parkland for the River Trail Apartment project.  The City needs to convert eight acres of land into open space to compensate for the apartments along the Illinois River.  Resident suggestions include parking lot improvements, keeping open green space and preserving water access.  Assistant City Manager Chris Setti says the goal is to gather multiple ideas before comparing projects with available funding:

The Peoria Park District is proposing to cut two growing houses at Luthy Botanical Garden and eliminate admission fees at the site.  Those were among the proposed budget changes from staff to tackle a projected $255,000 deficit.   District Executive Director Bonnie Noble says the budget reflects steep cuts last year, like closing Donovan Golf Course:

Peoria-area child care workers are rallying together to urge lawmakers to restore child-care assistance.  State representative Jehan Gordon-Booth sponsored legislation that challenges Governor Bruce Rauner’s changes to the Child Care Assistance Program or CCAP.  Earlier this summer Rauner decreased eligibility for CCAP and increased the cost of copays.  Gordon Booth says child care workers are hurting even more under chronic state budget woes:

Alex Rusciano / Peoria Public Radio

The Heart of Illinois United Way has raised $8.8 million so far for this year's campaign.  The money helps fund dozens of health and human service programs in the region.  Campaign Co-chair Tana Utley says the state budget impasse is creating new financial concerns for some groups:

Jump Simulation Center Seeing $12M Expansion

Oct 26, 2015
Alex Rusciano / Peoria Public Radio

The Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center is expanding with a third and fourth floor on the facility.  The Center allows medical students, doctors and nurses to train side by side.  Matthew Warrens is OSF’s Executive Director of Innovation. He says the expansion will add space for remote monitoring of ICU beds across the state, and health data and research space:

Alex Rusciano / Peoria Public Radio

A 24-year-old man from France is traveling the country, collecting stories from World War Two veterans.  Flo Plana recorded memories from several area vets last week:

Peoria-area sees slight drop in September unemployment

Oct 22, 2015

The unemployment rate fell in every metro area in the state for the 19th month in a row. The Illinois Department of Employment Security is reporting an unemployment rate of 5.7-percent in September for the Peoria area. That’s a half-percent decline from the same time last year. But the Peoria metro area lost 1,500 jobs year-over-year.

Peoria Area Home Sales See Eight Year High

Oct 15, 2015

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