Dana Vollmer | WGLT

Dana Vollmer

Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WCBU. Prior to moving to Peoria, Dana covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois. She earned her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also graduated from Northern Illinois University, where she studied communication and produced Morning Edition for WNIJ. Dana's interests include criminal justice reform, economic equity and the environment. 

Peoria's census participation has hit a plateau as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.

The city of Peoria is looking to people financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic cover some of their housing costs.

Some nonprofits have had to re-envision staffing, as Illinois adds another 75 cents to the minimum wage in a ramp-up to $15 an hour. That comes as many are still grappling with the financial blow of COVID-19.

Some Illinoisans were eager to grab a bite indoors or return to their gym over the weekend, as the state moved into the next phase of the governor's reopening plan. Others chose to stay home.

A number of Greater Peoria businesses are planning to open their doors or expand services starting Friday, as the state moves into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.

More people are caring for a loved one at home as the COVID-19 pandemic leaves them unemployed or apprehensive about care facilities. 

Activists have added school resource officers to the larger conversation of police reform in the United States. Some call for the removal of police from schools. Others are looking at ways to change officer roles.

But those leading school safety in Peoria Public Schools say they've had decades to get it right.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally-recognized celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. But the unofficial holiday feels different this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic and a rash of high-profile police murders.

Peoria Proud is creating a registry of LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers in central Illinois.

The Peoria Public Library is slowly revving back up services, after COVID-19 guidance forced buildings to close to the public.

The Peoria County Board will consider a budget amendment aimed at addressing injustice in law enforcement and ensuring all who want to vote get a chance to do so safely. That comes as other county budget items are being scaled back amid COVID-19 related revenue challenges.

The appropriation totaling $853,500 would give additional dollars to the state’s attorney, sheriff, and election commission.

City inspectors are staying busy, as code complaints last month nearly doubled what they'd be in a typical May.

Community Development Director Ross Black said the vast majority of the 1,400 complaints were about things like tall grass, weeds, and litter or garbage disposal. 

Black said spring is always a busy time for his department, as lawn growing conditions improve and more people are outside. But they usually only get about 800 complaints for the month of May.

He attributes this year's spike, in part, to more people sheltering in place.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have renewed conversations about systemic racism and inequality in the United States. This is a time white people can listen and learn from the lived experience of black Americans. A Peoria bookseller is trying to help people do just that.

The shortage of blood donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more troublesome, as patient traffic at area hospitals revs back up.

Dozens of Bradley University student athletes staged a peaceful demonstration Tuesday night, protesting racial injustice and inequality.

A Peoria man who allegedly hit a police SUV with his car last week has died from blunt force trauma.

Peoria Public Schools is helping students and recent graduates find summer jobs with the help of COVID-19 related grant dollars.

A project to help address food insecurity and community health on the south end of Peoria is entering its next phase.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth says major police reform is a task for local government, rather than state and federal leaders.

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday afternoon at the Peoria County Courthouse for the second peaceful demonstration held by Young Revolution, in honor of George Floyd and five local black men who died in police custody in recent years.

There are a lot of youthful faces behind Peoria's recent peaceful protests. Young Revolution led last weekend's "We Matter March." Another rally called "Are We Next" is scheduled for this weekend. WCBU talked to some of the organizers about what drove them to action and what they want to see from the Peoria community.

The Peoria Fire Department has stayed busy this week, putting out fires set to businesses, homes, cars and dumpsters. At least 15 arson fires have been reported during the overnight hours this week.

Nine people were charged with felonies Tuesday in Peoria County Court in connection with the riots and looting that unfolded earlier this week.

Businesses across Peoria began clearing clearing debris before dawn after a night of unrest.

Dozens were damaged.

WCBU captured a small portion of the aftermath.

This gallery may be updated.

Black leaders in Peoria are condemning the violence that broke out overnight, arguing it detracts from the message protestors are trying to send.

Pride Month is usually a time of togetherness for the LGBTQ+ community. But with social distancing guidelines in place, organizers have had to get creative.

Delta Airlines is suspending service to Peoria International Airport as part of a larger scaling-back of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who wish to fly the airline locally will have to drive over to Bloomington-Normal.

A Peoria nonprofit officially broke ground on East Bluff Community Homes, a project that will create 30 affordable rental units in the neighborhood.

Quarantine means people have a lot of time on their hands — and many are spending it with a phone, computer, or TV screen. But what kind of media and how much you consume during the COVID-19 pandemic can take a big toll on your mental health.

Restaurants and bars are busily preparing to open back up for business outside next Friday.