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Phil Luciano


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Phil Luciano

Phil Luciano

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Whither the two Fiskars swans? Since 1995, a pair of white trumpeter swans have become a low-key icon of the Peoria landscape. They rule the roost — well, actually the retention pond — at Fiskars Brands Inc., 1 Sprinkler Lane, on the northwest edge of Peoria, the former site of L.R. Nelson.

Luciano: Fate of Fiskars feathered friends up in the air

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To continue to honor and serve veterans, all Kay Ingram wants is a closet.

Luciano: Volunteers feeling the squeeze at VA clinic

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2015 Cardinals, meet the 1919 Black Sox. At least, that's the possible meet-up in the wake of allegations that the Cards hacked another team's database.

For most of his 15 years, Demarcus Jackson hadn’t been big on prayer.“I’m not really a church person,” he says. But his view changed a bit the night of June 7. Swept away by a flooded creek and into a raging drainage culvert, he flailed and bobbed for two miles before pulling himself atop a short pipe. Perched there in darkness for 12 hours as floodwater raced below, he screamed for help repeatedly. But no one heard him.

Luciano: Hope and prayers come through for Peoria teen trapped in floodwaters

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Belinda Buhs knows we can't always avoid trouble. Weather can turn stormy. People can make mistakes. But mix a brutal Mother Nature and possible human error, and BOOM — you're unexpectedly hit with a rare, expensive mess, the kind that has waylaid Buhs' home and pocketbook.

Luciano: High and dry, and hot and bothered about it

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Ol’ Moe is no mo’. A diehard legend among local landscaping enthusiasts, The Little Mower That Could finally encountered a challenge he couldn’t beat: Old age.

Luciano: Ol' Moe cut down by march of time

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Tears fall for a missing chicken. It's not just any chicken, but a champion Mexican fighting rooster, stuffed in all its brawling glory — the treasured mascot of Los Jimadores, 7723 N. University. But the rooster is on the lam with two thieves who plucked the bird from the eatery Saturday.

Luciano: Stuffed Mexican fighting rooster swiped in heartbreaking cock-a-doodle caper

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WASHBURN — To the end, D-Day and World War II remained close to Clyde Winkler’s heart. Winkler served the entire war in the Army. On June 6, 1944, he spent his 27th birthday crashing the beach at Normandy. “Hitler, we’re coming!” he yelled, echoing a common war cry that day.

Luciano: WWII veteran Clyde Winkler, who stormed the beaches of Normandy, was one of a quickly vanishing breed

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So, anyone going to the Johnny Cougar show tonight? OK, maybe it’s unfair to run 40-year-old photos of rock stars (or anyone else, for that matter). But I was amazed at this promo shot, which I found while glancing at old Journal Star files in preparation for tonight’s John Mellencamp show at the Civic Center Theater.

Luciano: Where have you gone, Johnny Cougar?

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Take me out to the ball game, take me out to ... Macomb? Or Carbondale, or Champaign, or even (gag) Normal. But not Peoria, which means baseball slummin’.

Luciano: No crying in baseball? Maybe in Peoria, ranked as a lousy baseball town

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PEKIN — After a lifetime of challenges, Kaelie Morgan needed a hand — so her uncle made her one.

Luciano: Uncle uses 3D printer to create prosthetic hand for Pekin niece

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Ted had a drifting eye, bad headaches and one leg — then his life got tough.At the core of a twisting story we’ll try to unravel below, he got an early start on state-sanctioned medical marijuana. But his self-prescribed pot — which he says had the verbal blessing of a family physician — cost him the prescription drugs that ease the discomfort from an amputation.

Luciano: Medical marijuana uncertainty leaves patient in pain

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On Saturday, Brandy Schroeder wasn’t supposed to be in Peoria.Further, she wasn’t supposed to be at Bradley University. And she wasn’t supposed to be at the school’s graduation ceremony.Actually, she wasn’t supposed to be, at all.

Luciano: Hit by a car when she was 8, Brandy Schroeder exceeds expectations and graduates from Bradley with a double major

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When Laurence Lopez Jr. wanted to join the Navy and fight in World War II, his father balked.Not that the elder Lopez lacked patriotism. Rather, the numbers told him he probably faced more of a chance at losing a son than most parents.

Luciano: Peorian one of seven brothers to survive World War II

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LADD — In small towns, simple things can carry deep meaning.

Luciano: Up for sale, Ladd's beloved restaurant Lanuti's faces an uncertain future

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Sometimes, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game — in front of no one.

Luciano: Mediocrity needs no witnesses

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When it’s padlocked. Then, it’s merely a water hydrant. That’s the curious outcropping of an ongoing firefighting debate in Groveland. Drive along the main drag of Springfield Road, you’ll see red hydrants capped with security devices and shiny padlocks.

Luciano: Locked hydrants just one part of Groveland's water dispute

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Bolstered by kin last week, Linda Young said a final goodbye to her 25-year-old daughter, felled by a rare disease.The Peoria family is no stranger to gathering at funerals and enduring unexpected grief. Yet this time, another tragedy struck less than a dozen hours after the April 8 funeral.

Luciano: Brother dies in car crash just hours after sister's funeral

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Abraham Lincoln played in Peoria, but not always well. To be sure, after his slaying 150 years ago, Peoria mourned with a heavy heart. But it’s not as if Peoria has a soft spot for Lincoln — even though he was a central Illinoisan and a known commodity here.

Luciano: Peoria was tough on Abe Lincoln, but mourned his loss heavily

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I'd never been so moved by a simple greeting. “Looch. How. You. Doon. Brother?” I was amazed. The speech was slow and abrupt. But the guy who said it? He isn't supposed to be conversing. Actually, he isn't supposed to be doing anything.

Luciano: George Jacob's recovery is 'Not. Done. Yet'

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Finally, there’s good news for Aaron Schock. He can fulfill his wish to try to square things with his congressional district. And he can do it in the most sincere way possible politically: by putting his money where his mouth is.

Luciano: Aaron Schock can make it up to taxpayers by paying for special election

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It’s been a long time since Thomas Lilly last went to school. Another lifetime, really.

Luciano: Thomas Lilly, 92, hopes his efforts to earn a GED inspire young dropouts

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Why not possum? As the Peoria Great Food Truck Debate enters marathon status, the discussion now ponders whether a lack of sufficient regulation would somehow turn our fair city into a junk yard.

Luciano: Possum — the other, other white meat?

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Somewhere out there lurks a secondary plot line behind The Fall of Aaron Schock. Who took him down? We might not find out for a long time. Or ever. And

Luciano: Who tipped the media on Schock?

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Faith and begorrah! Careening toward St. Patrick’s Day, we present a green-tinted (use your imagination) brew of reader love known as O’Random