A look back at 2013

By WEEK Producer

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- On this last day of 2013, it's time to look back at the old year as we start the new one.

A lot went on in the last 365 days. Here's a quick look back.

2013 will be remembered by most central Illinoisans as the year the tornadoes hit Pekin, East Peoria and Washington, causing millions of dollars in damage and leaving hundreds homeless. The story that will continue into 2014 as those communities rebuild.

In April, flooding was mother nature's assault on central Illinois. The Illinois River crested at record highs.

In Peoria, police arrested three men after a series of armed home invasions in normally crime free neighborhoods kept the community on edge.

Those crimes had some people signing up for FOID cards or concealed carry instruction after the general assembly finally agreed to pass concealed carry.

Also approved by the general assembly, a medical marijuana law and
the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Pension reform legislation was also passed, but that's subject to a court challenge in 2014.

Caterpillar's mining division was hit hard by a drop in business and layoff notices were sent to both white collar and blue collar workers. Decatur, where mining machinery is made, was especially hard hit.

Meanwhile, East Peoria's Levee District, established on old Caterpillar property, was thriving.

In Peoria court in May, Christopher Harris was found guilty of the 2009 murders of five members of a Logan County family.

Central Illinois lost some big names in 2013, Jim Maloof, realtor, singer, St. Jude's biggest fan, died in January.

In April, Royce Elliot passed away after a career of making people laugh.

In June, Pete Vonachen, Peoria's Mr. baseball passed away at the age of 87.

In July, long-time Peoria City Councilman Gary Sandberg was found dead in his apartment of heart failure.

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