The president of the University of Illinois says he hopes faculty and staff members will be able to get a raise next year. Bob Easter made his comments Thursday ahead of the start of the school year, which kicks off Monday. The Champaign News-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/152WQuj ) Easter spoke during a meeting with faculty from the school's three campuses. He says it's his ``goal to have a salary program next year.'' Many U of I employees got a 2.75 percent merit-based raise this year.
With national unemployment at its lowest level since the start of the Great Recession, the numbers keep going the wrong way in several parts of Illinois.
Peoria, Danville, and Decatur all saw unemployment increase by more than a percentage point.
Still, Gov. Pat Quinn defends his administration's efforts at building the economy. Thursday, he announced that a German manufacturer will move its U-S headquarters to Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, a move Quinn says could create 40 jobs.
Thursday's unemployment numbers show Decatur is once again lagging the rest of Illinois. That long-term trend is partly responsible for a new law aimed at changing the way Illinois handles economic development.
In Decatur, 13.2 percent of job-seekers can't find work. State Sen. Andy Manar — a Democrat whose district includes Decatur — says that's part of the reason he thought it was time to blow up the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and start over.
Illinois has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. And Decatur has the highest in the state.
Caterpillar announced hundreds of layoffs this summer and that is now showing up in the jobless rate. Decatur's rate has gone up to 13.2 percent, 2 full percentage points above where it was a year ago. And it's also at the highest level it's been this time of year in about three decades.
Former Gov. George Ryan says he's still adjusting to private life in the weeks since his release from home confinement. Ryan spoke briefly to The Associated Press Thursday from his home in Kankakee. He says he traveled to Springfield over the weekend to celebrate the birthday of his triplet daughters, one of whom lives in that city. He also visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum on Saturday with family.
A recent summer storm provided an object lesson for a family I know. Making their way along an interstate highway on a weekend outing, the family drove into a violent storm moving erratically across the state.
Within minutes, hailstones pelted the car along with heavy rains. Visibility was seriously compromised. The parents prayed for safety and watched for an exit where they could get off the road to wait out the storm.
Meanwhile, the four-year-old in the back seat was alarmed by the noise of the pounding rain and hail. She asked her parents if they were safe.