Bill Wheelhouse

Executive Editor/ Anchor/ Reporter/ State Week Host

217-206-6402

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Regional
9:52 am
Tue December 16, 2014

WUIS-SJR Business Report The End of Times For Bel-Aire Motel

Postcard of the Bel-Aire in the heyday.
Credit Route 66 University

Bel-Aire Motel residents caught off guard by demolition announcement on this week's Business Report.

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse also talk about the closing of a century old business in the community and the sales of Road Rangers in the area.

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Business
12:17 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Workplace Fatalities Up In Illinois

Credit gcak12.org

The leading cause of on-the-job deaths in Illinois is vehicle accidents. 

172 people died on the job in Illinois in 2013, up  from the year before.   Almost a third of those deaths came from transportation accidents.   Laura Johnson is the Executive Director of the Iowa-Illinois Safety council.

"It really doesn't matter where your employee gets hurt does it? It is still a catastrophic event for your organizations. So we really push defensive driver training for our member companies".

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Statehouse
11:14 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Officials Unclear On Filling Topinka Vacancy

State Comptroller's Web Site Remembering Topinka

With the death of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, it would seem that the next step is for the Governor to appoint a successor.  However, election officials are unsure about the process:

The constitution says the governor would choose someone to fill out the term until the next election. Except the term ends January 12  and an election has already been held.   State Board of Elections Director Rupert Borgsmiller says they are not sure how to handle it:

"Nobody knows at this point by looking at the  constitution and the election code itself"

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Business
10:59 am
Tue December 9, 2014

WUIS SJ-R Business Report - Sale Of President Lincoln Hotel, Layoffs Starting At Benedictine

Tim Landis chats with Bill about the purchase of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, layoffs at Benedictine University and Viper Mine Files Its Application for Expansion.

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Statehouse
7:26 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Statehouse Summary- Same Day Voter Registration & Pension Appeal

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois Senate has passed legislation that would raise the state's minimum wage. The legislation would by 2019 increase Illinois' minimum wage to $11 an hour for workers 18 and older. The bill won't impact Chicago's decision to raise its wage to $13 by 2019.  The House adjourned without voting on it.

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Statehouse
7:12 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Madigan Says Court Could Rule On Pensions In January

Credit Marsy's Law for Illinois

Attorney General Lisa  Madigan says if the state supreme court agrees to an expedited hearing...  a ruling on the state's pension law could come by January,.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
6:40 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Part Timers & Manufacturing In Illinois Feeling A Slow Economic Recovery

Mark Selvaggio, President of Selvaggio Steel in Springfield says workers compensation cost and unpredictable tax environment are slowing manufacturing.

For fans of baseball,  teams have already announced the late winter dates for pitchers and catchers to report for spring training.

When evaluating Illinois’ recovery from the recession, economist James Glassman uses a baseball analogy.  The head economist for commercial banking with JP Morgan Chase says Illinois has only reached the fifth inning in the recovery. 

“We are only half way out of the hole we are in.  It has taken five years to get where we are.  Most recoveries take seven years,” says Glassman.

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Education Desk
11:52 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Incoming U of I President Speaks To Springfield Audience

Timothy Killeen
Credit WUIS/Bill Wheelhouse

Timothy Killeen, who has been selected as the next president of the University of Illinois travelled to the university's three campuses. Killeen who will be the 20th U of I President has been the vice chancellor for research at the State University of New York.   A researcher in geophysics and space sciences, he will start his new job in July.  He spoke about his goals and what he sees for the University's Springfield campus.

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Statehouse
8:14 am
Wed November 19, 2014

U of I Selects New President

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch welcomed new University of Illinois President-designate Timothy L. Killeen to campus this afternoon by presenting him with a UIS tie.
Credit UIS.edu

The University of Illinois system has hired State University of New York Vice Chancellor for Research Timothy L. Killeen as its next president.  

The university announced Wednesday that the 62-year-old Killeen will become president when current President Robert Easter retires in June.  

The 67-year-old Easter became president in 2012 during a period of turmoil.  
 Both of his predecessors, Michael Hogan and B. Joseph White, resigned under pressure. Easter is credited by many with overseeing a relatively calm period.  

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Regional
6:57 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Hearing On Transmission Line That Would Come Through Region

An effort to bring a high voltage power line across Illinois and other states is getting a discussion tonight (Monday) in Missouri. 

That state's public service commission begins hearings on a request by Clean Line Energy partners to build a high voltage power line from wind turbines in Kansas to Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.      The  plan would bring the lines near Hannibal then through Pike, Greene and Macoupin  counties among others in central Illinois.

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Statehouse
7:42 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Did Rauner Actually Call Madigan and Cullerton?

Credit brucerauner.com

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Bruce Rauner indicated he had called House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

However, a couple of reports indicated that neither Madigan nor Cullerton spoke with the Governor-Elect.   Reports in the State Journal Register and Chicago Sun Times say Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman has no record of any calls from Rauner

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Education Desk
7:17 am
Thu October 30, 2014

MacMurray College Scrapping Ten Programs

MacMurray College in Jacksonville is getting rid of ten academic programs due to low enrollment. 

The Board of Trustees approved the phase out of the programs, which include Elementary Education, English and History.

A statement from the school says the changes affect about 15 students.  Those currently enrolled in the programs will have opportunities to complete their degrees and no new students will be admitted.  The college says no layoffs are involved.

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Business
11:07 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Supermarket Hiring Contributes To Lower Unemployment WUIS SJR Business Report

Grocery store hiring part of the better jobless rate,  Bunn-O-Matic buys building on west side and a chance to save an 1840's home from the wrecking ball on today's WUIS-State Journal Register business report.

 

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Business
7:44 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Amazon Says It Will Bring 1,000 Jobs To Illinois

Amazon Inc. says it plans to open its first facility in Illinois next year in a move that would create 1,000 jobs.  

The announcement comes a week from election day as Governor Pat Quinn touts economic growth and his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, has criticized the slow growth of employment in Illinois.

The company made the announcement about the $75 million project on Tuesday. The jobs figure would be reached by 2017.  

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Education Desk
6:48 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Huge Cuts At Benedictine 3/4 Of Staff To Be Laid Off

Major cuts are coming to Springfield's Benedictine University.    The school is laying off three quarters of its full time employees, cutting out undergraduate education and getting rid of its sports programs.  The school will no longer focus on the traditional student market, but instead will make its focus on adults.    The campus issued a statement last night.    Springfield branch campus President Michael Bromberg tells WUIS that 75 of the 100 full time workers will be laid-off next year when the school ends its traditional programs for students who are just out of high school.

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Business
11:10 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Cheddar's Leaves Springfield WUIS-SJR Business Report

In this week's Business Report Tim Landis discusses a chain establishment leaving town, the future of a Route 66 landmark and work is set to begin on an historic site.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
9:49 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Illinois Leads Nation In Improvement in Unemployment

Illinois had one of the stronger showings in the nation in new jobs last month and it led the way nationally with a a 2.5% drop in unemployment from September of last year to September of this year.

Figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Illinois added more than 19,000 jobs last month, marking the second largest increase in the nation. 

Illinois trailed only Texas in month over month employment.

The biggest gains came in  professional and business services.   That includes more accounting jobs which have increased in the Chicago area.  

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Statehouse
6:43 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Notes On The Final Governor Debate

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

The debate portion of the Illinois governor’s race is over. Monday night's debate may have given voters a little clarity.

Now - that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any mud-slinging or repetitive campaign refrains. There was a lot of that. But we did get some answers on issues that have popped up in all three debates. Like what Governor Pat Quinn would do when the 5 percent income tax rate ends in 2015.

QUINN: We need to maintain the income tax, at the same time give annual, direct, property tax relief - a 500 dollar refund - to every single homeowner in this state.

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Regional
6:18 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Mentor Graham's Marker

New Salem school house where Mentor Graham taught
Credit abrahamlincolnonline.org

The man who ran the school during Abraham Lincoln's time in New Salem is getting an honor in Kentucky.

A historical marker commemorating the life of an early 19th century educator who was a longtime friend of Abraham Lincoln will be unveiled next week in Greensburg, KY.  

The Kentucky Historical Society says the marker is in honor of William Mentor Graham, who was born in Green County and taught at Greensburg Academy before moving to Illinois. There he taught Lincoln arithmetic and grammar, and Lincoln lived with Graham for six months in 1833.  

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Business
10:43 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Downtown Springfield Business Deal Goes South. The WUIS-State Journal Register Business Report

Credit SJ-R.com

A project in downtown Springfield that was to revitalize a former church is now in the courtroom.  Tim Landis of the State Journal Register discusses that and some of the week's other stories.

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Statehouse
8:23 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Attorney: Illinois Needs Monitor To Oversee Hires

Inspector General report on IDOT
Credit Amanda Vinicky

A Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner is stressing that a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure the state's Department of Transportation is in compliance with political hiring bans.  

Michael Shakman's filing Monday in federal court comes in response to a motion by Gov. Pat Quinn's attorneys that the governor's administration's response to allegations of political hiring in the department had been both ``prompt'' and ``appropriate.''  

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Illinois Issues - Economy
11:50 am
Mon October 6, 2014

We're Only Midway Through This Recovery

James Glassman
Credit Chase

James Glassman, Head Economist, Commercial Bank, JP Morgan Chase says the economic recovery is better than many people think.   Speaking at the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook Breakfast, Glassman said this recovery is "in the fifth inning".  

Glassman says there are still two groups that haven't felt the recovery.  Those who are "involuntary" part time workers and students.   

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Statehouse
8:24 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Expert: Why We Need Redistricting Reform

Credit WSIU

Brian Gaines has watched Illinois politics for 20 years.  The political scientist is with the University of Illinois's Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He says the current system of drawing legislative and congressional maps is bad and he hopes reformers can do something before the next re-map in 2020.

Gaines says there is too little transparency and too few people are involved.  The current map for Illinois' congressional district he says was created to help Democrats.   He says the public is not well served by maps that engineer outcomes. 

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Statehouse
6:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Illinois Voter Registration Ends Tuesday

Credit Macon County

Election officials say there are two days left for regular voter registration ahead of Nov. 4.  

Illinois residents who have a driver's license or state ID can register online through the State Board of Elections website through Tuesday.  

Starting Wednesday, voters have a chance to participate in ``grace period'' registration until Nov. 3.

The process will be a little different for those registering late. Residents must present two forms of identification to election officials in person. One of these forms must include a current address.  

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Statehouse
6:46 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Donations Drying Up For Lincoln Library Foundation

Credit ill.gov

The chairman of the foundation behind the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum says fundraising is drying up because of tensions between the library's executive director and the director of the state agency that oversees it.  

Wayne Whalen told a legislative panel Wednesday that the foundation has heard from numerous donors who don't plan on contributing money until problems are resolved. The foundation raised $4.7 million last year and has raised about $3.2 million so far this year.  

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Illinois Issues - Economy
10:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Decatur Unemployment Shows Biggest Drop In Nation

Decatur's unemployment rate showed the biggest drop in the nation from a year ago. However that does not mean more people are working.

The jobless rate in Decatur is tied for the highest in the state with Rockford,  but the drop of  3.1% was the biggest decrease in the nation according to the federal agency that monitors such things.  

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Business
7:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Public Hearing Thursday Regarding Elkhart Mine

Tim Landis
Credit SJ-R.com

An area coal company says 300 jobs are a stake in Logan County.  Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal Register discusses that and Jimmy John's response to a security breach.

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Business
12:10 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Sangamon Businesses Have Positive Expectations

Credit Indiana Public Media

A new study shows local businesses are optimistic about the local economy. 

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is out with its annual economic outlook.   It shows more than 80 percent of local businesses surveyed are increasingly optimistic about their own firm and that of the overall Sangamon county economy.   

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Health Desk
7:14 am
Wed September 17, 2014

IKEA Recalls Children's Swing Due To Fall Hazard

Gunggung swing recalled.
Credit IKEA

IKEA is recalling its GUNGGUNG child swing that it sold at its stores this summer.

The furniture retailer says the suspension fittings can break causing a child to fall from the swing, posing a risk of serious injury. Four injuries have been reported since the product went on sale in August.

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Regional
6:47 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Mayor: We Are Doing Sewer Work

Credit Hartland Township MI

The mayor of Springfield took umbrage to a weekend editorial in the local paper.

The State Journal Register Sunday criticized the city for a lack of a comprehensive sewer program, following housing and street flooding after heavy rains in recent weeks.

Mayor Mike Houston called reporters together to remind them, as he approaches a re-election campaign, that the city is in the midst of a 10 year $60 million dollar borrowing program to fix some of the problem sewer systems.

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