Bill Wheelhouse

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Volcano Eruption May Have Driven Major Migration To Illinois In 19th Century

Strange as it seems, a volcano that erupted 200 years ago in Indonesia may have been a major factor leading to Illinois’ 1818 statehood.

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Regional
12:03 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Author Discusses Volcano That Created Illinois, Frankenstein and Disease

A volcano led to Illinois and Frankenstein.

200 years ago, the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora caused global climate change. It led to the creation of states in the midwestern United States, the book Frankenstein and deadly disease.  Bill Wheelhouse talked with Gillen D'Arcy Wood, author of the book Tambora: The Eruption That Changed The World:

The book is published by Princeton University Press.

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Regional
5:00 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Volcanic Eruption Led To Illinois Statehood

The Summit of Tambora
Credit Gillen D'Arcy Wood

What does a volcanic eruption in Indonesia 200 years ago have to do with Illinois?  In addition to killing 100,000 people and eventually leading to cholera outbreaks across the globe, that eruption may have led to Illinois becoming a state.

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economy
7:36 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Rauner Creates Innovate Illinois Advisory Council

With the aim of spurring growth in Illinois' tech sector, Governor Bruce Rauner has created the Innovate Illinois Advisory Council.

A group of business leaders will hopefully bring new ideas to the table to help improve the climate for technology business growth in the state.

Co-chairs for the council are Laura Frerichs, director of the University of Illinois research park and Mark Glennon, a managing director of  the consulting firm Ninth Street Advisors.

The panel is to begin meeting this spring.

Regional
9:19 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Learn About Transmission Line Project In Region

Credit grainbelexpress.cleanline.com

A company that wants to build power lines to carry wind energy from Kansas to Illinois will be seeking regulators' permission this Spring.    Mark Lawler... the Director of Development for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line project says it is one of two the company is working on in Illinois.   He tells WUIS' Bill Wheelhouse the plan is to carry the wind energy  via direct current rather than traditional way of transmitting electricity:

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Business
10:55 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Springfield Expanding "Historic" District on WUIS/SJR Business Report

Credit waymarking.com

Tim Landis shares with us the planned expansion of the downtown historical district.   The expansion from the footprint of the Old State Capitol to more of the surrounding landscape will allow for tax breaks for developers.    Also discussed... repairs at the Executive Mansion and Third Street rail work could begin this year.

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Business
7:29 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Utility Status Would Allow Energy Company To Seek Eminent Domain Powers in Illinois

A Company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility.  Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. 

If they are granted utility status, they would then have a shot at getting eminent domain powers to acquire land along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois.   The company's Mark Lawler says while they'd prefer to acquire the land  in negotiations, eminent domain helps with the planning:

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Statehouse
6:39 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Illinois' Top Republicans Dissapointed In End of Future Gen

Proposed Future Gen Plant in Meredosia. It is a former Ameren-CIPS Power Plant.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

Illinois' top two Republicans say they're disappointed the Federal government has halted funding for the future gen project in the region.

Governor Bruce Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk released a statement on the public-private coal project at Meredosia. 

They say the Fed's decision will block advancements in  so called "clean coal" efforts and bringing jobs to the region.   The two say they won't give up on the technology and bringing new jobs to the state.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
11:05 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Business Groups Reiterate Opposition To Minimum Wage Hike

The state's business organizations are making sure lawmakers know they are opposed to a hike in minimum wage (Lawmakers probably probably knew where the groups stand on this one).

A Senate committee approved a measure that would increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour by the end of the decade.

The state's retailers says a minimum wage hike will keep people out of jobs and keep Illinois at a disadvantage.

This measure is more early legislative session  political fodder than a real policy effort. It came on the same day the Governor's State of the State message

Business
10:56 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Springfield Hoping For Lincoln Tourists This Spring WUIS/SJR Business Report

Credit Francis Bicknell Carpenter

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse talk about this spring's Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment, Video Gambling in Springfield and solar incentives for residential and small business users.

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Regional
5:41 am
Fri January 30, 2015

National Weather Service Latest Snow Projections

Credit Amanda Vinicky

...SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW EXPECTED SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY...
 
  A WINTER WEATHER SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP IN THE SOUTHWEST
  STATES INTO SATURDAY AND LIFT NORTHEAST INTO THE OHIO RIVER VALLEY
  SUNDAY AFTERNOON. AS THE SYSTEM DEVELOPS...A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW
  WILL MOVE INTO CENTRAL ILLINOIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING.
  DURING LATE SATURDAY EVENING AND OVERNIGHT THE PRECIPITATION WILL
  CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW. THE SNOW WILL BECOME MODERATE DURING THE
  OVERNIGHT HOURS...WITH 3 TO 4 INCHES OF ACCUMULATION POSSIBLE BY

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Illinois Issues - Economy
7:29 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Keep An Eye On That Service Tax

The so called "right-to-work" discussion from Governor Bruce Rauner drew a lot of the attention this week, not only of media types, but also labor union types.    

It is sure to be a hot item in the negotiating mix.   But creating a tax on services whether it be a car repair, your tax preparation or hair cut is where Rauner continues to put PART of the focus of his budget efforts.   He has a big power point slide that says  ""Raising Taxes Alone Won't Work". Of course he's stressing budget cuts and fixing structural budget problems but raising taxes is in the mix.  

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Illinois Construction Picture Improves

An industry trade group says that Illinois added 20,200 construction jobs from December, 2013 to December, 2014.  While people would like to attribute it to an improving job climate, it's probably just a better climate this time around.  Weather was a major factor in the job growth.  While attributing much of the the growth this winter over last year's exceptionally harsh winter,  the Associated General Contractors of America reports  the job growth came in 40 states and shows that construction firms are also more optimistic.

Business
11:37 am
Tue January 27, 2015

More People Flying Out Of Springfield & Bacon To Bring Them In WUIS-SJR Business Report

The number of passengers flying out of Springfield is on the upswing, pork belly related festival for downtown Springfield and opposition develops to transmission line project.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis on this weeks Business Report:

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Education Desk
7:11 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Community College President To Get Payout & A Building In His Name

Severances and bonuses seem to be a way of life for Illinois colleges and universities.

College of DuPage officials have voted to approve a  $762,000 buyout package for the school's president when he retires next year.
 
 The board of trustees accepted the severance deal Thursday as part a four-page agreement regarding the early retirement of President Robert Breuder next March.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
7:27 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Downtown Festivals Revamped

Downtown Springfield is going to make changes to its major summer events.   

The group says its doing away with it Taste of Downtown. 

Instead it will introduce the Downtown Bacon Throwdown in July.   The group is also planning to move the Old Capitol Blues and BBQ's Festival from August to early October.  

Hot weather has affected attendance, which put the  group in financial trouble this past year.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
11:17 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Collecting On Line Sales Tax & A Springfield Manufacturer Expands On WUIS/SJR Business Report

Credit flickr/jmorgan

On this week's Business Report, Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis about a new effort to collect on-line sales taxes in Illinois; Nudo Products expands & Illinois has a new agriculture director.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
7:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

The Most In-Demand Jobs in Chicago

Crain's has an article of a dozen of the most in-demand jobs in Chicago.   Bartender (excuse me, "mixologist,")  is on the list.   

Read the article here

Illinois Issues - Economy
3:00 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Business Group Loosening Stance on Service Tax

Todd Maisch
Credit Il Chamber

  A leading business group is hinting that it could loosen  its stance on opposition to a service tax.

During the campaign, Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a tax on certain services as a possible way to raise money.   The state Chamber of Commerce is gauging its members on what they could support when it comes to revenue for the state.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
7:27 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Popcorn Is A Growth Business

Pre-popped bagged popcorn gets into my snack habit because its only a buck in the office vending machine.  Many other products cost a quarter more.   But popcorn is becoming a bigger business other than just a movie theatres.  Check this article out.

Illinois Issues - Economy
8:27 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Get Your Cuban Cigars

The ban on Cuba Cigars is over... sort of.    The Obama's administration easing of trade restrictions takes effect Friday.    It means Americans can bring $100 worth of tobacco into the United States.   So that can buy a few cigars.

Illinois Issues - The Scene
7:26 am
Wed January 14, 2015

New Head of Springfield Area Arts Council

Credit courtesy photo

The former executive director of the State Historical Society is now the head of the Springfield Area Arts Council.   Jon Austin started his job with the beginning of the new year. 

He also was founding director of the Museum of Funeral Customs. 

Austin replaces Penny Wollan-Kriel who retired in the fall.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
11:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Menard County Hog Farm Hits Snag WUIS/SJR Biz. Report

Credit Bill Wheelhouse / WUIS / Illinois Issues

A large scale hog farm is on hold temporarily and low oil prices may be dampening business interest in fracking in Illinois on this week's WUIS/SJR Business Report.  Bill Wheelhouse chats with Tim Landis.

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Statehouse
7:24 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Vinicky Discusses Quinn's Last and Rauner's First

Governor Pat Quinn will spend his final hours in office in Chicago while Bruce Rauner is inaugurated as the State's 42nd Governor in Springfield.

Bill Wheelhouse and Amanda Vinicky discuss final actions by the outgoing Governor and the first likely actions by the incoming Governor.

WUIS will have live coverage of the inaugural at 11:50 a.m.

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Regional
11:30 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Cuba: Illinoisans Look Ahead And A Look At Some Cool Cars

Rich Berning

The recent Obama administration announcement of easing trade and travel restrictions certainly caught Rich Berning's attention.  The Springfield man had just visited the island nation in November.  Bill Wheelhouse, who visited Cuba in 1999 with Governor George Ryan, chatted with Berning.  We also have a few photos of those old American cars they keep running on the island.

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Regional
5:11 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Springfield & Most Other Schools Closed Today

Most area schools are closed today due to the dangerous wind chills.   Springfield District 186 has canceled classes. No school in Chatham Glenwood and Rochester. All other public schools are closed in Sangamon County.  Schools are closed in Jacksonville & Lincoln.

Meteorologist Mike Bardou  says central Illinois will get
progressively colder. Springfield's temperature will fall from about 3 degrees
in the morning to about minus-7 in the afternoon, with wind chills of 22- to
32-below.

Business
11:03 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Another Pipeline Proposed For Area. WUIS/SJR Business Report

A Dallas-based company wants to build an oil pipeline through parts of central and western Illinois.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tam Landis about that and other issues on this week's business report:

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Economy' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2009 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note: 
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse 

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

The Fifth Inning - Illinois' Economic Recovery Is Just Warming Up

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

For fans of baseball, the midwinter tradition is underway — counting down the days until the pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

When evaluating Illinois’ recovery from the recession, 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.

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Health Desk
6:48 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Springfield Hospitals Competing For Trauma Patients

Credit northwestern.edu

Both of Springfield's major hospitals will be offering trauma care starting New Years Day.   

The State Journal Register reports that HSHS St. John's Hospital will compete with Memorial Medical Center in offering trauma care.  In the past the hospitals alternated annually providing care to those seriously injured. 

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