Bill Wheelhouse

Anchor/ Economy Blog

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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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Harvest Desk
6:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Environmental Group Touts Proposed Water Rules

Credit flickr/loveMeagan

Farm and Business groups have been vocal in their opposition to proposed federal water regulations.  Opponents of the rules say it will turn into regulatory over-reach on the part of the government.    Last week, we talked with the Illinois Farm Bureau about their efforts to kill the regulations.  Today... we hear from supporters of the proposed rules.   WUIS Bill Wheelhouse spoke with John Devine of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

To read differing viewpoints on the proposed rules, check out the following:

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Statehouse
6:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Legislature Approved A $100 Million Tax On Business & Didn't Know It

Credit flickr/jmorgan

The legislature easily approved a measure in the spring that will raise taxes on some of the largest Illinois businesses.  Apparently they didn't know what they were passing.  Bill Wheelhouse spoke with Paul Merrion of Crain's Chicago Business.

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Health Desk
7:27 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors Recalled

Credit Consumer Product Safety Commission

Three models of Kidde brand Smoke and Combination Smoke/CO Alarms are being recalled due to failure of the alarms.

The alarms were sold at Menards and Home Depot among other stores.

More than a million of the items are affected by the recall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the alarms could fail to alert consumers of a fire or a CO incident following a power outage.

Consumers should contact the company for a replacement.

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Health Desk
6:25 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Trauma Care Decision Highlights Competition Between Springfield Hospitals

Credit northwestern.edu

Officials at St. John's hospital say a decision by the SIU School of Medicine to move all Trauma care services to Memorial Medical center happened because St. John's asked SIU for more financial accountability of their services. SIU officials deny that the permanent switch to memorial was connected to St. John's request for the audit.    Dean Olsen reports that claim in Thursday's State Journal Register.

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Harvest Desk
10:01 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Farm Bureau Talks About Campaign Against Federal Water Regulations

Credit Illinois Farm Bureau

Illinois Business and Farm groups are trying to fight off some new federal water regulations.  The groups claim the regulations will be an over-reach onto farmers private property.   The proposed rules would extend regulations streams and wetlands on farms that connect to other water sources.

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Harvest Desk
12:14 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Ag & Business Joining Hands To Fight EPA Water Regs

Grass waterway, farmers say would be subject to regulation under proposed EPA rules.
Credit Illinois Farm Bureau

The state's business community is lining up with farm groups in an effort to stave off some new federal water regulations.  

The Illinois Farm Bureau has the backing the of manufacturers and the state Chamber of Commerce as it works to derail proposed rules. Rules it says would lead to the Feds getting more of a say in how farm land is used.  

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Statehouse
8:15 am
Mon September 8, 2014

If You Want To Grow Or Sell Medical Pot, You Can Apply Now

Credit WBEZ

Entrepreneurs wanting to cultivate or dispense medical marijuana under a new Illinois law are getting their chance to be considered.  

The state on Monday was to begin accepting applications from aspiring cultivation centers and dispensaries vying for one of a limited number of permits.  

A state law enacted last year authorized a four-year pilot project that will expire in 2017, but so far, not a single marijuana seed has been planted. State officials have said the first products may be sold next year.  

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Politics
7:14 am
Mon September 8, 2014

The Fall Of The Illinois Green Party

After failing to get on the November ballot,  the Green Party's candidates for Governor and Secretary of State say they will launch a write-in campaign in this fall's election.   That comes less than a decade after the Illinois Greens pulled in enough votes to reach "major party status" in Illinois.
 

 In the 2006  Governors Race,  Judy Baar Topinka was challenging incumbent Rod Blagojevich.      There was also Rich Whitney who ran for Governor as a candidate for the Green Party.  He got more than ten percent of the vote that year.

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Statehouse
6:47 am
Fri August 29, 2014

State Retirees To Stop Paying Health Premiums

A Sangamon County judge issued a preliminary injunction barring Illinois from collecting higher health care insurance premiums from retired state employees.

In a 6-to-1 ruling in July, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision allowing the state to require retirees to pay for a portion of their own health care. The court said state-subsidized health insurance is a protected pension benefit and the state cannot charge premiums for it.  

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Regional
11:54 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Charities Stepping In Where Government Used To Be

School bake sales buy necessities not luxuries. It's part of "Charity replacing government".

Charities are finding themselves asked to step in to help pay for services and programs that were previously in the government's domain. It seems to be an increasing trend since the economy took a dip several years ago.

Private fundraising for government programs is not necessarily new. State universities have long engaged in fundraising, especially with their alumni and elementary school groups have long held bake sales.

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Statehouse
11:28 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Buy American Sections Required at State Parks & Historic Sites

Credit wolfsonian.org

State parks and historic sites now have to set up an "American Made" section in their gift shops.  

Governor Pat Quinn signed  into law this week a measure that is supposed to increase the number of American and Illinois-made goods state facilities sell.    Illinois has, in recent years, put special emphasis on promoting domestic products, especially those from in-state.

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