Bill Wheelhouse

Anchor/ Economy Blog

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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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Business
10:59 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Illinois Home Sales & Prices Expected To Rise In 2015

2015 Illinois Home Prices To Rise Slightly
Credit Flickr/Images_of_money

A new report predicts an uptick in home sales in Illinois in the coming year. Although a number of potential homebuyers are still sitting on sidelines. The forecast for housing prices in the coming year shows some increases, but not the kind of gains experienced in the last couple of years. 

Geoffrey Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois says while the housing market continues to recovery, he says millennials would rather rent than buy.

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2014 Pledge Drive Message
12:01 am
Thu December 18, 2014

2014 Year End Drive Message: Bill Wheelhouse

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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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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