Bill Wheelhouse

217-206-6402

In the midst of protests this week, there were plenty of messages sent along on social media about looting.  In some areas, those messages were just outright wrong. 

There were many incidents of vandalism and looting across Illinois. There were also false reports.  In some towns, the violence was non-existent. Some posted and passed along rumors of busloads of people coming to towns to loot. They were not.  

Expanded voting-by-mail is coming to Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday he will sign the expanded voting measure into law.

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, along with other legislative leaders, are "ready to convene" a special session as early as next week, according to letters sent to lawmakers and shared with the media.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

As we enter the holiday season, many workers are thinking about the extra days off. 

The State Chamber of Commerce keeps tabs on paid holidays by employers across the state. The average number of paid holidays in Illinois comes in at nearly nine days a year with an average of nearly three personal paid days thrown in.

Looking ahead to the next year, nearly 98 percent of employers will give paid holidays for New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day … along with Thanksgiving.

It's been 30 years since Illinois' mandatory seatbelt law took effect.   The latest numbers estimate that 95 percent of the state's motorists are using their safety belts. The goal is to try to persuade that other five percent:

State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says males in their early 20's are primarily the ones who still don't buckle up.   

senatorjuliemorrison.com

The Illinois Senate may vote on a plan this week to create a "one-stop shop" for people wanting to set up businesses in the state.

The measure would require the state to set up a website that provides details on the costs and links to the forms and information for setting up a business in Illinois. 

About 30,000 cases of Sabra hummus sold nationwide is being recalled due to a possible Listeria contamination.

 

 Listeria is a food-borne illness that can cause high fevers and nausea in minor cases, but the infections can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems and young children, along with causing miscarriages in pregnant women.

 

     The Sabra Dipping Co. is a joint venture of PepsiCo and Strauss Group.

 

     The recalled products include:

 

Governor Bruce Rauner has named an official with the U.S. State Department to lead the Illinois Department of Corrections.

A statement Monday from the Governor's office says Rauner selected 54 year old Donald Stolworthy to head Corrections.

According to the release from the Governor, Stolworthy has 15 years of corrections experience.  He currently works at the State Department in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs where he assesses foreign prison systems.

WUIS

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 have a shot at eminent domain powers along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois. 

The company's Mark Lawler says they'd prefer to acquire the land in negotiations, but eminent domain helps with the planning:

  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.

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.

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".

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.