Belvidere

Guy Stephens

The Boone County Historical Society received the largest donation in its history -- an iconic Belvidere mansion and $1 million to help maintain it.  So what is the society’s vision for its new acquisition?

Victoria Lunacek

Fiat Chrysler announced recently that it will cut third shift operations at its Belvidere production facility in May. The plant produces the Jeep Cherokee. The company cited global demand as part of the reason. On this week's Friday Forum, we learn how the decision could have a much larger ripple effect on the economy.

The shift change will affect 1,371 jobs.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Fiat Chrysler Automobile announced Saturday that CEO Sergio Marchionne's health had suddenly deteriorated following surgery and that its board of directors had chosen Jeep executive Mike Manley to replace him.

Marchionne, a 66-year-old Italian-Canadian, joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt U.S. carmaker Chrysler. Manley, 54, had been heading the Jeep brand since June 2009 and the Ram brand from October 2015.

The Belvidere School District will open a health and wellness center for its employees July 10 in a district building at Sixth Street and East Avenue.  

It will be operated by Activate Healthcare and provide several services to employees who accept the district's insurance program, the Rockford Register Star reports.

Unlimited primary care services, annual health assessments, health coaching, and generic medications are included at no cost. 

Rockford-area teachers received several honors at this year’s Golden Apple awards. 

The Rockford Register Star reports two schools had teachers that won the award for the first time.  Jared Young of Belvidere North High School and Sarah Schaefer of Roosevelt Community Education Center were honored in such a way.  Linda Julian of Willowbrook Middle School also became the longest-tenured award winner, with 39 years of experience.  

freesignprinter.com

Boone County’s board approved a special use permit for a natural gas peaker plant in Garden Prairie near Belvidere.

Member Cathy Ward says they voted 8-4 in favor, and they believe the plant near Belvidere would bring up to $900,000 to the area. Most of this money would go to Belvidere schools, and about $100,000 would go to the county directly.

Supporters of the plant cited a need for more tax revenue and jobs, while opponents  were concerned about water usage, excessive noise, and devaluation of local property.  

Illinois Lottery

A Belvidere woman won a quarter of a million dollars in the Illinois Lottery Crossword game.

According to a news release from the Lottery, that is the top prize for the $10 scratch-off ticket.

Martha Barradas, a Belvidere resident of 15 years, says she was “so surprised” that she won. She said so while presenting her ticket at the lottery Prize Center in Rockford.

The  last Jeep Compass and Patriot made in the U.S. will roll off the line at Belvidere’s Fiat Chrysler plant today.

The Rockford Register-Star reports it will begin retooling the plant Monday to build the Jeep Cherokee. 

About 4,500 people will be laid off during the five-month retooling process, but they’ll be brought back in phases for training. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Fiat Chrysler Assembly Plant in Belvidere is idled this week because of a supplier problem.

 A supplier for Chrysler is building a new facility in Belvidere to produce components for the Jeep Cherokee. 

The Rockford Register-Star says the building’s tenant hasn’t been identified, but the facility will employ around 500 workers.  This is on top of 500 additional jobs coming to Sager Industrial Park two miles east of the Chrysler plant. 

Fiat Chrysler reshuffled its production earlier this year, ceasing local production of the Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, and Dodge Dart. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Chrysler’s parent company confirms it: the Jeep Cherokee will be produced at the Belvidere Assembly Plant starting next year.

Fiat-Chrysler America’s spokesperson Jodi Tinson says the company is making a big investment in Belvidere: $350-million to retool the plant and eventually, 300 new full-time jobs.

Susan Stephens

  The Boone County Board voted 10 to 1 in favor of a letter opposing the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Project. 

The Rockford Register-Star reports that the document details various objections to "livability, including land loss, water quality, noise, and insurance costs.  It stands in contrast to another letter board members were considering.  That document was not as detailed about what the board feared were threats to “livability.” 

United Auto Workers members have resoundingly rejected a four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler. Workers at the plant in Belvidere were among the last in the nation to vote on the deal union leaders had worked out with the automaker: like most Fiat Chrysler plants nation-wide, they overwhelmingly vote "no."

65% of the Belvidere plant's 3000 UAW members voted against the proposal. It's considered a rebuke of their union leaders who supported the deal.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Votes this week will decide the fate of a four-year contract proposal for Fiat Chrysler employees nationwide. Today, union workers in Belvidere’s plant will cast their ballots.

Belvidere is one of the big Fiat Chrysler plants UAW leaders hope will approve the national contract the union hammered out with the automaker. So far this week, workers at a number of factories have rejected the deal. A truck plant in Warren, Michigan approved it.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford residents can look forward to taking a train into Chicago next year, after three decades without passenger rail service. 

Temporary Layoffs At Chrysler Plant

Mar 4, 2014
Susan Stephens

325 workers at the Chrysler assembly plant in Belvidere have received temporary layoff notices.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Chrysler is recalling about 15,000 Dodge Darts because they could stall in cold weather. The Dart is produced in Belvidere. 

Preservation Grants Help Local Projects

Jan 25, 2013
McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Thirteen Illinois communities will share federal historic preservation grants. The money will fund historical surveys in Belvidere and Ottawa, and a video project in Woodstock.  It will also be used in Morrison.

Belvidere Seeks Greater Vitality

Jan 8, 2013
Susan Stephens/pixlr

In the first of WNIJ's occasional series "Community Close-Up," we turn our attention to Belvidere. Like many other communities, Belvidere is trying to revitalize its downtown.

The coordinating committee of five Belvidere city aldermen and five Boone County Board members has voted unanimously to pursue completion of the interchange at Irene Road and Interstate 90.

The Belvidere Daily Republican reported the committee approved $81,000 for preliminary engineering and $33,800 for a right-of-way consultant, with the city and county splitting that expense.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The much-heralded Dodge Dart should be in dealerships by the end of next month. To celebrate, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne visited the home of the Dart Thursday -- the Belvidere Assembly Plant.

Steve Rapp

A massive mulch fire is causing headaches for travelers and residents in northern Boone County. 

Belvidere plant ready to turn out new Dodge Dart

Apr 30, 2012

Official production of the new Dodge Dart is being launched in northern Illinois this week.  The model is being assembled at the Chrysler plant in Belvidere. 

Susan Stephens

 

It’s considered conventional wisdom that you should never buy a car in its first year of production: that gives the automaker time to “work the kinks out.” And that’s the kind of thinking Chrysler officials are working to dispel as they prepare to launch the new Dodge Dart in Belvidere. 

Chrysler adding 1800 jobs in Belvidere

Feb 2, 2012
dodge.com

 

Chrysler's decision to produce the new Dodge Dart in northern Illinois will result in a wave of new jobs.  The automaker formally told workers at Belvidere assembly plant Thursday that it plans to add nearly 1800 jobs at the facility by the end of the summer.