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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. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It’s the end of an era in DeKalb: Duck Soup Coop is closing. Last night, the natural foods market’s members voted to shut down after forty years. 

Members packed the small store to hear just how bad the co-op’s finances are and learn their options. $45,000 in the hole. They overwhelmingly chose an “orderly closure” as soon as possible over bankruptcy or trying to raise 100-thousand dollars to stay viable.

Rock Valley College

A business incubator based in Rockford is going regional under its new owner. 

EIGERlab opened a decade ago as a place budding entrepreneurs could get help launching their products from concept to customer. Now the mission is the same, but the reach is getting bigger through Northern Illinois University, which acquired EIGERlab from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. 

Kraft Recalls Batch of 'Mac & Cheese'

Mar 18, 2015
Kraft Foods Group

Kraft is voluntarily recalling about 242,000 cases of its Original Macaroni & Cheese. 

Some boxes may contain small metal pieces.

The recall is limited to boxes with “Use By” dates of September 18th through October 11th and the code “C2″ directly below the stamped date. 

Some products were also in multi-packs that have a range of different code dates and manufacturing codes on the packaging.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A railcar factory in Rochelle hit a major milestone Tuesday -- it completed its one-thousandth passenger rail car since opening in 2012. 

Jacquilyn Stephens / WNIJ

A new DeKalb-area group is looking into ways to connect small farms with a big regional market.

Restaurants, stores, and even schools say they want more locally raised food. A growing number of farmers say they want to supply it. The trick is getting them together -- and at a price that works for everyone. That’s where a regional food hub could help.

Dan Kenney convened the first meeting on the idea Thursday in DeKalb. He sees it as an economic engine that could include commercial kitchens, a distribution center, and great training opportunities.

Flickr user Todd / "You buys your ticket" (CC BY 2.0)

If you like to attend shows, chances are you've bought tickets online. Problem is, if you're doing a search and buying from the first site that pops up, there's a chance you're getting ripped off. 

These brokers have crafted legitimate looking websites, and often sell tickets at inflated prices, adding "service" fees. It's nothing new, but Carly Shank who works with Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield says 2014 has been the worst year for it yet:

"We've had a lot of high-profile events, and those are events that kind of help egg that problem along."

The “Fight For 15” movement rallied in Rockford again this week as the campaign marked its second anniversary. “We’ve been fighting and we’ve been doing whatever it takes to try and get a living wage,” said local spokesman Denzel Baldwin.

The rally begin at the McDonalds on Auburn Street and migrated to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford. It included workers from industries other than fast-food. “This particular protest we are actually celebrating the Wal-Mart workers and home-care workers.” Baldwin said, “They are joining our campaign.”

Illinois Economy Keeps Growing

Dec 2, 2014
University of Illinois / illinois.edu

A measure of Illinois economy has been steadily growing this year. 

The University of Illinois Flash Index was at 106.6 in November. Any reading over 100 indicates growth and the index has been steady since February.

U of I’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs releases the index every month. It uses corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income to track Illinois' economy.

Cyber Monday Might Not Have Best Deals

Dec 1, 2014

Retail shopping in November and December are projected to generate $89 billion, according to advisory firm Forrester Research. That’s a 13 percent growth over last year.  But despite the projected boost in sales, today’s online shopping might not bring you the biggest savings. Sucharita Mulpuru is with Forrester:  

Flickr user ivyst / "The Magnificent Mile" (CC v. 2.0)

The head of the Magnificent Mile Association says things will start ramping up later this morning on Michigan Avenue.

But John Chikow says once they do - the area will be packed with shoppers until 8 tonight.

“You can’t buy freshly popped Garrett popcorn online, you can’t go to tea online. So shopping on the Magnificent Mile is as much about family traditions as it is about efficiency of shopping.”

Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's is the latest company to experience a data breach compromising customer data.

Rockford Call Center To Create 500 Jobs

Sep 5, 2014
First Rockford Group

A development company plans to open a call center in Rockford that would create 500 jobs.

Bank of America Sign by Jeepers Media / CC by 2.0

$300,000,000. That's Illinois' share of the nearly $17-billion national settlement with Bank of America.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A new jet repair and maintenance facility means 500 full-time jobs for Rockford. 

BorgWarner To Expand Operations In Dixon

Aug 14, 2014
BorgWarner

BorgWarner is expanding its operations in Dixon, Illinois.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It has taken hundreds of people pulling together at dozens of community meetings to get to this point: tonight, the group “Transform Rockford” will reveal its draft of a vision for the city at a rally at the Coronado Theater, starting at 6:30.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Ten industrial cities in the Midwest share lessons in economic recovery in a new report from the Chicago Federal Reserve. 

Eigerlab

Rockford’s EIGERlab hosts its 8th annual Fastpitch Competition Wednesday, June 18, at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine at Rockford.

EIGERlab Marketing Coodinator Sherry Pritz compares Fastpitch to the television show “Shark Tank,” where entrants pitch their ideas for a new product or process to a panel of investors.

Swedish American Hospital

Rockford's Swedish American Health System and University of Wisconsin Health, based in Madison, Wis., have committed to merge later this year pending regulatory approval, officials of both entities announced Tuesday.

The boards of both organizations have approved a letter of intent to make  Swedish American a partner in the community healthcare delivery model of UW Health, a major regional healthcare network.

Swedish American and UW Health have had a formal affiliation since 2010.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

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

Marketplace and Slate

Marketplace and Slate continue their series The Secret Life of a Food Stamp by asking: What if Wal-Mart paid its employees more?

Slate's Andrew Bouve produced a video which estimates how much more Wal-Mart might have to charge for some products, if it raised wages high enough so that a typical worker would no longer qualify for food stamps.

Volkswqagen

Some 1,500 workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee have voted not to join the United Auto Workers union. The tally of the three-day vote follows days of political prodding from both sides of the issue.

The 712-626 vote was a devastating blow to the UAW, which had tacit support from VW. The union had hoped to make inroads in auto plants in the South, where organizers have been striving for decades to represent factory workers.

VW had even allowed organizers into the plant to make their sales pitches.

Cut The Corporate Income Tax? Illinois House's Top Democrat Says Yes

Jan 30, 2014
Simon Cunningham, licensed under CC BY 2.0 / lendingmemo.com

The Illinois House Speaker is calling for a cut in the state’s corporate income tax rate. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A new bridge spanning the Rock River is being viewed as something more than a way to get across Rockford’s south side. It’s part of the revitalization of a long-neglected area of the city.

transformrockford.org

A growing group of Rockford residents is trying to combat their hometown’s reputation as a “miserable place”…while tackling some of the city’s biggest problems. About a thousand people showed up in the Coronado Theater last night for “Transform Rockford’s” first public meeting.

The owner of the Rockford Register Star and the Freeport Journal Standard has filed for voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

GateHouse Media Inc. announced earlier this month that it had entered into an agreement with some secured lenders to restructure $1.2 billion of debt scheduled to come due in August 2014.

According to Michael Reed, GateHouse director and chief executive officer, the bankruptcy filing for prepackaged reorganization was a strategic decision.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A company with a long Rockford history has been sold. The Rockford Register Star reports cabinet hardware manufacturer Amerock was one of the brands recently sold off by Atlanta-based Newell-Rubbermaid to London-based Nova Capital.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois needs a faster, more reliable electrical grid. That’s why Com Ed is being advised to build a 57-mile-long high-power transmission line stretching across four counties. The company that supplies electricity to most of the region is holding open houses about the project it’s calling “The Grand Prairie Gateway.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

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

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