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McHenry County getting new hospital

Jul 26, 2012

A proposed hospital project in the northern Illinois county is moving forward. A separate hospital project in the same county awaits another look from regulators. 

WNIJ back on the air

Jul 24, 2012
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WNIJ listeners, and employees, rejoiced at around 1:30pm Tuesday when power was restored to our transmitter near Lindenwood, Ill. Chief engineer Jeff Glass said the generator, which failed due to lack of coolant, is running again. Glass said WNIJ will operate at reduced power until Commonwealth Edison restores electricity to the transmitter site.

Thousands of WNIJ listeners lost contact with their NPR programming this morning, when a severe thunderstorm cut the power to Northern Public Radio's transmitter in Lindenwood, Ill. The outage also affected listeners to WNIJ's sister station, Classical WNIU.

Statewide home sales in June surged 18 percent over previous year levels to 13,111 single-family homes and condominiums. This was the best June performance since 2010, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

The statewide median price in June was $155,000, up 3.3 percent from June 2011, the fourth straight month of median price increases in Illinois. The median price -- where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less – has risen $32,650 since January.

The foods of summer: Ollie's frozen custard

Jul 20, 2012
Jenna Dooley

DeKalb County's summer haven from the heat is none other than Ollie's Frozen Custard in Sycamore.  The hotspot features tasty treats and a recognizable logo: Ollie, a smiling man with a bowler hat and bushy mustache.

Known most for its creamy custard, Ollie’s has been the post-baseball game favorite since 1985 with the opening of its first store in DeKalb. When space became limited, it moved to Oakland Drive in Sycamore in 1990.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

A host of public officials and hundreds of invited guests came to Rochelle Thursday to mark the grand opening of Japanese company Nippon Sharyo’s new rail car manufacturing facility there.  

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Mitsubishi's top selling vehicle is now made in Illinois. The Japanese automaker has shifted production of the Outlander Sport to its only U.S. production facility in Normal.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended the ceremony launching the Japanese automaker's latest U.S. product, touted the sporty crossover SUV during remarks to 1,200 plant workers, company executives, and other officials.

"It's fuel efficient and it's made in America and made in Illinois,” he said. “That means a lot to me, and I think to everybody in our state, that your skill has crafted this vehicle that not only will supply the automotive needs of our country but also the export possibilities."

The two major electric utilities in Illinois ranked at the bottom of the annual household customer satisfaction survey of large Midwest electric utilities released today by J.D. Power and Associates and in the bottom four of 14 in business customer satisfaction.

Commonwealth Edison Co. ranked worst in household satisfaction with a score of 579 on a scale of 1,000 points, and eleventh in business satisfaction with a score of 642.

Ameren Illinois, with a score of 606, was just above ComEd in the household survey and was dead last in the business category with a score of 610.

A Rock County, Wis., town’s attempt to require a livestock farm to meet stricter water than state regulations was rebuffed Wednesday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Town of Magnolia, on State Route 213 in northern Rock County, granted a permit to Larson Acres Dairy in 2006 but imposed conditions aimed at controlling nitrate levels in water sources near the 2,900-cow facility.

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/

Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC will provide $2.1 million in restitution for Illinois residents who paid for debt settlement services but failed to receive meaningful debt reduction under a settlement with Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The Chicago-based law firm, which operates nationwide, allegedly charged consumers upfront fees to provide debt settlement services with promises to make them debt free.

The BMO Harris Bank location in South Beloit will be among the 24 bank branches to be closed in October as part of merger activities with Wisconsin banking company Marshall & Ilsley Corp.

The South Beloit branch was acquired in 2010 when Rockford-based AMcore bank was closed by regulators and the assets sold to Chicago-based BMO Harris.

Three Winnebago County communities have signed a joint electricity aggregation agreement with FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron, Ohio, to supply power at a discounted rate for residents and businesses with an overall savings of nearly $20 million.

The Cities of Rockford and Loves Park and the Village of Pecatonica signed an intergovernmental agreement earlier in the year to bid jointly for contract as a result of the referendum approved in March.

U.S. Marshals Service

At least some of the more than 400 prime quarter horses belonging to former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell  should go on the block at a multi-day, live public auction later this summer in Dixon under a proposal by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Using www.fedbizopps.gov,the Marshals Service has posted a dozen or so documents detailing the requirements to bid for the contract – including the fact that it is open only to small businesses.

The Rockford metro area unemployment rate fell nearly one percentage point in May  to 10.4 percent and payroll employment grew by 3,400 jobs or 2.3 percent, according to preliminary data released today.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and the U.S. Department of Labor said unemployment fell in eight metro areas, increased in two and essentially was unchanged in two compared to last year, according

The data comparing May 2012 to May 2011 is not seasonally adjusted. The state unadjusted rate has dropped every month this year.

Two Illinois Congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle are working together to promote legislation aimed at strengthening American manufacturing.

U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3, originated The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-11, signed on as co-sponsor.

First State Bank of Mendota has added two new branches in Shabbona, both former locations of the Farmers and Traders State Bank of Shabbona, which was closed at end of business Friday by state regulators.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver to protect depositors. The FDIC arranged with First State Bank to assume all deposits of Farmers and Traders.

Air cargo wars: RFD vs ORD

Jun 7, 2012

An aviation expert says Chicago's plan to bolster air cargo capacity at O'Hare International could have a negative effect on surrounding airports. He says Rockford's airport could be among those affected.

  • House panel says Smith can be disciplined
  • Patient safety survey grades Sterling hospital “A”
  • Retired Illinois teachers got $900 million COLA bump
  • S&P weighs another Illinois ratings downgrade

Construction slows traffic in Machesney Park

Jun 4, 2012

Road construction is becoming a familiar scene this time of year. For the month of June, construction is expected to continue around the revamped Machesney Town Center.  All businesses will remain open during the road improvements, but it may take longer to get around.

Construction continues this month for the inside lane of Highway 251 around the area formerly known as the Machesney Park Mall.  New turn lanes are being added on 251 between Copper Drive and Roosevelt Road.

Meanwhile, pavement will be moving east, framing the intersection of Illinois 173 and Illinois 251.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A group of Rockford-area educators and business-people think they have an answer to one of the region’s employment problems: they’ve developed a path to take talented students all the way from high school to careers in the aerospace industry.

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.

Facebook's much-publicized first sale of stock to the public started with a bang late this morning as the price per share jumped. But though the volume of shares sold was a record for an initial public offering, the stock's price gave up its gains as the day continued.

By the end of trading in the U.S., Facebook had settled right at the $38 initial offering price that had been set before shares went on sale.

The April unemployment rate in Illinois fell for the eighth consecutive month to reach8.7 percent, according to federal and state preliminary data released today.

The last time the unemployment rate was below 8.7 percent was February 2009, when it was 8.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The United States Postal Service announced Thursday that it will soon begin consolidating dozens of mail processing facilities across the country. Part of Rockford's operations will be transferred to the Carol Stream distribution center. The other half will be absorbed by the facility in Palatine.

DeKalb County treasurer predicts additional rate increases and lower assessments for the next couple of taxing cycles.

  • O’Hare cargo deal to create thousands of jobs
  • Will legislature adjourn on time?
  • Student loan rate hike hits Illinois hard
  • Police mark one year in search for boy
  • Ponzi schemer must repay and do time

Illinois hospitals are bracing for Medicaid reimbursement rate cuts at the state level. This issue entered the spotlight after a Rockford-area health-care provider announced budget cuts. NIU's Jim Ciesla says other hospitals could take similar steps amid uncertainty over state and federal policy matters. 

Google Maps

Construction is nearing for an 80-room, four-story Hampton Inn along I-88 and Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb. Mayor Kris Povlsen says the hotel may keep visitors from leaving the city to stay overnight in neighboring towns. 

There's a push in northern Illinois to introduce more young people to the world of finance. Some young adults in the Rockford-area will get a chance to learn about such careers. 

Rockford-based Swedish American Health System has announced layoffs and job position eliminations to stay in the black,  citing potential reductions to reimbursement rates under the state's Medicaid program. 

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