Business

Business news

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

The Illinois Toll Highway Authority is playing a vital role in economic development and job creation throughout northern Illinois. It’s also looking for ways to increase minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses in their construction projects.

The Authority is planning to build a nearly 63,000-square-foot Maintenance Facility at U.S. 20 and I-90. The new building will be LEED certified, green and modern – and will involve and built by more minority-, disadvantaged-, women- and veteran-owned businesses than ever before.

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Ground was broken officially Monday for the $485 million Mercyhealth regional medical center in northeast Rockford.

The center will include the highest-level services for perinatal and newborn intensive care, trauma services, and specialty medical services, according to Mercyhealth President Javon R. Bea.

"This project is the largest construction project in Rockford history,” he said, “and it will enhance not only patient care but also economic growth to the greater Rockford region in many ways."

Exelon To Close Two Illinois Nuclear Plants

Jun 2, 2016
Exelon

Exelon Corp. says it will move forward with plans to shut two Illinois nuclear plants after the Illinois Legislature didn't act on its request for financial support. 

The company announced it will close the Clinton Power Station in Clinton on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova on June 1, 2018. 

Exelon says the locations are its best-performing plants but they have lost $800 million over the last seven years. About 1,500 people work at the plants. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Anywhere you go in America, you are never far from railroad tracks. Someone has to maintain all of those tracks. And someone has to build the machines to do it. That’s why the owners of a Rockford company want Congress to know railway maintenance is a five-billion dollar industry that deserves support.  

Southern Wisconsin Grapes Suffer Under Recent Cold Snap

May 17, 2016
University of Minnesota Extension (http://www.extension.umn.edu)

Vintners across southern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota are reeling from a weekend cold snap that ruined huge swaths of their grapes.

Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday dropped below freezing in much of those areas, killing grape buds that had emerged early due to the warm spring.

Wisconsin Grape Growers Association President Steve Johnson said Tuesday at least 30 vineyards lost more than 50 percent of their crops.

Rochelle Firm Grows Hydroponic Tomatoes Year-Round

May 9, 2016
MightyVine

Chicago foodies and restaurateurs had a problem: They wanted fresh tomatoes year-round, but crops shipped in during winter lacked the tasted of a locally grown summer batch.

To address this taste issue, they started a company called MightyVine.  Dutch-born Chief Operating Officer Nic Helderman says that, once the company formed, it moved quickly to establish operations in Rochelle.  

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

  Last fall, Accuride Corporation’s Gunite plant in Rockford won an industry award for excellence in manufacturing and business.  It reflects an extraordinary transformation for a facility that just a few years ago was, in the company’s own words, “left for dead” by the previous owners.  

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices continue to climb, in Illinois and nationwide, according to the latest AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded in Illinois is up nine cents since last week, to $1.88. That’s 30 cents higher than a month ago.

The national average is up six cents, but still slightly cheaper than Illinois, at $1.81. 

CASS HERRINGTON / PEORIA PUBLIC RADIO

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a $25 million federal grant for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center in Peoria Thurs. The aim is to help local manufacturers compete in a rapidly changing industry.

The Peoria-based consultant advises and trains manufacturing companies on ways to increase profits, sustainability and cost-savings. The bulk of IMEC’s clients are small to mid-size companies. That’s why Democratic Senator Durbin says the funding will help give small businesses in Illinois a leg-up in the tech-driven, global market.

Institute of Government and Public Affairs, U of I

A monthly snapshot of the state’s economy shows growth in December was the slowest it has been since spring of 2013.

Fred Giertz, who compiles the index for the University of Illinois’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs, says it’s possible the state budget impasse contributed to the economic slowdown. He says it probably hasn’t played that big of a role so far, because the state is collecting less in taxes, leaving more money in consumer’s pockets, while at the same time not cutting back on spending.

Pages