Business news

Southern Wisconsin Grapes Suffer Under Recent Cold Snap

May 17, 2016
University of Minnesota Extension (

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

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. 


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.