Rochelle

WNIJ

DeKalb and Rochelle may be in the running for a massive new auto manufacturing plant. Toyota and Mazda announced they are teaming up to build a $1.5 billion factory in the U.S. but didn’t specify the site.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, says he knows state and local economic-development officials are working on a code-named project that meets the same specifications of the Toyota/Mazda plan. 

Demmer says he’s not surprised that DeKalb and Rochelle are contenders. He said both of the cities within his legislative district have what a manufacturer of that size needs.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

A group of Rochelle residents is being recognized for their engineering work at the Illinois State Fair. 

Back in May, a class of Rochelle middle- and high-school students used a 3-D printer to build a prosthetic hand for local farmer Jack Hubbard.  He had lost the arm in a mechanical accident, and the new hand now lets him avoid his bulky work prosthesis at home and play more easily with his kids. 

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

The Rochelle community used a three-dimensional printer to give a local farmer and mechanic a new prosthetic arm. 

Jake Hubbard lost the use of his left arm in 2013, when an 1,100-pound tire fell on him in a mechanical accident. He was able to acquire an artificial limb for work hours, but he took it off in everyday settings.

Vic Worthington, the technical-lab teacher at Rochelle Middle School, attends the same church as Hubbard. He recalls when a child asked Hubbard about the stump, covered in a surgical sleeve. 

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Nippon Sharyo will lay off 100 employees from its factory in Rochelle.  The rail car manufacturer based its decision on a complication with one of its prototype cars, along with other business considerations. 

Nippon Sharyo says its factory will continue operations so it can meet deadlines for current projects.  The company has operated in Rochelle since 2012.  

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

 

The argument for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad is that it will be an economic driver for the region.  But while some are enthusiastic about its potential, some are skeptical – including the railroads that are supposed to be its major clients.    

Great Lakes Basin Railroad lawyer Mike Blaszak says the line will be a boon for the railroads using it -- and for their customers. He cites the example of fracking sand that is mined in Wisconsin.  

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