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Business

Illinois Supreme Court

A federal judge in Saint Louis has granted class action certification in a civil racketeering case against Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance.

The Clifford Law Office in Chicago alleges State Farm employees ran a dark money campaign to elect Lloyd Karmeier to the State Supreme Court, believing he would support the insurance company once a certain case reached the high court.

Daniel Oines / Flickr

Health care costs are a major concern for everyone, but especially those planning for retirement. While incomes may be fixed, the numbers on medical bills aren't.

Edgar Norton, Director of  Illinois State University's Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis, said the average 65-year old couple will spend about $250,000 on health care. While that may seem like a large amount of money, Norton said there are ways to help reduce the impact.

Emma Shores / WGLT

McLean County residents are reacting to a new medical marijuana dispensary opening in northern Normal. The Green Solution opened their doors Friday to allow members of the public to preview the facility.

Steve Sompong of Bloomington has a prescription for cannabis to treat Fibromyalgia. He said he's had to drive to Canton and Peoria to obtain the substance.

"Now I'm three miles away. This is the greatest thing that's ever happened in the state of Illinois," he said. "I mean, help with medical, children [and] everything. Everybody benefits from this that has problems.”

Creative Commons

After more than a decade of discussion and false starts, Starbucks is coming to the Illinois State University campus.

The coffee shop opens Monday in the Student Fitness Center.

182nd Airlift Wing / Wikimedia Commons

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was on-hand Tuesday for an expansion of a food manufacturing company in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. The company’s growth in Illinois stands in contrast to Rauner’s constant criticism of the state’s business climate.

Since Rauner has taken office - he’s said there’s too many regulations, and it’s too expensive to do business in Illinois. Tuesday, Rauner took the unusual step of applauding a company for expanding in Illinois, while still criticizing the state government.

Creative Commons

Housing sales in Bloomington Normal appear to be reflecting the economy as a whole; growing over last year, but increasing slower than at this time last year.

Association of Realtors President Karent Stailey-Lander is pleased with the results through July.

401kcalculator.org / Flickr

Many baby boomers are ready to retire, or are planning for retirement. There are some do's and dont's when it comes to how to spend your savings.

Edgar Norton, Director of  Illinois State University's Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis, said the average 65-year old couple will spend about $250,000 on health care. (More on health care expenses coming in part 2.)

WGLT

Summer is always a quieter time on college campuses. Most students go home for a summer job or take an internship elsewhere. Faculty and staff typically have less to do on campus. Some might even leave town for a vacation. 

For three months of the year, the local businesses and industries that profit from the needs and wants of the university community adjust.

Charlie Schlenker

Do you remember playing with little plastic blocks when you were a kid? Building Lego houses, Lego forts, gardens with little figures and animals, kits of Star Wars ships made from Lego?

What if you could do that now? Some people have all the luck.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Workers are feverishly putting the final touches on the thirty five million dollar Center for Integrated Wellness just north of the airport in Bloomington.

The Center combines several services and business entities in one place, a fitness center managed by Advocate BroMenn, METHOD Sports Performance, and McLean County Orthopedics. Such facilities are becoming a trend across the U.S. 

WGLT

The parent company of the Bloomington Pantagraph Newspaper says it has made substantial inroads in paying off its debt.

In the latest quarterly financial reports, Lee Enterprises says it continues to use all its available cash to reduce debt, more than sixteen million dollars in the last quarter and eighty six million dollars in the first three quarters of the year. Lee still owes more than 640 million dollars.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Saving money makes sense, but it's tough to do if you don't have a plan in place. During Sound Ideas, Edgar Norton, Director of the Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis, said there are two primary approaches:

  • Top Down
  • Bottom Up

Norton said no matter which method you use, you should start now, and continue tweaking.

"It's better to start making decisions now, then adjust along the way, " Norton said.

Ralph Timan

This weekend marks a year since Mitsubishi Motors told the community and its workers the auto plant in Normal would close.

Many workers have had tremendous changes in that year. Among them Ralph Timan and his wife Mitzi.

Creative Commons

The first anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal is this weekend.

GLT is revisiting the several former workers we've followed since then.

Enbridge Fined For Michigan Oil Spill

Jul 20, 2016

Enbridge Energy Partners will pay a $61 million penalty for the costliest inland oil spill in U.S. history under an agreement with federal officials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced the settlement over a 2010 pipeline rupture near Marshall, Michigan, that released an estimated 843,000 gallons of crude oil.

A nearly 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River was polluted as shoreline residents fled their homes.

Taxcredits.net

There's a new business institute at Illinois State University. It's called the Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis and listeners to Sound Money will recognize the name of the institute's director--Edgar Norton, long time a professor of finance at ISU, is now heading up this institute.

staff

College students and their parents are concerned about going into debt to pay for their education.

One ironic twist brought on by this situation is that kids and their parents are forced to learn more about managing their funds.

In this edition of Sound Money, WGLT's Willis Kern talks with ISU assistant professor of business education at Illinois State University Tamra Davis about some of the apps and programs she uses in her financial literacy classes.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Corp. says it will shut two Illinois nuclear plants after the Illinois Legislature declined to act on its request for financial support. The company said Thursday 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.

WGLT

Many businesses are figuring out how much new federal rules on overtime pay will cost them starting in December. The effect on Illinois State University could be in the two million dollar range.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

You wouldn't have to be sick, to take a sick day under legislation approved Tuesday by the Illinois House.      

Soda Tax May Bubble Up In Springfield

May 18, 2016
Rex Sorgatz / Creative Commons

Lawmakers scrambling to find money to fix Illinois' multi-billion dollar deficit are looking to sugary drinks as one potential source of revenue.

Alan Ferguson / Creative Commons

Home sales in Bloomington Normal rose 11 percent in April compared to the same month last year. The Association of Realtors said year to date sales are up 5.6 percent. Indicators remain mixed, though.

lendingmemo.com

Some new rules are going into effect for those who make a living investing other people's cash. WGLT's Willis Kern has more with the director of Illinois State University's Institute for Financial Planning and Analysis, Edgar Norton, in this edition of Sound Money.

 

Michael Allen Smith / Creative Commons

Count the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council among the interest groups on board a proposed sales tax sharing agreement in the twin cities.

Caterpillar Execs Visit Cuba

May 11, 2016
Roger W. / Creative Commons

Leaders from Caterpillar are traveling to Cuba this week as the company tries to grow business opportunities in the island nation. The Peoria-based company announced Wednesday representatives from machinery dealer RIMCO are joining CEO Doug Oberhelman and Cat executives.

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant.

Staff

The apparent Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump has the apparent support of central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood. During a stop in Bloomington, LaHood (R-Dunlap) said he's standing by his statement that he will support whoever wins the GOP nomination.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The head of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal said this has been his most difficult year of more than four decades in the auto industry. The company laid off most of its workforce last year and the final hundred plus workers at the facility will lose their jobs at the end of the month.

staff

With payroll rules set to change possibly within weeks, central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood wants the Obama administration to consider phasing in new overtime regulations.

The Dunlap Republican worked a McDonalds drive-thru lane in Bloomington as a way to illustrate what he says will be an undue burden on small businesses.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Nuclear estimates it will lose more than 100 million dollars on its Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Power plants in 2017 unless it can get money to preserve those reactors.

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