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The CEO of Commonwealth Edison says the utility is continuing to push for changes that failed to win legislative approval in the spring. Anne Pramaggiore told an audience at the City Club of Chicago that a 20-11 so-called "smart grid" law has led to savings and a more reliable power network. But she says further improvements -- like microgrids that can keep electricity flowing when there's an outage, and charging stations for electric cars -- depends on help from Springfield.

Nearly two thirds of United Auto Workers at Fiat Chrysler voted to reject a proposed contract agreement with the company. The union says 65 percent of the membership voted against the pact.

The vote was a slap to President Dennis Williams who pitched the deal as a fair way to compensate workers yet keep the company competitive. Williams says in a statement that he doesn't consider the vote a setback because it's part of the contract process.

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ConAgra Foods will receive an unspecified amount of Illinois tax credits in exchange for 150 new jobs in the state as it moves its headquarters from Omaha, Nebraska, to Chicago. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity confirmed Thursday that Con Agra will benefit from a corporate-recruitment tool that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner put on hold in June amid an ongoing budget impasse with Democratic state lawmakers.

Deere & Co. says it has reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers union, which represents 10,000 Deere employees at 12 factories in three states. The Moline-based manufacturer of farm equipment and other motorized gear announced the agreement Thursday. The new contract replaces a six-year contract that expired Wednesday at midnight. The new contract is for six years and will be voted on by union members.

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The NBC-TV affiliate in Peoria is being sold. Quincy Newspapers Incorporated has agreed to purchase WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting.

Federal Communications Commission approval of the deal requires ending a sales agreement between WEEK and ABC affiliate WHOI, and WAOE-My59. The stations will continue to share news staffs.

Quincy President and CEO Ralph Oakley says he looks forward to upgrading equipment and programming at the stations.

The sale is expected to close in about a month. The purchase price was not disclosed.

More East Peoria Caterpillar Layoffs

Sep 30, 2015

Caterpillar is placing 230 East Peoria workers on indefinite layoffs starting in mid-October.  The announcement brings the total layoff number at the East Peoria facility to 500 people since January.  The news comes a week after Cat announced it’s cutting as many as 10,000 jobs in the coming years as it pushes to reduce costs and address downturns in key markets.  Company spokeswoman Lisa Miller says the latest layoffs are in response to current market conditions to bring production in line with demand.

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The owners of Illinois' horse race tracks say the industry is struggling to survive, but key players diverge on how to salvage the industry. As Amanda Vinicky reports ... decisions by a state board Tuesday could determine tracks' fate.

Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors and the UAW Local at the plant in Normal have extended their collective bargaining agreement another couple days. The contract had been set to expire at Midnight on the 29th, but will now run through October 1st. The two sides are negotiating even as Mitsubishi prepares to end production at the plant in November. It is the second extension. The original contract expired at the end of August. The company is seeking a buyer for the facility in hopes of salvaging about 1,200 jobs there.

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Bloomington-Normal's unemployment rate declined last month compared to a year ago. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the jobless rate dropped 1.2% to 4.5%.

That remains the lowest metro unemployment rate in the state. Peoria's rate went from 7 to 6%, but the area lost 2,600 jobs. Other areas seeing job losses last month were the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, Springfield, Kankakee, Decatur and East St. Louis.

Department Director Jeff Mays says that a portion of a decline in unemployment rates occurs when people drop out of the labor force.

IPR's Brian Mackey

Labor unions are going on the road to make their case against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The latest in a series of events took place in Springfield. IPR's Brian Mackey has more.

Unionized workers in several state agencies were set to lose their jobs in a week. But they'll keep them, at least for awhile longer. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Governor Bruce Rauner's office confirms: layoffs of unionized state employees are on hold. That's due to a lawsuit filed by a trio of unions.

"While it's within the authority of the governor to initiate a layoff, under the contract they can only do so for a legitimate reason." Anders Lindall is the spokesman for AFSCME, which represents some 107 workers affected by the news.

Illinois' unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in August but state officials point out that the number of people with jobs also declined. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said in its monthly report on statewide unemployment Thursday that the jobless rate fell from 5.8 percent in July. Nationwide unemployment was 5.1 percent in August. The department said Illinois lost a net 900 jobs in August. The number of unemployed workers fell 3 percent to 362,500. Department director Jeff Mays said the figures indicate many people continue to leave the workforce.

Courtesy of Lendingmemo.com via CreativeCommons.org

Many equate putting money into the stock market with gambling. There are many similarities, especially when the market is as volatile as it's been lately. But there are even more similarities than you probably would have ever imagined. Willis Kern has more during Sound Money.

Courtesy 401kcalculator.org via CreativeCommons.org

Proven financial practices and solid economic data often take a backseat to gambling-type behavior when it comes to personal investing. During this edition of Sound Money, Willis Kern tries to find out if that kind of activity is ever the right way to approach financial matters.

Photo courtesy TaxRebate.org.uk via CreativeCommons.org

Most of us like to think we are sound financial stewards, basing our planning on solid economic data and proven practices, but that's not always the case. In this edition of Sound Money, Willis Kern explores the world of Behavioral Finance.

Home Sales Slow Seasonally

Sep 16, 2015

More homes are changing hands compared to a year ago, according to the latest twin city numbers. So far this year, 1,911 homes sold. That's up more than a hundred from a year ago. The increase is nearly 6%.  Amanda Wycoff, president of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, says inventory on the market is shrinking.

The price of a new home is about $325,000. That's a price decline of about 7% from a year ago. The price of an existing home is up slightly.

District 87

Population loss, economic activity, property values are all elements of the Bloomington Normal community that will change with the looming closure of the Mitsubishi Auto Plant. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with District 87 School Superintendent Barry Reilly about how he is assessing those variables.

Hear Bloomington Schools Superintendent Barry Reilly talk about the implementation of the high speed wi-fi initiative for low income children in District 87.

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