Daily Archive : Thursday September 7, 2017

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    5 Governors Press Congress For Fast Bucks To Secure Obamacare Market In 2018

    Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has a problem - and not much time to solve it. The chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee wants to turn the page on the divisive health debate of this summer. He’s been working with the panel’s top Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), to craft a bipartisan bill aimed at shoring up the individual health insurance market. Alexander has been looking at a proposal that would please Democrats (and insurance companies) by funding contested subsidies that help moderate-income policyholders pay their out-of-pocket health costs. To please Republicans, he has been pushing a plan to give states more flexibility to set up “reinsurance” pools that would help bring down premiums by limiting insurer exposure for the most expensive patients. And he has to get the job done with only a handful of legislative days in September before insurers must make final decisions on 2018 coverage. Alexander may have an impossible task ahead of him if his committee’s hearings over the past two days are an indication. A bipartisan succession of state governors and insurance commissioners told the committee that there is no time for them to get their own reinsurance programs up and running in order to stabilize the market. What would help in the short term, they said, would be for the federal government to step in and do it - temporarily. “For the first year, you’re going to have to have the federal government help on that,” said Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.). But a clearly frustrated Alexander said at the end of Thursday’s hearing that he couldn’t pass that kind of bill. “To get a Republican president, House and Senate to vote for just more money isn’t going to happen in the next two or three weeks,” he said. That, however, did not convince the governors, who said this money was essential in stabilizing the markets. “One of our great challenges is to get more people participating in the system; a reinsurance pool is one of the best ways to do that,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat from Colorado. He and Haslam were echoed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, both Republicans; and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat. Reinsurance provides money to insurers for the sickest and highest-cost consumers. Governors testified that reinsurance would lower premiums, thereby bringing young, healthy people into the risk pool and providing stability to the marketplace. Alexander has been a proponent of states setting up their own reinsurance pools by applying for exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s rules to innovate in their markets. So-called Section 1332 waivers are permitted as long as they don’t cost the federal government more money or cover fewer people. He asked in his opening remarks if there was a way to reform the clunky 1332 process to allow states to create their own reinsurance pools. “Whether it’s reinsurance or an invisible high-risk pool or a stabilization fund - we need to think about what the state share of that should be,” Alexander said. As written, the health law makes it impossible for states to get waivers for reinsurance pools that could be up and running in time for 2018 enrollment. The waivers require state legislation and six-month waiting periods for final federal approval. The ACA created a federal reinsurance program that ran for three years, expiring in 2016. Bullock said the federal reinsurance pool lowered premiums by 10 to 15 percent in 2014. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), a former governor of her state, supported using federal dollars to help states set up their reinsurance programs.

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    Moderator Mary Lynn Faoumi introduces panelists during the 2017 CEO Forum, hosted by the Daily Herald and Daily Herald Business Ledger at the Fairfield Inn in Schaumburg Thursday.

    CEO Survey: High taxes, uncertainty cloud business growth

    High taxes, uncertainty with state government and rising health care costs continue to be the key challenges facing suburban companies, according to a survey of suburban business executives conducted by Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies in partnership with the Daily Herald and Daily Herald Business Ledger.

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    Molly’s Original Pancake House is now open at on Route 22 location in Lake Zurich.

    Molly’s Pancake House opens in Lake Zurich

    After months of extensive renovations, Molly’s Original Pancake House in Lake Zurich opened today. A new family took over White Alps, a longtime eatery in town that closed about 10 months ago.

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    This rendering created by the village of Lake Zurich shows a two-story retail center at the vacant lot near the intersection of Main Street and Lake Street.

    Lake Zurich reveals new plans for downtown improvements

    Lake Zurich officials revealed new conceptual plans they’ve created for a downtown retail center and lakeside beverage pavilion in a presentation this week on their downtown redevelopment efforts.

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    FILE - In this June 29, 2017 file photo, shoppers choose clothes at a store in Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district. The Japanese economy grew at a slower pace in the April-June quarter, not the surprisingly strong spurt indicated by an earlier estimate, according to revised government data Friday, Sept. 8, although signs of a revival are holding up. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

    Japan's economy is growing, but slower, quarterly data show

    The Japanese economy grew slower in the April-June quarter than a surprisingly strong first estimate had indicated, but signs of a revival are holding up

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    The Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Wheaton has remained closed since a January 2016 fire.

    Burger joint, chicken restaurant opening soon in Wheaton

    Here’s a closer look at the new additions to Wheaton’s restaurant scene this fall.

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    Missing plane spotted in mountainous area in West Virginia

    Small plane that went missing has been located in mountainous area in West Virginia

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    Amazon announced Thursday that it has opened the search for a second headquarters, promising to spend more than $5 billion on the opening.

    Could Amazon deliver new HQ to Chicago? Emanuel making his pitch

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pitching Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about building the company’s second North American headquarters in Chicago amid speculation that the e-commerce giant may be eyeing the North Branch industrial corridor.

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    Brenna Hurley mixes ingredients Thursday at Fanny’s Thai Roll Ice Cream in Elgin.

    Thai rolled ice cream trend arrives in Elgin

    Fanny’s Thai Roll Ice Cream in Elgin offers 15 varieties of freshly made ice cream served into the shape of rolls with various fruit and cookie toppings.

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    Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comMichael Himmes of Signature Bank, left, speaks with Michael Johnston of U.S. Minerals, Inc., during the Daily Herald/DH Business Ledger CEO Forum at the Fairfield Inn in Schaumburg Thursday.

    Images: 2017 CEO Forum
    Images from the 2017 CEO Forum, sponsored by the Daily Herald and Daily Herald Business Ledger and held Sept. 7 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Schaumburg.

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    A new barbecue restaurant is coming to Huntley’s downtown square. Work begins this month on the BBQ King Smokehouse, expected to open next spring. The award-winning Woodstock restaurant will be the largest tenant in a new building at 11708 Coral St.

    Huntley downtown to get new BBQ restaurant

    A BBQ King Smokehouse restaurant is coming to Huntley’s downtown square.

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    Grain lower, livestock mixed

    Wheat for Sept. was 8.25 cents lower 4.1350 a bushel; Sept. corn was down 5.25 cents at 3.4175 bushel; Sept. oats unchanged at $2.35 a bushel; while Sept. soybeans lost 1.25 cents at $9.6325 a bushel. Beef higher and pork was lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange October live cattle was up 1.52 cents at $1.0622 a pound; September feeder cattle rose 2.25 cents at $1.45.55 a pound; while Oct. lean hogs fell 2.10 cents at $.6145 a pound.

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    Amazon.com is scouting North American cities for a second company headquarters, where it plans to hire as many as 50,000 full-time workers, the tech giant announced Thursday.

    Amazon looking for a city to be home to $5B second HQ, 50,000 jobs

    Amazon.com is scouting North American cities for a second company headquarters, where it plans to hire as many as 50,000 full-time workers, the tech giant announced Thursday. The Seattle-based company says it plans to invest $5 billion in construction and operation of the new location, which it is calling Amazon HQ2.

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    Baxter recognized as responsible and sustainable business
    For the 18th consecutive year, Baxter has been recognized in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, among the most prestigious global benchmarks for corporate responsibility and sustainability.

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    Walgreens customers donate $10 million for Harvey relief
    More than $10 million was raised by Walgreens and Duane Reade customers nationwide for American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts through donations at store checkouts.

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    Inland Private Capital executive honored
    Joe Binder, senior vice president of acquisition structure and finance with Inland Private Capital Corp., was honored as one of Connect Media’s 2017 Next Generation Award winners.

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    Sports Field to design, construct baseball training facility

    Sports Field Holdings subsidiary Firstform Inc. was awarded a contract to design and construct the auxiliary baseball training facility at Whitefield Academy in Mapleton, Georgia.

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    Flexera promotes Darvall to director of Australia, New Zealand

    Flexera has appointed Hugh Darvall as its new director of Australia and New Zealand.

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    Paylocity names Williams chief financial officer

    Paylocity Holding Corp. in Arlington Heights announced Toby Williams has joined Paylocity as chief financial officer, effective Sept. 18.

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    In this July 12, 2017, photo, Ben Brack, a firefighter and public information officer, tests the stability of a beetle-killed tree at the site of a wildfire locally called the Keystone fire, near Albany, Wyo. The fire was burning in a dense forest of beetle-killed trees, which pose a safety hazard for firefighters because the trees, weakened by the bugs, topple more easily than living trees. (AP Photo/Dan Elliott)

    Billions of dead trees force US fire crews to shift tactics

    Thick stands of dead timber in the Western U.S. have forced firefighters to shift tactics, trying to stay out of the shadow of lifeless, unstable trees that could come crashing down with deadly force

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    FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2016 file photo, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. The magazine says its longtime editor Graydon Carter is leaving the magazine at the end of the year after 25 years at the helm. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

    Longtime Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter leaving magazine

    Vanity Fair says its longtime editor Graydon Carter is leaving the magazine at the end of the year after 25 years at the helm

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    CRAIG HURVITZ

    Industrial build-to-suit development impressive, but spec construction even stronger

    Four-and-a-half years ago, as the general business climate was functioning in full recovery mode, we began what has been one of the most prolific development cycles in the area's industrial market.According to Colliers International industrial market statistics, since the current development cycle began in 2013, and through midyear 2017, industrial construction activity has totaled 74 million square feet of space on the strength of 288 speculative, build-to-suit and building addition projects.During the current cycle, build-to-suit and building additions have accounted for 50 percent of the construction activity. A total of 150 build-to-suit and building additions totaling 37.3 million square feet have been completed in that time, compared to 138 speculative completions totaling 36.7 million square feet. This is in stark contrast to the previous cycle which ended in 2008, when speculative development accounted for about 70 percent of deliveries.Despite significant build-to-suit activity since 2013, speculative construction continues to accelerate. Currently there are a total of 45 construction projects totaling 14.8 million square feet under construction. Of that activity, 9.9 million square feet (67 percent) is being built on a speculative basis.Since industrial development activity picked up in 2013, nine of the ten largest construction projects completed have been build-to-suit projects, and all ten were 900,000 square feet or larger. While speculative development has and continues to be impressive, big-box users requiring specialized distribution facilities have repeatedly opted to build facilities to their specifications. In part due to e-commerce giant Amazon.com leasing more than five million square feet in the Chicago market over the past 18 months, developers are more confident that the demand now exists for large speculative facilities, and are building bigger facilities to attract those users.Currently, seven of the ten largest projects under construction are being built on a speculative basis. Three of these speculative projects are greater than one million square feet, and a fourth speculative facility greater than one million square feet is currently breaking ground.Each of these colossal structures are being built in the I-80 Joliet Corridor, which is home to 27 percent of all construction activity since 2013. This submarket stretches from Tinley Park on the east to Ottawa on the west and encompasses all of Joliet, the sprawling intermodal facilities in Elwood and Joliet, and several new industrial parks. Just to the north, the I-55 Corridor, encompassing the industrial sections of Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Woodridge and Lockport, has witnessed 19 percent of activity since 2013. During the previous cycle, the I-55 Corridor saw the lion's share of development — more than 30 percent was built in the submarket.Following are some additional facts and figures about this very strong run that has occurred in industrial real estate since 2013.• Construction completions have increased every year since 2013, from 8.8 million square feet in 2013 to 22.3 million square feet in 2016. Through the first half of 2017, 12.7 million square feet has been delivered, and the year is on pace to eclipse the record set last year.• The average size of development projects since 2013 has increased every year, from 235,000 square feet to 335,000 square feet.• The four speculative projects greater than one million square feet under construction represent the first speculative projects of that size built since 2013.• The 36.7 million square feet of speculative projects completed since 2013 is 59 percent leased. More than 15 million square feet is currently available in recently-constructed modern speculative facilities.

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    DAN BROWN

    Weighing the options when it comes to buying or leasing property

    As the economy continues its strong run, there is a shift in mindset among some business owners. Many owners of light manufacturing, distribution and warehouse related businesses are looking at their future plans and debating whether buying space is a better long-term strategy than leasing.

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    CHUCK TAYLOR

    Construction insights: Converting vacant commercial spaces

    When it comes to finding the right location for a new business concept or growing brand, choosing between building new or converting an existing space is an important decision. In high-density markets like Chicago's suburbs, repurposing a vacant commercial property can be a great way to secure a top location while simultaneously reducing construction costs. But there are important construction considerations to keep in mind when vetting space. Understand your infrastructure needs: Knowing what it will take to make a space function for a particular purpose is key in choosing an existing commercial property – especially when converting one to an entirely new purpose. A few years ago, the landlord of a downtown high rise asked us to provide a magnitude budget – or ballpark estimate – to convert a vacant first-floor retail space into a restaurant. Once we budgeted the necessary infrastructure to accommodate a restaurant kitchen, which has much different power, cooling and exhaust needs than a retail store, the landlord ultimately decided it was not realistic to convert the space. While not all conversions will come up against similar budget constraints, this is an example of how a construction firm can double as a consultant by anticipating infrastructure needs, and associated costs, to determine a project's feasibility.Get creative with big spaces: One emerging opportunity in Chicago's suburbs, amid retail vacancy rates hovering around 10 percent in the metro area, is the availability of vacant big-box and department stores that, before the rise of e-commerce, drove traffic to local shopping centers. These now-empty spaces offer ample square footage that can be used in a variety of ways – I've seen them turned into recreation offerings such as indoor soccer centers, arcade-type destinations and trampoline or hoverboard parks, as well as trade schools and even office space.From a construction standpoint, these conversions can be as simple as stripping out existing fixtures and finishes to end up with a white box space as a starting point, or as complex as reconfiguring structural components. For example, Englewood recently worked with a shopping center redevelopment team to evaluate a former department store as a location for a new sports-based concept. Construction plans entailed removing multiple floors – and their central supports – in the store's interior, and creating a new structure within the existing shell. In this scenario, bringing an experienced commercial contractor to the table early on can provide insights into not only the best construction approach, but also costs involved.Find “apples-to-apples” opportunities: A more straightforward way to use existing commercial space is bringing in a business concept similar to what the location housed previously. In these cases, the infrastructure and square footage needs are similar, which helps minimize construction cost and timeline. In a restaurant-to-restaurant conversion, for instance, typically the back-of-house setup and mechanicals can be repurposed, and the client can invest most of their construction budget in cosmetic improvements. Likewise, a retail-to-retail conversion can be as simple as a refresh of flooring, paint and lighting.Express brand identity: At the end of the day, one of the most important pieces of advice for taking over an existing commercial space is to find a building with good bones that still allows for a new brand identity to be created, whether through signage, finishes that match brand standards or unique design elements. After all, the right construction partner can make any space function for almost any purpose, but it is the strength of the business and the brand that will ultimately make the project a success.

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    MARK PIKUS

    Make way for commercial PACE funding in Illinois

    Energy efficiency is on the minds of many commercial real estate owners as it provides a way to lower energy costs, increase property values, reduce operating expenses and enhance the comfort of their tenants.

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    Echo Inc. in Lake Zurich completed a massive expansion of its headquarters.

    Lake Zurich’s Echo completes expansion on schedule

    The new Echo expansion features a curtain wall glass and windows that weigh more than 35,000 pounds, enough glass to make 84,000 16-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. A grand opening ceremony is planned for next week.

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    Grain lower, Livestock mixed

    CHICAGO (AP) - Grain futures were lower Thursday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for Sept delivery was lower .60 cent at $4.21 a bushel; Sept corn was down 3.20 cents at $3.4360 a bushel; December oats lost .60 cent at $2.33 a bushel while Sept soybeans was down 1.60 cents to $9.6260 a bushel. Beef higher and pork lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. October live cattle gained 1.10 cents at $1.0580 a pound; Sepember feeder cattle gained 1.53 cents at $1.4483 a pound; October lean hogs was 1.28 cents lower at $.6228 a pound.

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    Drugmaker Lilly to trim workforce by nearly 9 percent

    Eli Lilly will slash its global workforce by nearly 9 percent as the drugmaker closes some research sites and pushes to cut fixed costs

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    Largest Nordic bank moves HQ to inside EU banking union

    The Nordic region's largest bank says it will move its administrative headquarters from the Swedish capital to Helsinki in Finland that is part of the European bank union

Life & Entertainment

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    Taxpayers had to pay the costs of an extra meeting after tempers flared at a regular Elk Grove Township board session and trustees adjourned before paying bills.

    Editorial: Time for township board to manage its discord

    A Daily Herald editorial says a simmering spat on the Elk Grove Township board has reached a point of wasting taxpayers’ time and money.

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    Joe De Rosa

    On ‘bravest days,’ remember school as place of hope for all

    Guest columnist Joe De Rosa: For many students, the first day of school is their bravest day of the year — the road ahead offers great excitement and opportunity, but the foreseeable future seems uncertain and a little frightening.

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    After Trump acts, DACA is now Congress’ problem

    Columnist Byron York: Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, who after the departure of Jeff Sessions has emerged as the Senate’s leading immigration hawk, says he would support the legalization of all current DACA recipients — nearly 700,000 of them — if Congress would at the same time pass measures to protect Americans workers from the effects of that legalization.

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    Time to reflect, react, resist on behalf of truth
    A Wheeling letter to the editor: As seen and heard from Day One of this strangely deceptive subterfuge known as the Trump presidency, when you do not respect the truth. you are unable to stem the lies that follow.

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    Parents for peace?
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: I wonder if Donald Trump married Vladimir Putin and if they adopted the wee man who is in charge in N. Korea.

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    Save us from this ego-driven disaster
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: With Trump’s saber rattling about war with Korea, potentially a nuclear war, he got boost in his approval rating.

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    Williams over Gerson — no contest
    An Elgin letter to the editor: I get the Daily Herald delivered daily to my house. I enjoy reading it in the morning while having a cup of coffee. Imagine the entertainment value I got when I read Wednesday, Aug. 23, the column on the opinion page by Michael Gerson.

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    Today’s Opinion Page editorial cartoon
    Today’s Daily Herald Opinion page editorial cartoon

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