In Brief

Vacant Chicago Hospital to Get $1 Billion Facelift

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials have begun to act on a $1 billion plan to redevelop an old Chicago hospital that’s been vacant for more than a decade.

Developers plan to turn at least part of the old Cook County Hospital on the city’s West Side into a Hyatt hotel. The former hospital is 104-years-old and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical building has been empty since 2002. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the building’s restoration will provide “much-needed amenities” for residents and visitors. She adds the project will also lead to “billions of dollars in investments and jobs.”

A 210-room Hyatt hotel is expected to open in the space between 2019 and 2020. The building will also house medical offices and retail establishments.

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Illinois to Spend $30 Million on Practice Facility Upgrade

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois says it will spend $30 million on renovations to its 20-year-old basketball practice facility.

The school said June 11 that the project will more than double the building’s square footage and benefit both the men’s and women’s teams. Among the improvements: Added court space, improved sports medicine facilities and upgraded strength and conditioning areas.

Second-year men’s coach Brad Underwood said the renovation will “offer a comprehensive, functional space that is the players’ home-away-from-home and has them excited every time they walk in the doors.”

The school said money for the project will come through a fundraising campaign.

The Illinois men’s program has had a slow decline since finishing as the national runner-up in 2005. The Illini had a 14-18 record in Underwood’s first season.

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Proposed Coal-to-Diesel Plant Spurs Concerns About Emissions

DALE, Ind. (AP) — Residents near the southern Indiana site of a proposed $2.5 billion coal-to-diesel plant say they’ll bring their concerns about the pollution it would generate to a public meeting this week.

Riverview Energy Corp. wants to build the plant in the Spencer County town of Dale, about 40 miles northeast of Evansville. It would convert the region’s plentiful coal reserves into diesel fuel and other products, employing about 225 workers.

But Dale resident Mary Hess tells the Evansville Courier & Press that building the plant in the Ohio River County makes no sense because the county already has high toxic pollution levels from other industries.

She plans to speak at a Wednesday public forum in the town of Ferdinand on the project, which would produce 4.8 million barrels of diesel annually.

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Rauner Introduces Vets’ Chief, Outlines Legionnaires’ Plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Army brigadier general who served in Afghanistan and Iraq has been named director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Stephen Curda is a Ph.D. in educational psychology and serves as professor and veterans’ education expert at National Louis University in Chicago.

Gov. Bruce Rauner made the announcement recently at the state veterans’ home in Quincy. The Republican said the state budget he signed Monday includes $53 million to begin reconstruction of the home beset by Legionnaires’ disease.

The water-borne malady has caused 13 residents’ deaths at the home since 2015. Rauner has proposed a long-term, $245 million plan to rebuild the facility and replace corroded plumbing.

Curda replaces Erica Jeffries. Jeffries was criticized for her handling of the Legionnaires’ crisis. She left in May for the private sector.

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Solar Facility Begins Powering Wynn Casinos in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas resort and casino has begun drawing power from a dedicated solar power plant in western Nevada.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the 160-acre (65-hectare) Wynn Solar Facility went online Saturday outside Fallon, about 375 miles (604 kilometers) from the Las Vegas Strip.

Wynn Resorts Chief Sustainability Officer Erik Hansen says the facility supplied the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore with more than 80 percent of its daytime power demand during the facility’s first weekend of operation.

Hansen noted that the facility went live just as energy prices are starting to spike for the summer.

The company also recently installed 103,000 square feet (9,600 square meters) of solar panels onto the roof of the Wynn Las Vegas.

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Companies Propose Two Wisconsin Solar Facilities

MADISON, Wis. (AP) A pair of energy companies is asking state regulators for permission to build two new solar farms in Wisconsin.

Chicago-based Invenergy and Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources asked the Public Service Commission Thursday for permission to build the farms at a cost of about $390 million.

Invenergy wants to build in Iowa County. NextEra wants to build in Two Creeks and Two Rivers. According to the commission, the farms will have the capacity to generate a combined 300 megawatts at any time. Renewable energy advocacy group Renew Wisconsin says that’s enough electricity to run 67,000 homes for a year.

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Madison Gas and Electric would purchase the energy.

PSC spokesman Matthew Spencer says the commission is reviewing the applications. It’s unclear when a decision might come.

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Michigan Commits $50M to Building Second Large Soo Lock

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders say they have agreed to commit $50 million to fund the construction of a second large lock at Sault Ste. Marie — a bid to persuade the federal government to pay for most of the proposed $1 billion project.

The money is part of an additional $400 million included for infrastructure in a state budget deal. Snyder said May 30 at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference he will ask other Great Lakes states to also contribute funding because the federal government will fund 80 percent.

The Soo Locks allow for commercial ships to traverse the Great Lakes. Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation and others warn that if the Poe lock were closed, Great Lakes steel production would stop — devastating the economy.

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Utility Commission OKs New Rate Class for Solar Power Users

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has signed off on a plan to move Idaho Power customers who generate their own solar electricity to a new rate class.

The regulatory commission also on May 9 ordered Idaho Power to study those customers’ costs and benefits to determine the appropriate rates and compensation for customers who generate more power than they use.

Previously, customers who installed solar powers on their homes and businesses were considered part of the same rate class as traditional electricity users. The solar users were given credit for the power they generated, to be used against the power they consumed.

Idaho Power officials contended that keeping the two types of users in one rate group could unfairly shift costs to traditional electricity users if solar power became far cheaper. But many solar power users contended everyone should stay in one rate class until the cost study is complete.

Under the commission’s decision, solar customers will be migrated to a new rate class, but their rates won’t change at this time.

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Posted by on Jul 1st, 2018 and filed under Intel Brief. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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