News Local/State

News Around Illinois - February 21, 2020


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Higher Profits, Lower Sales For Deere In First Quarter

MOLINE - Despite a decline in sales, profits rose for John Deere in first quarter results reported Friday morning. Profits rose four per cent to $1.63 per share, compared with $1.54 last year at this time. Worldwide sales fell four percent, to 7.6 billion dollars. For its two major divisions, sales of farm equipment fell four percent, while construction and forestry dropped 10 percent. CEO John May says the first quarter results show "early signs of stabilization in the US farm sector," thanks to lower trade tensions and the hopes for higher agriculture exports. But the construction sector continues to slow down, so the company is reducing production. - Herb Trix, WVIK

Sanders Holds Small Lead Over Competitors In Illinois Poll

SPRINGFIELD - With less than a month until Illinois’ primary election, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leading in a new poll of Illinois voters. The poll of likely voters is from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It was taken from February 10-17 before the most recent debate. 

Support Among Democrats

  • Bernie Sanders 22%
  • Mike Bloomberg 17%
  • Joe Biden 14%
  • Pete Buttigeig 13%
  • Amy Kloubuchar 8%
  • Elizabeth Warren 6%

The wildcard in the results is that nearly one in five Democrats is still undecided. On the Republican side, 89 percent of GOP voters say they support President Donald J. Trump. - Brian Mackey, Illinois Public Radio

Poll: Most Voters Approve Of Pritzker's And Durbin's Job Performances

SPRINGFIELD - Just over half of Illinois voters approve of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s job performance. Fifty-one percent either strongly or somewhat approve, versus 38 percent who disapprove. That’s according to new polling results from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The poll also asked about Democratic Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin, who’s up for re-election this year. His numbers were similar to Pritzker’s — with 52 percent approving of his performance. President Trump, meanwhile, has just a 39 percent approval rating in the state. - Brian Mackey, Illinois Public Radio

China, Weather Could Affect John Deere's 1st Quarter

MOLINE -  On Friday, John Deere will report results for the first quarter of 2020. The weather, China, and a slowdown in construction are all expected to have had an impact. Last fall, the company predicted farm equipment sales this year will drop 5-10 percent, and that construction and forestry sales will fall 10-15 percent. Analysts cited by Zacks predict first quarter revenue will fall more than 10 percent, to $6.2 billion. And earnings per share will come in at $1.26, down 18 percent from last year's $1.54. Deere also announced last month a third round of layoffs at the Dubuque Works, which produces construction equipment. - WVIK News

Pritzker Calls Out Statehouse Separatists In Budget Speech

SPRINGFIELD - Dividing Chicago and the rest of Illinois into two separate states has become a pet issue for a small group of Republicans. This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker used his budget address to chastise them and call for unity. “Trying to separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois will not solve the economic challenges of downstate Illinois," said Pritzker. But separatist state Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) says he did not feel chastised. He says the governor’s mention legitimizes his point of view.  “If it was just something that he could dismiss or brush, I doubt that he would have said anything. So we’re, we’re getting our message across,” said Caulkins. Proposals to separate Chicago from downstate Illinois have never gone anywhere in the past. Even most Republicans refuse to support the idea. - Sam Dunklau, NPR Illinois

Custer Fair Moving To Indiana After Dispute With Evanston

EVANSTON — A suburban Chicago arts festival that’s been held for nearly a half-century is moving to northwestern Indiana following a dispute with Evanston officials. Tammy Szostek organizes the Custer Fair with her husband. She tells the Chicago Sun-Times the festival's move from Evanston to Whiting, Indiana, comes after Evanston officials sabotaged the event’s attendance numbers last year, leaving the festival in debt to the city. She says the two-day festival’s attendance dropped to less than 10,000 last year after previously averaging about 85,000 annually. Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty says the street fair had many issues, including organizers’ failure to pay the city and their non-profit partners. - Associated Press