Knapheide Manufacturing Co., a western Illinois-based truck bed and body company, announced recently that it will begin constructing an additional facility in Quincy.

Knapheide already has a 480,000-square-foot facility in Quincy with about 1,200 workers, making the company one of the city’s largest employers. The new facility will occupy 188,000 square feet just south of Quincy and create 250 new jobs in manufacturing, installation and support roles.

Knapheide has been manufacturing transportation technologies since 1848, when Herman Heinrich Knapheide arrived in Quincy from Germany and founded the Knapheide Wagon Company. This company primarily sold wagons to farmers, miners and pioneers traveling west.

As the automobile industry came of age in the United States, Knapheide began to build wagon bodies for trucks, specifically those used on farms. The company has since diversified its production,manufacturing truck beds and bodies used by mechanics, miners, ranchers, tradespeople, construction workers and more.

The company has been based out of western Illinois since its founding. Knapheide Manufacturing Company is currently under its sixth generation of family ownership. The company’s continued and consistent investment in Illinois speaks volumes about the state’s industrious workforce and manufacturing potential.

Located in Carroll County alongside the Mississippi River, Mississippi Palisades State Park is an excellent location for outdoor activities during any month of the year, even the winter months.

It is a little known fact that February is an especially good time of year for bird watching in Illinois. Mississippi Palisades State Park is home to about 200 different species of birds. Species include golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and purple finches. In recent years, the Bald Eagle population of Carroll County has climbed, making Mississippi Palisades State Park an ideal place to spot the majestic birds during January and February. The park is also a destination for other popular winter activities such as cross country skiing, sledding and ice fishing.

During the warmer months, Mississippi Palisades State Park attracts visitors with fifteen miles of hiking trails that follow the same paths that have been used for centuries to traverse the steep cliffs that line the river. The park is also known for its first-rate picnic and camping facilities, open May through October, which were constructed with great care by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.

Due to natural erosion along the Mississippi River, there are many interesting geological features to explore along the palisades. These formations are visible from the river, where boating and canoeing are popular. Some rock formations along the palisades have been designated as national landmarks by the U.S. Interior Department.

During the fall and spring, Mississippi Palisades State Park is a destination for hunters. The wild turkey archery season in spring and the three-day firearm deer season in November attract hunters to this striking plot of land along the river.

For birding, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and much more, the natural beauty and diverse, local wildlife of Mississippi Palisades State Park never disappoint.

 

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The Illinois FILM Office released numbers that show Illinois’s film industry continues to grow, with estimated spending in 2016 reaching $499 million. Working with 345 different projects supporting over 13,000 jobs, spending by the film industry was up 51 percent from last year.

Illinois has become a center of film and television thanks to various factors from the tax incentives available to the wide-ranging talent. That talent has grown so much that Chicago has been named one of the top 10 cities for the third consecutive year to live as a filmmaker.

NBC currently has three shows in its lineup with more coming this spring that are filmed on location in Chicago; “Chicago Med”, “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire”. “Chicago Justice”, which dramatizes the people of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, airs in March.

Fox’s Emmy-nominated “Empire” is set in New York but filmed in Chicago.

The film industry in Illinois is not just confined to traditional cable networks either. Netflix and Amazon film shows in Chicago with Netflix filming “Easy” and “Sense8” and Amazon filming “Patriot”.

A large part of the growth can be attributed to Illinois’s 30 percent tax credit on all film expenditures. The tax credit is only one in the nation that sets a diversity standard in an attempt to generate opportunity in economically disadvantaged areas.

For more information about the Illinois Film Tax Credit and all Illinois has to offer to the film industry, you can visit the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s film office.

KovalKoval Distillery, the largest craft distiller in Illinois, will quadruple its operation in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood thanks in part to a new state law that enabled it to boost production and make a stronger investment in the local economy.

Koval president Sonat Birnecker Hart told the Chicago Tribune that the distillery is committed to staying in Chicago.

With the purchase of the building Koval has been using on North Ravenswood Avenue, the company will increase its 11,000-square-foot operation to more than 45,000 square feet. This purchase will allow the distillery to combine its multiple locations under one roof and to increase its production from 70,000 gallons to 100,000 gallons each year.

A new state law in Illinois increased the production cap for craft distillers from 35,000 gallons to 100,000.

Koval was established in 2008 and produces organic whiskey and spirits. The company makes its products from scratch, contracting with local farmers to grow their grain and milling it on site. All of Koval’s whiskeys are “single barrel expressions” to ensure a pure flavor. The company has won numerous awards, including a gold medal for its bourbon whiskey at the International Whisky Competition and a platinum award for its rose hip liqueur from the Spirits International Prestige Awards.

Koval employs about 40 workers and expects to hire more after the expansion. It also plans to build a new tasting room to attract tourists and show visitors how spirits are made.

Cherry Mine Fan HouseA tragic coal mine fire in Bureau County 107 years ago was the impetus behind Illinois becoming a national leader on workers’ compensation and workplace safety laws.

In 1909, the Cherry Mine in Bureau County employed more than 500 men and produced 1,500 tons of coal daily to fuel locomotives for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Immigrant mining families flocked to Cherry for steady employment in what was considered one of the safest mines in the country at the time.

On Nov. 13 that year, a kerosene torch dripped hot oil on a cart of hay for the mules that worked inside the mine. The hay smoldered unnoticed and a blaze eventually erupted, blocking the escape of many of the miners working that day. When all was said and done, 259 of them perished from burns and asphyxiation, leaving behind 500 fatherless children and 160 widows.

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