Illinois Budget 9.22.08

Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at www.gatehousenewsservice.com. Please check www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/news in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.

If your paper has a story, digest item, opinion piece or standalone photo to share, please e-mail it to Illinois@gatehousemedia.com.


Contacts:
-    Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, claughman@gatehousemedia.com

EMBARGOES: Please note that if a story has an embargo in the short story or editor’s note field, it cannot be published online or in print until that date. If you are unclear about an embargo note, please contact Casey Laughman.

GATEHOUSE NEWSROOM

Jean Hodges: Downloading cartoons, searching the new site and more
http://www.ghnewsroom.com/blogs.php?bid=237

GOOD IDEA: An alternative story format for your editorial page?
http://ghnewsroom.com/news.php?newsid=1222049371

LINKS MISSING: Due to Zope problems, links to stories on the budget are currently unavailable. They will be added to the online budget as soon as they become available.

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT

‘Pennies for Peace’ speaker shares goal to build schools for girls in Asia

ROCKFORD – When he only made it halfway up the world’s second tallest mountain, Greg Mortenson felt as though he failed. After his defeat, Mortenson walked 58 miles, carrying 90 pounds, into Korphe, a tiny village in northern Pakistan. He was greeted by a short, stout man with a silver pointed beard who offered him tea and a place to sleep. The man later became a father figure, mentor and guide in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he was part of Mortenson’s inspiration to form Central Asia Institute, a foundation that builds schools to further education for girls in Asia. By Cathy Bayer of the Rockford Register Star.

ILLINOIS NEWS
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/news

STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.

SPECIAL SESSION: State lawmakers are back at work to take up several thorny issues, from ethics reform to restoring deep budget cuts. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol bureau.

CON-CON: Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and state Rep. Mike Boland want revised wording on a referendum question that will ask Illinois voters on Nov. 4 if they think the state needs a new constitutional convention. Quinn and Boland contend that the presently proposed wording on the constitutional convention question is biased because it mentions the outcome of the last referendum asking voters if the Illinois Constitution needed to be changed. They could even head to court over the matter. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

AG Madigan: Federal rule would limit women’s health care

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois attorney general is objecting to a proposed federal regulation she says would limit women’s access to birth control and other reproductive health services. A top official in the office said the proposed rule “appears to be a politically motivated definition of abortion.” By Chris Dettro of the State Journal-Register.

Perot happy to help honor former general

PEORIA – H. Ross Perot said he'll never forget a call he made to then-retired General Wayne A. Downing more than a decade ago to help some 125 Hmong Vietnamese living in Hong Kong. Perot explained how the group had aided special forces soldiers during the Vietnam War. With Hong Kong returning to China's control, a deal had been made to return the Hmong to Vietnam - a deal that certainly would have led to severe punishment. But thanks to Downing, they escaped that fate. By Dave Haney of the Peoria Journal Star.

183rd’s last F-16 leaving this week

SPRINGFIELD – The last F-16 jet assigned to the 183rd Tactical Fighter Wing is expected to leave the city permanently Tuesday morning, only a week before the unit marks its 60th anniversary in Springfield. By John Reynolds of the State Journal-Register.

Would-be Jedis flock to Star Wars exhibit

ROCKFORD – Nine-year-old Nick Woodhouse didn’t have to convince his mom to drive 40 minutes from their Marengo home to spend Sunday afternoon at Rockford’s Discovery Center Museum. His mother, Fay, had been keyed up for days to experience the museum’s fall kickoff event, Star Wars: Heroes and Villains. By Betsy Lopez Fritscher of the Rockford Register Star.

Boy fighting cancer to receive stem cells from mother

ROCKFORD – Ben Johnson seems like a pro at this cancer treatment thing, even at the young age of 12. The Pecatonica, Ill., boy has undergone the standard and experimental treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. But on Monday, he will undergo a stem-cell transplant from his mother followed by a second infusion of what doctors call “natural killer” cells. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.

ILLINOIS BUSINESS
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois_business

Rock River Valley an ideal position for big operations

BELOIT, Wis. – When Staples was looking to expand its presence in the Midwest, it came to Beloit. Two years after opening, the order fulfillment center sends out 29,000 products a day to corporate and online customers around the Midwest. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star.

Gaming industry strained by soft economy

EAST PEORIA – The soft economy, lashed by higher costs and tighter budgets, has proved to be an unlucky draw for gambling joints in Illinois, industry officials say. By Frank Radosevich II of the Peoria Journal Star.

ILLINOIS LIFESTYLES
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois_lifestyle

Volunteer’s hats help take kids’ minds off surgery

SPRINGFIELD – For three years, Jamie Lane has used her sewing talents to warm the heads and hearts of children visiting Memorial Medical Center’s Baylis Day Surgery unit. What started out as a suggestion from a supervisor to come up with something that would entertain the outpatient unit’s pediatric patients became a volunteer mission for Lane, a registered nurse who has stitched hundreds of colorful surgical hats for children. By Dean Olsen of the State Journal-Register.

Cup stacking puts a different spin on physical education

CHATHAM – Convincing physical education professionals that a bunch of plastic cups can strengthen athletic skills is a tough sell. At first. This was Daniel Wolff’s challenge Wednesday morning during a workshop for Central Illinois PE and special education teachers. The seminar at Glenwood Intermediate School was designed to demonstrate the physical and academic benefits of “sport stacking,” an activity that involves stacking and un-stacking 12 specially designed plastic cups in specific sequences as fast as possible. By Amanda Reavy of the State Journal-Register.

Window treatments can be a breath of fresh air for your home

Colors, styles, materials, ready-made, custom — with window-covering ideas everywhere from catalogs to store displays to friends’ living rooms, the choices are endless. For the homeowner with a flair for design, ready-to-hang retail choices offer a quick, economical solution. For others, a good designer can offer options and guide decisions. By DiAnne Crown of the State Journal-Register.

ILLINOIS OPINIONS
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/opinions

BRITT: Toon on pay to play. Will be posted this evening.

Dave Bakke: To some, Ike offers a chance to work

Hurricane Ike is a tragedy for people whose homes and businesses have been destroyed and damaged. But the hurricane is also an opportunity for thousands of others who are flocking to Texas to make money cleaning it up. One of those seeking an opportunity is Chuck Kilhoffer of Illiopolis. Kilhoffer left central Illinois Saturday night. He is staying in Beaumont and loading trucks in northeast Houston with debris as fast as he can.

Editorial: Wanted: Economic leadership for the long term

You'd think it was FDR's first 100 days, given last week's flurry of activity from the federal government regarding America's economic meltdown. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Sex, drugs and oil: Your government at work

Congress can find plenty of reason not to lift a ban on oil exploration off U.S. coastal waters: The prospect of environmental fallout. The potential for hurricanes to destroy oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, as happened in Katrina, Rita and Ike. The reality that offshore drilling is no long-term, or even short-term, solution to America's addiction to oil. The fact that the ban was originally signed by none other than President George H.W. Bush, father of the current commander in chief. But if this weren't enough to give lawmakers pause, there's the tawdry, torrid tempest unfolding at President George W. Bush's Department of the Interior - the very agency charged with overseeing energy exploration interests. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Blagojevich’s style hard on state workers

Throughout Illinois, hundreds of employees of state parks, historic sites and state human service agencies are wondering if their jobs will disappear in the near future. There is a pattern here that goes beyond mere insensitive governing and into the realm of cruelty. Time after time, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has fought his battles with the legislature using state employees as pawns. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

ILLINOIS SPORTS
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/sports

MIKE NADEL: Nadel will be writing from this week’s White Sox-Twins series in Minnesota, where the White Sox could clinch the AL Central.

ILLINI: WITH THE ILLINI: Sophomore defensive lineman Anterio Jackson and freshman fullback Zach Becker don't get that much playing time, but they feel fortunate to be at Illinois. Lead to multi-sport notebook. By John Supinie. Moving this evening.