GateHouse News Service Regional Budget (12/18/07)
Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at www.gatehousenewsservice.com
*Please check this Web site in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.
Contacts:
Regional Editor Jonie Larson, (217) 816-3343, jlarson@gatehousemedia.com
National Editor Jean Hodges, (630) 348-3350, jhodges@gatehousemedia.com

News

CROP OUTLOOK: More of everything.
Hard as it might be to imagine after this year's harvest, a couple of University of Illinois farm researchers said Monday early indications are for even greater demand and rising prices for corn, soybeans and wheat in 2008.
"At some point, you wonder if there's just not enough acreage to do all that we might need to do," said Darrel Good, a professor of agricultural economics at U of I. The reports also came as wheat hit a record $10.09 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Monday before falling back to $9.68. Corn and soybeans also continued to trade at near-record highs of $4.36 a bushel for March corn and $11.56 for January beans. LANDIS/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois
W/breakout: Projected 2008 costs vs. revenue for corn/soybeans in northern, central and southern Illinois.

BUSIEST MAIL DAY: (possible pic and factbox) Today is the busiest mail day of the year, with more than 2.5 million pieces of mail sent locally, almost double the volume for a normal Monday. Will head out and see the rush and talk to people hoping their package makes it by Christmas. (12-14 inches) ERIN WOOD/PEORIA/Illinois News

GOING POSTAL: This is expected to be the busiest day of the year for the postal service. RUSHTON/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois News 

JOURNAL STAR SING: (w/pic) Jim Maloof is back tonight for the 60th annual Journal Star Christmas Sing. It will be the former mayor’s 40th year as song leader, but he missed last year after a bad car crash. (15 inches) JORDAN WILSON/PEORIA/Illinois News.

SCHOOL DISCUSSION/DECISION: (w/map) District 150 School Board may decide tonight on which school site to pursue on the East Bluff. If the vote’s delayed, there could still be some interesting discussion or information. Also to be officially approved is the school location adjacent to Lincoln and Woodruff. If this is approval of a specific site, the district could start moving forward on land acquisition. (merits) CLARE JELLICK/PEORIA/Illinois News.

FOGELBERG FOLO: (w/pic) Trying to talk to some of singer and Peoria native Dan Fogelberg’s childhood friends and his family. (merits) DANIELLE HATCH/PEORIA/Illinois News

PHIL LUCIANO: Column on Dan Fogelberg/PEORIA/Illinois News

ETHANOL: Efforting state comments on ethanol plant. Also, the president of the reorganization company was in Canton to meet with employees to possibly bring some back. We’ll check on status of that. Also, we’ll check on status of grain to see if Illinois Department of Ag has taken any further action or if the company has. BRENDA ROTHERT/PEORIA/Illinois

STATE BRIEFS: A collection of briefs from GateHouse newspapers across the state. Posted by 6 p.m./Illinois and Illinois News.

E-VERIFY: State officials apparently won't enforce a new law set to take effect on Jan. 1 until a court battle is resolved. The law would prevent employers from participating in a federal program called E-Verify, which tries to identify employees who are illegal immigrants. HEUPEL/CAPITOL BUREAU/Illinois

GIFT CARDS: A new law taking effect next month would make gift cards more consumer-friendly. Recipients would have five years to spend all the money on the card, and consumer's could not be assessed fees for failing to use the card. COLINDRES/CAPITOL BUREAU/Illinois

COURT HEARING: A hearing is slated for this afternoon in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lawsuit that demands the House convene in special session at the exact time that he wants. Story on merits. FINKE/CAPITOL BUREAU/Illinois

Sports

NADEL: Bears at Vikings. (Column to be posted at about 10:30 p.m.; will be updated after game.) MIKE NADEL, Pro football and Bears.
 
ILLINOIS BASKETBALL: Game coverage of Illinois vs. Western Carolina. Story with quotes and report card moving at 10.30 p.m. SUPINIE. Champaign. Illinois sports and Big Ten.

WITH THE ILLINI: Multi-sport column will include football and men's basketball. SUPINIE. Champaign. Illinois sports and Big Ten. Moving this evening.

BEARS: Preview for Monday night game vs. Vikings. REED SCHRECK/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR

 
Opinions
 
LETTING GO: A bittersweet interview with the family of Sandra Day O'Connor illuminated the former U.S. Supreme Court justice's selfless devotion to her ailing husband — a rare and touching display of true love.EDITORIAL/PEORIA/Illinois Opinions and GHNS Opinions
 
WRIGLEY WRANGLING: Many Illinoisans who aren't long-suffering Cubs fans will have a moral objection to their tax dollars going to subsidize the Chicago field.EDITORIAL/PEORIA/Illinois Opinions
 
‘ROID RAGE: The Mitchell Report is the biggest black eye America's game has suffered, worse than the Black Sox. EDITORIAL/PEORIA/Illinois Opinions and GHNS Opinions
 
MILEAGE MILESTONE: A congressionally mandated boost in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards is long overdue. EDITORIAL/PEORIA/Illinois Opinions and GHNS Opinions