Illinois Budget 9.23.08

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

See the GateHouse photos of the week at:
http://www.ghnewsroom.com/news.php?newsid=1222176579

TOM SUDORE: News Service launches 2008 election site
http://ghnewsroom.com/blogs.php?bid=238

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT

Budget-balancing act could put state in trouble with the feds

SPRINGFIELD – Efforts to use some dedicated funds to pay bills could land the state of Illinois in trouble — again. The Illinois House of Representatives recently passed legislation authorizing taking more than $16 million from funds administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But some of the funds within the DNR come with specific restrictions on their use — especially those where the money from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses is deposited. By Chris Young of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x418861569

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

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

Senate approves Blagojevich’s version of ethics bill

SPRINGFIELD – Siding again with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Senate has approved his ethics reform package despite criticism from reform advocates who predicted its quick demise. The Senate voted 50-1 Tuesday for Senate Bill 780, which expands on House Bill 824 that lawmakers approved Monday to limit political donations by some government contractors. Early version posted; will be updated.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x746995317

Senate approves autism coverage bill

SPRINGFIELD – State lawmakers are reviving the idea of requiring insurance coverage for autism treatment for the fourth time this year. The state Senate voted 47-6 Tuesday for House Bill 2070, which is a proposal backed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to provide lower costs for treatment of autism disorders. Early version posted; will be updated.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1291578143

PEORIA MUSEUM: State Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, says he's frustrated that the Illinois Senate has not yet taken up the latest version of legislation that would let Peoria County seek voters' approval for a special sales tax to help pay for the long-sought Peoria Riverfront Museum. The House already has passed this, and Senate passage would send it to the governor, though it's unclear whether he would sign it into law. At any rate, the proposed legislation is a key piece of the museum funding plan, Koehler says. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

Woman who posed as teenage daughter has history in Illinois

VIRGINIA – A 33-year-old Wisconsin woman who’s facing charges for enrolling in high school as her 15-year-old daughter is no stranger to authorities in Cass County and other parts of Illinois. Wendy Anne Brown’s criminal record in Illinois dates back as far as 2002, when she was convicted of burglary in Douglas County and sent to prison. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x121727436

Councilwoman, Bradley spar over noise complaints

PEORIA – A Bradley University fraternity called the police on Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken over the weekend while she was investigating a constituent’s complaint about noise in her district. By Leslie Fark and Erinn Deshinsky of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x121727429

Bicentennial penny to feature Lincoln in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD – Abraham Lincoln’s professional life in Springfield will be one of four vignettes depicted on a set of pennies designed to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. president’s birth. The pennies will circulate in 2009 and will be issued in three-month intervals. By Jayette Bolinski of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x810458569

Yearlong project to clean up coal tar begins

SPRINGFIELD – Hundreds of tractor-trailer loads of dirt and underground debris will be leaving downtown Springfield for Alabama in the next year. Ameren Corp. has begun work on a $4 million project to clean up coal tar left deep beneath the intersection of Second and Washington streets by a coal-gasification plant that operated at the site from 1855 to 1925. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1338085495

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

Sponsorship seekers find smaller pool to draw from

ROCKFORD – Even in the face of a tumultuous economy, companies are still spending billions of dollars a year on sponsorship opportunities. But not in Rockford. Here, event organizers and entertainment venues are left to fight for the scraps left by big corporations, and they’re turning, in many cases, to locally-owned companies to make up the difference. And those with money to give are fielding more requests than ever. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x418861453

Cat digs future of mining industry

PEORIA – During a time when optimism in the business world is in short supply, Caterpillar Inc. officials seemed almost ebullient Monday when talking about the future, at least for the mining industry.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1291578379

Owners of party store believe economy is no reason to not throw a bash

PEORIA – Whatever state the economy is in, the party must go on. That's the thinking of Doug Padgett and Jeff Bundy, co-owners of Party World in Peoria. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x121727382

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

King of the outdoor kitchen

GERMANTOWN HILLS – Let's face it, all men are king of their grills, be it a tabletop hibachi or a grand 53-inch Viking gas grill with built-in rotisserie. But not all men are king of the outdoor kitchen like Tim Christianson. By Jennifer Davis of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1291578438

Raku artist uses his gift to help benefit others

ROSCOE – Raku artist Robert Sunday has developed a following across the Rock River Valley. He teaches art and an advanced ceramics class at Keith Country Day School in Rockford Monday through Thursday, then sets his weekend aside for his artwork. But he always finds time to help out the community. By Betsy Lopez Fritscher of the Rockford Register Star. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1969504194

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

BRITT: Britt is off today.

Tom Martin: Obama, McCain abandon high road

Perhaps the high road is made of dirt, because presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have plenty on their hands. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1969503831

Editorial: Congress must not rush into bailout

When you think of all the investments the United States could undertake for $700 billion that would make a real difference in the lives of its citizens, the idea that taxpayers could be on the hook for protecting the greedy from the consequences of their grotesquely irresponsible behavior ought to make Americans ill. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/editorials/x418861404

Editorial: State’s Sunshine Law needs rewrite

A Macoupin County judge’s decision last week opening some police internal affairs files is an important step forward in the debate over what is open to the public, but only legislative action will truly fix Illinois’ broken public access laws.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1338085348

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

MIKE NADEL: Nadel will be writing from Tuesday night’s White Sox-Twins game in Minnesota. Column will be posted about 10:30 p.m.

ILLINI: ILLINI NOTES: Coverage from Illinois coach Ron Zook's weekly press conference. By John Supinie. Moving this evening.

Matt Trowbridge: Bears need to start pointing fingers

The Bears are very good at taking the blame themselves. This I-have-no-one-to-blame-but-myself attitude makes for good locker room harmony, but it doesn’t necessarily make for winning football. What sounds positive can actually be a negative, because it promotes enabling.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/sports/pro/football/bears/x418861499

NFL Quick Shots. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted this evening.