Illinois Budget 7.28.09

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

GATEHOUSE NEWSROOM

Ask readers to share their summer vacation photographs.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/ask-readers-share-their-summer-vacation-photographs

Front page gallery for July 28.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/front-page-gallery-july-28-2009

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT:

Chemical drift a growing concern for rural residents

MACKINAW – Paul Hahn, owner of Mackinaw Valley Vineyard, has battled chemical drift from nearby farm fields for more than a decade, and this year his vines got slammed by drift from the herbicide 2,4-D. Cal Snow, a retired high school teacher, has watched chemical drift from a nearby farm field billow over children playing in his subdivision south of Lacon. Across Illinois Route 26 from Snow's subdivision, Gary Barnes, a retired minister, has filed complaints about chemical drift with the Illinois Department of Agriculture for 14 years. State legislatures throughout the country are grappling with chemical drift from farm fields and the conflict between the rights and pressures of farming and the rights and health of rural residents. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1543605308/Chemical-drift-a-growing-concern-for-rural-residents

WITH:
 
Illinois farmers increase use of plane-sprayed fungicides

PEORIA – There's a new player on the chemical farming scene: fungicide. There's nothing new about using chemicals to ward off disease but in recent years, many Illinois farmers have used airplanes to spray fungicide over as much as 20 percent of the state's 12 million acres of corn, estimated Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/archive/x2141125477/Illinois-farmers-increase-use-of-plane-sprayed-fungicides

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

State Briefs. News from around the state.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x592700121/State-Briefs-7-28-09

KIDS COUNT: Annie E. Casey Foundation releases its latest, state-by-state report on the well-being of children, finding that in Illinois, the percentage of kids living in poverty has gone up from 15 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2007 – and that fails to take into consideration the current economic recession. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau.
_With a breakout of short boxes for the main GateHouse counties covering stats on low birthweight, unemployment rate, child abuse/neglect rate and children in poverty rate.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1543605889/Report-puts-Illinois-24th-in-childrens-well-being

STATE CAPITOL Q&A: A look at new numbers from the state's traffic safety division showing seat belt use up and deaths on Illinois roads continuing to decline. What's really behind the trend? By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x2141126024/State-Capitol-Q-A-A-closer-look-at-the-state-of-seatbelt-usage

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

Crops running well behind schedule

MAPLETON – If you've been worrying about your tomatoes this year, you aren't alone. Even Master Gardeners are having a time of it. "Crops are two to three weeks behind where they should be at this time, " said Margie Karl of Mapleton, president of the Master Gardeners of Peoria County, a group of "green thumb" experts organized by the University of Illinois Extension service to provide assistance to the gardening public. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1543605225/Crops-running-well-behind-schedule

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

Peoria woman's home centered around color green, vibrant art and nature

PEORIA – The ultimate joy for an old lady, says 82-year-old Jackie Buster, is a La-Z-Boy in front of the sliding glass doors of what was once a dining area looking out over her garden. The view is green all year, she says of the hostas, yews, trees and assorted ground covers framing the pond of her backyard garden. By Pam Adams of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x695082193/Peoria-womans-home-centered-around-color-green-vibrant-art-and-nature

School supplies a challenge for schools, families

SPRINGFIELD – Angela Kaitschuk, a first-grade teacher at Graham Elementary School, has a reason for putting four boxes of 16 crayons each on her list of back-to-school supplies. Last Thursday was the second day of school at Graham, which follows a year-round calendar. After students were let out that afternoon, Kaitschuk produced a ripped box of crayons, the tips of which already were worn down. Wear and tear is one thing. A bigger challenge for teachers, school administrators and even community groups is making sure students have back-to-school materials in the first place. By Pete Sherman of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x695082190/School-supplies-a-challenge-for-schools-families

Experts: Steamy TV, no discussion lead to more STDs

SPRINGFIELD – Steamy love scenes in the media, out-of-control libidos and a lack of frank talk in the classroom may be contributing to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases in Illinois, health experts say. “Popular culture glamorizes sex,” said Charlie Rabins, chief of the STD program at the Illinois Department of Public Health. “There are very few prevention messages.” At the same time, financially strapped school districts haven’t had enough resources to teach adolescents about preventing STDs, and when those classroom discussions do happen, contraceptives often are left out in favor of abstinence-only curriculums, he said. By Dean Olsen of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1641099766/Experts-Steamy-TV-no-discussion-lead-to-more-STDs

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

BRITT: Britt is off today.
 
Dave Bakke: Sometimes a muffin is more than a muffin

Shirley Faulkner went to the Panera Bread on Dirksen Parkway to order a dozen blueberry muffins. Sorry, she was told, we’re out of blueberry muffins. Shirley was disappointed to hear that. Really, really disappointed. Her husband, Jerome, who goes by “Moe,” is in the last stages of terminal liver cancer. One of the effects the disease has had on Moe is robbing him of his sense of taste. One of the few foods he can still enjoy are the blueberry muffins.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x889023348/Dave-Bakke-Sometimes-a-muffin-is-more-than-a-muffin

Phil Luciano: Good Book stolen as part of robbery

" 'But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord.' " - Jeremiah 30:16-17. Perhaps that verse can comfort Michael, the victim of one of Peoria's weirdest robberies in a long time. As for the guy who ripped him off? Maybe, just maybe, he'll take a good, hard look at those words. After all, he has them at his fingertips, because he took Michael's Bible at gunpoint.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x592699714/Phil-Luciano-Good-Book-stolen-as-part-of-robbery

Editorial: Re-examine how state imprisons criminals

One of the legacies Rod Blagojevich left Gov. Pat Quinn was an anemic state workforce, stressed and stretched to the limit in some departments. Perhaps nowhere are state employees more overworked, perhaps dangerously so given the stressful environment, than in the Illinois Department of Corrections. It’s time for a comprehensive re-examination and re-engineering of how the state imprisons people. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x639779151/Editorial-Re-examine-how-state-imprisons-criminals

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

ILLINI:
 
FOOTBALL AT WRIGLEY? Illinois and Northwestern are discussing moving their annual game to Wrigley Field, but there’s a lot to be resolved before it’s a go. By John Supinie.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/sports/big_10/x2141125996/Illini-Northwestern-discussing-possible-game-at-Wrigley