Regional budget for 9/20/07

Jonie Larson, Regional Editor

GateHouse News Service Regional Budget (9/20/07)

Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at http://ghns.ghnewsroom.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

Need a simple way to explain the farm bill to your readers?

Check out this simplified terminology piece  -  a portion of “Old MacDonald gets a lesson” - one of several stories in “Fields of Green,” available for publication this Sunday and after.

“Old Missus MacDonald, she’s the best. She drives a tractor better than me, and she’s a whiz at getting the best price on fertilizer.” “Perfect,” Poindexter said. “So long as she’s actively engaged in farming, your wife can collect $40,000 in direct payments in addition to what the government gives you.”

Find the stories posted individually on www.gatehousenewsservice.com

under News: Special Reports.

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News

FIRE VOLUNTEERS:  (Good one to localize) Most fire departments across the Rock River Valley are experiencing what their brethren nationwide are; A shortage of volunteers to staff departments. Volunteers have to meet an increasing set of standards and regulations which has resulted in an 8 percent decrease nationwide in the number of volunteer firefighters. What does it mean in terms of serviice in the local area? Who are these people that do volunteer and why do they do it?  ROBERT BAXTER/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR/moving later this evening/Illinois News

PHOTOS: Taken by Baxter; submitted by Harlem-Roscoe -- Environmental portrait of Oscar Presley, Harlem-Roscoe fire chief, GIFFIN plus provided training photos by H-R

GAY HONONEGAH: Board to vote on whether to allow formation of the club for gay students, a Gay Straight Alliance. Meeting at 7 at high school library. ROBERT BAXTER/ROCKFORD, words 360-420 @midnight/Illinois News

NOTIFICATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: (Another one to localize) Some parents were upset that they weren't notified during bomb threats at West Middle School and likewise when riots broke out at Jefferson High School this week. But would parents rather get a phone call or an e-mail while a threat is going on, or simply know that their kids are protected and safe? Story will touch on the history of 205's recent issues, including last year's incident at Lincoln Middle School and this week's bomb threat at West. What technology options are available? Texting? Computerized dialing? What are other districts in the region doing? What about experts in the field, what do they say?. SADIE GURMAN/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR, words 750 @8/Illinois News

SENATE FOLLOWUP: Following up on what are the chances of the Senate-passed Gambling/Capital Bill legislation in the House of Representatives? FINKE/CAPITOL BUREAU/Illinois

DOWNSTATE CASINO. A related follow-up, could be sidebar to above: What are the chances of central Illinois landing one of the two new casinos called for in the legislation? The short answer is, almost none. COLINDRES/CAPITOL BUREAU/Illinois

RYANS IN TOWN: George and Lura Lynn here to promote her new book. SCHOENBURG OR BUREAU/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois

ART: yes

GUY FIERI: Host of "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" on the Food Network, and his crew will be at Charlie Parker's diner Tues., Sept. 25, to tape a segment of his show. He'll focus on the 16-inch pancakes and breakfast shoes. Preview/REAVY/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois

FIRST POET: ALPLM honors Illinois' first Poet Laureate Howard Austin, whose family is donating a collection of the poet's materials. Advance for Thursday's collection handover. SHERMAN/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois News

ACCREDITATION: ISP Crime Scene Services to receive accreditation from Forensic Quality Services International at 10 a.m. at the IEMA operations center, 2200 S. Dirksen. BOLINSKI/SPRINGFIELD/Illinois

MINORITIES TRADES: A first class of 14 students started an intensive, seven-week training program at Lincoln Land Community College this week intended to increase the number of minorities and women in building and construction trades. The program coordinator said nearly three times that number applied. A $300,000 state grant announced Tuesday through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also makes it possible for the students to complete the program free of charge. LANDIS/SPRINGFIELD

BREAKOUT: w/want more info

ART: yes

BLAGO-LABOR. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was slated to hold a news conference this afternoon with labor leaders in an attempt to urge House members to approve a capital-spending plan linked to casino expansion. RAMSEY/CHICAGO/this evening/Illinois

ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE HOUSING. Woodview Commons is 100 percent full for the first time, with a waiting list. This comes four years after the facility opened to a somewhat controversial welcome. Officials always left open the possibility of expansion. JELLICK/PEORIA/Illinois News

SPANKY REHEARSAL. Elaine 'Spanky' McFarlane from the Mamas and the Papas has decided to use some Trewyn students as backup singers for her Oktoberfest performance Friday. She is rehearsing with them this afternoon. Will be there to observe and find out why she decided to 'hire' these young singers. PEORIA/Illinois

ART: yes

Sports

Illinois football

NOTEBOOK: Notes concerning Illinois football as the Illini prepare for their Big Ten Conference opener at Indiana Saturday. SUPINIE/CHAMPAIGN. Early evening. Illinois sports and Big Ten.

DAILY SOUTHTOWN:

ARVIA COLUMN – AT CUBS

LADEWSKI COLUMN (TBA topic)

CUBS NOTEBOOK – VORVA

BEARS: Feature. REED SCHRECK/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR @ 5

BREAKOUTS: Update on next game/Illinois Sports and Bears

NDAME BOOK BOY: Taft will do a story on local lawyer Frank Maggio, who wrote a book about Notre Dame and football history. JAY TAFT/ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR, words 600 @ 6/Illinois Sports

RIVERMEN: St. Louis Blues make first cuts. Rivermen camp to open. EMINIAN/PEORIA

FASTLANE: Motorsport column. MILLER/PEORIA

Opinions

BRITT: Toon showing former Gov. George Ryan at a book signing (he'll be at a signing event for his wife's new book in Springfield on Wednesday). A lady in line asks that Ryan sign the book to the "Willis children." CHRIS BRITT/SPRINGFIELD/posted/Illinois Opinions

BRITT: Toon commenting on American students failing civics classes. A clueless college student agrees, saying he thinks Toyotas are better than Civics. CHRIS BRITT/SPRINGFIELD/posted/Illinois Opinions

DON’t TREAT GOVERNMENT AS A GAME: Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross was in town recently to give a pep talk about how to get more Republicans elected, which ought to be easy enough in a state where Democrats are so dysfunctional and divided. Loath though we are to dispense political advice, might we suggest that many Illinoisans are sick of hearing precisely what Cross spoke to? Who's ahead? Who's behind? Who cares? PEORIA/posted/Illinois Opinions

Coming tomorrow

ROUTE 66 FEST – Travel piece - If the rumble of a 1968 Pontiac GTO gets your heart racing or the sight of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air brings back fond memories, you might want to make plans to visit downtown Springfield for the Sixth Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival and Car Show Sept. 28-30.

ART: File photos

BREAKOUTS: Two – schedule and reason Pig Hip Restaurant/Museum is missing

SPRINGFIELD/posting Thursday/Illinois News, Travel and Day Trips

PEORIA’S OKTOBERFEST: Travel piece – PEORIA JOURNAL STAR/posting Thursday/Illinois News, Travel and Day Trips

Coming for the weekend

DEATH TO DIAMOND. CHICAGO – Billie Tucker’s husband, Kenneth, died suddenly in August 2006, but a part of him is always with her – literally. The 64-year-old widow from Hoffman Estates had a small portion of her spouse’s ashes turned into a blue-colored diamond. A private Chicago-area company, LifeGem, handled the transformation for a little more than $6,000, Tucker said. RAMSEY w/sidebar on other options, plus ART