GHNS Illinois Budget (4/4/08)

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at Please check 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


-    Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,

-    Jean Hodges: (630) 348-3350,


Friday’s front page of the day: Four newspapers, including the Rockford Register Star, were recognized for their front pages to mark the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Writing coach: Read Casey Laughman’s writing coach blog at Updated every Monday afternoon.


The daily Illinois budget can be found online at Budget updates will be posted there.


If you have Illinois stories planned for Earth Day (4/22), please e-mail Illinois Regional Editor Casey Laughman at


Smoking ban leads to confusion, court challenges

The phrase "smoke at your own risk" may become the unofficial slogan for the Smoke Free Illinois Act as the law's intent and its application begin showing signs of divergence just three months after the ban on indoor smoking in public places took effect. By Matt Buedel of the Peoria Journal Star. Will be updated this afternoon with photos.

With: Sangamon County has joined a growing list of law enforcement authorities across Illinois that have determined Illinois' statewide smoking ban is probably unenforceable.  But that doesn't mean you can get away with smoking in your office or in a bar or restaurant. By Meagan Sexton of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.


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

Photo gallery: A country mourns after King's assassination

ROCKFORD – On the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the Rockford Register Star looks back at the days following his death in a historic photo gallery.

From the Statehouse: Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke. Will be posted this evening.

--Capitol Notebook. By the State Capitol bureau staff. Will be posted this evening.

Exclusive: Wisconsin murder suspect confesses to attack that left woman comatose

LA GRANGE PARK – A Brookfield man being held for the murder of a Wisconsin realtor has confessed to the attack and robbery of a 69-year-old La Grange Park woman who lingered in a coma for several months as a result of massive head injuries. By Joe Sinopoli of Suburban Life Publications.

Pet products the cat's meow of housewares show

Children and their tastes and needs have long influenced the housewares market, but a visit to the recent International Home & Housewares Show revealed that pets are the new kids. More than 70 companies showcased supplies for pets. By Edith C. Webster of the Rockford Register Star.

State wants more info on proposed megadairy

NORA – The Illinois Department of Agriculture has requested at least a dozen changes to documents submitted by Californian A.J. Bos, who is seeking a state permit to build a massive dairy farm in rural Nora. By Diana Roemer of the Freeport Journal-Standard.

The search for Stacy Peterson: Week in review

BOLINGBROOK – A look at some of the week’s developments in the Stacy Peterson case. By Danya Hooker of Suburban Life Publications.

Senate OKs extra IDOT spending for fuel, salt

SPRINGFIELD – Rising fuel prices and a harsh winter have hit the Illinois Department of Transportation to the tune of $20 million. A supplemental spending bill approved by the state Senate Thursday includes money to cover the higher fuel costs, road salt, overtime for snowplow drivers and pothole repairs. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.

Peterson’s ex-wife, ex-fiancee appear before grand jury

JOLIET – Drew Peterson’s past and present collided Thursday as his second wife and ex-fiancee appeared before a Will County grand jury investigating the mysterious fates of wives No. 3 and 4. By Danya Hooker of Suburban Life Publications.

Lincoln letter auctioned for a record $3.4 million

SPRINGFIELD – Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 letter to Horace Mann’s widow, responding to her students’ request that he free slave children, was sold by Sotheby’s auction house in New York Thursday for $3,401,000, which the auction house said is a record for an American manuscript. By Pete Sherman of the State Journal-Register.

Motorists help rescue truck driver after tanker catches fire

DARIEN – A man on his way to a dentist appointment helped rescue a truck driver whose clothes caught on fire after his gasoline tanker crashed and caught fire. By Petras Barcas of Suburban Life Publications.


BRITT: Toon on Stuart Levine taking the stand in the Rezko trial. Will be posted this evening.

Tom Loewy: MLK’s legacy still a work in progress

Dr. Martin Luther King was killed on this day, 40 years ago. Tom Loewy talked to a woman who was alive at the time and two men who were not. King has impacted their lives in various ways — but all three agreed his message was a universal one aimed at people of all colors.

Editorial: Regardless of party, Congress keeps spending

Sometimes we think it really doesn't matter who's in charge in Washington, D.C., because there's not a smidgen of difference between the two major parties. Certainly not on fiscal policy, where Democrats and Republicans alike suffer from crippling spending addictions. The only variation is that Democrats like to tax, while Republicans prefer to borrow, to support their habits. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


Powdered peanut butter is survival fare, but chunky not available

GALESBURG – When James Bell eventually begins advertising his product he might want to consider hiring model Fabio to re-create his commercials for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Only this time, Fabio could profess “I can’t believe it’s not peanut butter.” By Matt Hutton of the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Common thread between Sandburg and Elvis: performing with the Jordanaires

GALESBURG – Most Galesburg residents think of Carl Sandburg as a distinguished poet and famous former resident. The Jordanaires, who performed Wednesday at the Orpheum Theatre with Al Hull and the Elvis Odyssey Tribute Show, knew Sandburg as a folksinger with whom they performed on “The Milton Berle Show” in the 1950s. By Laura Miller of the Galesburg Register-Mail.

I'd like to buy a 'wow': Mother-daughter duo gets chance on Wheel of Fortune

DOWNERS GROVE – It might seem effortless to spin the giant, ticking circle divided into colorful pie wedges on “Wheel of Fortune.” But on the contrary, it requires the proper technique. Now, Janet Bradley and her daughter Lisa, of Downers Grove, are masters at executing the perfect rotation. The mother/daughter team was selected to compete on the long-running game show when Pat Sajak, Vanna White and the gang went on the road earlier this month to tape some live family episodes at Navy Pier in Chicago. By Jessica Young of Suburban Life Publications.

History has new future at Midway Village Museum

ROCKFORD – Rockford’s history museum has a new name, new logo, new exhibits, record-breaking attendance and big plans. By Geri Nikolai of the Rockford Register Star.


Mike Nadel: Nadel will be writing from Sunday’s Cubs-Astros game. Will be posted Sunday evening.

ILLINI: For Sunday: Story from the Illini football team’s scrimmage Saturday. Topic TBA. By John Supinie. Will be posted Saturday evening.

QUICK SHOTS: Lou Piniella moving Ryan Theriot down from first to second in the lineup is still six spots too high. Theriot ranked 14th on the Cubs in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) last year. Chicago needs to give its four best -- and most expensive -- hitters the most at bats by batting them 1-through-4: Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Also, the White Sox made a great offseason signing with Alexei Ramirez, but if they knew his best position was shortstop, why do they have two other expensive shortstops, re-signing Juan Uribe and trading for Orlando Cabrera? … Not winning a title for 100 years in a row easier than it seems. … Barack Obama gives bowling a plug by rolling a 37 on a campaign stop. … The silliness of baseball having five domed teams open the season on the road and the other two host teams from Texas and Los Angeles. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted this afternoon for use in Sunday editions.