GHNS Illinois Budget (4/7/08)

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,


Going green: The Quincy (Mass.) Patriot Ledger has launched a green publication. See more details at

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


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


Dave Bakke: Serendipity sends in the clowns

Life is all about timing, says the common wisdom. Being in the right place at the right time with the right people makes all the difference. Mike and Sandy Hurtubise, who live near Rochester, can confirm that. “What are the chances,” says Sandy, “of Patch Adams being in a restaurant in Haiti just when we needed him?”


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

DAY IN THE LIFE-ILLINOIS SENATE: 10:20 a.m. - Out of 59 state senators, about a half dozen are on the Senate floor, even though the official Senate calendar said Wednesday's session would start at 10 a.m. This is not unusual. Starting times for the Senate and its committees should be followed by "ish," with the emphasis on "ish." By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.

POLICE AWARDS:  Illinois State Police conduct ceremony to honor officers, dispatchers and the like throughout the state. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.

24 HOUR GAMING: Boyd Gaming, owner of the Par-A-Dice casino in East Peoria, has released the letter it sent to the Illinois Gaming Board, which is considering whether to allow 24-hour gaming. Boyd favors the idea. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.

Bill aimed at stopping understatement of income to avoid school fees

SPRINGFIELD – Note to parents: Understate your income to avoid paying fees for sports or driver’s education, and the school district will bust you. By Aaron Chambers of the Rockford Register Star.

Zhou Brothers depart from classical to rock out with Nielsen

ROCKFORD – For their next (cheap) trick, the Zhou Brothers are incorporating a five-neck guitar. A live art performance June 13 at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford by the Zhou Brothers will feature Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and Donald Fraser, a classical composer from Rockton. By Georgette Braun of the Rockford Register Star.

Fewer small companies offering insurance benefits

ROCKFORD – Joe Phelan wanted to work for a smaller company. Fortunately, he was hired by Entre, which offers employer-sponsored health care despite having just 45 employees. But according to a 2007 survey, 59 percent of employers with three to 199 workers offered health benefits. That’s down from 68 percent in 2000 and the lowest in the survey’s history. By Alex Gary of the Rockford Register Star.

Technology may help solve old murder mystery

SPRINGFIELD – A murder that has been unsolved for more than 20 years is being investigated again. Springfield police hope that advances in DNA testing will help them solve the case. By Sarah Antonacci of the State Journal-Register.

Shooting leads to musical ‘revolution’

SPRINGIFELD -- Tiny bullet fragments remain lodged in Joshua Foster’s body 1 1/2 years after a serial robber shot him in the stomach during an attempted stickup outside a local currency exchange. But the 33-year-old married father of two took away much more from the November 2006 shooting. By Amanda Reavy of the State Journal-Register.

Soldier comes home to pay respects to Maupin

PEORIA – When he heard the news, Command Master Sgt. Eric Hill wanted to come home from Iraq for a very simple and singular purpose -- to honor Staff Sgt. Keith "Matt" Maupin, whose remains were found last week in Iraq. By Andy Kravetz of the Peoria Journal Star.

Business heating up for manufacturer of cooling blankets

ONEIDA – You need not come from a big town or a big company to develop a hot idea. The Kalb Corporation, run by Mike Kalb and his son, Rob, in the tiny town of Oneida, about 12 miles northwest of Galesburg, is a perfect example. Their specialty, which is to throw a cooling blanket over an overheated exhaust, has some people at the Pentagon hot and bothered. By Charles Johnston for the Galesburg Register-Mail.


BRITT: Toon on China, Tibet and the Olympics. Will be posted this evening.

Editorial: Census contract doesn’t add up

Taxpayers could spend $14 billion on the next census -- and that sickening sum of money won’t even buy an army of census workers toting hand-held computers with global positioning devices. It will buy the old method of collecting information with pen and paper. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Jeff Vrabel: All you ever wanted to know about octopus sex

When possible, I like to keep close tabs on the world of octopuses, for two reasons: 1. Everybody has their hobbies, mine just involves cephalopod mollusks and don't you judge me, and 2. I often get the feeling that they're plotting something.

Editorial: A sorry situation at mausoleum

Business-wise, the bankruptcy filing of Peoria's American Mausoleum was not surprising. But this is not just any business. The nature of the facility makes this a highly sensitive matter for the thousands of people who've purchased plots at American or who have loved ones entombed there. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


Mike Nadel: After spending the first week of the season on the road, the White Sox have their home opener against the Twins.

ILLINI: CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois multi-sport notebook. Lead item will be on coach Ron Zook’s confidence that the Illini punting game will be better this year than last. Also includes men's basketball. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.