GHNS Illinois Budget (7/15/08)

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,


Norwich redesign: How the Norwich Bulletin has communicated with its readers about its redesign.

Writing coach: Read Casey Laughman’s writing coach blog at This week’s topic: The overused “tragic” and the underused “said.”


Engineering camp breaks the mold

PEORIA – Jonathan Grimes' interest in engineering began with Legos. The 16-year-old Peorian attributes "70 percent" of his interest in engineering to the structures he built as a child. At this week’s Materials Engineering Camp, Grimes is getting an up-close look at some real-world engineering. By Steven Bushong of the Peoria Journal Star.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

ACTION FIGURE: How many people can say an action figure's been made of them? Sgt. Robert Groff, a Peoria-area soldier, can. The Bronze Star winner is one of a handful of soldiers crafted into dolls as part of the America's Army Real Heroes program on the Army's Web site. They put a face on the soldiers exhibiting courage under fire. By Andy Kravetz of the Peoria Journal Star. Will be posted this evening.

BUSH VISIT: The site for President Bush’s visit to a fundraiser for Congressional candidate Aaron Schock has been identified as Weaver Farms. By Karen McDonald of the Peoria Journal star. Will be posted this evening.

BUDGET CUTS-GOP: As House Democrats return to the Capitol to figure out how to handle $1.4 billion in budget cuts made by nemesis Gov. Rod Blagojevich, House Republicans are in the tough position of supporting or opposing efforts to reverse the cuts -- and making the wrong political or policy choice. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

EPA HEARING: A scheduled hearing today for former Princeton water superintendent Michael Scott gets canceled, apparently because Scott decided to stop fighting the state's effort to revoke his certificate of competency. He submitted falsified water sample results to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

AFSCME TALKS: The largest union for state employees continues talks with the Blagojevich administration on a new contract for thousands of workers. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

Teachers' Retirement System disputes $6 million management fee

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ Teachers’ Retirement System has filed a complaint in Sangamon County Circuit Court against a Champaign-based asset-management group, disputing a $6 million fee the company says it’s owed. By Sarah Antonacci of the State Journal-Register.

Drew Peterson pleads not guilty to gun charges

JOLIET – A Will County judge will decide July 30 whether to grant a motion to dismiss two felony weapons charges against Drew Peterson, the judge said Monday. By Danya Hooker of Suburban Life Publications.


Wyatt Earp’s birthplace for sale

MONMOUTH – For the second straight year, a piece of Monmouth history is available for the right price. Melba Matson, who owns the building with her husband Robert and serves as treasurer of the non-profit Wyatt Earp Birthplace, Inc., said the property was on eBay last year. She said they received 18 bids — but none met their requirements. By Matt Hutton of the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas.

Small town has big reach

MASON CITY – Few small towns in Illinois can claim both an active movie theater and busy comedy club as downtown attractions. But Mason City can. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.


Workout buddies log 23 years together

ROCKFORD – They’re not just consistent. They’re more of a given. At 7:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Betty Leeson, Mary Hamp, Emmy Haug and Joan Slack are in place next to each other in the front row of the YMCA of Rock River Valley’s Total Body Conditioning class. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.

Shrine potentate turns truck into rolling billboard

SPRINGFIELD – Each year, as new potentates take over the local temples of Shriners of North America, they are faced with the task of selecting the year’s theme. Myron Mendenhall Jr., who became potentate — president — of Springfield’s Ansar Shrine in January, took his theme verbatim from a high potentate in Florida. Brazenly displaying the annual slogan on 18 wheels? That, Mendenhall came up with himself. By Brian Eason of the State Journal-Register.


BRITT: Toon on the Budweiser sale. POSTED.

Jerry Moore: Time for tax revolt along Cook County border

People who feel pinched in the pocketbook should put the squeeze on tax-crazy bureaucrats. The new sales tax rate in Cook County took effect July 1, pushing it an entire percentage point to 9.25 percent. This increase came on the heels of a one-quarter percent sales tax hike in Cook and the collar counties approved by the Illinois General Assembly to help finance mass transportation.

Editorial: Uncle Sam to the rescue - again

The federal government has adopted a consistent, if questionable M.O. whenever housing-related troubles bubble up: Intervene. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Time to pack it in, Brett

Remember Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs? How about Johnny Unitas throwing passes for the San Diego Chargers? If you do remember, it’s probably not too fondly. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: State can’t rely on gambling for essentials

Lost amid the din of blame-placing over the state’s budget stalemate last week was a significant accomplishment by the Illinois House. By a vote of 55-47, the House defeated a bill that would have brought a mammoth expansion of gambling — three new casinos, expanded gambling “positions” at existing casinos and slot machines at horse race tracks — to the state. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


MIKE NADEL: Nadel will be writing a baseball at the break column for Thursday’s editions. He will also be writing from the LPGA tournament this weekend in Springfield, where Michelle Wie is expected to play.

Jeff Lampe: Cooling lake a real hot spot

PEKIN – Time after time, Pete Riedesel shook his head after glancing at the fish finder in his boat. No matter where we motored on Powerton Lake, the screen came alive with electronic images depicting schools of baitfish.

Hello, Cleveland: BMX rider earns spot on Dew tour

Lennie Westfall has performed tricks on his BMX bike all over the country, but he’s never had an audience like the one he’ll have this week. “This is definitely the big time,” said Westfall, a Loves Park resident who was just accepted to ride in the AST Dew Tour stop in Cleveland. By Jay Taft of the Rockford Register Star.