GHNS Illinois Budget (7/29/08)

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.

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-    Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


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Back-to-school shoppers expected to flock to discount stores

ROCKFORD – Expect to see longer lines at dollar stores and discount retailers for back-to-school shopping this year. That’s what shoppers are telling big retail consulting firms such as Deloitte and the National Retail Federation, groups that each year interview consumers about their spending habits during peak times like holidays. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

AMTRAK: Sen. Dick Durbin introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at addressing a shortage of AMTRAK cars due to increasing demand. By Chris Dettro of the State Journal-Register. POSTED.

MURDER PLEA: In what could be Peoria County's longest active murder case, Christopher Reuter pleaded guilty Tuesday morning and was sentenced to 42 years in prison for killing a Mexican man shortly before New Year's Day 2002 and dumping his body near I-74. The murder had ties to a Germantown Hills drug ring that was called one of the largest in the area. Reuter was initially sentenced to life but pleaded to 42 years after his conviction was overturned in 2005. He was paid, prosecutors said, $50,000, by his cousin to kill the man who had been swindling drug money from the ring. By Andy Kravetz of the Peoria Journal Star. POSTED.

PONTIAC PRISON: A legislative panel will conduct a public hearing this week on the Blagojevich administration's proposal to move a Department of Transportation division out of Springfield and into southern Illinois in what the administration contends is a move to benefit southern Illinois' economy. Will this be a sort of "test case" that can serve as a road map in what will happen next with the proposed Pontiac prison closure, which the same panel will have a public hearing on Aug. 12? By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

Infant killed by falling tree to be buried with brother

SPRINGFIELD – Savannah Stuebs, the 9-month-old Springfield girl who suffered fatal head injuries last week in a camping accident, will be buried Friday with her 4-year-old brother, Dustin, who was killed in the same accident. By Jayette Bolinski of the State Journal-Register.

Food pantries see increase in first-time visitors

SPRINGFIELD – With unemployment locally at a nearly 20-year high, workers at Springfield-area food pantries say they are seeing a lot of first-time visitors walk through their doors. By John Reynolds of the State Journal-Register.


Rock River Valley fares better than most on fuel costs

ROCKFORD – Think you’ve got it bad when it comes to gas prices? Think about Wilcox County, Ala., where the average person spends almost $250 a month on fuel, according to a recent study. That’s almost 17 percent of their income. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star.


Promoting workers’ health holds down costs

ROCKFORD – Someone brought in doughnuts when Haldex Hydraulics Corp. celebrated a safety milestone a few weeks ago. The employees were disappointed. “I walked by the table and there weren’t too many doughnuts gone,” Chrystine Harned said. “People were actually upset that it was doughnuts and not something more healthy.” By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star. With video.

Kindergartners need teeth, eyes checked for school

ROCKFORD – Kids and parents need to think about more than new shoes, lunch boxes and backpacks for their first school year. Illinois kids entering kindergarten need to have their teeth and eyes checked out, too, and it’s not too late to make an appointment. By Cathy Bayer of the Rockford Register Star.


BRITT: Toon on wounded vets. POSTED.

Editorial: A Hall of Shame baseball brawl

Of all the scenes broadcast to the planet about Peoria, metaphor for Midwestern values, the baseball brawl involving Peoria's Chiefs at a game last week in Dayton, Ohio, would not have been our first choice. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Parents need to talk to college-bound kids about alcohol

It’s crunch time for students heading to college for the first time and their parents. New comforter? Check. Extra-long sheets? Check. Shower caddy? Check. First tuition payment? Check (a big one). But the most important task you will do together is talk about alcohol. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.


MIKE NADEL: Nadel will be writing from Tuesday night’s Cubs-Brewers game. Column to be posted about 10:30 p.m.

ILLINI: PROBATION REVOKED: Illinois and baketball coach Bruce Weber must decide the future of guard Jamar Smith after the Champaign County state's attorney moved to revoke his probation following a weekend incident. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.

Highly-rated center gives verbal commitment to Illini

CHAMPAIGN -- On a day when the Illinois basketball program needed some good news, Robinson High School center Meyers Leonard came to the rescue. The 6-foot-10 Leonard, a junior this fall, gave the Illini a verbal commitment Tuesday. By John Supinie.

Unproven Bears welcome change, opportunity on offense

BOURBONNAIS – No team in the NFL is more unsettled, or more unproven, at the skill positions than the Chicago Bears. They don’t know who their quarterback, running back or receivers will be. And they are unclear about who at least two of the five blockers in front of them will be. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.

Anderson plans return to rookie form

Mark Anderson didn’t start as a rookie fifth-round draft pick, yet he made more noise early in Chicago’s Super Bowl season than any Bear defender except Brian Urlacher. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.

With: Bears notes. POSTED.