GHNS Illinois Budget (8/18/08)

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,

EMBARGOES: Please note that if a story has an embargo in the short story or editor’s note field, it cannot be published online or in print until that date. If you are unclear about an embargo note, please contact Casey Laughman.


AUTO CONTENT: In response to requests for auto content on GateHouse News Service, we’re introducing today an auto column by a writer who has almost 30 years in the business. See more details at

Feature pages of the week can be seen at


Chaos in Chicago

SPRINGFIELD – Forty years later, New Berlin author Taylor Pensoneau says the 1968 Democratic National Convention “showed to me that the solid fabric of American political life, and even society itself, could be undone.” By Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

JONES REAX: Reaction to the announcement that Senate President Emil Jones will be retiring this year and a look at who might succeed him and what his departure would mean in terms of the governor's relationship with the legislature. By Adriana Colindres and Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted.

City, unions sue to block IDOT office move

SPRINGFIELD – Springfield officials and state employee unions filed a lawsuit Monday morning in Sangamon County to stop the Illinois Department of Transportation from moving the Division of Traffic Safety to southeastern Illinois. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Will be updated.

Man convicted in 1980 slaying free after 'admission of guilt'

BELVIDERE – Steven Mackovich maintained his claims of innocence while he served more than five years of a life sentence. But it was an admission of guilt that eventually set him free. Mackovich killed Charles Johnson in April 1980 by stabbing him 41 times in the neck and chest, as far as the state and his criminal record are concerned. But outside the courtroom, his attorney and mother both say he only made the guilty plea so he could get out of jail and get on with his life. By Kevin Haas of the Rockford Register Star.


Banker-client relationships built on trust

ROCKFORD – As the leader of a third-generation family-owned business, John Griffin of Kelley Williamson Co. wasn’t around when his grandfather chose to make the forerunners of AMCORE Bank the company’s primary bank. But Griffin has been either in charge of the company or second in command since 1985 and has heard many a pitch from other banks trying to lure the company with 46 gas stations in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin away from AMCORE. By Alex Gary of the Rockford Register Star.

Couple turns historic inn into home, sweet home

OAKFORD – Tim Wallace has had a penchant for antiques since he was a boy. “I’ve been collecting bottles and jars for as long as I can remember,” said Wallace, 48. Today, Wallace displays his treasures in the restored inn where he and his wife, Charlyn, and teenage daughter, Leighann, live in rural Oakford as well as in an 1800s log cabin that he dismantled, moved and rebuilt on his property. By Ann Gorman of the State Journal-Register.


Weight workout pumps up participants

LOVES PARK – The music starts to pound and 30 barbells rise into the air. Another Body Pump class is under way at Peak Sports Club and instructor Leslie Schaeffer starts the warmup phase of a workout that fills to capacity for 12 to 15 sessions a week. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star. With video.

Fighting terrorism and the bulge

PEORIA – Spc. Tia Leas is fighting her own private war in Iraq, but not the type you might think. Hers is the ongoing effort to stay in shape while deployed. Leas, a Peoria native, is in her second stint in Iraq, where by day she works in supply and deals with making sure people are in the right place and have the right equipment. In the evenings, however, she's the lead instructor for a step aerobics class that has attracted dozens of fellow soldiers. By Andy Kravetz of the Peoria Journal Star.


BRITT: Toon on Senate President Emil Jones stepping down. POSTED.

Jeff Vrabel: More Olympic sports should be synchronized

A few random thoughts from the Beijing Olympics, which I feel qualified to offer, as I was the actual voice behind that 7-year-old you thought was singing during the Opening Ceremonies. If you thought that was good, you should hear me nail "God Bless The U.S.A." — I will reduce you to crocodile tears.

Terry Bibo: Saving Abe with Lincolns

Attention Illinois taxpayers. Don C. White would like a penny for your thoughts . . . especially if they are irritated, aggravated or downright angry thoughts about the budget mess in Springfield.

Editorial: Prepare for television D-Day

Start the countdown. Six months from now - Feb. 17, 2009 - will be the last day the television industry is allowed to broadcast in analog format. After that, signals will be broadcast digitally. The congressionally mandated conversion is the biggest thing to happen to TV since color. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Public figures, private gain

In 2005 Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens threw a tantrum when colleagues tried to block a $223 million earmark for his state's now-infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." Stevens' fellow Republicans wanted to use those tax dollars for something worthwhile, like rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. But the former chairman of the Appropriations Committee would have none of it. "I will resign from this body," Stevens threatened. Too bad he failed to follow through. Hasn't America had enough of politicians who've come to believe our money and our government is really their money and their government? An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Where’s the state of urgency to get this state on track?

Last week’s special session of the Illinois General Assembly accomplished nothing — unless you consider progress passing a couple of bills rewritten by the governor and rejecting a pay raise that never should have been considered. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: Students know a stunt when they see one

We have long been critical of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s habit of governing by publicity stunt. But for all the ink we and the rest of the press in Illinois have spilled on this topic, it took two enterprising high school students to get the governor’s attention and call his bluff. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


ILLINI: WITH THE ILLINI: Multi-sport notebook column led with football. Sophomore defensive tackle Josh Brent takes over for inured roommate Sirod Williams. Smaller and faster than last season, Brent is a rising star on the athletic defense. Notebook will also include men's basketball. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.