GHNS Illinois Budget (8/27/08)

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,

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.


Wednesday’s front page of the day: The Rockford Register Star.


Hogs across America: Harley riders roar through Illinois on way to birthday bash

SPRINGFIELD – Another day, another Harley dealership — that’s been the life of Xavier Gonzalez since leaving his home in Colima, Mexico, uh… Gonzalez has to check the calendar on his watch in the parking lot of Hall’s Harley-Davidson, which was fast filling with motorcycles Tuesday evening.  Aug. 18, he says — that’s when he started this journey north to Milwaukee to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the founding of America’s biggest motorcycle maker. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register.


Hogs across America: From France to Milwaukee, Harley riders share love of an American icon

BLOOMINGTON – Marc Roubaud thanked Winnie Feken for her hospitality, then kissed her on each cheek. “Oh, my, a real French kiss,” said Feken, the 66-year-old owner of Chuck’s Harley-Davidson, a stopping point Tuesday for hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts on their way to Milwaukee for the motorcycle company’s 105th anniversary celebration. By Steve Stein of the Peoria Journal Star.

Hogs across America: Harleys mean the 'freedom of the open road'

CHERRY VALLEY – Franklin Grove resident Eric Poe has been riding for as long as he can remember. Whether it is a motorcycle or a dirt bike, he’s found riding is his ticket to the open road, wind and most importantly, his freedom. By Betsy Lopez Fritscher of the Rockford Register Star.



AFSCME CONTRACT: State workers who are AFSCME members will get 15.2 percent salary increases over the next four years and avoid massive health care coverage costs proposed by the Blagojevich administration under a tentative contract settlement, details of which were obtained Wednesday by the State Journal-Register. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

BUDGET CUTS: Layoffs, furloughs and a hiring freeze are being implemented in the state comptroller's office, part of an ongoing fallout from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's severe state budget cuts. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.

Bowlers will mark start of season by rolling for world record

ROCKFORD – Don Carter Lanes general manager Brad Sommer can’t think of a better way to kick off the bowling season than having everyone in the country participate in setting a record. Don Carter Lanes will be one of more than 3,000 bowling centers around the country participating in an attempt to set a world record for the most games rolled in a single day as part of National Bowling Week. By Brenda Young of the Rockford Register Star.

Court challenge over IDOT traffic safety move delayed a month

SPRINGFIELD – A court challenge to moving 150 state transportation jobs from Springfield to southern Illinois has been postponed. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.

Obama’s former pastor resigns from state commission

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor has resigned from a state commission designed in part to educate people about the history of slavery in America. By Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register.

Governor vetoes bill that would allow central Illinois towns to raise hotel tax rates

SPRINGFIELD – Saying he didn’t want to increase taxes, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday rejected a proposal to let East Peoria and Morton raise their local hotel tax rates by a single percentage point, to 6 percent. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.

If veto passes, Peoria County will have to pay for land if it ever stops using it

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich is willing to turn over the former Hanna City work camp property to Peoria County for free, but he wants the state to get paid if the county ever stops using the land. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.


Honda manages to buck auto trend

PEORIA – If there's a downturn in the auto market, Honda doesn't know about it. While U.S. car makers closed factories and announced layoffs last year, American Honda Motor sold nearly 1.5 million vehicles, thanks to gas-friendly cars such as Civic and Accord, said Richard Colliver, American Honda's executive vice president. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.

Despite early flooding, Illinois crops rebounding nicely

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois fields that were under several feet of water in early summer have rebounded to the point that the fall harvest shouldn’t be off by much from the bin-busting crop of 2007. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

Cat to expand R&D in China

PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday it will build a new research and development center in China and expand manufacturing capacity of one of its plants there. Peoria Journal Star.


Golden gardeners don't let age stop them

PEORIA – Helen Bordeaux, Duane Heward and Mary Fitzgerald sat in the living room recently of one of the patio homes at Lutheran Hillside Village senior housing complex and talked about gardening — recollections from more than 50 years of experience. Their discussion underscores the theme that loss may be part of aging, but gardening can evolve and continue through every decade of life. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.

Fighting the freshman (and sophomore, junior and senior) 15

PEORIA – Bradley University freshman Danny Becker knows the benefits of working out. “Since last summer I’ve lost 58 pounds,” Becker said while he waited for an outdoor exercise class to start on the quad on Tuesday afternoon. By Joe Crawford of the Peoria Journal Star.


BRITT: Toon on the role of race in the 2008 presidential campaign. POSTED.

Jerry Moore: Excitement over hometown heroes’ returns well-deserved

The recent trips that astronaut Dan Tani has made to his hometown of Lombard serve as a reminder of how much inspiration we continue to find in individuals who make incredible journeys.

Phil Luciano: Identity problem may cost family

Cori Snyder is having a hard time convincing the IRS that she is Cori Snyder. Mind you, that's not always the case. Most of the time, the IRS willingly acknowledges that Cori Snyder is Cori Snyder. But not now. And the timing is crucial. Because the IRS now says Cori Snyder is not Cori Snyder, she and her family don't get an $1,800 stimulus check.

Dave Bakke: A real-life action figure

What does it feel like to be transformed into an action figure? You can’t ask Batman, Superman or Spider-Man — but you can ask Hillsboro native Sgt. 1st Class John Adams.

Tom Martin: Michelle Obama doesn’t hate America after all

Exactly what is controversial about Michelle Obama? It has become accepted that the wife of the Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama, is controversial. Pundits referred to her as such during coverage of the Democratic National Convention's first night.


ILLINI: RISING STAR: Missouri sophomore receiver-returner Jeremy Maclin, who scored two TDs against Illinois in his college debut to jump start a record-setting rookie season, will meet up again with Illini cornerback Vontae Davis. They were both Playboy preseason All-Americans. With glance on Missouri. Serves as opponent feature leading up to Illinois-Missouri game Saturday. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.

ILLINOIS-MISSOURI: John Supinie and Mike Nadel will be writing from Saturday’s Illinois-Missouri game in St. Louis. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Story and column will be posted about 10:30 and updated.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: The following stories have been posted.

ILLINOIS PREVIEW: CHAMPAIGN -- It was a first for Illinois quarterback Juice Williams.

Standing there on the turf at the Horseshoe at Ohio State in November, Williams wanted to tell coach Ron Zook that he could get that inch needed on fourth down at the Illini 33-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but Williams had never challenged a coach's decision. Even if it was a program still trying to claw out of a hole from five years of losing, there was plenty to lose. By John Supinie.

LAURINAITIS: CHICAGO -- Senior linebacker James Laurinaitis didn't return to Ohio State solely to win the national championship, although the title is on his mind. The Buckeyes, the three-time defending Big Ten Conference champs who enter the season ranked No. 2 nationally, returned 18 starters from last season's team that lost to LSU in the BCS national championship game. Then add freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the dual-threat phenom who already impressed the usually conservative coach Jim Tressel to say he would "absolutely'' put Pryor on the field, going so far as to say Pryor has "extraordinary ability.'' But for Laurinaitis, there's more than just taking another shot after losing in the last two national title games. By John Supinie.

BIG TEN CAPSULES: A look at the Big Ten teams. By John Supinie.