Illinois Budget 10.07.08

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.


JEAN HODGES: New way to download an image and more

LEADERSHIP SERIES: Live blogging from the Leadership Series can be seen at


A billion tastes and smells keep chemist busy

ROCKFORD – Next time you drink a glass of orange juice, thank Ray Marsili. He developed a way for Tropicana to monitor the naturally occurring chemical diacetyl, then keeping it from forming in the juice. In the past three years, Marsili has used his chemistry skills to fix products and save money for a roster of internationally known corporations. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star. With video.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

ELECTRIC RATES: A new group affiliated with a southern Illinois electric cooperative is starting to sign up customers in Ameren's service territory in much of Illinois, hoping to capitalize on customer unhappiness with the mega energy supplier. But whether "NICE" (New Illinois Cooperative Energy) can make competition work when others haven't and offer better prices is a big question. By Ryan Keith of the State Journal-Register. Will be posted this evening.

BANNER HEARING: Testimony continues in the ongoing hearing on whether the Illinois Department of Natural Resources properly granted a permit for a planned strip-mine operation in Fulton County. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.

CALLAHAN: Colleen Callahan, the Democratic candidate in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, says that while she'd like to see the United States adopt a mandatory public service program, she doesn't expect it to happen. She made the comments while appearing at the State Journal-Register's editorial board. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.

Father of boy killed in motorcycle accident mourns loss of 'best friend'

PEORIA – Michael Wells spent the first 40 hours after his son's death wrapped in a blanket, staring blankly at the brick walls of his jail cell. Wells, 21, of East Peoria was released Monday afternoon from the Peoria County Jail when authorities decided not to charge him in the death of his 4-year-old son, Ashton Wells, who was killed after Michael Wells struck him with a motorcycle while performing stunts. By Erin Wood of the Peoria Journal Star.


Farmer soldiers on despite painful hip injury

ATHENS – Like farmers across central Illinois, Andy Woodrum of rural Athens won’t be deterred from harvesting this year’s crops. But Woodrum is doing it with eight pins and a metal plate in his hip after a dirt bike accident. By Ann Gorman of the State Journal-Register.

IT company finds niche in central Illinois

MORTON – When a Morton company that helps others find solutions came up against its own problem, where it could turn wasn't a simple matter. By Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star.

Financial crisis drives down crop prices

TAYLORVILLE – Anxiety on Wall Street — which has now spread to world financial markets — has helped drive grain prices back to what a University of Illinois farm economist described as a break-even point for farmers after a spring and summer when “up” seemed to be the only direction for farm-commodity prices. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.


Farmers head back to nature with grass-fed beef

Frank and Stacy Bowman started raising grass-fed beef for their own use about five years ago. Soon, friends and family started asking for it. Today, their Sangamon Valley Cattle Co. in Pleasant Plains sells to the public, one of a small number of Midwestern farms where cattle graze in open pastures instead of eating the more traditional diet of corn or other grain fed in commercial feedlots. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register.

Kathryn Rem: High praise for hot-sauce artistry

Charlie Stratton of Springfield believes a “feat of human greatness” has been achieved by Jerry Jimenez for the Habanero Honey Spread he sells at the downtown farmers market.

It's apple-picking time in central Illinois

PEORIA – As the weather becomes more crisp, the time is ripe for picking fresh apples. By Rob Dale of the Peoria Journal Star.

Paraplegic woman carves out a new hobby

SPRINGFIELD – Until five years ago, Jean Oppegard wasn’t a wood carver. Now she’s a champion. Her heron won Best in Show and People’s Choice at this year’s Sangamon Valley Woodcarvers show. By Dave Bakke of the State Journal-Register.

Medical college seeks MS patients in quest for cure

ROCKFORD – Medical researchers in Rockford hope a study of patients with multiple sclerosis will help them get closer to explaining what causes the disease that affects thousands of people in the region. The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford is soliciting MS patients from 13 northwest Illinois counties, trying to see if certain regions have more diagnosed cases of the disease.


BRITT: Toon on the McCain/Palin strategy on the economy.

Phil Luciano: Tears in my beer for Tartan Inn

How do you write an obituary for a tavern? Let's give it a try: The Tartan Inn, a longtime hideout and second home for businessmen, crackheads and every walk of life in between, died at 8:17 p.m. Sunday after a long bout of insanity, most of it good.

Chuck Sweeny: Growing pension funds will hurt state budget

As if Wall Street’s tumble on Monday didn’t give us enough to worry about, here comes state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, with a gloomy prediction about next year’s state budget. Short version: It’s a movie called “The Pension Fund that Ate Illinois.”

Editorial: Sensible con-con ruling comes up short

Cook County Judge Nathaniel Howse Jr. tried to solve a difficult problem with a sensible and practical solution last week. Howse ordered that all voters be given a flier correcting false and biased ballot language on the question of whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: Choking on bailout's unrelated sweeteners

In the end, even in a national crisis, they could not resist. Even with the White House engaged in Great Depression talk, Congress still couldn't help itself from larding the bailout package with every manner of candy, at least $151 billion in additional and arguably unnecessary burden on taxpayers, which will of course be borrowed, and repaid with interest. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


MIKE NADEL: Nadel is off until Sunday. He will be writing a column and notebook from Sunday’s Bears-Falcons game in Atlanta.

ILLINI: ILLINI NOTEBOOK: Notebook from coach Ron Zook’s weekly news conference. By John Supinie. Moving this evening.

ILLINI BASKETBALL: An update on Illini basketball heading into Saturday’s basketball practice at Memorial Stadium. By John Supinie. Moving this evening.


Matt Trowbridge: First-place Bears drop cocky attitude

The Bears are back where they started: in first place. But the Bears don’t talk and act like the same team that opened the season with an eye-opening victory in Indianapolis.

Bears Quick Shots. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. POSTED.

Kirk Wessler: Bubbly and buzzcuts for Rays' Zobrist, just like back in Eureka

To play baseball in the major leagues, you have to be able to hit and run and catch and throw better than most people on the planet. But when you win a playoff series, a new skill set is required. "You twist off the wire, then you loosen up the cork," Eureka native Ben Zobrist shouted, trying to be heard above the happy bedlam in the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse Monday night.

Paul Anthony Arco: White Sox go down fighting; Did anyone care?

After a frustrating sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago baseball fans had to pin their championship hopes on the city’s other team, the White Sox. You remember them, don’t you? The 2005 champion White Sox. Unfortunately, the Sox couldn’t escape the first round either, losing to Tampa Bay in four games.