Illinois Budget 10.14.08

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.


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: See how the Galesburg Register-Mail took its Pick’em feature online.

Behind the Story: Where your children go to drink - How one paper worked with unlikely sources to plot teen beer party sites.


New baby can be big adjustment for firstborns

SPRINGFIELD – Arin McCaherty has big plans for when her baby sister arrives in November. And her list keeps getting longer: Barbies … Polly Pockets … Littlest Pet Shop … When the 5-year-old first learned she was getting a new sister, she had asked her parents, Travis and Adrienne McCaherty of Athens, if it could be a big sister. Adrienne, who is due Nov. 15 with Madelyn Kate, said she’s been working with Arin to help her understand that her new sister will come as a newborn baby and can’t play Polly Pockets right away. By Kelsea Gurski of the State Journal-Register.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

Squirrel roughs up Iraq veteran in park

SPRINGFIELD – Frank Garren is tough guy. The 6-foot, 4-inch former Army sergeant was awarded a Purple Heart after surviving a roadside bomb while deployed in Iraq in 2004. He knows about combat and quick reactions. An angry squirrel is another matter, said Garren, who reported just such a run-in recently in Washington Park. By Amanda Reavy of the State Journal-Register.

Museum puts Lincoln-era cookbook on sale

SPRINGFIELD – Abraham Lincoln, a popular dinner guest in the homes of Springfield residents, knew that charming the lady of the house would help ensure continued invitations.  That’s why history records him complimenting many of his dinner hostesses on their cakes, claiming each one to be the “best cake I have ever eaten.” By Kathryn Rem.

Thousands of stimulus checks still unclaimed

PEORIA – More than $1.3 million in economic stimulus money due to residents of Peoria, Tazewell and Fulton counties has yet to be claimed, and the deadline is Wednesday. According the IRS, Illinois ranks seventh in the nation, with more than 153,000 people yet to file, leaving close to $46 million unclaimed. By Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star.

Former credit union employee charged with stealing more than $1M

ROCKFORD – A former employee of Rock Valley Federal Credit Union is charged with stealing more than $1 million from her employer over 15 years by falsely stating credit card balances. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star.


Harvest could spill into November

It won't be a quick harvest in central Illinois, but it looks to be a productive one, note area ag observers. Despite getting a late start because of a wet spring and dealing with saturated fields after heavy September rain, farmers are looking forward to a productive harvest that's far from over. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.

Author: Oil to blame for crisis

PEORIA – The author of "Energy Victory" relates the present economic crisis with oil - not home loans. Robert Zubrin, the kickoff speaker at the Illinois Commodity Conference in Bloomington next month, believes America's dependence on oil is responsible for the sliding economy. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.


March of Dimes focuses on aiding premature babies

ROCKFORD – Heidi Yaw learned to trust her instincts after her first son was born prematurely in 2005. She delivered Noah, who weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces and measured 13 inches long, at about 25 weeks gestation. Noah responded to treatment at first but died in a neonatal intensive care unit about two weeks later. That was where Yaw learned about the March of Dimes’ work for premature babies and decided to help. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.

Hunters should tune up own bodies as well as equipment

People who suspect they may have heart trouble often take a stress test to find out what’s wrong. Unfortunately, some hunters wait until they’re in the woods during hunting season — and a lot of them don’t pass. By Chris Young of the State Journal-Register.

Food professional relaxes with wood hobby

GALESBURG – Bill Cassell spent all of last Wednesday morning hunched over a workbench in his cellar. He cut. Paused. Lined up the Flying Dutchman No. 2 blade in a new hole. Tightened the tension. Cut again. Paused. Cassell, a cook, was finding relaxation in his woodworking hobby. By Tom Loewy of the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Health issues don't slow down rugmaker

KNOXVILLE – It’s hard to imagine that Jim McCormick of Galesburg was, as he said, “down in the dumps,” one morning of the Knox County Scenic Drive. McCormick, owner of Rag Rugs, laughed often as he described the throw rugs he makes on a loom. It would be easy for McCormick to be depressed. Doctors pretty much gave up on McCormick being able to ever do anything productive after the 78-year-old former farmer suffered a stroke in 1982. But that didn’t stop McCormick, who now makes rugs after becoming somewhat know for his first hobby of making brooms. By John R. Pulliam of the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Healthy eating should be daylong goal

ROCKFORD – Portion size is one thing. Serving size can be quite another. Then, of course, there’s super size. It’s no wonder Americans are confused about what’s healthy when it comes to how much they should be eating. Controlling portion size is one of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but it helps to know what a serving size is to make it work. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.


BRITT: McCain’s rhetoric against Obama. POSTED.

Terry Bibo: A long recovery ahead

Imagine losing the family paycheck for two or three months. Or, in this case, imagine losing three of them. Forty-seven-year-old Jay Michael Dodge can't read or write. But apparently he can work pretty hard. Until the early morning of Sept. 20, he held three different jobs. That morning, he was struck by a car while riding to work and has been out of work for weeks.

Editorial: Conversations on race should be sober, sensible

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., was right to moderate his comments comparing Sen. John McCain and his campaign to the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a staunch segregationist for much of his political career. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: GOP rhetoric at odds with Reagan's legacy

In some ways it's amusing to see what issues have gained traction in this election. One such is the criticism from Republicans that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama would dare to meet with foreign leaders "without preconditions." GOP nominee John McCain brought it up again at last week's debate, specifically regarding Iran, and it has become virtually a refrain for McCain's supporters. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


MIKE NADEL: CHICAGO - With Tuesday being the 100th anniversary of the Cubs' last championship celebration, Mike Nadel has authored a letter to Mark Cuban to make sure the prospective team owner knows what he's getting into. Will be posted this evening.


Illinois football

NOTEBOOK: Illinois tries to stay positive after a loss last weekend dropped the Illini to 3-3. Notes from coach Ron Zook’s press conference. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.

Illinois basketball

WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR: They're already saying it outside the locker room. Expectations are low for the Illinois basketball team, who has recruits committed down the road but must first get through this season. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.

Illinois women's basketball

YEAR TWO: Coach Jolette Law and the Illini women were one bounce away from perhaps playing in the NCAA tournament last season. Law begins her second year as Illini coach. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.


Matt Trowbridge: Bears coaches need to be as aggressive as Orton

Kyle Orton is no Shane Matthews. Or Dave Krieg or Brian Griese or Steve Walsh or Craig Krenzel or any one of a dozen dink-and-dunk quarterbacks the Bears have had over the years. Orton proved that Sunday.