Illinois Budget 10.23.08

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,


ELECTION 2008: GateHouse papers develop election sites.


Couple deals with two sons off to war

GALESBURG – Nothing Rod and Terri Miller have endured in their tough lives has come close to being as hard as sending their only sons off to war zones on the other side of the world. Their younger son Billy, 23, who has been at Fort Bragg, N.C., since August, will ship out to Afghanistan with other members of the Galva National Guard unit Oct. 27, exactly one year after his brother left for a 15-month tour in Iraq. By Jane Carlson of the Galesburg Register-Mail.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: Every 20 years, Illinois voters are asked whether a constitutional convention should be called. A package of stories is available from GateHouse News Service for use Sunday, Oct. 26 and beyond.


Constitutional convention question has no simple answer

SPRINGFIELD – In Illinois politics, even "yes or no" questions aren't simple. Voters in the Nov. 4 general election will be asked whether or not they think the Land of Lincoln needs a constitutional convention, at which elected delegates would recommend changes to the state's 1970 charter. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. For use Sunday, Oct. 26.


John Bambenek: Constitutional Convention needed to fix flaws in current system

A column in favor of a convention, by Illinois Citizens Coalition co-founder John Bambenek.

Jim Edgar: Illinois needs better politicians, not new constitution

A column opposed to a convention, by former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar.

Daily stories:

BUDGET POLL -- Many Illinois registered voters are fed up with the state's direction and officials' work on the state budget but don't support many options long-discussed to fix the problems. A new poll released Thursday from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale found more than 75 percent of voters polled think the state is going in the wrong direction. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.

CHEMICAL RELEASE: Sixty-three Metamora Grade School students were detained on their bus Thursday morning after a reported "chemical release" aboard. St. Francis was reportedly put on "orange alert" in case the kids were brought in. Four kids were taken to the hospital but are fine. By Leslie Fark of the Peoria Journal Star. Early version posted; will be updated.

Peoria speech viewed as foundation of Lincoln’s career as statesman

PEORIA – He came alone, riding into town on horseback. Just six years later he would be president of the United States. It was at the request of a committee of Whigs that Abraham Lincoln rode into Peoria Oct. 16, 1854, and delivered a speech that many historians believe to be the beginning of Lincoln as a statesman and the foundation of every argument he ever brought forth.


In-store clinics meeting demand for care on patients’ terms

ROCKFORD – Retail health clinics inside Rockford-area Walgreens stores have seen more than 500 patients since opening five months ago, a number is expected to increase as the flu season continues. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.


Norm Macdonald: A stand-up kind of guy

SPRINGFIELD – Despite having starred in his own TV shows and movies, Norm Macdonald said he prefers doing stand-up comedy. The man who came to national prominence as the Weekend Update anchor on “Saturday Night Live” in the mid-1990s — and went on to star in “The Norm Show,” “A Minute with Stan Hooper” and movies like “Dirty Work” — talks about those gigs like they were odd little side projects. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Parolees learn the ropes for being on outside

GALESBURG – Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson to a group of 100 prison inmates may have fallen flat for some speakers. But when district supervisor for parole Paul Carlson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us,” the sentiment resonated with at least a few inmates. By Susan Kaufman of the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Students get a dose of Lincoln the song and dance man

GALESBURG – As a change from the normally poised, stoic portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, Galesburg-area fourth- and fifth-graders were able to see the 16th president sing and dance across the Orpheum Theatre’s stage on Wednesday. By Michelle Anstett of the Galesburg Register-Mail.


BRITT: Britt is off Thursday.

Michelle Teheux: How does 'Extreme Makeover' crew do it?

I bet the same exact question is on just about every Pekin resident’s mind right now: How come “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” can tear down and rebuild an entire house faster than most of us can so much as wallpaper a bathroom?

Chuck Sweeny: I voted early, felt guilty, and you can too

I regard voting as a secular sacrament and Election Day as a Holy Day of Obligation. So, I felt guilty of sacrilege Monday afternoon when I drove to the Rockford Board of Elections and voted early for a whole slew of candidates, hoping that I wasn’t picking too many scoundrels.

Pam Adams: Signs of the political times keep disappearing

Black equals bad. Bad equals Muslim. Muslim equals terrorism. Terrorism equals fear. Circular logic leads us to the local couple who believe Barack Obama has a secret plan to turn the country over to Muslims. The Republican who told me about them couldn't believe he heard them say what he heard them say. And, further along the spectrum of circular logic that makes you go "uhmmm," we go to the retired Peoria police sergeant who can't understand why Obama campaign signs keep disappearing from his yard.


MIKE NADEL: Tony Romo breaks a pinkie and the Cowboys can't get out of their own way against the rag-tag Rams. Meanwhile, hot quarterbacks have helped the Bears, Bills and Cardinals to surprisingly good starts. More than ever, it seems, outstanding QB play is important to success in the NFL. Will be posted this evening.