Illinois Budget 3.18.09
Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at www.gatehousenewsservice.com. Please check www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/news 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 Illinois@gatehousemedia.com.
Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, email@example.com
Video: Find out who’s judging Best of GateHouse contest, when results will be released.
Video of the week: Convenience store workers try to be safe.
BUDGET: Facing a crippling $11.5 billion deficit, Gov. Pat Quinn gave his first budget address Wednesday and asked for increases in taxes and fees as well as unpaid furloughs for state employees. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
STATE CAPITOL Q&A: An analysis of the governor's budget plan, including the challenges it faces and what happens next in the budget process. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol Bureau.
EMPLOYEE IMPACT: How Quinn's plan to force most state employees to take unpaid days off and pay more for health insurance and retirement benefits will hit workers – and whether the benefit will be worth the sacrifice. By Eric Naing of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening.
BUDGET REACTION: What lawmakers and key interest groups say about the governor's plans and their future. By Andrew Thomason of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening.
Report: Food prices to continue decline
SPRINGFIELD – Food costs down, fuel prices up. A new government report on wholesale inflation had a familiar ring for Amanda Wittenauer. “If gas bills or gasoline go up, you learn to live with it in other areas of your budget,” the Southern View resident said Tuesday while shopping for her family at the County Market in Springfield. To localize: Are food prices going down and gas prices going up in your area?
Sharing the cooking saves time, money on healthy meals
PEORIA – Lisa Sutherland's Peoria kitchen smells delicious, but she's too busy to notice. She's stirring a curried turkey and overseeing the general hubbub of activity in her kitchen. Sutherland calls what she does Cookshare. It's the cooking equivalent of carpooling or community gardening. Cooperative cooking saves time and money, but it also builds a support group for eating healthier and losing weight. By Pam Adams of the Peoria Journal Star.
Sleepless nights may be sign of serious problem
SPRINGFIELD – Whether wide-eyed over an upcoming presentation or riding the waves of a midnight caffeine jolt, many people suffer from the occasional restless night with missed sleep. But habitual tossing and turning may be the result of a more serious sleep problem or sleep disorder. By Sara Browning of the State Journal-Register.
'Swan Lake' is beauty in motion
SPRINGFIELD – When it comes to classical ballet, it doesn’t get much more classic than “Swan Lake.” “It’s the epitome of what people think of as classical ballet,” said Julie Dunn, artistic director of the Springfield Ballet Company. The SBC will present two matinee performances of “Swan Lake” this weekend at Sangamon Auditorium, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.
Pair of macaws returns to Carlinville
CARLINVILLE – A pair of wayward macaw parrots that temporarily made a south Springfield subdivision home have found their way back home to Carlinville. The two blue-and-gold parrots were spotted in Springfield as early as March 6 and roosted in neighborhood trees by day before flying west each evening as dusk fell. Mike Nejmanowski, son of the late Carlinville bird enthusiast Del Nejmanowski, said he is certain the birds are his father’s. By Rhys Saunders of the State Journal-Register.
BRITT: Toon on taxpayers being too broke to protest bailouts.
Phil Luciano: McGriddler pitches fit - and food
As documented here over the years, Peoria has a rich history of flung-food crimes. Vittles volleyed in anger include spaghetti, cranberry sauce, a milk shake, an onion and a tomato. And, now, a McGriddle.
Dave Bakke: Getting special officer’s name on state memorial not certain
Joe Sigler was a special police officer hired by the small town of Bulpitt, southeast of Springfield, to keep the peace during the bloody central Illinois mine wars of the 1930s. On Sept. 10, 1934, Sigler was gunned down outside a home in Bulpitt. He died four days later. His killer was never identified. On May 13, Sigler’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial is for officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Illinois’ memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty is on the grounds of the state Capitol in Springfield. Sigler’s name is not there.
Editorial: Hynes should explain actions regarding IFDA
Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes has built a refreshing reputation in the last six years as an advocate of open government and truth in budgeting. He posts all kinds of documents to his Web site, making it easier to see what his office and state government are doing. And his office has volunteered information regarding the troubled Illinois Funeral Directors Association pre-need trust fund. But Hynes needs to further explain his agency’s actions regarding the fund and rethink his decision not to produce certain documents. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Deadbeat Illinois shouldn't miss out on extra cash
While the debate on how to fill what's now projected to be an $11.5 billion budget hole will surely be passionate, one Illinois fiscal matter should receive prompt and deliberate attention: the chronic delay in paying back Medicaid providers. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Illinois needs more open primaries
If you’re tired of declaring a political party in a primary and frustrated by the amount of political junk mail you get because of it, help may be on the way. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
ILLINI PREVIEW: Preview of the Illini’s first-round NCAA tournament game against Western Kentucky. With preview capsule. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.
HILLTOPPERS REUNION: Feature story on Illinois coach Bruce Weber and assistant Gary Nottingham, who spent time as graduate assistants at Western Kentucky. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.
Possible sidebar on Western Kentucky. TBD.
Feature on new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.