Illinois Budget 3.20.09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

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.

Contacts:

Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, claughman@gatehousemedia.com

GATEHOUSE NEWSROOM

TRAINING VIDEO: Improve your video reports by incorporating basic video shots in your projects.

http://ghnewsroom.com/article/training-video-improve-your-video-reports-incorporating-basic-video-shots-your-projects

Use editable promotion to ask readers for Easter photos.

http://ghnewsroom.com/article/use-editable-promotion-ask-readers-submit-easter-photos

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT:

Frugally fit: Health club, diet memberships not required to lose weight

PEORIA – Sorry, Mr. Gold. Your state-of-the-art gyms are very nice, but in these times of frugal fitness, people may be taking more cues from Mr. Balboa. As in Rocky Balboa, who jumped rope, punched frozen carcasses at the meatpacking plant and ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cheap, but effective - proving that losing weight doesn't have to lighten your wallet as well. By Jennifer Davis of the Peoria Journal Star.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x599206188

ILLINOIS NEWS

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/news

For Monday:

PENSION PAIN: Once again, state officials are promising major pension reforms to save big bucks in the long term – and use that as an excuse to skimp on payments to an already debt-ridden pension system. A closer look at the pros and cons of what's being discussed. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Monday.

GOVERNMENT REFORM: The latest installment of an ongoing series of stories looking at the work of state committees on ethics reform, this week focusing on campaign finance changes. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Monday.

For Sunday:

BUDGET HITS HOME: A closer look at how Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposal would hit Illinois families, from tax and fee increases to tax breaks to spending cuts and increases. Including what some taxpayers think about these ideas. By Andrew Thomason of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday. With a breakout checklist of costs facing Illinoisans under Quinn's budget.

Statehouse Insider: By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday.

Daily:

State Briefs. News from around the state.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x2087806095

RECORDS REQUEST DENIALS: When government says “no” to a records request in Illinois, the denial is a slam-dunk public record. State law says so, and in plain English: Denial letters must be kept in a single central office file open to the public. But a law that’s been part of the state Freedom of Information Act since the 1980s comes as news to some officials tasked with releasing information to the public. When The State Journal-Register asked to see denial files held by more than 20 agencies, answers ranged from “come on over” to “we don’t keep files that way” to no answer at all. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register. Will be posted this evening.

ILLINOIS BUSINESS

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois_business

Business leaders: Cuts, reform should come before tax hikes

SPRINGFIELD – State business leaders gave Gov. Pat Quinn credit for tackling a tough job Wednesday, but they said deeper spending cuts, health-care reform and changes in state pensions should come before tax increases. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x110658770

ILLINOIS LIFESTYLES

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois_lifestyle

Bald eagles experiencing a baby boom in central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – An established pair of bald eagles appears to have a strong start on raising a family for the third year along the Sangamon River north of Springfield — and they’re not the only ones. By Chris Young of the State Journal-Register.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1331537270

Open-cab tractor drive a bit brisk at Winnebago

WINNEBAGO – Tractor Day, a decades-old tradition at Winnebago High School when students drive tractors to school and proudly display them in neat rows in front of the school all day, had a special “guest” driver Friday morning — the school’s new principal Beth Summers. By Corina Curry of the Rockford Register Star. With video.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1331537267

Pastor finds proper channel to pursue two dreams

ROCKFORD – As a teenager, Mike Solberg was inspired to try to swim the English Channel by news accounts of legendary Indiana University swimming coach James “Doc” Counsilman’s 1979 crossing. As senior pastor at Second Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. J. Michael Solberg was inspired on a 2005 trip to raise money to build a school for children in Angola, where infrastructure hasn’t recovered from the effects of a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. He’ll try to accomplish both dreams this September. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x110658828

ILLINOIS OPINIONS

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/opinions

BRITT: Toon on unions and the state budget. Will be posted this evening.

Wood on Words: Students share their visions of the American dream

Here are some thoughts on the American dream as expressed by juniors at Guilford High School in Rockford. They were sent to me by English teacher Nancy Peterson.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/columnists/barry_wood/x599205797

Dave Bakke: Lincoln fan has memorabilia room

The least-known Lincoln site in Springfield is not open to the public but still has been visited by people from 10 states and from Costa Rica. It has no staff, no hours of operation, and there is no chance it will ever be closed due to the state’s budget crisis.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x599205916

Phil Luciano: No residue of terror at al-Marri's former home

When Dave Lancaster moved into his apartment, he didn't realize he was living in the same place as West Peoria's most prominent resident ever. Two years went by before the FBI called and wanted to take a look around. Then, Lancaster discovered that his modest apartment almost served as the base for a repeat of September 11, according to the feds.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x2087805798

Editorial: Apply lessons from AIG outrage in the future

With more than $170 billion in taxpayer money spent bailing out insurance giant AIG, no doubt many a grouchy taxpayer felt he'd done enough to prop up a company dubbed "too big to fail." Revelations that some of that money - $165 million - was paid in bonuses to employees of the business unit whose losses crippled the firm have turned that frustration into a full-throated, vein-bulging wave of anger consuming the country. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/editorials/x1465806257

Editorial: Get serious about cleaning up government

If the actions of its impeached former governor weren’t enough proof that Illinois needs serious reform in its Freedom of Information Act, perhaps a look at another state’s approach to open government will help. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1465806254

ILLINOIS SPORTS

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/sports

Sunday Quick Shots: By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday.

ILLINI:

Illini still have work to do after surprising season

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Illinois basketball team gets next week off for spring break, then it's back to work. Illinois took a step forward, bouncing back from a school record 19 losses a year ago to post a 24-10 record overall and a tie for second place in the Big Ten at 11-7. Now comes the hard labor behind the scenes, where those practices sessions at the Ubben Basketball Complex become more important than any SportsCenter highlight. By John Supinie. With season-ending report card.

http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/sports/big_10/x108135640