Illinois Budget 5.15.09
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.
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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, email@example.com
How the Marion Daily Republican used Twitter to cover a storm.
Freeport Journal-Standard gives away 100 prom dresses during special event.
Peace Corps member looks to continue adventures in Africa
PEKIN – Two years of adventure in Africa weren’t enough for Matt Fornoff. The Manito-area native’s two-year enlistment in the Peace Corps ended on April 24, but he decided to look for work in Malawi or in a nearby African country. If nothing turns up, he expects to travel and eventually head back to the U.S. But somehow, the adventure will continue. By Art Drake of the Pekin Times.
Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted by 7 p.m. for use Sunday.
FOR THE WEEKEND:
FOIA REWRITE: A closer look at the latest changes proposed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the state's Freedom of Information Act and how the AG's office, other proponents and critics see them having an impact in the "real world" of records requests. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m. for use in weekend editions. With a breakout of highlights of Madigan's proposed FOIA changes
ROAD MONEY: Some Chicago-area lawmakers are fed up with a system that splits state money for road projects unevenly, with downstate getting 55 percent of the money and 45 percent going to Chicago. They say it's time to change that formula. But even with Chicago's strong political pull at the state Capitol, will it really change? Downstate lawmakers say they have more roads and will put their political clout to work to protect the current system. By Andrew Thomason of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m. for use in weekend editions.
State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m.
REFORM GROUP: Members of the Illinois Reform Commission meet with House Republicans in an open session on the subject of government reform. Commission member Brad McMillan says Gov. Quinn and others are planning a special legislative session in September to deal only with the topic of overhauling the legislative redistricting process. Chairman Pat Collins provides a quick update on where the reform recommendations are in the legislative process. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m.
Gas prices not expected to rise much more
ROCKFORD – Gasoline prices are going uphill again this spring. But at least they’re not going up a mountain. Analysts suggest that prices won’t go too far up this summer, not with the global economy still battling a recession. They don’t expect prices to go near the $4-a-gallon prices seen last summer. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: How much have gas prices risen in your area?
Ameren sets up 'tent city' for workers fixing storm damage
MARION – When more than 2,000 Ameren workers from all over the Midwest came to Southern Illinois to repair storm damage, logistics became a major concern. Ameren has set up one of two "tent cities" on the parking lot of the old Wal-Mart building in Marion to house workers who are in the area to fix damage from recent storms. By Diane Wilkins of the Marion Daily Republican.
Couple wins chance to trade 'ugly' kitchen for modern redo
SPRINGFIELD – Today’s real estate experts say kitchens sell homes. But for Brian and Dawn Moulton, who moved into their two-bedroom ranch-style home in west Springfield on July 3, 2007, the front room, full basement and proximity to good neighbors in a park-like setting were among convincing selling points. They weren’t scared away by the ugly 1950s-era kitchen, even though its list of shortcomings was daunting. But thanks to an “Ugly Kitchen Contest”, the Moultons now have a completely updated kitchen. By Tamara Browning of the State Journal-Register.
Rolling reverends on a unique bike ride to help the hungry
PEORIA – Sometimes three is not a crowd, especially when you have to climb some steep, hilly roads. Three Lutheran pastors from West Virginia rode into Peoria on Thursday on a one-of-a kind bicycle - a triplet - with the goal of helping to feed the world's hungry. They call it the Tour de Revs, and their 100-day journey, which began Wednesday in Chicago, will take them through 65 cities and more than 13,000 miles. By Catharine Schaidle of the Peoria Journal Star.
Review: Beach Boys still have plenty of life
PEORIA – Summer arrived a bit early Thursday as the Beach Boys brought their surf-cars-girls time machine to Peoria. By Phil Luciano of the Peoria Journal Star.
Astronauts help design mission patches
PEKIN – Most people aren’t aware of the history behind the STS-125 Mission Patch, said Kathleen Woith, vice president of communications at Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences in Peoria. Although the patch depicts the overall structure and composition of the universe, complete with telescope, shuttle and the names of all seven astronauts — including Pekin native Scott Altman — it doesn’t reveal why such a patch exists in the first place. By Valari Hyatt of the Pekin Times.
BRITT: Toon on Obama beginning to look and sound like Bush. Will be posted by 6 p.m.
Dave Bakke: Baseball game days after race riot a surreal scene
One of the most bizarre episodes in Springfield history took place when the New York Giants baseball team played a game here. Having the Giants play in Springfield would have been historic in itself. They were in the middle of a heated pennant race at the time. But it is when the game occurred that brings in the “bizarre” dimension. It was Aug. 18, 1908, just a couple of days after what has become known as the Springfield Race Riot, though it is more accurately described as a white riot against Springfield’s black population.
Editorial: To clean up Blago’s mess, lather, rinse, bleep'n repeat
We’re getting to the roots of the problem with Illinois politics. A suburban Chicago company is marketing “Blago It’s Bleep’n Golden,” a shampoo and conditioner inspired by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. We’re sure the purpose of the shampoo is to give your hair body and an extra clean feel. However, we can’t help but think anything associated with Blagojevich would be oily, greasy and slimy. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Editorial: Congress should rein in America's loan sharks
With American credit card debt hanging near a mind-boggling $1 trillion and the economy still gasping, more consumers are getting trapped in an endless cycle of debt. Much-needed rules coming soon from Uncle Sam may make it harder for the companies doling out the plastic to take advantage of consumers stuck on debt row. Ultimately it may save both these companies and consumers from their excesses. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Narrow focus of ‘fumigation’ measure
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Officials and Employees Termination Act of 2009, introduced last Thursday, proposes to fire some 3,000 employees and board members whose jobs came from political appointments during the administrations of former Govs. Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan. The bill needs to be refined, however, to narrow its focus. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
COLD BASEBALL: It's college baseball's version of the Civil War. Programs from the Sun Belt and West Coast dominate the game, in part because of advantages gained from the schedule and warm weather. Teams in the North advocate change. More than 90 percent of the teams that reached the College World Series since 1985 have come from 14 West Coast or Sun Belt states. By John Supinie. Will be posted by 6 p.m. for use Sunday, May 17 and beyond.
WITH: Sidebars on northern schools dropping baseball and how the University of Illinois is trying to stay competitive with warm-weather teams; lists of College World Series winners and appearances by Big Ten schools in the CWS.