Illinois Budget 5.18.09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Illinois Budget 5.18.09

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.

Contacts:

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

ILLINOIS BUDGET ONLINE: The daily Illinois budget can be found online at http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/budget. Budget updates will be posted there.

GATEHOUSE NEWSROOM

Today’s front-page gallery: http://ghnewsroom.com/article/front-page-gallery-may-18-2009

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT

81-year-old ‘dropout’ earns diploma: George Church’s graduation cake today read, “You are now a senior in a whole new way.” Which is doubly meaningful when you consider that George Church is an 81-year-old World War II veteran. By Betsy Lopez Fritscher, Rockford. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655275874/81-year-old-dropout-earns-diploma

ILLINOIS NEWS

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

STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. Will be posted by 6:30 p.m.

BUDGET REAX: State lawmakers and interest groups react to Gov. Pat Quinn's "doomsday" budget plan which calls for thousands of teachers, State Police troopers and workers to be cut and programs and services to be slashed. Quinn says his tax increase plan is needed to avoid the doomsday approach. Finke.

CONSTRUCTION PLAN: As senators prepare to start voting Tuesday for ways to pay for a new capital construction program, GateHouse Media-area lawmakers say they're not thrilled with legalizing video poker or privatizing the state Lottery's management but say it's necessary for the greater good of construction projects. By Naing/Thomason. Will be posted this evening.

- With a breakout of highlights of the revenue-generating ideas being pushed for the construction plan.

ACCOUNTABILITY PORTAL: Now that the Illinois General Assembly has approved creation of an online "accountability portal" to list state employees' salaries and other government information, supporters of the measure are talking about expanding the idea to include such things as the names of all state board and commission members. By Colindres. Will be posted this evening.

Illinois politicians try again to pass truck speed-limit bill: State lawmakers are taking a fourth crack at letting trucks travel the same speed as other vehicles on rural interstates. The Senate voted 40-8 Monday for House Bill 3956. The House had approved the idea nearly two months ago, so now it goes to Gov. Pat Quinn's. By Ryan Keith. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655275967/Illinois-politicians-try-again-to-pass-truck-speed-limit-bill

Your Healthcare Plus healthy for state budget: As health-care costs continue to rise for state government, a telephone and in-person counseling program that helps Medicaid patients better manage their chronic diseases remains a bright spot, achieving a net savings of $104 million. By Dean Olsen, SJR. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1194178638/Your-Healthcare-Plus-healthy-for-state-budget

Brookfield Zoo elephant dies: Affie, a 40-year-old African elephant, died Friday at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago. Officials are still unsure of the cause of death. By Janice Hoppe, Chicago Suburban. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1549044851/Brookfield-Zoo-elephant-dies

Saline County election finally official: The new results indicate Ronnie Bond, who was elected to the Galatia School Board and then named board president by his peers, was not elected to the board. Eric Gates will take his place on the board. The Carrier Mills alcohol referendum also changed -- the village is now "wet." Eric Foder, Daily Register. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655275758/Saline-County-election-finally-official

Columnist Phil Luciano arrested after alleged bar altercation: Phil Luciano, Journal Star/GateHouse columnist and WMBD-AM radio personality, was arrested Saturday morning for allegedly striking two people at a West Peoria tavern. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1194179079/Columnist-Phil-Luciano-arrested-after-alleged-bar-altercation

ILLINOIS BUSINESS

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

Bad economy very good for inventors: Innovation doesn’t rest during a recession. In fact, it often rears its head during times of economic hardship to introduce new ways for people to work and make money. Organizers of the third annual Stateline FastPitch Competition, where participants “pitch” their business ideas in three minutes or less to win cash prizes, hope to harness some of that innovation and expect to see increased interest this year. By Melissa Westphal, Rockford. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x340406351/Bad-economy-very-good-for-inventors

- WITH: FastPitch brought Brad Harrison to Rockford from Chicago last year. His success since then is keeping him here. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655276189/Outside-interest-found-at-FastPitch-a-sweet-song-to-businessman

Timing is everything when it comes to cash from stimulus in Illinois: Jobs for areas with high unemployment give way to road projects that are ready to go, leaders say. By Thomas V. Bona, Rockford. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655276078/Timing-is-everything-when-it-comes-to-cash-from-stimulus-in-Illinois

Labor goes green: Electrical union, tire company shift plans toward environment: President Barack Obama used Earth Day this year to highlight his contention that 5 million “green jobs” can be created in the next decade by pushing for domestic production of solar, wind and other alternative-energy technology. Ever so slightly, that shift has begun, say Springfield-area manufacturers, labor unions and elected officials. By Tim Landis, SJR. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655276127/Labor-goes-green-Electrical-union-tire-company-shift-plans-toward-environment

ILLINOIS LIFESTYLES

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

Havana teen's artwork to hang in U.S. Capitol: The tedious process Tiffanie Bell used to express her feelings about childhood has earned her artwork a spot in the U.S. Capitol. The 17-year-old junior at Havana High School was named the winner of the 27th annual Congressional Arts Competition. By Matt Buedel, Peoria. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x342403269/Havana-teens-artwork-to-hang-in-U-S-Capitol

Illinois mom spreads awareness of kids’ food allergies: Five-year-old Kaleb Trone’s allergies are so strong a small, accidental sip of milk nearly killed him about a year and a half ago. But Kaleb’s parents, Kristine and Charly Trone, have moved forward and become advocates for his condition. During last week's Allergy Awareness Week, Kristine spoke on the radio and did a presentation at Bright Futures preschool about allergies. The incident and her children have led to a new lifestyle for her. By Marco Santana, The Register-Mail. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655276201/Illinois-mom-spreads-awareness-of-kids-food-allergies

ILLINOIS OPINIONS

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

BRITT: Toon TBA.

Editorial: FOIA rewrite would help public get information: Critics of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s rewrite of Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act think her proposal is too complicated. By Rockford. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1518885068/Editorial-FOIA-rewrite-would-help-public-get-information

Editorial: Negligent nursing homes need fines that get their attention: When a nursing home resident's minor injury is left untreated and progresses to a major infection that ultimately kills her, the facility responsible should pay a stiff price. By Journal Star. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1993052131/Editorial-Negligent-nursing-homes-need-fines-that-get-their-attention

Editorial: Enough delays - pass up the raises already, Illinois politicians: As the state Legislature's spring session winds down, lawmakers are trying to put the finishing touches on a state budget that takes care of at least $11 billion of red ink. While doing that, they're also allegedly going to take up a slew of ethics reforms to remove the stink of corruption from the Land of Lincoln. By Journal Star. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1655276038/Editorial-Enough-delays-pass-up-the-raises-already-Illinois-politicians

Editorial: Same old, same old with Illinois state budget: With but two weeks until the Legislature's normal deadline for adjournment, it sure would be nice to hear more about what's happening with a state budget that is at least $11 billion short of balanced. By Journal Star. http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1549044704/Editorial-Same-old-same-old-with-Illinois-state-budget

ILLINOIS SPORTS

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

WITH THE ILLINI: Multi-sport notebook column on University of Illinois athletics will include basketball, baseball, golf, track and softball in a wrapup of the school year. By John Supinie. Moving by 9:30 p.m.