Illinois budget 12.29.09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Illinois budget 12.29.09

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 is on vacation.

- Jean Hodges, 630-956-8834,

- Michael Toeset, 630-835-8870,


The daily Illinois budget can be found online at Budget updates will be posted there.


Facebook pages fill up with Christmas photos, so ask readers to send them to you

Reader callout: Ask readers to send in photos of New Year’s fun


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. Will move this afternoon.

JOBS: Are jobs cut during recession gone for good?

Long-term job prospects in the Springfield area are best in health care, social services, mining, education, tourism, and professional and business services, based on projections from the state of Illinois. Not so much in manufacturing, agriculture and, well, state government. By Tim Landis.

- Localize it: Add your area's figures, etc.

VOTING LAW: Voting law proceeding despite concerns

Voting this February could be a little more complicated. Thanks to a provision passed by the Illinois State Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2007, if a voter fails to vote for any particular office, many voting machines throughout the state will beep loudly and spit the ballot back out. An election judge will then have to assist the voter, either correcting the undervote; or overriding the system and casting the vote with the omission. By Tara Mattimoe.

- Localize it: Add your county info, etc.

CAPITOL Q AND A: A reminder that voter registration deadline is rapidly approaching and what a person needs to register. By Doug Finke. Will move this evening.


TIPS: Tips dwindle as customers watch what they spend

Tipping isn’t faring well in what’s become more of a do-it-yourself economy. According to a national study, tipping this year is down anywhere from 5 percent to 50 percent. Locally, restaurant servers and others say it’s not so much that the tippers aren’t tipping their usual amounts, but that there aren’t as many customers, period. By Rhys Saunders.

- Localize it: See if the trend holds in your area, then add pertinent info.


DAVID ROBSON: 2009 in the garden

Things sure were soggy for gardeners this past year. But there's always 2010.

SEIZURE DOG: Epileptic thankful for seizure-response dog

The last time Mitch Peterson was in the newspaper, he was celebrating his third year with the service animal he credits with giving him the gift of independence. Since then Peterson, who suffers from epilepsy, was featured on the “CBS Evening News.” He’s also spent more time with London, the seizure-response dog Peterson received from Canine Assistants, a Georgia-based non-profit company, in 2005. By Chris Mouzakitis.


JERRY MOORE: Salvation Army deserves support despite its bad philosophy

I disagree with the Salvation Army’s view of homosexuality. But the group performs a vital function in society, and it helps anyone with no strings attached.

DAVE BAKKE: Bakke catches up with subjects from the year’s columns

Readers might be wondering what happened to some of the people I columnized about in 2009. Or not. I was, so I reconnected with a few of them.


BEARS: Follow-up column by Matt Trowbridge. Will be posted this evening.

ILLINI: ROLE REVERSAL: When Illinois hosts Northwestern on Wednesday, the Illini have a two-game losing streak and Northwestern brings its first top 25 ranking in 25 years and a realistic hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Serves as ILL-NU preview. With preview capsule. By John Supinie. Moving by 6 p.m.