Illinois Budget 1.22.09
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Britt on the changing of the ears.
Peoria sells more than 1,000 copies of Inauguration extra edition.
IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: The House prosecutor prepares to present a long list of evidence already reviewed by the House, using several House lawmakers as witnesses, next week in the Senate's impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The governor, meanwhile, complains about unfair treatment and says he'll have more to say soon. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
LAHOOD SPEAKS: After more than a month of silence, the muzzle has been lifted from former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, who is being confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation. We'll get his thoughts on the matter, priorities, hurdles, etc. By Karen McDonald of the Peoria Journal Star. TENTATIVE.
AGE LAWSUIT: A Cook County judge argues his case before the state Supreme Court about what he contends is the improper application of a state law -- the effect being that judges may not run for retention after they reach age 75. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.
GOP Q&A: Illinois Republican Party chairman Andy McKenna talks in an interview about how Republicans plan to try to turn the tables on Democrats over the corruption problems of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and how the party will try to regain strength after several years of struggles in state politics. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol bureau.
PUPPY MILLS: A look at new legislation to crack down on so-called puppy mills that some breeders say could be state regulation gone too far. By Eric Naing of the State Capitol bureau. HELD.
TAX HELP: The state is offering help to taxpayers preparing their annual tax filings who might qualify for more tax breaks this year in a sluggish economy with higher unemployment. By Andrew Thomason of the State Capitol bureau.
Pennycress offering $100 million potential
PEORIA – The energy crop of the future is sleeping right now. But when pennycress, a member of the mustard family, wakes up and starts growing again in central Illinois fields this spring, researchers from the Peoria ag lab will closely monitor its progress. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Chuck Sweeny: Economic woes bring national news to town
ROCKFORD – Now I know for sure that the economy is in bad shape: A national newspaper has come to examine the Forest City, and those guys only show up here when recessions are deep and persistent.
Zonta group 'does amazing things'
ROCKFORD – Growing up, Stephanie Gundrum knew one thing was certain: She could be anything she wanted to be. That’s because Gundrum says she had a father who made sure she never doubted herself, just because she was a girl. And that’s why, when Gundrum first learned about Zonta International’s efforts to promote women, she felt compelled to become involved. By Elizabeth Davies of the Rockford Register Star.
Parents turn to presidential inspiration for baby’s name
PEORIA – A Kewanee couple had a son Monday and gave the boy a middle name they hope will encourage him to live up to the man from whom it came: Barack. By Kevin Sampier of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Local toon.
Phil Luciano: Soldier's biggest battle — cancer
I want to tell you a story about my friend Lt. Col. Jaime Martinez to show how a soldier's challenges can go far beyond the battlefield. And Martinez wants to tell a story to show how sometimes the government might not be doing all it can to support the military.
Editorial: Learning to celebrate and govern frugally
In 2005, with costly wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush raised and spent $42.3 million on what were then the most expensive inauguration festivities ever. The feds and Washington, D.C., were on the hook for about $115.5 million - mostly for security and cleanup - for Bush to have his party, and he was roundly criticized for the expenses. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Clemency records should be open
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has again found a creative way to skirt the intent of Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act in denying The State Journal-Register — and the public — the right to look at a clemency file. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Obama's call for openness a good first step
Illinois' reach across state lines to justify withholding information from the public is a stark contrast with the pledge of openness voiced by President Obama on his first full day on the job Wednesday. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
BACK IN GOOD STANDING: After suffering through a losing season that set a school record, Illinois coach Bruce Weber is back in good standing with the fans. His team is winning and more enjoyable for Weber to coach. By John Supinie.