Illinois Budget 10.23.09

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: (217) 816-3343,


Top 50 GateHouse Media Web sites (daily unique visitors) for September 2009.

Top 50 GateHouse Media Web sites (page views) for September 2009

WebCube moments of the week.


Prophylactic mastectomy surgery helps even the odds in fight against breast cancer

FREEPORT – To Tresia Metz, her cyst-laden breasts were ticking time bombs just waiting to explode with cancer. For years, her mammograms generated the dreaded follow-up phone call informing her more tests were needed. When she received the follow-up call to come in for an ultrasound in April, she had had enough. “I told (my husband Jim) ‘I can’t take it anymore, I want these things off me,’” Tresia said. She underwent a prophylactic mastectomy in August. By Lori Kilchermann of the Freeport Journal-Standard.

Mastectomy patients have more options for post-surgery needs

FREEPORT – According to the American Cancer Society, there are now about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States. As breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy, a lumpectomy or reconstruction go on with their lives, there are many changes they will face in the months and years after completing their treatment. One of the important early decisions is the selection of a breast form and bra. By Jae Hezlep of the Freeport Journal-Standard.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

For the weekend:
CONTROLLING CAMPAIGNS: All that seems to be holding up campaign finance reform at the state Capitol is one sticking point – but it's a big one where there might not be much wiggle room. Reform advocates want to put limits on the amount of money legislative leaders and political parties can give to their candidates, but leaders say that's unnecessary. We'll look at examples of why this leader-funneled money to candidates is so important heading into the final week of the fall veto session. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. For weekend use. With a breakout box of details about lawmakers' return to work Wednesday.

STATEHOUSE INSIDER: Doug Finke is on vacation this week. Statehouse Insider will return next week.


Fright delight: Haunted houses scare up fun

SPRINGFIELD – Eight years ago, Dave McLaughlin and John Pritchett resorted to paying a few passersby three bucks each to be scared. Most haunted houses in the area started out this way — with a motley crew and makeshift funeral parlors, hospital rooms and graveyards created out of scrap pieces of metal and used cardboard. But today, the houses’ owners find themselves scrambling to keep up with the crowds’ demands for something more sinister each year. By Molly Beck of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Check with local haunted house operators to see how their operations have changed over the years.


Deck out your haunt with eerie design elements

SPRINGFIELD – Cody Jackson knows how to decorate a home for maximum fright appeal. The 27-year-old helped design the displays at the Spirit Halloween store in White Oaks Mall, where he works. And he knows this: “Halloween is crazy in Springfield,” he said. In terms of decoration sales, Halloween is second only to Christmas, proving that spooky and eerie are more popular than the pastel and fluffy motifs that dominate Easter. And with options ranging from lifesize Michael Myers dolls to zombie babies, Halloween shoppers have a wide range of choices to deck the halls with mayhem. By Dan Naumovich of the State Journal-Register.

Video Vault: 'Rosemary's Baby' creepy from start to finish

Whatever your opinion of the current Roman Polanski controversy, one thing is clear: “Rosemary’s Baby” is a heck of a movie. By Will Pfeifer of the Rockford Register Star.

Kids with disabilities hope for good luck in deer hunt

RUDEMENT – Nine young hunters are hoping to bag a couple of deer this weekend in the United Special Sportsman Alliance's seventh year of guiding kids with disabilities to Sahara Woods. The youth and their families gathered Thursday night at the Association of General Baptists Camp Oxford Youth Camp in Rudement to discuss the hunt. By Brian DeNeal of the Harrisburg Daily Register.

Elizabeth Davies: Raising lots of kids, but raising them right

I have two kids and two hands. Presumably, that should be enough. It’s not. On some days, it works out just right that I have two legs — one for each kiddo to sit on. I have two arms — one to wrap around each little child. I have two eyes, which indeed do go in different directions on occasion. And I have two ears, which somehow manage to field requests coming from both directions. But some days, it feels like having two of everything is simply inadequate.


BRITT: Britt is off today.
Phil Luciano: Al-Marri let off easy? Terrifying

Who do attorneys for Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri think is more stupid: their client, his judge or the American public? His lawyers say he should be set free now. They say al-Marri wasn't really a deadly terrorist but an unsophisticated rube, an al-Qaida patsy who barely had enough sense to tie his own shoelaces. They paint him as Shemp Howard in a turban.

Wood on Words: Smart terms for not-so-smart people

What’s a “fundit”? That’s the new featured word in the introduction to “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. As far as I know, star Stephen Colbert, who struck linguistic gold with “truthiness” in 2005, hasn’t defined “fundit.”

Jerry Moore: New political party focused on nothing hopes to change everything

Imagine a political party with no platform. No platform means no collective ideology, which means no hardliners or moderates. Candidates would be selected not for their adherence to broad political planks but on the qualities their potential constituents want. Could such a political party succeed? Tim Cox of Liberty Hill, Texas, believes it can.

Editorial: Look, up in the sky! It's our common sense!

Two themes seemed to have emerged with the whole "balloon boy" incident: The American obsession with celebrity, no matter what it takes to achieve it, and the contagion of awful parenting. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Nice to see common sense prevail

In our times, it’s a rare thing when a public official admits he or she made a mistake and issues a real apology that doesn’t end with the phrase, “if I offended anyone.” Linda Tisdale, managing director of the Springfield Mass Transit District, did just that on Tuesday, writing a letter to the editor announcing she had rescinded the one-day suspension of bus driver William “Bill” Jones. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


INSIDE THE LINES: Peoria Journal Star sports editor Bill Liesse takes an irreverent look at this weekend’s NFL games. For use in Sunday editions.

SUNDAY QUICK SHOTS: By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. For use in Sunday editions.

Ochocinco makes sure Bengals never have a dull moment

LAKE FOREST – Chad Ochocinco texted an ESPN reporter to call out the National Guard to help Charles Tillman cover him when the Bears (3-2) play at Cincinnati (4-2) on Sunday. Tillman laughed. “He is a very entertaining, talented player,” Chicago’s veteran cornerback said. “All the trash talking that he talks, he backs up. If you are that good, you can say whatever you want.” Ochocinco does. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.

For Sunday:
Bears-Bengals preview. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. For use in Sunday editions. With Bears keys to the game.

Freshman safety Aikens a bright spot in lost season for Illini

CHAMPAIGN – The athletic career of Illinois freshman safety Walt Aikens began when he was 2, far from his North Carolina home. While his father played professional basketball in Brazil, Aikens served as the ballboy and mascot. Before leaving South America two years later, Aikens had a grasp of the Portuguese language and his father's sport. Somewhere during the next few years back home in Charlotte, Aikens relearned English and picked up another game: football. By John Supinie.

For Sunday:
Illinois-Purdue: Game story and notebook. By John Supinie. Kickoff is 11 a.m. Will be posted Saturday evening.