Illinois Budget 10.27.08

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.

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Jean Hodges: Dropdown menus added to News Service Web site.

Monday’s page of the day: The State Journal-Register.


Partial paralysis doesn't keep teen from football, racing

PEKIN – Chaz Gregory was born with mild paralysis of his right side, but his parents never allowed him to say he couldn't do something because of his disability. That can-do attitude has pushed the Pekin resident to compete as a linebacker on his high school football team and as an open-wheel race car driver who cruises around the track in a 1,200 cc outlaw sprint car in the Mid-American Outlaw Sprint Series. By Kevin Sampier of the Peoria Journal Star.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

LOTTERY LIMBO: A new opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice puts in doubt the key source of funding for Illinois' long-debated capital construction program by saying long-term leases of state lotteries violate federal law requiring state control of the lotteries. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. POSTED.

PONTIAC PRISON: The state workers union plans Nov. 19 rally in Springfield to express opposition to Gov. Blagojevich's plan to close Pontiac Correctional Center by the end of the year. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.

One year later, search for Stacy continues with no end in sight

BOLINGBROOK – As the one-year anniversary of Stacy Peterson’s disappearance nears, a mountain of failing hope and fruitless efforts dwarf the hill of optimism that once surrounded her friends and family. It’s a milestone with no merit. A tacit cue that closure should begin, where no closure is in sight. By Danya Hooker of Suburban Life Publications.

18th Congressional District:

Callahan says she's not seeking political career

PEORIA – When Democrat Colleen Callahan decided to seek the congressional seat being vacated by Ray LaHood, the political newcomer realized she would be viewed as the underdog against two-term Republican state lawmaker Aaron Schock. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.

Schock: Energy, defense, taxes the big issues

PEORIA – Since winning a seat on the Peoria School Board at age 19, Aaron Schock has never lost an election — and he doesn’t plan to start now. Schock, now serving his second term in the Illinois House of Representatives, wants to take over the 18th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, who is retiring.

Sheldon Schafer on the issues

Where Green Party candidate Sheldon Schafer stands on the issues.


Broken turbine blade raises questions about wind power

WYANET – What property owner Richard Schertz described as the thunderous sound of a wind turbine blade crashing down into his cornfield apparently echoed around the world. The stock price of the company that manufactures the turbines, India-based Suzlon Energy, tumbled more than 39 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange after it notified the exchange of the failure. And the accident has wind-power opponents questioning its value. By Matt Buedel of the Peoria Journal Star.

WiMax technology part of plans for higher-speed Internet

SPRINGFIELD – One of Springfield’s original dial-up companies has begun the transition to WiMax, a high-speed wireless technology an industry analyst calls “an evolution, not a revolution” in broadband competition. The step by Springnet1 is part of continuing improvements in broadband technology, both wired and wireless, that continue to remake the market for Internet service. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

Small-business owners lean red

ROCKFORD – If nothing else, Joe the Plumber helped focus the final few weeks of the presidential race on the plight of the small-business owner. No one in the U.S. believes John McCain can win Illinois — Barack Obama’s home state, with heavily Democratic Chicago dominating the landscape — so the state’s 21 electoral votes almost certainly will go to the Illinois senator. But if a very unscientific small-business owner poll conducted by the Rockford Register Star was to decide it, it would be a different story. McCain was favored by 50 percent of the respondents, with 33 percent for Obama and 17 percent undecided. By Alex Gary of the Rockford Register Star.


Curator works to keep smallest library in the state alive

ELLISVILLE – Hidden away in the tiny town of Ellisville, population 86, is one great big treasure: 3,500 books packed into 336 square feet, the smallest library in the state of Illinois. By Lainie Steelman of the Macomb Journal.

Down syndrome center calendar features children living with disorder

ROSCOE – On Tuesday afternoons, 4-year-old Faith Kosak spends time in the living room singing songs and dancing the motions to “Head, shoulders, knees and toes.” She’s just like most other 4-year-olds, except she has Trisomy 21 — the triplication of the 21st chromosome, called Down syndrome. Faith is one of three Rock River Valley girls featured in the 2009 calendar Inspire, produced by GiGi’s Playhouse. By Cathy Bayer of the Rockford Register Star.

Funeral home celebrates 80th birthday with the King

BARTONVILLE – Dave Stovall danced around a replica of Elvis Presley's casket. Hail to the King. A facsimile of the 650-pound copper casket in which Presley was buried, complete with French bisquit-tufted velvet, was on display Saturday at Endsley Funeral Home. Stovall performed some signature Elvis songs during an open house at the funeral home, which is celebrating 80 years of service in the Tri-County Area. By Kevin Sampier of the Peoria Journal Star.

Artist embraces an orange medium

MOUNT PULASKI – Rene Hubal has loved Halloween since she was a child. “After my son was born,” she said, “I got into it a lot more.” Hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins more. One of Hubal’s pumpkin carvings took first place in the 2007 Pumpkin Masters contest. By Nancy Rollings Saul of the Lincoln Courier.


BRITT: Toons on Joe Biden’s gaffes and Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe. POSTED.

Jeff Vrabel: Horse makes international painting debut

Horses, if we're being honest, are terrible at most things. They can't kick a field goal to save their lives, they can't drive a tractor, and they are completely useless when you ask them for help with your BlackBerry. Yet I received word this week that though they still can't help me decide what to do with my 401(k), horses are getting better at one thing: art.

Chuck Sweeny: Follow the money

Raising the most money doesn’t always determine the winner in politics, but a candidate does have to have enough money to get his name out there and be taken seriously by the voters. And I don’t recall meeting too many candidates who wouldn’t like to have more money than their opponent. So, with just over a week to go in this exhaustive election year, it’s a good time to take a look at the cash ledgers.

Editorial: Politicians' opposition means constitutional convention a good idea

One could wallow for days in the minutiae of why Illinois needs a constitutional convention to fix our state’s dysfunctional government. We’ll immerse you in those details shortly. But if you don’t want to get caught up in all of that, there is one fact that is particularly persuasive in favor of the convention: Almost every entrenched interest and elected official at the Statehouse, regardless of their spot on the ideological spectrum, doesn’t want it to happen. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: Fiscal fears, foreign policy worries still endure

Sixty-eight years ago, America had suffered through a decade of the Great Depression and Adolf Hitler was blitzkrieging his way through Europe. Americans were fearful and insecure - sound familiar? - and that was reflected in the pages of a Journal Star predecessor, the Peoria Journal-Transcript. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


MIKE NADEL: Best of The Baldest Truth (featuring items on Illinois football and basketball, the Bears, etc.). POSTED.

ILLINI: WITH THE ILLINI: Notebook column likely led with interview with Illini quarterback Juice Williams. Will also include men's and women's basketball. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.

NFL Quick Shots: Draft mistakes don’t have to hold teams hostage

Recent bad drafts, conventional wisdoms says, gives Mike Singletary little chance in San Francisco. The Chicago Tribune wrote that taking Alex Smith No. 1 overall in 2005 set the 49ers back five years. If that’s true, how come Tennessee went into Monday night as the NFL’s only unbeaten team? By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.