Illinois Budget 2.20.09
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.
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APME Newstrain event set for March 6-8 in St. Louis.
New theater's got 'Milk' — and beer
PEORIA – Gabrielle Wiegand was driving in her car one day when she heard a radio report about a new art house movie theater opening in Peoria. And she was so excited, she said, that she nearly veered off the road. The Peoria native recently moved back to central Illinois from Washington, D.C., where it isn't hard to find screenings of little-known indie gems - or theaters that serve alcohol. This city now has both in Peoria Theater, Independent Film and Event Center. By Danielle Hatch of the Peoria Journal Star. To localize: Are there theaters in your area that show independent films, serve alcohol or do both?
GOVERNMENT REFORM: The first in a seven-week series looking at efforts to clean up state government. The debut focuses on transparency in government, covering open records, open meetings and whistleblowers. A story will move each weekend for the next seven weeks. Story topics will be dictated by the Joint Committee on Government Reform’s work each week. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. For use Monday.
Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. For use Sunday.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
SPECIAL ELECTION: Lawmakers react to Gov. Pat Quinn's announcement that he supports creating a special election to fill vacancies in Illinois U.S. Senate seats and his call for embattled Sen. Roland Burris to resign. By Andrew Thomason and Eric Naing of the State Capitol bureau.
STEELE SPEECH: National GOP chairman Michael Steele speaks at a gathering of the DuPage County Republican Party. By Brian Hudson of Suburban Life Publications. Story expected by 10 p.m.
Horse slaughtering proponents say lifting ban would lead to more humane treatment
SPRINGFIELD – Horse slaughtering was banned in Illinois two years ago as inhumane. But now some state lawmakers and horse enthusiasts want to lift the ban, hoping to improve treatment for animals they say face even worse circumstances now. By Eric Naing of the State Capitol bureau.
Dumpster alerts neighbors to drug houses
SPRINGFIELD – That big, bright trash receptacle people might find parked on the street in their neighborhoods isn’t there to collect garbage. It’s there to alert them that a drug house is nearby. A new initiative by Crime Stoppers of Sangamon and Menard Counties allows police, at the request of neighborhood organizations, to park a large, brightly painted trash bin on blocks where known drug houses operate. The goal is to let residents and drug dealers know police are watching. By Jayette Bolinski of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Do police in your area have ways of publicly labeling areas where drug houses operate?
Auto lines face extinction
SPRINGFIELD – When Chris Groves was ready to trade her PT Cruiser in late 2007, she looked for a 2008 model — or even a 2007 — but couldn’t find one within a 200-mile radius of Springfield. So she bought a Jeep. But she’d still rather have a new PT Cruiser, one of several types of vehicles that may disappear from car lots because of slumping sales. By Chris Dettro of the State Journal-Register.
Rockford Memorial automates laboratory
ROCKFORD – Handling laboratory tests at Rockford Memorial Hospital requires much less actual handling since the lab’s new Cobas 6000 analyzer series was installed. The fully automated system analyzes blood samples and other chemistry tests ordered by physicians and consolidates more than 95 percent of routine testing procedures that used to be done manually. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: Check with your local hospitals to see if they have automated laboratory tests.
Not just for kicks: Mixed martial arts is about attitude
SPRINGFIELD – Mixed martial arts defies many perceptions, especially those of people who view it as nothing more than two people beating each other to a pulp. To those who participate, it is very much a sport, and its fighters are well-conditioned, highly trained athletes. By Dan Naumovich of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Check out mixed martial arts studios in your area. Why do people get involved? Does your state enforce regulations on the sport?
Mysterious syndrome threatens endangered bat in Illinois
The image of dead bats lying in the snow outside of cave entrances near Mount Aeolus Cave in Vermont was a sure sign something was wrong. No one knows for sure what roused the bats early from hibernation and caused them to burn their fat reserves – forcing them to leave the cave in search of food. But instead of flying insects they found only the dead of winter. With nothing to eat, the bats simply starved. Natural resources officials fear bats in Illinois will not be immune. By Chris Young of the State Journal-Register.
'Queen of Mean' defies wholesome look with sharp tongue
Early in her career, Lisa Lampanelli had what some might consider a dream job. The Connecticut native and Syracuse University graduate was working as a writer at Rolling Stone magazine — going to shows, mingling with rock stars. It was all very Cameron Crowe. But she blanches when you ask her about that time in her life. By Danielle Hatch of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Toon on Roland Burris on a listening tour.
Wood on Words: ‘Tranquility,’ ‘defense’ and other troublesome nouns
I must have been dreaming. Last week I offered readers the chance to fill this space with their ideas on “the American dream.” Apparently no one wanted to do my work for me. So, on to Plan B.
Elizabeth Davies: I would make a great restroom designer
The visitors bureau probably isn’t going to hire me for this particular brand of expertise, but I know just about every good public restroom in my area.
Editorial: Do the right thing, Sen. Burris; resign before it gets worse
If Roland Burris wants to retain one shred of dignity, he needs to resign the U.S. Senate seat he coveted so much he groveled before embattled Rod Blagojevich. Burris should have known that you can’t stay clean if you wallow in the mud with the likes of the former governor, but he blissfully sought to become a senator so that another accomplishment could be carved on his tombstone. Pathetic. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Editorial: Sales taxes count, even in cyberspace
Lawmakers staring at a possible $9 billion hole in state coffers probably won't get as much help as they'd hoped from an Illinois Department of Revenue effort to collect from online sales tax scofflaws, a new report suggests. Regardless, revenue officials are well advised to go after it to instill greater fairness in the system and bring in whatever funds they can. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Here we go again
The fighting Wednesday on the floor of the Illinois House over the delayed release of U.S. Sen. Roland Burris’ newest affidavit was a disappointing return to the acrimony we hoped would fade with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s removal. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Young offenders get a better deal
Since 1973, 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors in Illinois have had their cases heard in adult court. On the surface, that sounds great. It says Illinois is tough on crime. In practice, though, it is terrible policy. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
WORK AHEAD: As the season winds down, Illinois must protect its spot in the league race and solidify its berth in the NCAA Tournament, coach Bruce Weber said Friday. The Illini don't want to fall back into the pack and put themselves in jeopardy on Selection Sunday. By John Supinie.
MOVING FORWARD: Illinois' Mike Tisdale has taken a big step forward in his sophomore season. Serves as Illinois-Ohio State preview. With preview capsule. By John Supinie. Moving Saturday afternoon.
GAME STORY: Illinois vs. Ohio State. Tipoff at noon. Game story with quotes and report card moving by 4 p.m. With sidebar. By John Supinie.