Illinois Budget 1.27.09
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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Writing coach: How the State Journal-Register uses live editorials to weigh in immediately.
Tuesday’s front page of the day: The State Journal-Register.
IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: The state Senate has Day 2 of its impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which is expected to cover testimony from a federal agent and some audiotapes of the governor committing alleged federal crimes. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Will be updated throughout the day. With the daily Impeachment Watch box.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
STATE CAPITOL Q&A: An explanation of the audiotapes senators are hearing Tuesday of the governor. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.
Despite bizarre behavior, experts say Blagojevich isn’t crazy
SPRINGFIELD – He quotes poets at press conferences, but seldom takes questions. Reporters have seen him grab cell phones from complete strangers, interrupting conversations to say, “Hi, this is the governor.” When lawmakers unanimously reject his proposal to tax businesses, he says that’s a vote of confidence. Is Gov. Rod Blagojevich crazy? The answer: Not exactly. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register.
Quinn asks feds to give state more time to replace 'swept' funds
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn has formally asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give Illinois more time to put federally restricted funds back in their proper place. The state faces the loss of $16 million in federal funds for fish and wildlife projects if it does not formally restore $9.25 million “swept” from six funds that receive money from hunting and fishing licenses and related fees. By Chris Young of the State Journal-Register.
Bees take a beating
PEORIA – As you scan Steve Mayes' honey-making operation in Mackinaw, with its large industrial pot and plastic teddy bear containers ready to be filled, you wouldn't know his industry was in trouble. "Today we are in crisis with honeybees," said Mayes, who cites a host of problems that plague the bees. But one problem stands out over all others, one that continues to mystify scientists around the world. So many honeybees have disappeared in recent years - literally left the hive without a trace - that researchers have coined a name for the phenomenon: Colony collapse disorder. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Scam artists target those facing foreclosure
PEORIA – Homeowners facing foreclosure have one more thing to worry about: Getting "help" from scam artists. So far, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed lawsuits against 22 so-called mortgage "rescue" companies. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Photographer captures the raptor in the wild
PEORIA – He saw the world through the eyes of a technology manager at Caterpillar Inc. That world view changed 15 years ago with his purchase of a 35mm camera. Today, Jim Miller, 70, sees the world in terms of the sometimes catastrophic, sometimes awe-inspiring interface between man and wildlife. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
Congregation renovates outdated home for minister
MASON CITY – The church elder was not happy when he saw the church parsonage. Two previous ministers had lived in the house, but he hadn't seen how it looked empty. "When you go into a furnished house you see the character of the people in it," Rick Kehl says. "When you go into an empty house, you notice every flaw." So Kehl led members in a church version of the television show "Extreme Home Makeover" to redo the parsonage. By Pam Adams of the Peoria Journal Star.
Plans to alter historic Peoria house cause stir
PEORIA – Peoria has one authenticated Frank Lloyd Wright house, and recently jackhammers tore into sections of the venerable Prairie Style structure and into the foundation of the neighborhood. Before neighbors knew what was happening, a 6-foot-tall chain link fence went up along the periphery of the property. A bulldozer and construction equipment packed the muddy site. Gaps in the 106-year-old walls grew, and plastic covered some windows. Following complaints from neighbors, the city sent an inspector to the site and issued a stop-work order on a two-story addition planned on the west side of the home. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Gov. Blagojevich’s next stop? SpongeBob.
Phil Luciano: Closed wallets fuel recession
Maybe, not so long ago, it was better here. That's what leaders and experts and wizards told us. And for most of us, everything seemed status quo. Paychecks came in. Life rolled on. But if Peoria truly had been living in a warm cocoon, it feels as if it's cracking. And that feeling is important to Peoria's fiscal well-being. It's not always about sheer dollars and cents, but perception and emotion. And even if we act responsibly, we might hurt the economy.
Chuck Sweeny: Hiking in China nearly fatal for Rockford man
Matt Honson is only 26, but the Rockford native and Guilford alum has already looked death in the eye: Last week he fell down a ravine in China. Miraculously, death blinked, and Matt will live to talk about his harrowing experience.
Editorial: Cat bounced back before, can do so again
The good news is that Caterpillar, the engine that makes central Illinois' economy hum, had a record year in 2008, cracking the $50 billion barrier in revenues for the first time. The bad news is that the gravy train is over, for the time being, and that Cat is battening the hatches against an economic storm this nation hasn't seen the likes of in 60 years. Unfortunately, the storm cellar is only so big, and 20,000 employees across the globe will have to find shelter elsewhere. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
COACHING TREE: After first gaining experience in minor-league basketball, former Illini starter Sergio McClain is a first-year junior college coach at Parkland in Champaign. The son of former Peoria Manual and current Illinois assistant Wayne McClain, Sergio is joined by former teammate Marcus Griffin, who is the Parkland assistant. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.
ILLINI NOTES: Illinois basketball notebook. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.