Illinois Budget 2.18.10

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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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


Poll question idea: Do you think the economic stimulus package has helped the economy?

Dental dilemma: How the State Journal-Register produced a series on Medicaid’s lack of dental coverage

Leadership Series 2010: The LEDE


Phil Luciano: Illinois curlers enjoy friendly competition

TRIUMPH, Ill. – In a brash world of trash-talking, in-your-face athletics, curling remains perhaps the lone courteous competition. It seems almost quaint, this old, simple game, which is sort of like shuffleboard on ice. And here in the LaSalle County hamlet of Triumph, the Waltham Curling Club - the oldest in the state - maintains a polite gamesmanship reflective of the quiet contest version at the Winter Olympics.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

This week at the statehouse:
For Thursday:
TATTOO OK: A House committee approves Thursday morning a bill pushed by Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, to make it a crime to pretend to be underage persons' parents or legal guardians so they can get tattoos. A look at what's really behind it. By Matt Hopf of the State Capitol Bureau.

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS: The top two Republicans in the legislature push proposed constitutional amendments to change how legislative districts are drawn in Springfield – a tall order given that the current system benefits the ruling Democrats pretty well, and they're the ones that would have to approve the changes. By John Guidroz of the State Capitol Bureau.


Backyard mechanics out, computer techs in

SPRINGFIELD – Recalls at Toyota are further evidence, Dick Rogers says, that the days of backyard mechanics are long gone. Today’s auto repair world is computer-driven, says Rogers, a professor of automotive technology at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.

Peoria eager to be Google test site

PEORIA – The promise of being the test market for an ultra-fast broadband network has some Peorians in an online frenzy. Now that Google Inc., the Mountain View, Calif.-based search company, has announced that the search is on for cities to take on the new fiber-optic project, efforts are under way to roll out a cyber-welcome mat in Peoria. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.


Blind Boys of Alabama follow God’s calling

SPRINGFIELD – The Blind Boys of Alabama “hit the road” in 1944 and have taken their harmonizing, soul-stirring gospel music worldwide ever since. God is leading them every step of the way, and the next stop is Springfield, says founding member and vocalist Jimmy Carter. The group will perform at the Sangamon Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Saturday. By Tamara Browning of the State Journal-Register.

Status of youth pastors rises as kids' lives get more complicated

SPRINGFIELD – Electronic communication, thorny social issues and skepticism of authority mean churches are looking for youth pastors who are in it for the long haul. Long the bottom rung of church ministers, youth pastors and ministers are getting their day. By Steven Spearie of the State Journal-Register.

Root vegetables form base of hearty meal

PEORIA – Root vegetables are winter hearty plants once snubbed by sophisticated palates. That was during an era, not so long ago, when five-star restaurants boasted on the menu about imported ingredients, and root vegetables were lumped into a category of subsistence foods associated with poverty, war and famine. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.

Transportation chief LaHood appears on MTV's ‘The Buried Life’

PEORIA – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is helping dreams come true — or at least trying. Peoria’s former congressman is featured Monday on MTV’s “The Buried Life,” trying to help four twenty-somethings complete No. 95 on their list of 100 things to do before they die. They want to play basketball with President Barack Obama. By Karen McDonald of the Peoria Journal Star.

‘Curious’ collection: Springfield artist goes own way in UIS exhibit
SPRINGFIELD – The unique work of Springfield artist Felicia Olin will be featured in a solo show that opened Wednesday at the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois Springfield. It’s been several years since an independent local artist such as Olin has had a solo show at the UIS gallery. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Brian Mackey: Let’s get past the Olympic fluff

Every other year, I look forward to the arrival of the Olympics, and every other year I end up disappointed in the TV coverage of the games.

David Robson: Keep your flowers blooming

The wholesale florist and your local commercial florist know how to take care of roses, carnations and tropical flowers. They understand the temperature and humidity levels needed to keep flowers hydrated, and the chemicals needed to control bacterial growth — the scourge of flowers.


BRITT: Toon on state lawmakers being on the job.

Chuck Sweeny: ‘Illinois Politics’ tells you the messy details

I’ve just received an unsolicited copy of a new book, “Illinois Politics: A Citizen’s Guide,” in the mail. This one should be on the bookshelf of every person who wants to understand this state’s political system and the mind-blowing way we have organized ourselves into thousands of governmental units, many of them single-purpose taxing districts.

Michelle Teheux: Fast food part of fast lane living

My husband and I are speeding down an interstate as I write this, several hours of car time under our belts and several more to go, crisscrossing all over the state to pick up my daughter from college, take her two hours away to the burn center at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield for follow-up, then back to her dorm and then back home. In all, it was a little more than 10 hours just in driving time. So here I am writing about my desire to live more in the slow lane, even as I am literally in the fast lane.

Editorial: Iran may have gone a step too far

The Iranians may have finally overplayed their hand in announcing last week that their scientists have found a way to produce even more highly enriched uranium, another big step toward being able to build nuclear weapons. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Strong-arm tactics on video gambling are disgusting

Although we support the measure that legalizes video gambling, we don’t agree with the political arm-twisting that is going along with it. The measure included an opt-out clause for communities that didn’t want the electronic games in their bars and taverns. Almost 60 communities have taken advantage of that clause, and now some lawmakers want to penalize them for voting for what they feel is right (or, rather, not right) for their towns. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: General Assembly must follow public meeting standards

When the Illinois Senate meets, it should do so in public. That’s a pretty basic tenet of our legislative process, and is clearly defined in the Illinois Constitution. Somehow, though, the Illinois Senate on Wednesday found a new interpretation. If a gathering of the Senate is labeled as a meeting of its Democratic and Republican caucuses, it need not be open to the public. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


ILLINOIS BASEBALL: Bradley and Illinois scheduled a baseball opener for this weekend, but the weather will prevent it from happening. The NCAA added a week to the season, but added it on front end. By John Supinie.

ILLINOIS BASKETBALL: Illinois gets back to work this weekend after getting a breather with a mid-week bye in the Big Ten schedule. Illinois plays at Purdue on Saturday. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.