Illinois Budget 9.24.09

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.
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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


Casey Laughman: Showcasing some nice work on a big story

Q&A: New health Web site launched by the State Journal-Register


Decatur man arrested for attempting to bomb Springfield federal building

SPRINGFIELD – A Decatur man was arrested Wednesday on charges he tried to use a vehicle bomb to blow up the federal courthouse in downtown Springfield. Authorities were in on the alleged plot from the beginning, and as a result, Michael C. Finton, 29, actually parked a van containing only fake explosives. Finton appeared made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon in the very building he allegedly wanted to destroy. By Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register. Will be updated.


State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.

Promotional trinkets business goes from basement to boomtown

MACHESNEY PARK – When Norma Polcek finds something that isn’t quite up to par, she doesn’t complain about it — she just takes it on and does it better. There’s one business, however, that has dominated Polcek’s attention for the past 25 years: SAMCO, her Machesney Park company that was honored this year by the U.S. Commerce Association’s Best in Local Business program. SAMCO is the company you go to when you want corporate pens, hats or polo shirts. It’s where businesses can order giveaway snow globes, travel mugs or puzzles. Of course, SAMCO doesn’t actually make those products — they just have the brainpower to track them down. By Elizabeth Davies of the Rockford Register Star.


Brush with Hollywood: Extra gets time on the big screen

Marcia Allen says she didn't set out to appear in "The Informant!" She just thought the producers might want to use her '65 Mustang. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra to open season with Shostakovich 10

Dmitri Shostakovich began work on his Symphony No. 10 just a few weeks after the death of Joseph Stalin. The dictator had at various times denounced and banned Shostakovich’s music, but the composer was able to adapt his style enough to keep working. After more than three decades of Stalin’s iron-fisted, totalitarian rule, it would be only natural for the composer to take a swipe at the dictator. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Phil Luciano: Freshman kick-starts his college education

Peter Miller spent years kicking soccer balls for Peoria Christian School, but never so much as set his foot against a football. That changed Saturday, when the freshman at Northwestern College got the chance to partake in a pass, punt and kick promotion before the first football game at the private Minnesota school. The first place kick of his life netted him a year's free tuition, valued at a whopping $22,250.

Students learn and grow in gardens

PEKIN – The children of C.B. Smith Primary School know from experience that seeds are nature’s treasure trove — they planted those seeds, tended a garden, brought in the harvest and have eaten the fruits of their labor. Teachers have found the gardens to be an educational horn of plenty, incorporating them into science, math, health and English lessons. By Sharon Woods Harris of the Pekin Times.

Video Vault: Zesty dialogue makes ‘Wall Street’ thrilling

Whatever you think about Oliver Stone’s politics or his take on history, you have to admit: The man knows how to tell a story.


BRITT: Toon on Gadhafi and Ahmadinejad going sight seeing in New York. Will be posted this evening.
Kevin Haas: In your face, Facebook

You can treat Facebook in many ways: a means to connect with friends or associates, perhaps a way to promote a business. I’ve always treated Facebook the same way politicians treat a question with a simple yes or no answer — I’ve avoided it.

Chuck Sweeny: Don't expect legal video gambling anytime soon

If you’re thinking of trotting on down to your friendly adult beverage hall to gamble legally on government-sponsored video poker machines, I think you’ll have to wait a couple of years.

Editorial: Agency turf battles threaten national security

When it comes to turf wars there's one area that ought to be off limits, and that's public safety. Sadly that lesson appears not to have set in with two federal agencies, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to the draft of a Justice Department investigation into how the two offices conduct their business as they track down bombers and follow the trail of explosions around the country, the FBI and ATF push, shove and squabble like a couple of kids trying to get to the head of the line. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: U of I president’s resignation helps school move on

The University of Illinois is a first-class institution that is a step closer to putting the clout list admissions scandal behind it after university President B. Joseph White announced his resignation, effective at the end of the year. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.


Bears not happy with lack of takeaways

LAKE FOREST – Lovie Smith loves turnovers. That’s why Smith is still not happy with Chicago’s defense, ranked No. 28 and No. 21 the last two years, sitting at No. 5 after games against the powerful Packers and Steelers. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.

Bears Quick Shots: Offensive line needs to step up for running game to get better

LAKE FOREST – The Bears offensive line was expected to be greatly improved with first-round draft pick Chris Williams and seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace taking over at the tackle spots. It hasn’t worked that way. The Bears are averaging 2.6 yards per rush. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Also includes items on Seattle receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Olin Kreutz and Kellen Davis.

No daily stories planned.