Illinois Budget 9.23.09

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.
If your paper has a story, digest item, opinion piece or standalone photo to share, please e-mail it to
Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


YouPage highlights Peoria’s best Web content of the week

Jean Hodges: New frugal column debuts on the News Service.


Cops looking for truck in Beason murder probe

LINCOLN – Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols said Wednesday that authorities are searching for a “gray, primered” pickup truck that was seen in the small town of Beason just after midnight Monday. The truck’s occupant or occupants are believed to have some relation to the murders of five members of the Raymond “Rick” Gee family. State Journal-Register. Will be updated.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

STATE LAYOFFS: A southern Illinois judge is hearing a case filed by the AFSCME protesting thousands of layoffs in state government, with the union seeking to stop the first round of layoffs scheduled for next week. State Capitol Bureau.


Retailers expected to hire for the holidays

ROCKFORD – Stores and potential employees alike are hoping for a more robust holiday hiring season than the record lows of 2008. Some stores are already adding extra help for the long road to Christmas, although many may wait to see how their sales turn out before bringing on more staff. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: Check with local retailers and see what their plans are for seasonal hiring.

Business booms again for direct-sales merchants

ROCKFORD – Erin Clausen had no luck finding a summer job when she returned home from the University of Wyoming this year. So she turned to lia sophia. As the recession continues, more people have turned to direct-sale opportunities, including Mary Kay and Arbonne, to bring in extra cash. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star.


Man delights in making specialty dinners for diabetic wife

PEORIA – A typical day in Charlie and Melinda Alcorn's household: Melinda sleeps in while Charlie gets up early and goes out to breakfast because, to him, "Breakfast is not a great thrill to cook." Before he returns home, he'll stop at the grocery store to shop for that night's dinner. If his wife wants to know what he's cooking, all she has to do is peek at his hand-written menu, usually laying on the kitchen counter. He focuses on meals that suit her needs as a diabetic. By Pam Adams of the Peoria Journal Star.

Belvidere WWII veteran awarded Legion of Honor medal

BELVIDERE – Army veteran Ed Barrow said he was just doing his job during World War II. But about 65 years after being discharged from the military, he is being recognized for his work on the battlefields in France. Barrow is one of a group of veterans who recently received Legion of Honor medals from the French government for their roles in the war. By Matt Williams of the Rockford Register Star.

'Little green bugs' swarm central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – They cover bicyclists and hover in swarms that make it look like it's raining or snowing outside. The teeny-tiny green critters are known as soybean aphids and they're everywhere. While the aphids don’t pose any danger to people, pets or livestock, they can damage soybean fields. By John Reynolds of the State Journal-Register.

Preserve your garden veggies in the freezer

If you’re short on time, skill and canning jars, freezing may be the best way to preserve your garden vegetable harvest. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register.


BRITT: Local toon.
Amanda Jacobs: Must-see TV

My fall schedule is looking pretty crowded. I meet up for drinks with Don Draper on Sunday nights and brush up on my dancing skills with Cat Deeley on Tuesdays. And the rest of the week gets even busier.

Editorial: Gambling may pave the road

There are many reasons to be nervous about the prospects for legal video gambling in Illinois. The Illinois Gaming Commission is complaining it doesn’t have the resources to set the rules and monitor the games, many communities have decided to opt out, and the “conservative” revenue estimates of $300 million seem to be shaky. Despite the concerns, the success — or lack thereof — of the new gambling venture should not affect Illinois’ capital construction plan. That’s a relief. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: Cemetery and funeral home industries hit by a perfect storm

Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to prompt change. That is certainly the case for the cemetery and funeral home industries in Illinois. Something of a perfect storm has created a statewide awareness on the need to centralize the oversight of funeral homes and cemetery businesses. An editorial from the Freeport Journal-Standard.


Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star will be writing a mainbar and notes for Thursday editions.

Mainbar on the Bears' struggles in the running game:

ANGRY BUCKEYES: After a loss to USC earlier this season and an upset loss at home to Illinois in 2007, Ohio State is mad. And the Buckeyes want to get even with the Illini. Ohio State hosts Illinois in a Big Ten Conference football opener Saturday. By John Supinie.