Illinois Budget 12.09.09

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,

BEST OF 2009: The news service is looking for end-of-year content that works on a national scale. For example, Best Movies of 2009 or Top 10 Songs of 2009. If your paper is planning lists, columns or the like, please let us know by e-mailing We'll compile all year-end content in a links package and will post a budget when we know what items are expected.
Newspapers pull out cancellation notices, galleries for first snow storm

David Arkin: Promote upcoming column and get readers talking about issues


5 things to know about campaign finance reform

SPRINGFIELD – The new campaign finance law Gov. Pat Quinn approved Wednesday covers a lot of ground. Here are five things you should know about this new law. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol Bureau.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

This week at the statehouse:
For the weekend:
Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted Friday evening for use Sunday.
GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES-BUDGET: The latest in an ongoing series of stories on the gubernatorial candidates’ positions on big issues facing voters. This two-part installment takes a look at how the candidates would tackle the state’s budget mess. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau.


Company cranks out ‘5th Grader’ game

BELOIT, Wis. – When Wal-Mart speaks, retail suppliers listen. That includes Patch Products, the Beloit-based toy and game manufacturer, which recently acquired the rights to produce the newest version of the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” board game. The company spent just six weeks — from signing the licensing agreement to final assembly this week — to get the games, from the TV show of the same name, ready to ship to Wal-Mart, which wanted the newest version on its shelves before Christmas. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.


Bakers carry on holiday traditions

PEKIN – For a lot of families, baking is a holiday tradition passed down through the generations. Whether it’s an award-winning baker, a laid-off Caterpillar employee who uses the extra time to bake year round or sisters carrying on their mother’s tradition, when the weather gets cold, the ovens heat up. By Pam Keyes of the Pekin Daily Times.

Homemade food gift always in good taste

Saving money isn’t the only reason to give a homemade holiday food gift. By putting time and thought into your selection, it tells recipients you care. And making presents in the kitchen can be enjoyable, especially if you corral some friends or your children into making a day of it. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register.

Kathryn Rem: Barbecuer develops own sauces

Like many guys, Timothy Kodyra spends a lot of time grilling, smoking and barbecuing. And when you do a lot of meat cooking outdoors, you’ve got to have a go-to barbecue sauce. But Kodyra couldn’t find one. So he started tinkering in his kitchen and came up with a tomato and vinegar-based sauce nuanced by 13 herbs and spices.

Homeless shelters fight spread of H1N1

SPRINGFIELD – Homeless shelters have stepped up precautions as the H1N1 flu bug sweeps across central Illinois. "We have instituted preventive measures since a majority of our clients have health problems, which makes them a high risk population for H1N1," said Brenda Johnson, executive director of Helping Hands of Springfield, a homeless shelter with 33 beds. By Todd Smith of the State Journal-Register. To localize: How are local homeless shelters trying to prevent the spread of H1N1?


BRITT: Topic TBD. Will be posted this evening.
Amanda Jacobs: Fascination with fame getting out of hand

Would you like to party with the president? Have you spent your whole life waiting for an invitation from the Washington, D.C., that just won’t come? Why not just show up at the White House anyway?

Editorial: Blago’s gone, but problems remain

A year ago, Rod Blagojevich’s decline from governor of Illinois to quasi-television personality began. Considering Illinois’ problems and the embarrassment that Blagojevich is, you’d think Illinois’ lawmakers would want to work quickly to fix problems and repair Illinois’ image. Not quite. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.

Editorial: Put redistricting in our hands

Last week a quiet effort was launched to put a referendum on the statewide ballot for the November general election. If successful, the amendment would significantly change the culture of our government in Illinois, and offer a realistic opportunity to empower the voters, while making politicians more accountable to the public. An editorial from the Freeport Journal-Standard.


Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star will be writing a mainbar and notes from Halas Hall. Will be posted this evening.
BASKETBALL FOLO: By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.
VOLLEYBALL: The Illinois women’s volleyball team plays in the Sweet 16 on Friday. A look at the season so far and upcoming tournament play. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.