Illinois Budget 2.26.09
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.
If your paper has a story, digest item, opinion piece or standalone photo to share, please e-mail it to Illinois@gatehousemedia.com.
Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, email@example.com
Q&A: How breaking news can be turned into an ASF on deadline.
Video: Peoria Journal Star features staff launches weekly entertainment show.
Observatory dome removed after half century of stargazing
PEORIA – After 55 years as sentry to the stars, the Peoria Astronomical Society's Northmoor Observatory dome at Donovan Golf Course was relieved of duty early Wednesday morning. More than 100,000 visitors over the past half century have peered through the dome at the nearest orbit of Mars in 60,000 years, countless meteor showers and the moons of Jupiter, but rust and age took a toll. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.
SPECIAL ELECTION: Republicans point to a new opinion from Attorney General Lisa Madigan as more impetus for their push for a special election for U.S. Senate seats, but Democratic legislative leaders are in no rush to move ahead with the idea. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.
HOSPITAL AID: Lawmakers move ahead with a plan to borrow more than $500 million out of special state funds to kick off a complicated funding plan providing a big money boost to state hospitals. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau. Will be posted this evening.
State office cleared out for bomb threat
SPRINGFIELD – State employees at the Jesse Harris Building were evacuated Thursday morning after officials received a threat that a bomb was inside. Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt said the call to the bomb squad came in about 10:45 a.m. State Journal-Register. Early version posted; will be updated.
Best Buy's business up as competitor closes
SPRINGFIELD – Customers hoping to find bargains at the soon-to-be-shuttered Circuit City store on Springfield’s west side are greeted by some flat-screen TVs, a limited selection of DVDs and CDs and a smattering of other electronics and related gear. But while Circuit City’s future is extinction, a second big-box electronics store a few blocks away is enjoying an increase in traffic. By Chris Dettro of the State Journal-Register. To localize: If you have a Circuit City in your area, has its closing led to more business for other stores that sell electronics?
George Thorogood still Ba Ba Ba Bad
EAST PEORIA – Like clockwork, George Thorogood and the Destroyers blast through here once every 10 years. “We gotta wait until the dust settles down,” Thorogood says with a chuckle. To be sure, his outfit is renowned as a concert band — a gotta-see-it-live experience that explodes with a gusto not possible to replicate on a recording. Monday, Thorogood & Co. barge into the East Peoria Event Center for a night of blues rock. By Phil Luciano of the Peoria Journal Star.
Danielle Hatch: Weird looks nothing new for this party animal
PEORIA – Duran Schmidt is pretty much oblivious to the curious looks he gets whenever he heads to work. He gets the looks because work for him means dressing up as a life-sized gorilla, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and other characters. Which costume he gets decked out in all depends on the day.
Marsalis brings classic jazz to Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – Wynton Marsalis has been keeping a busy schedule this year. He headlined a concert in Washington the night before the inauguration of President Barack Obama and played in the White House on Inauguration Day. More recently, he played a series concerts celebrating the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. Now, Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are coming to Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium for a concert Saturday. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.
Brian Mackey: Documentaries are some of the best pictures
Documentary films don’t get nearly the attention of the more glamorous categories at the Academy Awards. But some of last year’s best films were documentaries.
BRITT: Topic TBA. Will be posted this evening.
Bernard Schoenburg: State trade official spends a lot of money on travel
The managing director of Illinois’ Office of Trade and Investment, a part of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, has spent quite a bit of state money on travel. Rajinder Bedi, 56, of Chicago, who makes about $111,700 annually, billed the state more than $157,000 for travel from April 2005 to late 2008, including more than $140,000 for foreign trips
Pam Adams: Sending a new message with role models
A funny thing happened when Susan McCabe bought a new book for her first-grade students at Tyng School. Unlike the lean, lushly illustrated books that usually grab children's attention, it was thick, 275 pages, with lots of words. The book had lots of pictures too, but they were just faces. Page after page, face after face, "Role Models: Profiles of Successful African-American Professionals in Peoria, Illinois," is not exactly a first-choice selection for the kiddy reading corner.
Editorial: Our times call for a big agenda
One of the lessons historians have drawn from Bill Clinton’s first term is that the American political system can only swallow so much change at once. In his speech to Congress on Tuesday, President Barack Obama showed he is rejecting this lesson. The times we live in call for a presidential agenda this big and we must reckon with the bad choices that have been made. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Long march between rhetoric and results
In a perfect world, state of the union addresses would be 20 minutes long and the president delivering them would under-promise and over-deliver. Alas, perfection was not to be, at least on Tuesday evening with President Barack Obama. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Open government will lead to less political corruption
It’s not a coincidence that the state with one of the worst open meetings and freedom of information laws also is considered one of the nation’s most corrupt — if not the most corrupt. We have no illusions that the Illinois Reform Commission and the Joint Committee on Government Reform can clean up Illinois on their own, but something must be done to restore confidence in a state that has seen three of its last seven governors go to prison, and the last elected one impeached and thrown out of office. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
MINNESOTA-ILLINOIS: Tipoff 6 p.m. Story with quotes and report card moving by 9:45 p.m. By John Supinie.
BILL LIESSE: Column from Minnesota-Illinois. Will be posted by 10 p.m.