Illinois Budget 11.19.09

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: Tips on using Web Cube basics in your sports coverage

Hockey 101: With new team in town, Missouri daily breaks down the game


Mammogram guidelines set off alarm

PEORIA – Kelly Cash was so disturbed by a news report suggesting, among other things, that women need not get mammograms till they are 50, that she called the Susan G. Komen office the next day. "If there is any letter writing you are going to do, let me know how I can help," Cash said she told the staff. "I was diagnosed at 43," the 45-year-old mother of nine said. "If these guidelines were in place, I know mine would be a different story today." By Catharine Schaidle of the Peoria Journal Star.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

This week at the Statehouse:
For the weekend:
REFORM REPORT CARD: What lawmakers considered on reform of state government in several areas and what they actually put into law. Will cover areas such as campaign finance, FOIA, ethics and purchasing. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. For use Sunday, Nov. 22.


Corn forecast: Later, lighter harvest

ROCKFORD – This year’s wet, cool weather is expected to take its toll on the state’s corn and soybean production, although area farmers may fare slightly better. In the northern parts of Illinois, soybean production is expected to be up slightly. Corn, however, continues to vex farmers as long rainy periods, punctuated by days of warm sunshine, have kept farmers weeks behind on their harvests. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star.

Bankruptcies climb in central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – In the 12-month period ending in October, 11,377 people and entities declared bankruptcy in U.S. bankruptcy court in the district that includes Springfield, Danville and Peoria, according to statistics kept by the Bankruptcy Data Project at Harvard University. That’s 1,860 more filings than during the same time frame the previous year. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register.

Cat to keep some independent pharmacies at least another year

PEORIA – Pete Johnson was facing a tough year in 2010 at the pharmacy he owns in Wyoming, a store started by his father more than 80 years ago. He wasn't sure he'd be able to survive, in fact, considering as much as 25 percent of his business came from Caterpillar Inc. employees and retirees - business Caterpillar was poised to take from him in favor of agreements it reached with Wal-Mart and Walgreen's. Johnson's was one of several independent pharmacies in small towns not within a "reasonable distance" from a Wal-Mart or Walgreen's to be informed this week and last that they will stay in the Caterpillar network at least another year. By Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star.


Small-purse rule becoming popular at high schools

SPRINGFIELD – When Lanphier High School officials decided to ask female students to keep their purses small, they became the most recent in a long line of area school administrators to impose such a rule. In October, a rash of violence among Lanphier’s students spurred the school to re-evaluate its security measures, including its policy on book bags and purses. By Molly Beck of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Check with local schools to see if they've put restrictions on purse and book bag sizes.

Quitting smoking has immediate benefits

PEORIA – Do you like birthdays? Why not create more for yourself? Thursday was the 34th annual Great American Smokeout, challenging people not to smoke cigarettes for 24 hours, hoping their decision to quit will last forever. Those who quit at 35 can gain eight more birthdays, and those who quit at 55 can gain about five more, according to the American Cancer Society. Despite strides made reducing cigarette smoking for almost 15 consecutive years, smoking among U.S. adults rose slightly to just more than 20 percent, according to a 2008 national survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By Karen McDonald of the Peoria Journal Star.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra marks Mendelssohn bicentennial

SPRINGFIELD – You’d never know it living in Springfield, but Abraham Lincoln is not the only historic figure celebrating a bicentennial birthday. This weekend, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra celebrates the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn's birth with an all-Mendelssohn program. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Brian Mackey: One of these Brian Mackeys is not like the others

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake,” Tyler Durden says in the movie “Fight Club.” Nothing drives that home quite like an Internet search of your own name.


BRITT: Toon on George Ryan asking for an early Christmas present.

Phil Luciano: Lone survivor of Beason massacre a ray of light in the darkness

After enduring hell on earth, little Tabitha Gee now thrives amid at least three blessings. The 4-year-old is out of the hospital and will recover from her injuries, the only survivor of a quintuple murder that wiped out most of her family in September.

Editorial: Statistics alone not a basis for determining health care

No sooner had the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report hit cyberspace Monday than doctors and patients across the country lined up to dispute it. Specifically, the task force’s recommendations that women forego regular mammograms until age 50, at which point they should have them only every two years, drew the ire of those who have spent the last few decades preaching and practicing annual breast cancer screenings beginning at age 40. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star will be writing a mainbar and Bears Quick Shots from Halas Hall.


Bears Quick Shots:
No daily stories planned.