Illinois Budget 10.02.09

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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Lacrosse slowly takes root in Midwest

SPRINGFIELD – With a lacrosse stick in hand, Josh Holman stands in front of a group of high school boys. As he talks, he shows the boys gathered on Sept. 19 at Centennial Park how to scoop a lacrosse ball up off the ground — where to place his feet, where to place his hands and where to position his upper body so he doesn’t get flattened by an opponent. Even though the boys at the clinic were not enough to form a full lacrosse team, Holman said he was encouraged by the turnout. After all, organized lacrosse is new to Illinois’ capital city. By Brien Murphy of the State Journal-Register.


State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.
For Sunday:
STATEHOUSE INSIDER: By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday.
STATE BUDGET: A new report from the legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability paints a bleak picture for the state budget, with revenues dropping $340 million in the first three months of the fiscal year compared to the same period a year ago. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening.
More deer mean more collisions

PEORIA – As deer migration and mating season begins and hunters invade wildlife areas, drivers need to use additional care to avoid becoming a statistic of the rising number of car vs. deer collisions. Deer-vehicle crashes are up 18 percent nationally, and in Illinois, an increase of 3 percent from five years ago, according to a report released by State Farm Insurance Cos. By Ruth Longoria Kingsland of the Peoria Journal Star. To localize: Has there been an increase in car-deer collisions in your area?


'Clunkers' now heading for salvage

SPRINGFIELD – There is a pretty good chance cashed-in clunkers will wind up back on the road, in bits and pieces. Now that the federal cash is flowing on sales incentives of up to $4,500 per trade-in, area dealers say they are working to get remaining “clunkers” off the lots and into the salvage and recycling business. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Check with local dealers to see how much of a backlog of "clunkers" they have.


Robots make surgery easier for doctors, patients

ROCKFORD – Dr. Michael Fumo never laid a hand on Brian Erb when he removed Erb’s cancerous prostate. It has been that way in more than 1,200 surgeries for Fumo, a urologist and the lead surgeon in Rockford Health System’s da Vinci Robotic Surgery Program. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.

Dave Bakke: Treasure note author a practical joker
SPRINGFIELD – Part of the mystery of the gold coins that may or may not be buried on North Fifth Street in Springfield has been solved. Thanks to Betty Atkinson Ryan of Mason City, we know who wrote the note that started this whole thing. Jay Slaven, you’ve done it again.

Educator with Tourette's aims to inspire

PEORIA – Beyond the twitches, the uncontrollable barking noises and other occasional tics, beyond the motivational speeches and words of inspiration, Brad Cohen has a sense of humor about life and himself. Cohen, 35, a Bradley University graduate who has appeared on Oprah and CNN, who co-authored a book and had a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie made about his life with Tourette's Syndrome, returned to his alma matter Thursday. By Dave Haney of the Peoria Journal Star.


BRITT: Britt is off today.
Kevin Haas: Cloudy, with a chance of getting nothing

I recently became concerned for the well-being of our nation’s clouds. This worry swelled inside me while I was picking out a thoughtful gift for a friend, a membership to The Cloud Appreciation Society. Gifts can say a variety of things. This one in particular says: “Look, this is a real thing, and now you’re a part of it whether you like it or not.”

Editorial: Fed up with the famous escaping justice

That there is any debate whatsoever about the extradition of fugitive film director Roman Polanski to the United States for a crime committed here 32 years ago is an indication just how wrong-headed some folks and supposed friends of ours are.

Editorial: How necessary is the war in Afghanistan?

Seventy-five soldiers from the National Guard’s Litchfield-based Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry returned to central Illinois from Afghanistan on Monday. In light of their return, we should consider how much more sacrifice our military families should have to make there and what interests are being served. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: Utility's cost shifting same as health care's

You could say the switchboard lit up with complaints recently following a story about Ameren utilities seeking permission from the Illinois Commerce Commission to impose a fee on paying customers to cover their losses for the non-paying ones. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.


Inside the Lines: Peoria Journal Star sports editor Bill Liesse takes an irreverent look at this weekend’s NFL games. Will be posted this evening for use Sunday.
Bears not interested in helping Lions continue winning

LAKE FOREST – Detroit snapping a 19-game losing streak, the second-longest in NFL history, was the feel-good story of the NFL last week. Except in Chicago. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star.

For Sunday:
Bears look for fast start against Lions

The Bears want the ball in Jay Cutler’s hands at the end of games. Fine, but how about the start of a game? The Bears (2-1) keep rallying because they have to. A slow start made last week’s game against a Seattle team missing eight injured starters unnecessarily uncomfortable. And a slow start looks like the primary danger again Sunday against the lowly Lions (1-2) at Soldier Field. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. For use Sunday, Oct. 4.

For Monday:
Bears game story and notes. By Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted Sunday evening.
Members of '07 Rose Bowl team thought they had Illini on right track

CHAMPAIGN – Former Illinois first-team All-America guard Martin O'Donnell has been down this road. Swallowing a shutout on the road. The losses piling up. All the work during the week and the offseason that doesn't pay off with a victory. When O'Donnell and his classmates helped Illinois reach the Rose Bowl as seniors during the nation's biggest turnaround in 2007, they believed the winning would build into more winning. By John Supinie.

For Sunday:
Game story, notes and report card from Saturday’s Penn State-Illinois game. By John Supinie.
For Monday:
Q&A follow-up. By John Supinie.