Illinois Budget 4.30.09
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.
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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Journal-Register launches state government site.
Swine flu page available on the news service.
CHRYSLER BANKRUPTCY: The announcement Thursday that Chrysler LLC will be entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy leads to a host of questions, with the foremost being: Can a company the size of Chrysler actually come through bankruptcy in 60 days and still be viable? By Alex Gary of the Rockford Register Star. Will be posted this evening.
Chrysler bankruptcy might be good for Belvidere plant
BELVIDERE – Bankruptcy protection for Chrysler LLC, and an imminent deal with Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA, could be a good thing for the future of Belvidere’s assembly plant, local leaders say. Neither development is a surprise. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star.
CHRYSLER-DEALERS: How the Chrysler bankruptcy announcement affects dealers. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star.
CHRYSLER-SUPPLIERS: When the Chrysler plant in Belvidere shuts down, so do hundreds of suppliers. By Alex Gary of the Rockford Register Star.
CHRYSLER-REAX: Reaction from the town of Belvidere on the bankruptcy announcement. By Kevin Haas of the Rockford Register Star.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
REPUBLICANS-ED BOARD: House and Senate Minority Leaders Tom Cross and Christine Radogno show some partisan feather-ruffling in a meeting with The State Journal-Register editorial board, criticizing House Speaker Michael Madigan and suggesting he's not playing nice with new Gov. Pat Quinn. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau.
PROSECUTING ASSAULTS: Prosecutors from thoughout Illinois, including Sangamon and Tazewell counties, announce creation of a new "specialized domestic violence/sexual assault unit" in the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutors office. The idea behind the federally funded program is to help counties enforce policies targeting domestic violence and sexual assault. Five counties in particular are being singled out for attention: Winnebago, Sangamon, Tazewell, Rock Island and Jefferson, but officials say their selection wasn't based on any particular problems there. Rather, in some instances, like Tazewell and Sangamon, they have policies in place that smaller counties might be able to learn from. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau.
Swine flu constant worry for hog farmers
MORRISONVILLE – The threat of a swine-flu outbreak — and daily precautions needed to prevent it — should never be far from a hog producer’s mind, says third-generation farmer Dereke Dunkirk. His family has 4,500 animals on their farm near Morrisonville, about 40 miles southeast of Springfield. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register. To localize: What precautions are local hog farmers taking?
State sees rise in poverty
PEORIA – It's not bad luck that's keeping this Peoria resident from the work force. He is a product of his environment - of an expanding number of Americans pushed into poverty as a result of the recession. The 2009 report on Illinois Poverty released Thursday reveals signs of increasing poverty throughout the state. Poverty worsened in more than half of the state's 102 counties even before the recession began in December 2007. By Karen McDonald of the Peoria Journal Star. To localize: How did your area fare in the poverty report?
Slipknot's masked ball is one wild ride
SPRINGFIELD – Slipknot wasn’t the first metal band to don stage makeup. But it’s hard to think of many other acts more defined by their appearance. The band headlines a show Tuesday at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. By Phil Davidson of the State Journal-Register.
Everything’s coming up lilacs for Springfield Choral Society
CHATHAM – On Monday evening, members of the Springfield Choral Society gathered in Westminster Presbyterian Church for one of the last rehearsals before their spring concerts, set for this weekend. Amid a program of hymns and spirituals, the singers are preparing for the world premiere of “Lilacs,” a work the society commissioned from composer Carol Barnett. “Lilacs” takes its title and text from the Walt Whitman poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.
Disturbed concert will include festival featuring top tattoo artists
PEORIA – Next week, you can turn your body into a canvas for some of the nation's top tattoo artists. Or, you can simply show up, explore the vendor booths and hear live music. Chicago band Disturbed will bring its "Music as a Weapon" tour to the Civic Center on Wednesday. In advance of the festival, the Peoria Journal Star caught up with Oliver Peck, a renowned tattoo artist who has been featured on TLC's "Miami Ink" and MTV's "Bam's Unholy Union" and who will be showing off his skills at the festival. By Danielle Hatch of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Toon on Arlen Specter leaving the GOP.
Kevin Haas: Seek shelter! We’re in deep
Writing this week’s column was the hardest thing I ever had to do, because it’s really difficult to type when you’re wearing a full Hazmat suit. Swine flu is causing concern across the nation. Or, in other words, we’re knee-deep in pig stuff right now. The CDC and local public health departments did the right thing by waving the caution flag, but the utter 24-hour media freakout that has followed is the kind of treatment normally reserved for a disease that reanimates corpses who feed on human brains.
Michelle Teheux: As the Dutch say, ‘April does what she will’
For those of us who consider winter a waste of time that could be better spent having a longer summer, April always comes as a welcome relief. Yes, you will have to deal with a lot of dreary rain, but you also get a number of beautiful blue-skied days. It is April that just about saves my life.
Editorial: Be serious, but rational, about swine flu concerns
Despite the breathless cable news reports and worrisome headlines about swine flu cases across the globe, including the first U.S. death on Wednesday and the first presumptive cases in Illinois, it's not time to panic. But neither is nonchalance justified just because so many similar alarms have been sounded before without panning out - thankfully - in the end. That's the crux of the dilemma confronting local and national health officials as both groups attempt to craft a measured response, preparing for the worst while simultaneously trying not to fuel people's fears. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Don’t panic; use sensible measures to fight swine flu
We respect people who are dubious about whether swine flu is the next pandemic. It may not be. However, you have nothing to lose — and better health to gain — by taking sensible precautions. Wash your hands, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom. Get proper sleep. Drink plenty of water. Eat good food, including fruits and vegetables. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Editorial: Quinn should lean on ISP to release records
It’s time for acting Illinois State Police Director Jon Monken to dispense once and for all with the ISP’s practice of filibustering, obfuscating and generally throwing up every obstacle it can think of or invent to avoid releasing public records. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
LEADING THE WAY: With leaders such as Chester Frazier and Trent Meacham graduating, more of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of guard Demetri McCamey, whose up-and-down sophomore season did little to say he's ready to be a consistent leader and performer. By John Supinie. Will be posted by 8:30 p.m.