Illinois Budget 2.24.09
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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News service localization tip of the day: Bartering burgeoning.
Need a sushi fix? Head on down to Wal-Mart
SPRINGFIELD – When you’re thinking of a place to buy sushi, the name Wal-Mart doesn’t come tripping off the bamboo rolling mat. But for those with a hankering for the cold Japanese rice-veggie-seafood delicacy, Springfield’s newest Wal-Mart has 28 types made fresh daily at an in-store sushi bar. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Does your local Wal-Mart carry sushi?
State Briefs. News from around the state.
GOVERNMENT REFORM: The legislature's Joint Committee on Government Reform has its second meeting at the Capitol, this time on ethics and public disclosure by ethics committees and offices formed to root out wrongdoing in state government. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol bureau.
STATE CAPITOL Q&A: A closer look at the renewed battle over guns at the Capitol, with some law enforcement providing new allies in the bid to allow concealed carry in Illinois for the first time. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau.
LEGISLATURE: The Illinois House is in session. Topic TBD. State Capitol bureau.
TRS drops investment firm founded by Cellini
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System has jettisoned an investment firm founded by Springfield developer and Republican Party leader William Cellini, who has been indicted on federal corruption charges. By Bruce Rushton of the State Journal-Register.
Chipping away at snack success
EAST PEORIA – Alice Anthony isn't letting the downturn get her down. With cutbacks and layoffs a daily recessional hymn, she continues to build her business. Anthony started baking pita chips in 2004, packing them in Ziplock bags for distribution in a few local stores. Today, Aleece's Pita Chips, packaged in a white bag stamped with a bright red Aleece's (her name in Lebanese), are distributed in more than 100 locations, soon to include 16 area Kroger stores. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Census shows number of farms up, size down
SPRINGFIELD – The number of farms in Illinois is growing, but average size is down, a trend also reflected in Sangamon and several surrounding counties in a just-released federal census of agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture census is taken every five years to track changes in farmland availability and use. Even though 500,000 acres of farmland were lost statewide from 2002 to 2007, the number of farms was up 5 percent. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Check the census to see how farmland in your area is used.
Different kind of future for Saturn
PEORIA – Jimmy Scherer comes from a car-selling family. His great-grandfather Otto got started in the business in 1905, receiving a Buick franchise in Wisconsin from founder David Buick. So it's a little surprising to hear Scherer, general manager of Saturn of Peoria, talk about breaking away from General Motors. What isn't surprising is the predicament GM finds itself in - seeking $30 billion to ride out its worst sales slump in 26 years. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Restored loft preserves sense of history
MACOMB – Buildings surrounding the square in downtown Macomb tell architectural and historical stories of the region, but a century of rugged living has weakened their voice. One of these historic buildings long past its prime was admired by insurance agent Gerry Wise. He walked by the two-story brick building at 19 East Side Square daily on the way to his office at Purdum Gray Ingledue insurance agency. When he noticed a for-sale sign on the building, he jumped at the opportunity. He had worked his way through college doing construction and felt up to the challenge of restoring the structure. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
Bradley University hosts 32nd print and drawing exhibition
PEORIA – Work by established graphic artists and new and emerging talent go on display at four Peoria galleries March 6 as part of the 32nd Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition. The show — which takes place every other year — is the second-longest-running juried print and drawing competition in the country (the oldest is held by the Society of American Graphic Artists in New York). By Theo Jean Kenyon of the Peoria Journal Star.
‘Medical homes’ urged by reformers
SPRINGFIELD – With Congress and President Barack Obama poised to enact major health-care reforms, citizens should encourage politicians to support the concept of comprehensive “medical homes,” several Springfield doctors said at a health-care forum Monday night. By Dean Olsen of the State Journal-Register.
Lottery winner heads to work, knocks off early
MAPLETON – Rod Henderson is a regular at the Mapleton Mini-Mart. He buys his Lotto, Little Lotto and Mega Lotto tickets religiously. “It was something this morning. He was the first person to walk in to check his Lotto,” Beverly Howard, a supervisor at the Mini-Mart, said Tuesday. Henderson found out that he'd won a $4 million jackpot. By Lisa Coon of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Toon on the economy.
Phil Luciano: Bailout money not enough for Chase
Remember all of those Wall Street bailouts? JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest issuer of credit cards, got $25 billion. As Lori sees it, that taxpayer lifeline was a license to allow Chase to shaft its cardholders. The firm unilaterally has dumped a new fee on its cardholders and boosted minimum payments.
Editorial: Show us confidence and direction, Mr. President
Rare has a state of the union address been so anxiously anticipated, as President Barack Obama prepares to deliver essentially his first to a joint session of Congress tonight. Rarer still is the mess inherited by an incoming president. Barely a month into the job and it's abundantly clear Obama will get no honeymoon. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: State must find way to collect online sales tax
Ever since the advent of online shopping in the late 1990s, collecting state sales tax on Internet purchases has been a thorny issue. But now more than ever since the dawn of the World Wide Web as a shopping option, Illinois must figure out a way to collect what it is owed on online purchases. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Collecting online sales tax a matter of parity
Did you ever buy something online because A) you didn’t want to get out of your pajamas? and B) you didn’t want to pay sales tax? Guilty as charged. We all like ordering online for these perks. However, in our more rational, less sleepy-headed moments we are convinced it’s time for Illinois to be more aggressive in collecting sales tax from Internet purchases. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
UPS AND DOWNS: When Illinois is on the upswing, there's little concern about an NCAA berth and more talk about the seed. When the Illini hit a lull, coach Bruce Weber needs help from his assistants, such as Wayne McClain, to light a fire and push the team. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.