GHNS Illinois Budget (7/30/08)

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.

If your paper has a story, digest item, opinion piece or standalone photo to share, please e-mail it to

-    Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY PAGE: On Aug. 6, the GateHouse Niche Division will roll our first Pro Football Weekly page, with a focus on fantasy football. The page will be offered in various versions and formats and will include advice, tips and insight for players.
Did you know … Professional football has been America's favorite sport for more than 40 years.

Five favorites: A weeklong look at’s favorites from the first half of the year has begun. See more details at

Favorite videos:

Writing coach: Read Casey Laughman’s writing coach blog at


Mobile dental service leaves kids smiling

PEORIA – As Jacorey Summers, 10, grimaced, Dawn Booker, a hygienist with a mobile dental service, worked on his teeth Tuesday. "I told you, you could do it. You just didn't want to listen to me, did you?" she said. Later, he and his sister, Janieya, 6, grinned broadly for the camera after they had their teeth cleaned and some fillings added at the Crittenton Centers, where the Mobile Dentists and Smile Programs had a one-day service. By Catharine Schaidle of the Peoria Journal Star.


STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. POSTED.

BODY FOUND: The body of a young black girl was found behind Sterling School in Peoria early Wednesday morning. She reportedly had been stabbed and beaten. She may have been in her early teens or younger, judging by who the police have been asking to view her body for an ID. By Leslie Fark and Erinn Deshinsky of the Peoria Journal Star. Will be posted this evening.

IDOT MOVE: Nearly three months ago, the state Department of Transportation caused a firestorm with its proposed move of its traffic safety division from Springfield to southern Illinois. Now state lawmakers will scrutinize the move in a highly anticipated public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday at the state Capitol where both sides will lay out the pros and cons in front of an overflow crowd. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol bureau. POSTED.

Toddler’s gesture gets family meeting with Bush

MACOMB – Zoe Sellers was just trying to blow her grandfather kisses. The 2-year-old Macomb resident didn't realize her gesture would gain she and her family a personal meeting with the President of the United States. By Bill Ford of the Macomb Journal.

Gun charges stick against Drew Peterson

JOLIET – A Will County judge denied a motion Wednesday to dismiss two felony weapons charges against former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson, the sole suspect in his wife’s disappearance. By Danya Hooker of Suburban Life Publications.

Planning begins for ring around Peoria

WASHINGTON – In five years, people may know exactly where the proposed four-lane eastern bypass ring road will go. And in about 27 years, they may be able to drive on it. By Kevin Sampier of the Peoria Journal Star.

Company keeps working despite massive fire

LOVES PARK – A business that lost a 13,000-square-foot building to a fire Tuesday opened Wednesday for its regular 6 a.m. shift with workers reporting to two other buildings that weren’t damaged. By Corina Curry of the Rockford Register Star. With video.

Fair judging not an easy job

KNOXVILLE – Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but the blue ribbons are in the hands of the judges. The domestic and fine arts building at the Knox County Fairgrounds was buzzing with activity and a few pesky flies Tuesday morning as judges ranked entries in nine categories ranging from quilts and paintings to table place settings and needlepoint. By Susan Kaufman of the Galesburg Register-Mail.


Facelift planned for grand old hall

PEORIA – A venerable Peoria landmark is looking to put on a whole new face. Brian Fox Ellis wants the Grand Army of the Republic Hall to continue its role as a place for the appreciation of history, but also become known as Peoria’s new home for live entertainment. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.

Local banks handling crunch better than national chains

ROCKFORD – More banks are tightening requirements for unsecured loans and credit cards, but local community banks that issue personal loans and credit cards say they’ve largely avoided the crunch. By Nate Legue of the Rockford Register Star.


Video gamer finds her ideal workout

JANESVILLE, Wis. – It began as another game for Sarrina Phoenix. Her friend Shawn Benson brought the system home on June 10 and, six weeks later, the Nintendo Wii Fit is the first workout Phoenix has been able to stick to for more than a few days. So far, she has shaved more than 13 pounds and several inches off her body that she said weighed “nearly 300 pounds for a decade.” By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.

Plain White Ts wear their Illinois roots with pride

SPRINGFIELD – After the hit single “Hey There Delilah,” two Grammy nominations, appearances on the ABC Family show “Greek,” a successful Web series and recording a new album (“Big Bad World”), the 11-year-old Chicago band the Plain White Ts is returning downstate with a 5:30 p.m. show Sunday on the Show Stage, Franklin and Eldorado streets, at the Decatur Celebration. By Nicole Milstead of the State Journal-Register.


BRITT: Toon on bad air during the Olympics in Beijing. Will be posted this evening.

Michelle Teheux: Taxes a certainty, even for teens

No one gets a pass from the IRS, not even teens.

Phil Luciano: Taking a bite out of puppy scam

Cathy wanted a pal for her pooch. The 10-year-old Yorkie mix lost her "best friend" upon the death of Cathy's other dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, Cathy says.

Editorial: Will foreign applause count in U.S.?

Well, it seems they take Barack Obama seriously abroad, even if he may have some work still to do on that front at home. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Governor, do the right thing

Thursday's 5 p.m. hearing of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has the makings of one of those lengthy state government dog-and-pony shows where little is accomplished. The commission’s only duty is to weigh in on whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plans to move about 100 Illinois Department of Transportation jobs to Harrisburg are a good idea. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.


MIKE NADEL: Nadel will be writing from Wednesday night’s Cubs-Brewers game. Column to be posted about 10:30 p.m.

ILLINI: REALITY TV: Illinois coach Ron Zook feels there's nothing to hide, and he likes the idea of how a reality TV can help reach recruits. So the Big Ten Network begins filming in early August for a show that will follow the Illini through the season. By John Supinie. Will be posted this evening.
SMITH UPDATE: Illinois basketball player Jamar Smith has a court appearance after the Champaign County state's attorney filed a motion to revoke his probation following a weekend incident. By John Supinie.

Bill Liesse: Minor-league ball with major appeal

They called this "The Road to Wrigley," but we were already at Wrigley. The slogan was an obvious nod to the players.