Illinois Budget 1.21.10

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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KIDZBUZZ ON HAITI: GateHouse News Service offers a page targeted at children to help them understand the Haiti earthquake.

POLL QUESTION IDEA: Will there be national fallout from Republican Scott Brown winning the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts?

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CAMPAIGN MONEY: Candidates have to report their fundraising and spending for the last half of 2009 in reports due to the state Board of Elections. A look at the amounts of money being reported by GateHouse-area lawmakers, in a chart broken down by each office and candidate. By Matt Hopf and Brian Feldt of the State Capitol Bureau.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

This week at the statehouse:
For the weekend:
Candidates in low-profile race for treasurer say they don't want to use office as springboard

SPRINGFIELD – The race for Illinois treasurer has largely flown under the radar when compared with other high-profile statewide contests. While the office doesn't have the same appeal as the governor or U.S. Senate, it offers potential for the future. Its current holder, Alexi Giannoulias, is a Democratic favorite for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Roland Burris. By John Guidroz of the State Capitol Bureau. For use in weekend editions.

Transparency in state spending is common theme for comptroller candidates

SPRINGFIELD – The comptroller may not be the most recognizable position in state government. It doesn't have the glamour or political attraction of other statewide offices, such as governor and attorney general. Many voters don't really know what the comptroller actually does.  But its position at the heart of state finances has strong interest from a mixed group of candidates who want to be the next "taxpayer watchdog." By Matt Hopf of the State Capitol Bureau. For use in weekend editions.


Chefs return to central Illinois from top restaurants, schools
PEORIA – A number of young chefs are spicing up the restaurant scene in central Illinois. They were lured away by culinary schools and jobs at top restaurants and then, for a number of reasons, they returned home, bringing with them a wealth of culinary knowledge and a passion for quality. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.

Engineer uses nonprofit to help third-world countries

ROCKFORD – Plenty of college graduates embark on careers with lofty dreams of changing the world. Greg McGrath is actually doing it. The 25-year-old Rockford native is using his mechanical engineering degree to lead a nonprofit group aimed at bringing technologies and improved life to impoverished nations worldwide. By Elizabeth Davies of the Rockford Register Star.


New operating rooms put technology at surgeons’ fingertips

SPRINGFIELD – Two new state-of-the-art operating rooms at Memorial Medical Center allow doctors to have technology at their fingertips while they do surgery. In each of the new operating rooms, there are six video screens and a video integration system featuring a touch screen that can detect a finger from within an inch of the actual screen. Having multiple video screens in the operating rooms allows the surgeon to have different views of the surgery. By Todd Smith of the State Journal-Register.

Bad Examples singer returns to Springfield with rock for kids

SPRINGFIELD – When the Bad Examples were touring regularly in the 1990s, Springfield was one of the group’s favorite places to play. Bad Examples lead singer Ralph Covert returns to Springfield on Saturday with Ralph’s World, his kid-centric rock band. By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.

Helmet signed by Gen. Petraeus bolsters cancer patient's spirits

ELMWOOD – Press the fight. Never surrender. For Steve Selman, 58, of rural Elmwood, those words scrawled in pen on a Chicago Bears helmet have a deep significance. In military speak, "press the fight" refers to when a group encounters the enemy and continues to take the fight to them without stopping. That, Selman said, was a sign from U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who signed the helmet, to keep on fighting and not to give in. By Andy Kravetz of the Peoria Journal Star.

Lori Kilchermann: Grandmothers guide families to success

Grandmothers are the Super Glue that holds families together. They remind children and grandchildren to call their parents. With a sideways glance, they can quietly shame everyone into attending family events they might otherwise try to duck out of. They also are a driving force in making us be better people than we think we can be.

Brian Mackey: Conan conundrum speaks to 'Net Generation

Since NBC announced it would effectively demote Conan O’Brien by bumping “The Tonight Show” half an hour into the night, the talk show host has received a tremendous burst of support from the Internet Generation.


BRITT: Local toon. Will be posted this evening.
Chuck Sweeny: Brown's win a warning to Obama, both parties

How much should we make of Republican Scott Brown’s 52 percent to 47 percent victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts, our most liberal state?

Phil Luciano: Haitian orphanage director tries to stay positive

Before last week, Eric Lotz already had 22 Haitian mouths to feed - 29, if you count his family, too. Then the earthquake hit. Since then, his orphanage has become overstuffed with Haitians seeking food, shelter and survival.

Michelle Teheux: Our safety is not guaranteed

I can’t stop looking at the pictures coming out of Haiti. The most graphic of these photos can only be described.

Editorial: Clout and cash at stake in 2010 census count

There’s a lot at stake with the 2010 U.S. census. Most people realize that, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, but still about 18 percent weren’t sure or were unlikely to fill out the form. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.


ILLINI NOTES: Illinois notebook. Lead item on Illinois agreeing to play in next season’s Coaches vs. Cancer preseason basketball tournament with the finals in Madison Square Garden. By John Supinie.