Illinois Budget 12.22.09
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.
If your paper has a story, digest item, opinion piece or standalone photo to share, please e-mail it to Illinois@gatehousemedia.com.
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BEST OF 2009: The news service is looking for end-of-year content that works on a national scale. For example, Best Movies of 2009 or Top 10 Songs of 2009. If your paper is planning lists, columns or the like, please let us know by e-mailing email@example.com. We'll compile all year-end content in a links package and will post a budget when we know what items are expected.
GateHouse Media’s Countdown to 2010: 12 Days of Successes
This week with the News & Interactive Division
Holiday magic abounds throughout home
GERMANTOWN HILLS – Christmas lives in every nook and cranny of Donna and Ben Shirley's home. From the garland-draped wraparound front porch adorned with sparkling Christmas trees to Kris Kringle's red velvet coat, pants and big black boots waiting patiently in the front foyer to the cookies, peppermints and "never melting snowballs" (popcorn balls) in the kitchen. By Jennifer Davis of the Peoria Journal Star.
State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.
This week at the statehouse:
STATE CAPITOL Q&A: A closer look at how state government could take up lawsuit reform in the coming year, with an important decision on damage caps in medical malpractice cases expected soon. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted this evening.
For the weekend:
Statehouse Insider. By Doug Finke. Will be posted Thursday evening for use Sunday.
GOVERNOR’S RACE-REFORM: A look at what the gubernatorial candidates have to say about ethics and reform. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol Bureau. Will be posted Wednesday evening for use in weekend editions.
Retailers thrilled with last-minute rush
ROCKFORD – Retailers are feeling the rush of last-minute shoppers streaming through their doors, which is helping boost their confidence and their bottom lines after a dismal holiday season one year ago. Holiday shopping procrastination is nothing new, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch. The average person had completed 46.7 percent of their holiday shopping by the second week of December, which is actually the lowest percentage since 2004. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: Check with local retailers to see if they’ve had a rush of last-minute shoppers.
Bradley's digital gaming program a slam dunk
PEORIA – Bradley University wants to get into the game - the computer game. The computer game industry, so conspicuous during the holiday season with its countless TV commercials promoting new releases, is already a $9 billion business, said BU computer science professor Vladimir Uskov. To help meet the need for trained specialists, Bradley is among a number of schools gearing up programs on computer game technology. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Lending a hand: Teens spend the holiday season volunteering
SPRINGFIELD – When 19-year-old Karissa Kinner of Rochester began volunteering her time serving food at a St. John’s Breadline four years ago, she learned much more than she thought she would. Though Karissa, now stationed in San Diego with the U.S. Navy, isn’t able to return to the breadline to help serve meals during this holiday season, she represents the many teens who do. Teens who volunteer put in many hours without pay for various reasons. By Brittany Limper of the State Journal-Register.
Outreach key to inspiring women to seek careers in scientific fields
PEORIA – Two Bradley University professors are working to interest more women in a career in science. According to data from the National Science Foundation, women accounted for almost three-quarters of those enrolled in graduate psychology courses in 2001, but only 30 percent in computer science and 20 percent in engineering grad-school courses. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
BRITT: Britt is on vacation.
Phil Luciano: Wishing for some street justice from Santa
You think of Santa Claus as a jolly, oversized elf who wraps the world in generosity and kindness. But I wish ol' St. Nick had a darker side - or maybe a vigilante twin brother - to tap into those magical powers. Like a fat, bearded Batman, he could track down yuletide jerks and mete out street justice.
Jerry Moore: Let’s demilitarize the war on Christmas
Some people are calling for a boycott of companies whose employees wish them “happy holidays” rather than “merry Christmas.” They see this as an escalation of the annual war on Christmas, and they’re gearing up for a holy battle.
Ed Wells: Tiger should watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
A Christmas message to Tiger Woods: Merry Christmas, Tiger. You’ve had one tough year — no wins at major tournaments and now this scandal that has humiliated you and your family. Some may gloat and enjoy your downfall, but I hope you get up, get your mind right, and do right by your family even if it means a split-up.
Editorial: Plug loophole in new open records law
It appears that even before it goes into effect on Jan. 1, there is already a need to plug a loophole in the newly revised Illinois Freedom of Information Act. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
Editorial: Payment mess threatens social service agencies
When someone does work for you and sends you a bill, you pay it. If the service is one that you use regularly, you make sure the payment is prompt so that you maintain a good reputation and can rely on the work getting done month after month, year after year. Pretty simple, right? Not if you do business with the state of Illinois. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Matt Trowbridge: Time for Bears to take drastic measures
It seems redundant to write the Bears should fire Lovie Smith and most of his assistants. We’ve written this many times before. And every Bears fan knows this.
BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS: After taking a step backwards in a loss to Georgia on Saturday, Illinois faces Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights game in St. Louis. The Tigers, who reached the Elite Eight last season, could use a meaningful win as the non-conference season winds down. By John Supinie. With preview capsule. Will be posted this evening.