GateHouse News Service Regional Budget (7/28/07)
Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at http://ghns.ghnewsroom.com
*Please check this Web site in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.
Regional Editor Jonie Larson, (217) 816-3343, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Editor Jean Hodges, (630) 348-3350, email@example.com
PEPSI CONTRACT. CHICAGO -- No Coke -- Pepsi! The state announced Friday it has awarded a contract worth millions to PepsiAmericas Inc. to provide soft drinks at many Illinois government sites and universities. It is supposed to generate a minimum of $14.4 million for the state and its consultant partner. Ramsey, 500 words./Illinois
HOSPITAL FUNDING: Blagojevich has yet to act on a bill promising another $1.2 billion for hospitals in Rockford and around Illinois. Apparently, he is refusing to approve the bill because it also includes money for lawmaker pay raises -- using the bill as leverage to get what he wants from legislators. In other words, the measure is caught in the politics of overtime. Meanwhile, the appropriation authority in the bill would expire at the end of August. So even if Blagojevich signs it tomorrow, there may not be enough time for the state to spend all the money because the funds would be released in chunks. And in any case, the state has just $9 million in the account that would supposedly provide the dollars. So even if the state has the authority to spend the money, it doesn’t have the money to spend. This is just the latest wrinkle in the state’s elaborate plan to generate more federal Medicaid money for hospitals by shuffling money between itself and the hospitals. CHAMBERS/Rockford/moving Friday evening/Illinois
RENEWABLE POWER. CHICAGO - The rate-relief package that passed the General Assembly this week contained a glossed-over component: a requirement that utilities get an increasing amount of their power from renewable sources. This presumably will have a positive impact on the state's burgeoning wind-power industry. Ramsey, 450 words./CHICAGO BUREAU/Illinois
AND INTO AUGUST WE GO: Gov. Rod Blagojevich is asking Illinois lawmakers to pass another one-month budget to keep state government operating. The governor and legislative leaders can't agree on a budget for the full year. The General Assembly has gone a record 57 days into overtime. So the Democratic governor issued a proclamation Friday morning that calls legislators into special session this weekend. It asks them to pass a budget extension to keep the state running through August. Finke w/photo coverage J.Kirshner/Capitol Bureau/Springfield/moving this evening/Illinois
SAFETY WHISTLES: Park District police have ordered whistles that they are going to hand out to people in city parks. Chief Judd said Thursday night that they might get in Friday. If so, they might put somebody in the "SeeMore Eagle" mascot outfit and hand them out tonight at Washington Park. They also want to have the mascot, which is part of their "Parks Watch" program, out this weekend handing out whistles. We might be able to do a preview story for Sat. paper. Call Judd. Antonacci/Springfield/this evening/Illinois News
ELECTRIC BILL: Will talk to local legislators about how they voted regarding the electric relief bill. Aaron Shock going to hold news conference today to explain his ‘no’ vote. David Leitch also voted no, though Dale Risinger voted yes. Will look at how the local legislators voted and why. (merits; by 5 p.m.) SCOTT HILYARD/PEORIA/Illinois
LAHOOD: Won't-run-again tour visits spfld, 3 p.m. blue room. bramlet photo planned/SPRINGFIELD/this evening/Illinois News
LAHOOD ANNOUNCEMENT: (w/pic) Rep. Ray LaHood is having a press conference today after releasing a statement this morning officially announcing his retirement when current term ends. (merits; by 6 p.m.) KAREN MCDONALD./PEORIA/ILLINOIS
LAHOOD SIDE: Who is poised to take over for LaHood? The list of interested Republicans grows by the second — everyone from State Rep. Aaron Schock to Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis to LaHood’s son, Darin. We’ll talk to people and see if they are interested. (merits; by 5 p.m.) JENNIFER DAVIS/PEORIA/Illinois
BUS SIDESWIPES SCENE KILLING FIREFIGHTER: A Sesser firefighter was killed early Friday morning during cleanup operations following a tractor-trailer blaze on Interstate 57 north of Benton. Malkovich/Benton Evening News/with pic/moving early evening/Illinois
5 THINGS TO KNOW: Unique take on Chicago happenings. RAMSEY/Chicago Bureau/moving this evening./Illinois News
TRAVEL: ORIENTAL INSTITUTE MUSEUM - CHICAGO – Who knew? Tucked away inside a Gothic-style building at the University of Chicago is an astounding collection of Middle Eastern antiquities that could not be re-assembled here today at any cost. The Oriental Institute Museum showcases 8,000 artifacts from some of the ancient empires – including those of Mesopotamia , Persia and Egypt -- that gave birth to modern civilization. The oldest pieces go back nearly 5,000 years.
RAMSEY/Chicago Bureau/moving Friday afternoon/Travel, One Tank Trips and Illinois News
ANTI-GUN ADVOCATES: It has been a violent summer in Chicago, and anti-gun activists here have struck back in their own way by urging policymakers to enact “common sense” gun laws. Story assesses whether any movement has been made. RAMSEY/Chicago Bureau/moving Friday afternoon/Illinois
CAPITOL ANALYSIS - That "long beautiful hair" baby boomers celebrated in the '60s Broadway musical is now going gray, and state government is trying to figure out how to manage it./HEUPEL/Capitol Bureau/moving Friday/Illinois
ENERGY PLANT: Senate passed legislation intended to help lure a clean-coal plant to Taylorville. Colindres/Capitol Bureau/moving this evening/Illinois
NADEL COLUMN – BOURBONNAIS: Writing from Bears camp. MIKE NADEL/Column/moving this evening./Illinois Sports, Columns and Pro Sports-Bears.
DAILY SOUTHTOWN SPORTS
BEARS – Camp begins. CHAMBERLAIN
W/Notebook and highlights.
CUBS – Cubs are at Cincinnati, game starts 6:10 p.m. VORVA
HAL PILGER: Cardinal notebook./Illinois Sports/moving this evening.
BONDS WILL GET JUSTICE: ... I should like Bonds. His father, Bobby, was one of my favorite players, and his godfather, Willie Mays, was the best all-around player ever, in my humble opinion. But Bonds comes across as a pompous, self-centered jerk and many consider him the ultimate cheater. His run to Aaron’s record is tainted by allegations he has used steroids to enhance his performance. Some longtime baseball fans think Bonds’ record should be marked with an asterisk because of the steroid allegations. That’s not necessary, because if Bonds has been using steroids he will die young. EDITORIAL/ROCKFORD/moved late Thursday night/Illinois Opinions
BERNIE SCHOENBURG: CHECKING BLAGOJEVICH DONATIONS: Gov. ROD BLAGOJEVICH scored some points and took some heat a year and a half ago when, in the wake of a fire that destroyed a beautiful, historic church in Chicago, he promised a $1 million state donation to help with rebuilding. COLUMN with mug/SPRINGFIELD/moved Thursday/Illinois Opinions and Illinois
CHRIS BRITT: Cartoon on Bush and Alberto Gonzalez on telling lies. BRITT/SPRINGFIELD/posted Illinois Opinions.
BRUCE QUAST: Cartoon on Illinois smoking ban.
STACEY CREASY: SEX CRIMES - Until we are willing to openly talk about sexual abuse, the offenders will have exactly what they want -- a society that tries to keep their crimes quiet. MONMOUTH/COLUMN/moved early morning/Illinois Opinions
CAPITOL NOTEBOOK – the week in review from the capitol./Illinois Opinions
CAPITOL INSIDER – Bureau reporter Doug Finke’s column on capitol news from the week./Illinois Opinions
This weekend ... On cycle
NADEL COLUMN – BOURBONNAIS: Writing from Bears camp. MIKE NADEL/Column/moving Sat. evening./Illinois Sports, Columns and Pro Sports-Bears.
Daily Southtown ...
ARVIA COLUMN - On Bears.
SOX FEATURES: Quotes and numbers summing up the first 100. WHALEN
CUBS – Cubs at Cincinnati, game starts 6:10 p.m.
W/ notebook - VORVA
NADEL COLUMN – BOURBONNAIS: Writing from Bears camp. MIKE NADEL/Column/moving Sun. evening./Illinois Sports, Columns and Pro Sports-Bears.
ARVIA COLUMN: Luke Butkus, a Bear’s coach.
CUBS – Cubs at Cincinnati, game starts at 12:15 p.m. VORVA
BRICKYARD 400: Big NASCAR drivers at Indy. CRONIN
W/ Notebook and box