Illinois Budget 8.27.09

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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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,


Front page gallery for Aug. 27.


Quinn says he's vetoing campaign donation limits bill

SPRINGFIELD – In a surprising turnaround, Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday he's vetoing a bill approved by lawmakers that would for the first time place caps on campaign donations in Illinois. The governor decided to veto the measure at the behest of Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, who say they're working on a better version they hope to be able to send to him in the October veto session. By Adriana Colindres of the State Capitol Bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.


State Briefs. News from around the state.


Beauty schools see increase in students

ROCKFORD – Kris Martindale has always been fascinated with cosmetology, but it took her a few years and three kids to start pursuing her dream. She’s part of a crop of nontraditional students — some re-entering the work force later in life and others who have lost their job — enrolling in cosmetology schools. It’s led to a surge across the country. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: Check with local beauty schools to see if they've had an increase in applicants.

11,000 Illinois homeowners take advantage of mortgage aid program

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 11,000 homeowners have sought help from a mortgage-relief program in Illinois since it was launched in April, though the increase in foreclosures appears to be slowing, a state financial regulator said Wednesday. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register.


Stage act keeps 'The Big Ragoo' on his toes

SPRINGFIELD – Actor Eddie Mekka is more than just Carmine Ragusa on “Laverne and Shirley.” While his portrayal of Shirley’s singing boyfriend “The Big Ragoo” in 147 episodes of the 1970s-80s ABC sitcom put him on the map, Mekka has had a versatile career including films and guest-starring roles on television. But his experience with live theater and music brings him to Springfield this week as he takes on his familiar role of Nathan Detroit in a special concert version of “Guys and Dolls.” By Dru Willis of the State Journal-Register.

Organic farmers have high praise for potatoes

PEORIA – Present the notion of "potato as art" to an organic farmer and watch a broad, knowing smile spread across his face. What was once viewed as a utilitarian, humble vegetable is now haute cuisine and high art. Colors range from deep purple, red and pale pink to tawny browns. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.

Painter Chavira showcases subjects that have made a contribution to humanity

PEORIA – Painter Javier Chavira, who has a show opening at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, explores the notion of beauty as a superficial artifice and as a deeper appreciation stemming from issues of social justice. His subjects are imbued with dignity and spirituality. He often uses religious symbols from his Catholic upbringing to give subjects a saintly quality. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.


BRITT: Toon on Pat Quinn’s indecisiveness.

Kevin Haas: Pluto: Earth’s big downgrade

Monday marks three years since the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto is no longer a planet, but instead a lesser object defined by scientists as “something that may have gotten smudged on the lens of the telescope.” Pluto had to be downgraded from planetary status because scientists said the universe contains much larger objects, like Kirstie Alley. (Note: We already feel bad about this joke.)

Michelle Teheux: Where’s my $4,500?

Now that the Cash for Clunkers deal is over, I’m waiting for my turn: “Cash for People Who Already Have Been Buying Cars With Good Gas Mileage With Their Own Money.” I don’t feel good about the chances of this program catching on since it lacks alliteration and won’t fit in a headline.

Phil Luciano: What’s behind a college degree?

What are students getting out of their college experience? For many, not nearly as much as they should: Many schools are shortchanging students. That's the conclusion of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which calls itself an "independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities." The group looked at 100 schools nationwide - big and small, public and private.

Editorial: Country needs someone like Ted Kennedy

Seldom do we get to eulogize someone whose passing carries import that is both contemporary and historic. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is one such person. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: Ted Kennedy's legacies: compromise, hard work

He was either the champion of the downtrodden or a defender of bloated, unnecessary government, the punchline to a political joke or a figure touched by tragedy. There wasn't much middle ground in how America viewed Ted Kennedy, but the legacy he leaves behind after his death from brain cancer late Tuesday at the age of 77 is nothing if not extensive. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Ted Kennedy’s work in Senate is lasting legacy

When Ted Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962 he barely met the age requirement of 30. But over his 47-year career, he became known as one of America’s most effective lawmakers.


Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star will be writing a story and notes from Bears practice in Lake Forest. Will be posted this evening.

Mainbar on Bears defensive tackle Israel Idonije

No daily stories planned.