Illinois Budget 8.24.09
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.
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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343, firstname.lastname@example.org
How to localize your NIE page.
Chris Biondi: Dad in Iraq follows live-blogging of son’s baseball triumph.
Lawsuit questions safety of popular herbicide atrazine
PEORIA – A class action lawsuit representing water districts throughout Illinois cites recent research contending the herbicide atrazine in drinking water is unsafe at any level, even measurements well below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Atrazine, often used on corn fields, is linked with breast and prostate cancers and reproductive and neurological problems. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star. To localize: Is your water district part of the lawsuit?
Company points to atrazine's 'importance to agriculture'
PEORIA – Tim Pastoor, a scientist with Swiss ag giant Syngenta AG, calls atrazine "easily one of the most studied molecules on the planet." More than 600 studies have been done on the weed-killing herbicide over the years, he said. The secret of atrazine's success - and staying power - has been the yield benefit offered corn farms, controlling tough weeds that, if left untended, would crowd corn plants. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
Questions lead to public hearing on chemical drift
PEORIA – Aerial spraying of chemicals on farm fields is the focus of a special public hearing scheduled for September by the Illinois Senate agriculture committee. The public is invited to submit both oral and written testimony. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
State Briefs. News from around the state.
STATE BUDGET: Illinois' major state employee union, AFSCME, filed suit today in southern Illinois to try to keep 2,600 state workers from being laid off by the Quinn administration as part of deep state budget cuts. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau.
Retaining talent just as important now as later
ROCKFORD – With many companies fighting to keep expenses down and hold their firms together through the recession, it can be a challenge to plan ahead for the inevitable economic recovery. It’s essential, however, if companies want to avoid high turnover. By Sean F. Driscoll of the Rockford Register Star.
State grants ‘not used to convert people’
ROCKFORD – Carpenter’s Place cares for the homeless because of Jesus’ message, but it doesn’t force its guests to listen to that message. So state officials believe grants to that organization and three others with religious connections don’t violate restrictions on funding religion. Last week, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to state officials warning that grants to 97 organizations in the recently passed capital plan may violate such rules. By Thomas V. Bona of the Rockford Register Star. To localize: Are any organizations in your area on the list?
Couple turns land into hillside retreat
WASHINGTON, Ill. – The hillside behind Becky and Duane Westhafer's home used to be a thicket of trees. So much so "you could hardly see the sky," says Becky.But once the trees started dying - the Westhafers fear chemical drift from nearby farms - the rural Washington couple decided to use their considerable construction skills to create a custom landscape. Today, the dying trees have been replaced with a lushly landscaped waterfall that spills and pools down the hillside. By Jennifer Davis of the Peoria Journal Star.
Former farm leads to greener lifestyle
CANTON – Realistic landscape painter David Gregory has done thousands of paintings, etchings and murals over the past three decades, many of beloved scenes in Hawaii, California and Italy. Today, he paints from a studio in a converted milk house that was once part of the oldest family dairy farm in Canton. In this rural setting, Gregory and his wife Renee research and practice a greener lifestyle. The once drafty farmhouse is now snug and energy efficient. They have a Honda Civic hybrid and an attitude about ecology. They are researching wind turbines as an option for supplying electricity to the studio. By Clare Howard of the Peoria Journal Star.
Child-teacher clashes can be resolved
SPRINGFIELD – In 35 years of teaching third through seventh grades, in locales stretching from Florida to Colorado, Sandy Bauer has learned that children are children — no matter where they call home. And, yes, there will be difficult students, she said — such as the girl who “had real acting-out problems.” But, no, they don’t have to remain contrary. With a little patience and a lot of communication, that student and teacher who cannot seem to get along just might end up forging mutual respect. By Tamara Browning of the State Journal-Register.
Reagan house for sale, but not drawing much interest
GALESBURG – There was a big push early in this decade to add Monmouth and Galesburg to the Reagan Trail. The General Assembly added the two towns in 2004. The hope at that time was that when the house where Reagan lived as a child was put up for sale, it could be bought and made into a museum. The house is on the market, but the chances of it becoming a museum appear slim. By John R. Pulliam of the Galesburg Register-Mail.
BRITT: Toon on health care.
Jeff Vrabel: Camel milk - an udderly ridiculous idea (that I like a lot)
I have just read that camels, in addition to being some of nature's most magnificent and attractive beasts, represent the bright shining future of American milk production. You hear that, cows? Your days are OVER, jerks, with your incessant mooing and walking everywhere in groups and being easily seasoned.
Editorial: The DeLightful Dancing DeLay
When one thinks of reality television, who leaps to mind faster than an ethically challenged, once-lofty politician still in trouble with the law? If the producers of "Dancing With the Stars" wanted to get people talking about the show's upcoming season, well, including one-time House Majority Leader Tom DeLay among the folks who will take to the ballroom dance floor has done it. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: 'No policy' shouldn't mean no right or wrong
Whether it's baseball's steroids scandal or America's financial meltdown or a major university's admissions debacle or a couple of county jailers beating up a female inmate, a common defense has emerged that is nothing if not bothersome: There was no policy against it, so how can anyone be held accountable? An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Showdown coming at U of I
Two University of Illinois trustees are stubbornly hanging on to their positions despite calls for all trustees to resign in the wake of the Clout List scandal. Their refusal to follow the example set by the other trustees who quit sets up a showdown with Gov. Pat Quinn, who had called on all trustees to resign. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Editorial: Health care debates riddled by myths and bad information
When it comes to the good life, we Americans want it all. We want to age gracefully and painlessly, yet we want to live like there’s no tomorrow. Many of us want top-notch government services, but we demand low taxes. No wonder our health care system — let alone our federal and state budgets — is in a state of disarray. An editorial from Suburban Life Publications.
WITH THE ILLINI: Multi-sport notebook column led with Steve Stricker, the former Illini golfer who heads into the Fed Ex Cup series after giving a clinic in Urbana Monday. Will also include football and basketball. By John Supinie.