Illinois Budget 7.30.09
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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Number of farmers markets in Illinois on rise
SPRINGFIELD – Federal data shows Illinois farmers sell only about $114 million a year worth of fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, compared to $10.9 billion in crops like corn and soybeans. But the number of farmers markets in the state has nearly tripled in a decade, and both the state and federal government are kicking in promotional dollars — including up to $435,000 in grants announced this week — to keep the trend going. By Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register. To localize: Has there been an increase in farmers markets in your area?
State Briefs. News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.
Caterpillar may idle Mapleton plant for two months
PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. may have to shut down its foundry for two full months at the end of the year if the engine business doesn’t pick up, a union official said Wednesday. Rick Doty, president of United Auto Workers Local 974, which represents Caterpillar’s hourly workers in the Peoria area, said managers at the Mapleton foundry said that plant is tentatively slated to shut down during November and December because demand in the engine business is down so much. By Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star.
'Pizza farm' also a place to learn about organic methods
DOW – Visions of pizza usually center on the thick-crusted, cheesy creations assembled at a restaurant — not an organic farm in southern Illinois. At the R Pizza Farm near Alton, about 90 miles southwest of Springfield, visitors can learn how ingredients for a pizza can be grown with organic farming methods. Its owner, Walt Gregory, is a businessman turned organic farmer, a teacher of organic farming techniques and a “minister” who gently shares his faith in God with the 6,000 or so people who will visit the farm this year. By Theresa Grimaldi Olsen of the State Journal-Register.
Fairy tales take stage in ‘Into the Woods’
JACKSONVILLE – "Into the Woods" – which opened Thursday night in a new production by the Jacksonville Theatre Guild – is full of wry takes on well-known fairy tales, including "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Rapunzel" and "Cinderella." By Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register.
Brian Mackey: Finding focus in a world full of distractions
The idea that wandering attention could be beneficial has recently gained traction, at least in the media. But there’s a perpendicular strain that’s gotten attention in recent years, one that seeks to balance the constant buzz of connectivity with making time to think.
Kelly Epperson: Pregnant women shouldn't worry about the swine flu
I just read this headline: Pregnant women are more vulnerable to the swine flu. I am not making light of the swine flu or any ailment or disease, but jeepers creepers, pregnant women worry enough. They don’t need one more thing to keep them up at night.
BRITT: Toon on national health care. Will be posted this evening.
Kevin Haas: Hey, booze isn't rocket science
Oftentimes Americans are distracted with petty issues and overlook important crises, such as world hunger, that desperately need attention. This is another example of one of those times. Today’s topic is drinking and getting drunk.I do not like either drinking or getting drunk. I feel like the invention of alcohol started with the question, “What if hitting yourself in the head could come in liquid form?”
Phil Luciano: Another Peoria icon hits the road
One by one, local institutions slip into our collective nostalgia. Big John's. Hunt's Drive-In. The Madison Theater. V.O.P.'s. And on and on. And the march of time has stomped the life out of another landmark, the Hubcap House. You might remember the business in its most glorious - and eclectic - incarnation: a shimmering edifice festooned with 5,000 wheel covers.
Editorial: Hey, Bud: Pete Rose deserves to be eligible for Hall
The rumor that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was considering reinstating Pete Rose was denied faster than Rickey Henderson used to steal bases in his prime. Henderson was inducted Sunday into the baseball Hall of Fame, an honor that appears will never happen for Rose. Too bad. Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If the person who has the most hits ever collected during a major league career doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, who does? An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.
Editorial: Instead of more spending, try fiscal discipline
You could say Americans are seeing red with the news that, for the first time, the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion, and with the fiscal year far from over. Before 2009 is done, the deficit could reach $1.8 trillion, quadrupling the former record. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
Editorial: Reform how lawmakers dole out pet projects
We are not in the habit of engaging in the great editorial page pastime of beating up legislators for funding projects in their districts that are derided as pork by others. One person's pork often is another's economic development project. But members of the Illinois General Assembly make it awfully hard sometimes to restrain ourselves. An editorial from State Journal-Register.
Matt Trowbridge will be writing a mainbar and notebook from the Bears’ arrival at training camp. Will be posted this evening.
No stories planned for today.