Illinois Budget 10.06.09

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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Hynes: State has $3 billion in unpaid bills

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois had a record $3 billion in unpaid bills at the end of September and vendors were waiting a record amount of time to be paid, Comptroller Dan Hynes said Tuesday. The bill backlog of $3 billion for the first quarter of the year is a record. So is the waiting period of 61 business days for vendors to get paid. Hynes said his office is fielding 2,600 calls a week from people who are desperate to get money they are owed by the state. By Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau. Early version posted; will be updated.


State Briefs. News from around the state.

STATE CAPITOL Q&A: A look at the Responsible Budget Coalition, a new umbrella group of labor, social service providers and others who hope to combine their clout to put extra pressure on lawmakers for an income tax increase. By Ryan Keith of the State Capitol Bureau.

BEASON MURDERS: A man accused of murdering his ex-in-laws and three other members of their family is scheduled to be in court Tuesday afternoon. By Amanda Reavy of the State Journal-Register. Will be posted this evening.

Easier self-publishing gives authors better chance of being read

PEORIA HEIGHTS – Central Illinois authors are on the rise. With the Internet changing the way books are published and marketed, more people are taking advantage of opportunities to publish their own works, said Mary Beth Nebel, owner of I Know You Like a Book bookstore. Nebel plans to assemble more than 20 self-published authors for book signings Saturday for Duryea Days in Peoria Heights. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.


7-year-old golfer has drive, putts to succeed

MACHESNEY PARK – Marcus James Smith is a midnight putter. It’s just part of the reason the Olson Park School second-grader won seven junior golf tournaments this summer and is headed to the PGA Golf Club Invitational in Port St. Lucie, Fla., as the 13th-ranked 7-year-old player in the world. By Mike DeDoncker of the Rockford Register Star.

Food buying club helps shoppers make a natural foods connection

SPRINGFIELD – For many members of the Land of Lincoln Buying Club, buying the organic food in bulk is a necessity because of health conditions. Others are determined to eat organic, natural foods, and the buying club is a way to buy in bulk for 20 to 30 percent less than through a retail store. By Theresa Grimaldi Olsen of the State Journal-Register.


BRITT: Toon on Obama and Afghanistan.

Editorial: Obama should keep ‘shield’ law promise

Four years ago, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at the Illinois Press Association’s annual awards luncheon at the Hilton Springfield. He joked about throwing out a pitch at a White Sox playoff game and lightheartedly brushed off talk of a presidential run in his future. But the first-year senator’s speech wasn’t all levity. Obama also addressed a topic dear to the hearts of his hosts that day:  a federal shield law. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.

Editorial: No cheers or laughs for Letterman the Lustful

So what to make of "Late Show" host David Letterman, who confessed last week to being the victim in an alleged blackmail scheme that threatened to out him for his womanizing over the years? An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.

Editorial: Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, get ready for deer

Deer are elegant, graceful animals — unless they wind up on the hood of your car. Then they become broken, bloody and ugly. Your car and you could be broken also. This time of year is prime time for vehicle-deer collisions. An editorial from the Rockford Register Star.


Matt Trowbridge is on vacation.
ILLINI NOTES: A notebook following Illinois' weekly press conference that includes coach Ron Zook and selected players. By John Supinie.