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Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010

* Durbin visits Elgin to discuss foreclosure prevention

* Illinois’ rating on $23.4 billion of municipal debt cut to A-

The lower ranking may raise the state’s borrowing cost as it comes to market with more than $1 billion of new debt and investors demand a higher yield. Standard & Poor’s cut the state’s rating March 26 by one level to A+, its fifth-highest, and Moody’s Investors Service today assigned an A2 rating with a negative outlook, meaning the bonds may be downgraded.

* Pension reform should include current workers

* Moffitt miffed over rushed pension reform bill

* Security tight for Biden’s Wednesday morning appearance

Biden is the keynote speaker for the 10:30 a.m. Wednesday event hosted by The Center for Prevention of Abuse at the Civic Center. This is the Biden’s fourth visit to Illinois since becoming vice president and his first this year, according to a Biden aide.

* Our View: Welcome to Peoria, Mr. Vice President

* WIU-QC to break ground today for riverfront campus

* Jesse White issues reminder of March 31st deadline for lobbyists to register

* Peoria Times-Observer will close in April

* State Capitol Q&A: Halftime in the General Assembly

* Martire: State needs to raise revenue to adequately fund core public services

* Kadner: Illinois doesn’t need to save $72 million

* What does it cost to have an oil portrait done?

* DH: Time has come for five-day delivery

* Ill. AARP seeks safeguards on power of attorney

* Historic sites could get tax help

* Ill. prisoners sue over restrictions on outside contact

* Lawmakers ask Quinn to review planned shakeup of junvenile justice system

* Police say they’ll lose valuable backup if state troopers are cut

* Head of State Police Awaits Approval

* Our View: Notification law clears hurdle, waits for implementation

* Our Opinion: Give abortion notification law chance to work

* Illinois Fair Map petition deadline extended

* Fair Map coalition still looking for support

* Harris names former city treasurer to replace retiring community affairs vice president

Judy Rice, 52, on Tuesday was named senior vice-president in charge of community affairs for Harris, making her the lead on complying with federal regulations for lending in low-income communities. She joined Chicago’s third largest consumer bank in 2007 and most recently was vice-president and director of government affairs. She will report to CEO Ellen Costello in her new position.

* What’s Assessor Houlihan up to?

But it’s no secret that he blames Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan for phasing out the 7% cap on annual assessment hikes, and that he is less than thrilled with some decisions by board of (property tax) review Commissioner Joe Berrios.

* Illinois taps consultant to help take lottery private

Oliver Wyman, a unit of New York’s Marsh & McLennan Cos., will advise the state in setting up a process by which Illinois will seek and evaluate bids from private companies interested in managing the state’s lottery.

* Illinois Wants Some Lottery Privacy

* Crosby: Video gaming debate something to chew on

* Sweet: Daley to Johnson: ‘We’re in trouble’

Never-before-heard recordings of Daley, father of Chicago’s current mayor, and Johnson discussing sending troops to the city were released Tuesday by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs Presidential Recordings Program.

* Transcripts Released With Daley-LBJ Conversation

* City reviewing safety measures at intersection where boy struck, killed

* 9-1-1 staffers rack up overtime

The 911 center paid out $4.5 million in overtime in 2009 and $5.9 million in 2008, said Jennifer Martinez, spokeswoman for the center. Overtime for January and February 2010 was down 40 percent over the same period last year, but “it is not realistic to say that we will be able to eliminate overtime completely,” she said.

* Parking meter changeover led to windfall for city mechanics

Five parking meter mechanics on the payroll of the city’s Department of Revenue shared $103,221 worth of overtime last year to help an overwhelmed and understaffed Chicago Parking Meters LLC get ahead of the curve, records show.

They were led by parking meter mechanic Clarence Davenport, who raked in $30,919 worth of overtime in 2009.

Tens of thousands of dollars worth of additional overtime was paid to scores of other Revenue Department employees who assisted the concessionaire with maintenance, repairs, collections and security, records show.

* Special City Council Meeting called for Street Sweeping Cuts

* Sweeper Compromise: Reduce Fleet, Maintain Aldermanic Control

* $2 million deficit could shutter 100-year-old Luther North High

Like sister school Luther South on the South Side last year, Luther North — the second-oldest community Lutheran high school in the world — has fallen victim to declining enrollment and tuition vs. overwhelming debt to its lender, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.

* Rolling Meadows ponders private waste hauling

* Bill to let city teachers move to burbs moving in Springfield

* Oswego board narrowly approves “>0.5 percent sales tax

In the first year, the new sales tax could generate $1 million for Oswego. Every year after that, it’s expected to return $1.3 million to the village, according to Finance Director Mark Horton….The village is in the red to a tune of $3.7 million for fiscal year 2010-11, due to a $1.6 million shortfall in the general fund and a $2.1 million shortage in the water/sewer fund.

* East Peoria eyes cuts to balance budget

* Police department cuts just a part of Mattoon deficit reduction efforts

* [Chancellor] Goldman: Protest against legislators

* Extension preparing for multimillion-dollar budget cut from state

* Ash borer watch continues in Lake County

* New aphid strain threatens soybean

Hartman says it is in the genetic background of the minuscule green insect to find a way to overcome plant resistance.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        

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