Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois on March 15, 2007 · Page 1
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Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois · Page 1

Decatur, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Page 1
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3? Chocolatey, fudgey cary scoring Wmm MARCH 15,2007 Daytime shows get Emmy nods Soon-to-retire game show host Bob Barker has a chance to win his 18th Daytime Emmy. He received a nomination Wednesday, while the CBS III ll -JN soap opera "Guiding Light" captured 17. Life D6 Effingham has lofty goals Jerry Trigg has worked hard to make softball flourish at Effingham High School. Last year's 22-6 record was the fourth straight 20-win season for the Hearts. After a successful run last summer, the Hearts are thinking bigger than just 20 ' - X If A 'A 'Xr - - I nHlllllnliMI wins. Sports B1 Spend money, make money Gov. Rod Blagojevich's bid to impose the largest tax hike in Illinois history isn't limited to campaign-style television ads. At a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $115,000, the governor sent direct mail pieces to 345,000 small-business owners. Money CI St Patrick celebrates in style Decatur's St. Patrick School isn't done celebrating to 150 years. In fact, the school will celebrate more by leading the way for this year's St Patrick's Day Parade. The school was chosen as grand marshal because it is the oldest, full-time school in Decatur. Local A3 Progress mailed in Iraq Bomb deaths have declined 30 percent in Baghdad since the U.S.-led security crackdown began a . M ti a ii iui iu l ciyu. This is a tangible sign of progress in rV.1 I V& the campaign to restore order in Iraq, starting with its capital city. World C3 Your weather Today: Cloudy with a little rain Tonight Clearing and seasonably cold Detai!sB8 Index Classifieds . C4-10 Comics D5 Dear Abby D2 Horoscopes . . . D5 Life D1-8 Money C1,2 Movies. ...... D2 Obituaries. . . D3,4 Opinion A6 Puzzles . C6,7,8,9 Sports B1-7 Television D6 III! 50 cents Our 135th year Issue 74 Four sections 02138 "00001 ii DeHvery: 421-6990 Newsroom: 421-6979 Outside Decatur 1-800-437-2533 HERALD t REVIEW DECATUR, N-LINOiS A division of Lee Enterprises Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (need we say more?)Dl VISIT US ON THE State attorney general curious about use of credit rating report By KEVIN MCDERMOTT Lee News Service Writer SPRINGFIELD Illinois officials are questioning the timing and tone of a negative credit-rating report this week on Ameren Corp.'s Illinois utilities a report that has helped the company slow the political momentum for a proposed rate freeze and gave it cause to with , . I II . . Ill I, I -TJJ-n IIMIMMMM I MIIIIIIHIHI1I).I v -.5 : jv -111?" '-'fw 4 Jc, 'jvJ' . ...r. ' , n mi-ni- -" -- I Herald & ReviewLyndsie SchlinK Longtime friends Paul Benda, left, and Nick Schwarze, both of Decatur, talk about the NCAA tournament with Block's Brewery bartender Jeromy Havener, center, as the opening round game plays on a television in the background. Flocks of fans will make every effort to By CHRIS LUSVARM H&R Staff Writer DECATUR Jayson Albright can watch any of the games of the NCAA basketball tournament he wants. It's one of the many perks of working at a sports bar, he says. Albright, director of operations and entertainment at Block's Brewery in downtown Decatur, lives almost every sports fan's dream, with all of the bar's television screens to choose from. "It's so rough," Albright joked. For all the rest of us, there still are plenty of options for watching the tournament, which begins full blast today. The next three weekends typically find people scrambling for the nearest TV, with half of the first-round games televised during the work day. Ready for a Contenders spending at unprecedented pace WASHINGTON (AP) Mitt Rom-ney is buying $800,000 in television air time. Candidates are purchasing voter lists in the early states $100,000 for the Iowa Democratic Party's list and $60,000 for the South Carolina version. And the entire presidential field is buying jet fuel by the planeload. At the start of a campaign season that is already moving at lightning speed, presidential candidates are spending money at unprecedented rates. And these are only the initial investments in an election that strategists from both parties predict could cost each major party's nominee $500 million. It's a number that's hard to fathom a $1 billion contest. It would WEB: WWW.HERALD - draw a $20 million customer rate-relief package. "The attorney general is concerned about the circumstances and the timing'' of the report Monday by Moody's Investors Services, said Robyn Ziegler, spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The Moody's report reduced Ameren's Illinois utilities to junk-bond status, citing the legislature's current attempt to refreeze newly deregulated electric rates. The implication, from Madigan and state utility regulators, is that the dire language in that independent report may have been influ- NCAA BASKETBALL TO URN AM Off atcb it Some local bars, including 'It S UUl tO the Sports Zone , at the Decatur See nOW Conference , Center and mUCll Hotel, have j . adjusted their people get operating hours UU'A to accommo- ucimiu date those who tfipir down with a case of basketball fever. Jim Moyer, the hotel's food and beverage director, has teams.' Jayson Albright, Block's Brewery director of operations and entertainment found in the past many business people skipping out of work early or taking extended lunch breaks. Most of the fans, however, still come in the fTlT T W $1 billion presidential race? not only be a record amount but nearly double what President Bush and Democrat John Kerry combined spent just three years ago. And the big spending is yet to come. Advertising accounts for the largest expense in a political campaign, and campaigns are still building their organizations and raising money. But political veterans say the level of political activity so far is extraordinary and is testing campaign budgets. How much the campaigns have spent so far won't be evident until next month, when they have to file financial reports for the first three months of the year. "I wouldn't be surprised if they have a fairly high burn rate," said Steve Elmendorf , a Democratic lobbyist and top strategist and veteran of the 2004 presidential campaign. REVIEW.COM enced by Ameren to bolster its argument in the ongoing legislative battle over its rates. Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris on Monday called that implica Madigan tion "preposterous." A Moody's spokesman declined to comment, referring a reporter to the credit rating firm's written code of conduct for ensuring the independence of its reports. Madigan's office and the Illinois Commerce Commission are indulge themselves evening, he said. The Sports Zone plans to be open early each day this weekend, at 11 a.m. in time for the games to start. Moyer hopes the basketball tournament will draw more people in than other sporting events throughout the year. "There are more games, so you get more people," Moyer said. "Some of them will float in and out to see different games." Block's isn't open for lunch on Thursdays but will have the rest of the weekend's games on, including the Illinois matchup with Virginia Tech at 6:10 p.m. Friday. It should make for a spirited atmosphere, Albright said. "We mostly get the Illini fans in," Albright said. "But we also get plenty of folks rooting for the other WATCHA2 The challenee for the campaigns is to keep their fundraising well ahead of their spending. At the Barack Obama presidential headquarters, there are no freebies. Even staffers must pay for the Illinois Democrat's souvenirs $20.08 for T-shirts; $2.50 for placards. Top staffers to Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, have had to triple up during hotel stays. Sen. John McCain has given campaign co-chairman Phil Gramm, a former U.S. senator known as a cost cutter, responsibility for overseeing his campaign's spending. Obama, whose campaign is being run by the legendarily frugal David Plouffe, was the only Democratic candidate to decline a request from South Carolina Democrats that he KLL10S1A2 7 A3l Can this team get enough points to stay alive in NCAA tourney?Bl requesting copies of correspondence between Ameren, Moody's and the two other major independent credit rating agencies: Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. The ICC formally made its request in a letter to Ameren President Scott Cisel on Wednesday, seeking "a copy of all correspondence and all other communications, whether oral, electronic or otherwise, between the Ameren Illinois utilities and each credit rating agency during the past 12 months." In the same letter, the ICC AMERENA2 New Si Louis air carrier search begins Park District frustrated with RegionsAir By MIKE FRAZIER H&R Staff Writer DECATUR The federal Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order seeking proposals for air service between Decatur and St. Louis. ine . mr xv order was released Friday, and airlines have 20 days to respond, said Bill Decatur Park District executive director. The lnL ibSULfYT Tracking the news RegkxtsAir The latest Proposals are being sought for a new carrier for flights between Decatur and St. Louis. What's next RegionsAir continues to work with the FAA in an effort to restore its service. park district oversees Decatur Airport. "Once that period ends, it's our hope that they will turn that around very quickly and authorize another carrier to assume these routes," Cle-venger said. Flights from RegionsAir have been canceled through the end of March, but the airline is working with the Federal Aviation A(iministration to restore service before then, said Nathan Vallier, a spokesman for RegionsAir. In the meantime, travelers don't know when to expect the return of reliable flights between Decatur and St. Louis. "We're really unhappy with the performance and service (of RegionsAir)," Clevenger said. "And, frankly, I think they could be doing a better job right now communicating AIRA2 Consultants cash in on campaigns In 2004, presidential candidates spent more than $450 million on consultants and advertising. More than three-quarters of the money paid for ads and the media consultants who produced and placed them. Areas of spending, in millions of dollars Media: $356 (77.9) Direct mail: $52 (11.4) Get out and vote: $12(2.6) Fundraising: $10(2.2) Polling: $8 (1.8) Phones: $7.4 (1.6) Other. $12.2 (2.7) 1 SOURCE: Center for Public Integrity AP

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