When the clock strikes 7:00 pm on Monday, March 10th a speaker in the Centralia Museum’s history series will talk about the history of alarm clocks in our country. Phil Jones will present “Waking Up America – Alarm Clocks Old” which discusses He will talk about alarm clocks in the U.S. from the 1830′s to recent times. Several examples of brass movement clocks with alarms will be on display. He’ll end the presentation with several recent novelty alarms, including one that flies away to make you get out of bed an retrieve it.
Doors will open at at 6:30 pm. The event is free to the public, with refreshments being served.
Ameren Illinois has announced a plan to help customers with past due balances. The company says for a limited-time only customers will be able to establish a repayment plan by making a 10 percent down payment.
The Director of Ameren Illinois Customer Service Shirley Stennis says from now until March 31st eligible customers can pay 10 percent of their outstanding balance and the remaining amount in monthly installments. After April first, customers will be required to pay 25 percent of the total amount owed before they can establish a monthly payment play.
Stennis hopes customers will take advantage of the offer to avoid having their service disconnected. Service will only be disconnected after Ameren has issued a final disconnection notice and attempted to contact the customer.
After March 31st, residential customers with past due amounts and have failed to establish a payment plan or have broken a payment plan agreement will be subject to service disconnection beginning April first.
To establish a payment play, you can call Ameren Illinois Customer Service at 1-800-755-5000.
Some customers may be eligible for receive bill payment assistance from LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program). The program provides energy services payment assistance to eligible low income households, elderly persons and those with disabilities. For more information you can call the Energy Assistance Hotline at 877-411-9276.
Troubling statistics from the non-partisan Voices for Children advocacy group reveal that Jefferson County has the highest child abuse and neglect rate in the entire state of Illinois.
The annual report released thursday revealed that for every 1,000 children in Jefferson County, 36.5 of them are abused or neglected. For comparison’s sake, nearby Clinton County has a rate of 4.7 per every 1,000 children, the lowest rate in the 51 most populated counties in the state.
Marion County had the fifth-highest rate in the state, with a rate of 20.5 per 1,000. Voices for Children Spokesman Larry Joseph says that high child poverty rates as well as high unemployment rates are correlated to higher child abuse rates.
“Both Marion and Jefferson are counties where child poverty rates have been increasing for a decade” said Joseph “One of the things we’ve found is that poverty and child abuse [are correlated]. Especially in areas where child poverty rates have been increasing.”
The news in the report was not all bad. The rate of children without Health Insurance fell from 6% to 3% since 2008. Joseph hopes that the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, which took place after statistics were gathered, will help lower that percentage even further.
CHICAGO (AP) – A woman working at a Chicago thrift store was killed when a gun that was in dropped-off clothing accidentally discharged, hitting her in the chest.
Chicago police say 54-year-old Carmen Dominguez and a male co-worker were sorting the donated clothing in a back room of the store in the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood early Friday when the co-worker shook a sock. A .22-caliber gun inside the sock fell into the co-worker’s hand and discharged.
The wounded woman was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Relatives said she was a wife and mother of two children.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A scathing audit of an anti-violence program launched by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010 has been sent to law enforcement authorities.
Republican lawmakers released a letter Friday from Auditor General William Holland. It indicated the audit of Quinn’s $55 million “Neighborhood Recovery Initiative” went to James Lewis, U.S. attorney for the central district of Illinois, and Ricardo Meza, the state’s executive inspector general. The legislators had asked Holland to forward his findings.
The Democrat Quinn initiated the Chicago-area anti-violence program in the fall of 2010. But Holland’s audit found “pervasive deficiencies” in the program which Republicans believe could involve criminal activity. Quinn has said he’s the one who fixed problems.
Spokesmen for Lewis and Meza did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) – Several years of severe weather is costing Illinois homeowners more for insurance through one major carrier.
The Bloomington Pantagraph reports State Farm raised homeowner insurance premiums an average of 4.9 percent this year.
Angie Rinock is a spokeswoman for the Bloomington-based insurer. She says rates are being raised because of weather damage and the rising cost of building materials and labor.
This year’s increase is more than the company’s 2013 rate hike, which was 4.7 percent. In 2012, State Farm raised rates an average of 6.3 percent.
About one-third of Illinois homeowners have State Farm coverage.
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) – Midwest weather hasn’t felt much like spring the past two weeks but the big pelicans on a pair of southern Illinois lakes are nonetheless headed north after leaving winter homes on the Gulf of Mexico.
T.J. Benson is an avian ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey. He tells the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale that the birds on Crab Orchard Lake and Rend Lake are white pelicans.
Benson says they pass through Illinois twice a year travelling between summer homes in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada and their winter habitat. He says the birds are hard to miss. They’re huge with wing spans of almost 8 feet.
The pelicans may have gone unnoticed in the past but Benson says their population is getting larger for reasons that aren’t clear.