Salem Parks Won’t Be Smoke-Free

July 22, 2014 Comments off

You won’t see any signs in Salem parks encouraging you not to smoke.  The Salem City Council failed to make a motion to install the signs that would be provided through a Marion County Health Department initiative.  Councilman David Black doesn’t think the smoking impacts kids.

“I don’t think it affects anybody. They see people walking down the street smoking, they see people in their car smoking…I’m opposed it it. I think government goes too far when they do these things” said Black.

Councilman Royce Bringwald agreed that the signs were the first step towards an erosion of freedom for smokers.  While the ban on smoking would only be advisory, Councilwoman Sue Morgan thinks the signs with a circle and line through a cigarette makes it look more like a total ban on smoking.  Mayor John Raymer had been pushing for the voluntary smoking ban.

“If I had a chance to encourage someone not to smoke around kids, I would do it. That’s why I like this program” said Raymer.

When Raymer sought a motion to ask for the voluntary ban, no one on the council spoke up.  City Manager Bill Gruen thinks the issue is dead and won’t be brought back. 

Salem Grade School Ends Year in the Black

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Salem Grade School Superintendent Mark Cartwright was happy to report to the school board on Monday that all funds were in the black for the fiscal year’s end, thanks to unexpected on-time payments from the State of Illinois. While exact numbers are unavailable pending the final auditors report, Cartwright says that the school district’s budget is “healthy” going into next year.

“Im not going to brag too much about getting state aid in a timely manner…it’s still only 89% of what we’re supposed to get for three years” said Cartwright.

Cartwright said the biggest surprise was the transportation fund, which was originally budgeted to receive only two payments from the state. The state ended up paying all four obligated payments on time, leading to an unexpected extra $150,000 in the transportation fund.

Cartwright says that on-time payments should not be expected going in to the future, but that the district is not going broke, even if they have to deficit spend during next year’s budget.

The board also accepted the resignation of 8th grade teacher Jeana Craft and paraprofessional Darla Lowry. A letter of retirement was accepted from 3rd grade teacher DeLinda Youngblood. Four assistant volunteer coaches were hired, including baseball coaches Jeff Malone, Ryan Crouse, Brad Marcum, and softball coach Amanda Brendel. 

Illinois Insurance Subsidies in Place for Now

July 22, 2014 Comments off

CHICAGO (AP) – Officials say Illinois health insurance customers shouldn’t feel any immediate effect of a federal appeals court panel’s ruling as a confusing legal battle continues over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Contradictory rulings were issued Tuesday by two federal appeals court panels. One said the federal government couldn’t offer financial assistance to people in states like Illinois that use the federally run insurance market. The other court ruled the opposite.

About 168,000 Illinois residents qualified for financial subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. The White House says policyholders will keep getting that help as the administration sorts out the legal implications.

Get Covered Illinois executive director Jennifer Koehler (KOH’-lehr) says the subsidies remain in effect. She says the state is monitoring the court decisions.

Lawyers: Factor Court Decision into Pensions Case

July 22, 2014 Comments off

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Lawyers representing state retiree groups say they aim to use a recent Supreme Court decision on health care benefits as a way to expedite their case challenging Illinois’ pension legislation.

Attorneys told Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz on Tuesday they’d be filing a motion asking him to factor the July 3 ruling into the state’s argument defending the pension legislation.    The court’s ruling reversed a lower court decision that effectively allowed the state to require retirees to pay for part of their health care.

The groups challenging the pension law say the same issue is central to their case. They say the law violates the state constitution which says public employee benefits cannot be “diminished or impaired.”

The state says it has expanded authority during times of crisis. 

Salem Police Investigating Burglary At Bradley Cycles

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Salem Police are investigating a weekend burglary at Bradley’s Cycles on South Broadway.  

Police report a four wheeler and a cash register was stolen from inside the building after a window was broken out to gain entry. The breakin occurred sometime after the business closed on Saturday and when an employee went to the business on Monday and discovered the burglary.  

Salem Police Report More Information on Route 37 Crash

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Salem Police say they have received multiple reports of reckless driving by an 18-year-old rural Texico woman before she apparently caused a three vehicle crash on the south side of Salem Monday morning.  

Police reports indicate the van driven by 18-year-old Tia Allen of Troy Road in Texico was traveling north bound when she crossed the centerline and struck a southbound SUV driven by 24-year-old Amanda Huelskoetter of Charleston Road in Salem.  After the impact, the Huelskoetter vehicle went into the westside ditch and the Allen van spun around and was hit in the side by a second southbound vehicle driven by 31-year-old Bobbie Prior of State Route 37 in Kell.  

Both Allen and Huelskoetter were airlifted from the scene by Air Evac and taken to St. Louis Hospitals after being extricated from their vehicles by Salem Firemen.  Prior was taken to Salem Township Hospital.   Both Huelskoetter and Prior were released following hospital treatment, while Allen was admitted to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

Salem Police say Allen initially has been issued tickets for driving on a suspended license, improper lane usage, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.  More charges could be added as the investigation continues.   

Police say several witnesses have come forward or earlier called police to report Allen running vehicles off the road on Route 161 beginning at the Bell Club Road and near Biggies and then on Route 37 just south of where the accident occurred on Route 37 near Foster Salvage.  

The wreck occurred at 8:17 Monday morning.  The road was closed for more than an hour as emergency crews assisted the injured and cleared the highway of the wreckage.  

Collinsville convenience store sells $750,000 winning ticket

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Circle K convenience store in Collinsville sold a winning $750,000 ticket for Saturday night’s Lucky Day Lotto drawing.

Someone bought the ticket at the store at 2233 Vandalia St. that matched the numbers 2, 3, 12, 20 and 29.

The store will receive $7,500 for selling the winning ticket.

No one has claimed the winning ticket.

It was more than two years ago in April 2012 when Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud won a share of a multi-state Powerball jackpot amounting to $218 million. After taxes, the couple received $110 million.

A year before that, in April 2011, the region had three lottery winners in only a couple of weeks with jackpots ranging from $150,000 to $250,000.

That year, a woman in Centreville also won with a million-dollar scratch-off ticket.

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