Calumet and Airport Roads Completely Reopened Until Spring

December 17, 2014 Comments off

The City of Centralia Public Works Department has announced work on the Calumet and Airport road improvements have been suspended until spring.  Both roads have been completely reopened to traffic.  

Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey is pleased with progress made so far and expects the project to be completed by July, ahead of schedule.  He reports the base asphalt has been laid on Calumet Street from Airport Road to Oakdale as well as on part of Airport Road.  Ramey says while completing the base pavement on the remaining portion of Airport Road would only take a few days, the asphalt plant supplying the project has shut down for the winter.  

If weather permits, some sidewalk construction could take place during the winter months.  

Ramey says all the storm sewer and guttering work has been completed.  Once the remaining base pavement is laid on Airport Road, all of Airport Road from Route 161 to Calumet and Calumet from Airport all the way to U.S. 51 will be resurfaced.  

Ramey is pleased the roads will be reopened for the upcoming Centralia Holiday Tournament.   He fears the detours would have been confusing to out of town visitors.

Official: Convicted Killer Slain in Illinois Prison

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says 36-year-old Fabian Carrillo was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell early Tuesday at the maximum-security Pontiac Correctional Center. Shaer says Carrillo later died at a hospital.

Shaer says no sharp or blunt objects were found in the cell, and there was no sign of the use of those kinds of objects on the victim. Investigators are awaiting results of toxicology tests.

Department of Corrections records show Carrillo was serving a 52-year sentence for a murder conviction out of Cook County and had been imprisoned since 2003.

Durbin: US, Cuba Diplomatic Ties ‘Long Overdue’

December 17, 2014 Comments off

CHICAGO (AP) – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says restoring diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba was long overdue.
The Illinois Democrat said during a news conference Wednesday that the 50-plus-year policy of isolation “didn’t work” and a new approach was needed that would benefit both nations.  He spoke just hours after American prisoner Alan Gross was freed, followed by President Barack Obama’s announcement that the two countries would restore diplomatic ties – a shift that could revitalize the flow of people and money between former foes.
 Durbin says the efforts will “open up Cuba to the world,” including by establishing Internet communications, giving the Cuban people “an appetite for change.”
Durbin says he anticipates that detractors will file lawsuits claiming Obama’s actions are unconstitutional, but he believes the president will prevail.

Centralia’s Proposed Budget Contains Surplus

December 17, 2014 Comments off

The City of Centralia is expecting an even greater surplus than last year if the budget proposed by City Manager Dan Ramey gets the green light from the City Council. 

The budget continues the drastic upward trend in the City’s General Fund. Which has gone from deficit levels to the $1.2 million surplus the city hopes to see next year. Councilman Andre Marshall, an accountant by day, praised the efforts of the city over the past two years.

“It’s remarkable to go from the deficit in 2012 to a surplus of $1.2 million. We’re not too far away from the highs of 2006,” said Marshall.

In 2006, the general fund has a surplus of $1.3 million. In 2012, it had a deficit of $21,474.

Mayor Tom Ashby called the budget “workable” and also praised the efforts of the council in lowering the city’s annual tax levy for the past five years. 

The budget did include several big expenditures. Among them are $5 million in improvements to Calumet and Airport road, $100,000 towards the demolition of derelict houses, and $992,000 towards renovations to the Centralia Regional Airport.

Illinois Employers Reminded of Income-Tax Rollback

December 17, 2014 Comments off

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois businesses are reminded to adjust the way they calculate income taxes for employees starting Jan. 1. 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration posted a notice this week on the Illinois Department of Revenue website with the information.
Employers are reminded that the temporary income tax rate of 5 percent rolls back to 3.75 percent at the beginning of 2015. State revenue department spokeswoman Sue Hofer says officials wanted to make sure employers can make adjustments. 
She says “people will notice that in their paychecks.”

Topinka Remembered as Honest, Tough at Memorial

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Gov. Pat Quinn says Topinka took on tough challenges in life. She was also a former state treasurer, GOP head and lawmaker. 

Portraits of Topinka lined an entrance, along with photos of past campaigns, her family and dogs. 

Former Gov. Jim Thompson says Topinka would have appreciated the bipartisan crowd gathered at the memorial. 

Topinka died last week after suffering complications from a stroke. She had won a second full term in November. A replacement hasn’t yet been named.

Health Department: Flu Season In Full Swing

December 16, 2014 Comments off

The sniffles are upon us: Flu season is in full swing throughout Marion County. Marion County Health Department Director of Nursing Shelly Yoder says that in addition to a flu shot, there are several other steps you should take to avoid the flu this season.

“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, and avoid eating and drinking after others. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, if one isn’t available, use your sleeve, not your hand. Stay home if you’re sick and wait at least 24 hours after a fever to return to work,” said Yoder.

But even if you do have a fever, which is generally a sign that you’re contagious, it’s better to be safe than sorry if you have symptoms.

“Someone can spread the flue one day before they start to have symptoms and five days afterward. Monitoring a fever is important, but there are situations where a person can not have a fever and still spread the flu,” Yoder said.

This year, the dominant strain of Flu virus is H3N2, which vaccinations do not fully protect against. The flu vaccine will defend against most other strains of the flu.

So far, no major institutional outbreaks, such as outbreaks in schools or nursing homes, have been reported to the health department. Mid-December is typical the most dominant season for the flu in Marion County.


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