Shimkus, Kirk Call for Ebola Travel Ban

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Following further reports that Ebola is spreading outside of disease-ravaged western African nations, Illinois Republican 15th District Congressman John Shimkus is joining lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in calling for a commercial travel ban.

Shimkus called the current US policy of sending troops to infected areas in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone counterintuitive without a travel ban.

“We’re sending all these teams over to Africa to stop it at it’s starting point. If we want to do that, it makes sense to not allow travel, especially airline travel, to people from Ebola infected areas” said Shimkus.

Shimkus warns that if Ebola is allowed to continue to spread and reach areas such as Central America, Ebola could end up spreading like wildfire through poor Central American nations and ultimately affect America through the pourous Mexican border. He says the lack of a travel ban could actually incentivize Ebola-infected individuals to travel to the United States.

“Think of yourself as someone from one of these countries who has the means to purchase a ticket, and you contract, or think you’ve contracted it. Wouldn’t it be in your self interest to get to a country in which you can get care and stay alive instead of stay in a country where it’s a death sentence?” Shimkus asked.

Shimkus was joined by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk in calling for a ban on travel from Ebola infected regions. Both Kirk and Shimkus expressed a lack of confidence in current CDC efforts to contain the virus, which has killed thousands in West Africa. It spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual.

Several Airports across the country have already stepped up screening procedures for flights in and out of Ebola infected regions. Around 150 people a day come into the United States from regions ravaged by Ebola.

Chili Cook Off Scheduled at St. Thomas Episcopal

October 17, 2014 Comments off

The St. Thomas Episcopal Church Chili Cookoff promises enticing tastes this weekend. 

The cookoff starts on Saturday at 1:00pm. There is no charge to enter a crock pot. Voting fee is $5.00, which gets you a bowl, spoon, and voting card.

All proceeds from the event benfit the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Outreach fund.

Centralia Philharmonic to Perform this Weekend

October 17, 2014 Comments off

The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra, made up of the very best musicians the region has to offer, will perform on Sunday, October 19th starting at 2:00pm in the Gallery of the Community Arts building in Centralia.

Composer and Conductor Marvin Carlton will premiere two original works during the concert, including “Five Miniatures for Strings” and “Trio for Flute, Bassoon and Piano”. Other pieces performed will be David Gillingham’s “Sacrificial Rite” and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Symphony Number 94″ otherwise known as the “Surprise Symphony”.

Tickets are $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for children 12 and under, and $6.00 for Patrons. A reception will follow the performance in the lobby.

Centralia Set to Renew Enterprise Zone

October 16, 2014 Comments off

The City of Centralia is throwing it’s hat into the ring to have the city’s Enterprise zone renewed this year. The Centralia Industrial Commission heard explanations from Economic Development Director Kala Lambert and City Manager Dan Ramey during their meeting on Thursday.

Enterprise Zones are a way to incentivize commercial growth within an area, bringing lower tax rates, sales tax exemptions and economic incentives to businesses within them. Centralia currently has one of the 97 Enterprise zones granted by the state of Illinois, however, it’s set to expire in 2016.

That means that when courting new businesses to move into the Enterprise zone, the City can’t promise that the economic incentives will last more than three years. Lambert told the commission that the city’s application has a good shot.

“We have good numbers to present, I think it’s a good application. When I say good, I mean some of the areas are deficient and that’s why it’s attractive for us to get a zone” said Lambert.

Ramey said he has a few concerns.

“My biggest concern is that there are 97 zones in the state of Illinois and some of them are running out this year. We’re three years out. Politically speaking, if town X runs out in 2015, and they run out, they wont have an [Enterprise zone]” said Ramey.

If the State of Illinois fails to renew the city’s Enterprise zone this year, the city will still have at least two more chances to renew the zone before it expires. If granted, the Enterprise zone will be good for 15 years.

Rescheduled Alma Fall Fest Opens on Saturday

October 16, 2014 Comments off

It’s somewhat of a do-over this weekend for the Alma Car Show and Fall Festival, scheduled for Saturday. The Festival was cancelled last week due to heavy rains, so organizers are trying again this weekend, where the weather is expected to cooperate.

The event features an open car, truck, and motorcycle show from 10am to 2pm with an entry fee of $10.00. Judging will be at 2:30 with prizes and dash plaques awarded.

Kids activites, a silent auction, DJ Music, and crafters, vendors and food will be on display.

Helicopter rides will be given between 10:00am and 2:00pm.

All proceeds from the event go straight to the Alma Ball Park and Village Park.

Gas Prices Drop Across Region

October 16, 2014 Comments off

You may have tried to pinch yourself when driving down Main Street this morning to find gas prices have fallen below three dollars for the first time in over a year, but surely enough, you aren’t dreaming: gas prices have indeed dropped across the country. 

Brad Richards from the Illinois Oil and Gas Association says it comes down to basic economics.

“Fundamentally this is a supply and demand issue. Right now, there is an immense amount of supply in the United States because of things like the Bakken Shale oil fields in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas…those are booming oil production in the United States” said Richards.

Richards says that increased oil drilling in the United States has insulated itself from dependence on middle eastern oil, and that the US oil market is now less responsive to instability and conflict in middle eastern nations.

Gas is down to $75 a barrel in southern Illinois. Richard says that’s good for consumers, but not so great for producers who may have been depending on the $85-$90 a barrel prices seen before.

As to whether or not it continues? Richards says that as long as production remains high in the US, gas prices should remain lower.

Man Charged With Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Bond has been set at $7,500 for a 46-year-old Salem man who has been formally charged in Marion County Court with failure to register as a sex offender.  Christopher Phillips of England Road was arrested by Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies after they learned he had failed to notify them he lacked a fixed residence between October7th and 14th.   

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