The new consolidated Regional Superintendent of Schools office for Clinton, Jefferson, Marion and Washington County officially came into existence Wednesday. Former Jefferson-Hamilton County Regional Superintendent of Schools Ron Daniels was sworn in as the new Superintendent of the consolidated region in ceremonies at the Marion County Clerk’s office. Daniels was elected to the post last November, but the law changing the realignment of the Regional School District offices didn’t take effect until July first. He says all staff members who elected to stay on will continue to serve the new larger regional district and offices will be maintained in the same locations in each of the four counties.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make the transition as smooth as possible. Continuing all the services that have been provided in the past in both of our areas and combining the staff together to perform and provide those services to our schools and to our community.”
Daniels says his assistant superintendent for Jefferson and Hamilton Counties, Melanie Andrews will retain that position with the new alignment and will be based out of the Salem office. While some efforts will be made to consolidate services, Daniels sees a need to keep two people working on the truancy issue and having SAFE and Alternative Schools in both Centralia and Mt. Vernon. He wants to expand the truancy review board that was being utilized in Jefferson County. Daniels says there will be challenges.
“It’s just simply going to be from my staff and myself and my assistants, the time involved and travel from place to place, that will be a challenge. We are going to be serving so many schools, it will be a difficult challenge. But, we are looking forward to that and I think we believe we are up to the task and ready to go.”
The four county region has 45 public and 13 parochial schools.
It’s only the third of July, but most government offices are closed Friday for the Fourth of July holiday since the actual holiday falls on Saturday. Area courthouses, Salem, Centralia, and Central City Village Halls, will all be closed. In Centralia, Friday garbage pickup is on the regular schedule Friday. The U.S. Post Office is operating Friday, with home mail delivery. The post office will be closed on Saturday.
If you’re looking for fireworks displays, here is where you can find them.
The City of Salem will have its traditional display over the Salem Reservior at nine Saturday evening. City Manager Bill Gruen says Spillway Road will be shutdown to traffic in the hours before the fireworks display, so those wanting to access Salem Township Hospital will have to use Richter Drive or Hawthorn and Broughton Road.
The Centralia American Legion Homecoming Celebration continues Friday night and all day Saturday, starting with the Veterans Fourth of July Parade at ten. Parade signup is at nine at Chestnut and Broadway. The parade will travel down Broadway to Fairview Park, where awards will be given away. See the WJBDradio.com FYI section for the parade line-up. A car show and other events are planned throughout the day on Saturday at Fairview Park, capped by the fireworks display after nine Saturday night.
Fireworks will cap a day of activities in the Farina Village Park at 9:15 Saturday night.
In Mt. Vernon, the fireworks are planned over Outland Airport at nine pm.
Other Saturday night displays include at the Rend Lake Dam near Benton and at Memorial Park in Nashville.
If you don’t get enough fireworks on Saturday, there will be displays on Sunday night at nine pm in both Irvington and Ashley.
A Salute to the Greatest Generation is planned Friday afternoon at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport in Mt. Vernon.
It is part of a weekend visit to the airport of a rare B-17 bomber owned and operated by the Experimental AIrcraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The bomber will be available for display from nine to five Friday and Sunday and nine am to nine pm on the Fourth of July.
The program to honor the World War II veterans will take place at two Friday afternoon. It is being put together by the Jefferson County Hall of Honor, Colonel R.D. White Veterans Museum, and the Jefferson County Heroes Memorial Committee.
Lt. Colonel Ted Buck (USAF Retired) will highlight the sacrifices and significance of the World War II Veterans, as well as the role played by airmen in the skies over Europe and the South Pacific. The American Legion Post 141 Honor Guard will render a Rifle Salute and the playing of TAPS to honor those that provided the ultimate sacrifice.
The short ceremony will take place in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Aluminum Overcast. The Jefferson County Hall of Honor Secretary Chris Collins says they wanted to use the Aluminum Overcast visit to remember the heroes from the Greatest Generation – perhaps for the last time. He notes with the youngest of them pushing 90 or older, there will be few opportunities to see a gathering of them in one place at one time. We can never honor them enough.
The Jefferson County Hall of Honor Committee plans to take a photo of the Veterans and their spouses in front of Aluminum Overcast after the ceremony.
The visit by the B-17 bomber is part of a nationwide tour that salutes veterans and helps the rest of us discovery that history.
For more information, call 242-7016.
The unions argue the state’s failure to pay employees their full wages under their unions’ respective collective bargaining agreements would violate their contracts.
The unions also added their voices to a case bought by Attorney General Lisa Madigan in Cook County Circuit Court. She seeks a judgment on whether workers can be paid no more than minimum wage. The unions contend the court should order the state to continue paying employees on time and in full.
Durbin noted the Amtrak situation needed to be addressed at both the state and federal level. He says Congress has not committed to the next generation of Amtrak that is using 30 year old cars. Durbin doesn’t understand the cuts to the Amtrak subsidy being made by Governor Bruce Rauner.
“It will be a disaster to cut back Amtrak Service down state, not only to the overall economy but specifically to colleges and universities. There is hardly a school south of Joliet in our state, that doesn’t count on Amtrak Service to bring kids from the Chicago land area down state, I could just tick them off, one after the other. If we cut Amtrak Service, it’s going to hurt these colleges and universities and that is short-sided. If we want our state to grow, education across the state has to be a part of the answer.”
Durbin notes the comeback comes when Salem Mayor Tom Ashby is working with other mayors with Amtrak service to convince the governor to change his mind.
“We see this going to almost thirty thousand boardings, we have in our local community. This is bringing people in that come in here to go shopping. We also see people from schools and everywhere else going. We actually have people that ride the train and come up to visit our restaurants and then take the train back to their own community. This is a perfect example of how this can be used for school, business and recreational aspect.”
The state funding reduction could leave Centralia with just one train a day, instead of three.
Ashby told Durbin a four lane U.S. 51 from central Illinois to I-64 south of Centralia is crucial for the city’s economic future as the new road could create a Cooridor of Opportunity. Durbin says he fully supports the project along with a four lane U.S. 50 across Illinois.
“It doesn’t look good at the moment because we’re dealing with budget caps that need to be changed. The president has said he will not sign these bills funded at the current level, because they short change our investment in America. Wheather it’s education or transportation or healthcare. He’s given fare warning to the leaders in Congress that they have to sit down and bargain with him, they don’t want to. But, the longer they wait, the harder it’s going to be. We will be facing continuing resolutions, government shutdowns, things we don’t want to see. I think we are missing an opportunity, I think the leaders in Congress should be meeting with the president now, talking about the republican leaders and working out a budget agreement.”
Durbin notes the process to get funding for a project is more difficult than the old days when each legislator had earmarks available to help fund projects.
A 23-year-old Mt. Vernon man has been charged in Jefferson County Court with four counts of driving under the influence in connection with a Saturday wreck that killed a 17-year-old Salem man and injured four other Salem residents.
Bond for Quentin Metje of East Ambassador was set at $100,000. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in Jefferson County Court on Monday.
One of the counts of felony aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol accuses Metje of being involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of Roudey Hensley.
Two of the other counts are also for felony aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol. They accuse Metje of being involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm to two of the other passengers in the car.
The fourth count is a misdemeanor that only charges Metje of driving under the influence.
State Police say Metje ran a stop sign on Triton Lane and crashed into the car driven by a 16-year-old Salem juvenile that was traveling on State Route 148 just south of Mt. Vernon. Hensley was airlifted from the scene and died Tuesday at St. Louis University Hospital. The other four have all been released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery. Metje and a passenger in his truck were not hurt.
Funeral services have now been set for Hensley. The service will be at 10:30 Saturday mroning at the Grace Church of the Nazarene in Salem. Burial in the Paradise Cemetery. Visitation will be from four to eight Friday night at the church. Memorials may be made to the Youth Loop at Grace Church of the Nazarene and may be left at the Rogers-Atkins Funeral Home in Salem, who is in charge of arrangements.
Hensley would have been a senior at Salem Community High School in the fall.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office is investigating the apparent suicide of a 30-year-old Junction City man.
Coroner Troy Cannon says the body of Michael Thomas Marshall was discovered by his girlfriend Thursday morning. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Sandoval EMS, and the Coroner’s Office all responded to the scene.
Cannon pronounced Marshall deceased at 10:32 a.m. The investigation is continuing.
The Kassley Funeral Home in Fairview Heights is assisting the family with arrangements.