Local News for Sunday, December 2

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Published on December 2 2012 11:01 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Members of Royal Neighbors of America Chapter 5784 of Beecher City made a surprise check presentation of $500 to Ashley Morrison of St. Elmo on Saturday.  The funds are designed to help Morrison continue her education to earn her Licensed Practical Nursing degree at Kaskaskia College.  Her long-term goal is to become a Registered Nurse.

Focusing on a history of standing strong for women, Royal Neighbors has given more than $1 million to assist 900 plus families and individuals in reaching their goals and rebuilding their lives through its Nation of Neighbors Program.  The program, launched in 2007, demonstrates the neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy on which Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895.

Royal Neighbors of America is one of the nation's largest women-led life insurance companies.

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The 29th annual FACE Christmas Concert will be presented today at 2pm at Cornerstone Christian Church on South Banker.

The concert will showcase the FACE Orchestra under the direction of Beverly Marshall and the Effingham Community Singers directed by Bob Cox and assisted by Kendra Johnson.  The program will also feature the first performance of the FACE Youth Chorus directed by Stephanie Kilzer.

There is no admission charge, but canned goods will be accepted for the FISH Food Pantry.

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Santa Claus will be in his house on the lawn of the Old Courthouse downtown today from 1 to 4pm.

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Governor Quinn refutes claims he wants to make the temporary income tax increase permanent.  The increase was passed during the lame duck session in 2011 and is set to expire at the end of 2014.  Many Republicans in Illinois claim the money generated from the increase hasn't gone toward paying off unpaid bills as it was supposed to, so Democrats will likely have to keep the extra money flowing in order to deal with the state's financial troubles.  Illinois had a six billion dollar backlog when the tax hike passed but, because the money hasn't been properly funneled, the State now has more than eight billion dollars in unpaid bills.  State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has said lawmakers need to buckle down and make sure the money doesn't go toward funding other services.  Quinn says he's not focused on making the increase permanent.  Right now, he said his number one goal is to pass a comprehensive pension reform package.

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Illinois' home foreclosure rate is up 19 percent compared to this time last year.  According to Realty Trac, nearly 15,000 Illinois homeowners had some type of foreclosure filing last month.  That's six percent more than in September.  Illinois has the third highest foreclosure rating in the nation.

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State Senator John O. Jones has filed a resolution seeking a review of mismanagement and misconduct in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  The Mt. Vernon lawmaker is frustrated that the Governor's office has not responded to his concerns about what he calls "negligence and corruption" within the IDOC.  The resolution also calls for a review of the physical condition, the size and composition of the inmate population, and any specific and immediate needs of each correctional facility managed or operated by the state.  Jones says that while the resolution has been sent to assignments, if it's not assigned to a committee before the lawmakers leave Springfield next week, it will likely not get a hearing and will die.

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It seems Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn can't get any love from his constituents.  According to a survey by Public Policy Polling Quinn enjoys a puny 25-percent approval rating in Illinois.  That's the lowest percentage of any official polled by the group.  The poll was conducted this week from a sample of 500 Illinois voters.  Even worse for Quinn, a whopping 64-percent of Illinois voters say they disapprove of his state stewardship.

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Jacksonville Developmental Center is officially closed.  All of the residents have been moved into community care settings, where Governor Quinn says they will have a better shot of reaching their full potential.  The closure is part of Quinn's rebalancing initiative and is expected to save the state 11-point-seven million dollars a year.  One hundred thirty of the 310 workers at the JDC were moved to different positions within the state, eight retired, and 172 chose to be laid off. 

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A proposal to allow illegal immigrants to drive in Illinois is gaining momentum.  A senate committee approved the measure Friday with bi-partisan support.  About 250-thousand immigrants in the state would be eligible to apply for the temporary license if the plan passes both chambers of the legislature.  The license would only be valid for three years and it would not be considered a valid ID.   New Mexico and Washington state already allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. 

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The state's Department of Children and Family Services has a new phone system, designed to help make reporting child abuse and neglect easier.  The department gets more than 250-thousand calls a year and the new system will help manage those calls.  It puts them into a queue and monitors them in real time, it allows workers can manage multiple calls simultaneously, gives callers updates on their hold times, and allows DCFS staff to study and evaluate calls.  The previous system was more than 30-years old and couldn't sustain the call volume.  State officials blame the old call system for causing delays in field response time.  Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected is urged to call the hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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Services for Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage were held this weekend at Triad High School.  He was killed this week while conducting a traffic stop on I-55 near Livingston.  Deatherage's funeral services were held Saturday morning.

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You're invited to a concert by the Miscellaneous Jubilee Band at the Edgewood Full Gospel Church tonight.  The event will begin at 6pm.  The church is located along Route 37 in Edgewood.  Admission is free.

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A Red Cross blood drive will take place this morning at St. Paul Lutheran Church at Montrose.  The blood drive will run from 8am to noon today.

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The December Christmas Auction sponsored by Liberty Post #289 of the American Legion will be held at 1pm today at the Community Building in Strasburg.  The auction by Thomas Factory Outlet is the major fundraiser for the American Legion Post, which sponsors activities throughout the year in Strasburg.