Monday, May 28, Local News


Published on May 28 2012 5:30 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A host of activities are scheduled today on this Memorial Day 2012.

Ceremonies are scheduled at three Effingham cemeteries; St. Anthony Cemetery at 9am, Oakridge Cemetery at 10am, and Woodlawn Cemetery at about 11am.

At noon, lunch will be served at the Effingham American Legion Post Home on Washington Avenue downtown for those attending one or more of this morning's services.

The Dieterich Community Memorial Day Commemoration will begin at 10am today at the Veterans Memorial at Liberty Memorial Park.  Debbie Owen will be the guest speaker.  Diane Aherin will serve as the emcee for the ceremony.

Memorial services at Edgewood Cemetery will begin at 10am today.

The Altamont Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10am from Altamont Community High School.  The procession will stage at 9am and entries can register then.  The parade will head west on Division Street to Main Street and then head north on Main to Altamont Union Cemetery.  The Altamont VFW Post has secured a speaker to honor fallen veterans.  There will be Jeeps available for veterans to ride in during the parade.  Let parade organizers know during the staging at the high school.

The Effingham Performance Center will be the scene of "A Soldier Remembers: A Tribute to Our Military" today at 3pm.  The fourth annual show honors our veterans and current military personnel in a multi-media production.  Greg Sapp and Larry Wilson will serve as narrators and the 70-member cast includes many local veterans representing the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans.  Also included are the Mattoon High School JROTC "Gladiators" Drill Team, the Altamont Community Choir, solo vocalists and musicians and local acting talent.  This year's show highlights short videos on the big screens of local veterans and military personnel, telling of their experiences, and slides remembering our service personnel, historical events and life on the home front.

Tickets will be available at the door for $14 for adults and $8 for veterans and members of the military and children under age 12.

The production has been put together by Three Chicks and a Stage, a not-for-profit community theater organization in residence at the Performance Center.  Jeanne Wolff, Carol Hourigan and Monique Hortenstine founded Three Chicks and a Stage in 2008.

Doors will open at 2pm.  A portion of the proceeds will go to Central Illinois Honor Flight.

Speaking of Honor Flight, a reminder of today's Central Illinois Honor Flight Memorial Day Fundraiser from 10am to 6pm at the Effingham Knights of Columbus Building.  Meal prices are $8 for adults, $5 for those 12 and younger, and free for World War II veterans.  A reminder that there will be shuttle service between the K of C Building and the Performance Center.


Animal owners are again reminded to give special attention to your pets during this hot weather.  Officials say the hot temperatures can cause animals to suffer from heat exhaustion.  They say to make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water and access to shade if you can't take them indoors.  Failing to provide proper care for your animals can result in fines up to $500.


Jasper County school board members met Sunday afternoon to hire a girl's varsity basketball coach.

The Board hired Brad Harris, who will succeed Katie Lurkins.  Lurkins has taken a teaching job in the Altamont school district.

The vote to hire Harris was 6-1, with Mindy Street casting the dissenting vote.


Gaming expansion in Illinois has been revived in Springfield as lawmakers desperately look for ways to generate revenue.  Supporters say the move would help keep gambling money in Illinois.  The measure passed in the House does make some provisional changes to appease Governor Quinn, who originally said he would veto any legislation that included slots at racetracks.  There are no slots on the state fairgrounds, but the grounds will receive $10 million for repairs.  Slots at other racetracks are included in the bill, but with a proposal on the table to increase cigarette taxes, Quinn may have to make a compromise on gaming.  State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka recently went on record saying she'd endorse the cigarette tax if Quinn supported gaming, including slots.  The new proposal is expected to bring in about $1.5 billion a year.


Several prehistoric Native American burial mounds in Southern Illinois have been vandalized.  Now, police want help finding the culprits.  Officials with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency say the bandits are likely looking to snag items that Native Americans bury with the dead.  They've found two small holes in the Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site, but say it's unclear if anything was actually taken. 


The problem of deadbeat parents has increased over the last few years, as many moms and dads are still without work since the recession hit.  Attorney Joan Spiegel with Land of Lincoln Legal Services says even if a non-custodial parent is unemployed, they can still be on the hook for child support, unless a modification order is approved by a judge.  Spiegel says people are generally subject to imprisonment or other penalties when they have the ability to pay child support but fail to do so.  A parent having trouble paying child support should take the matter up with his or her attorney.  You can go to to learn more about your rights.


Tobacco tax expert Dr. Frank Chloupka says increasing the cigarette tax in Illinois will be an all around win for the state.  Chloupka says the state spends more than five billion dollars a year treating tobacco-related illnesses.  $1.8 billion of that comes out of the Medicaid system.  He says a cigarette tax increase will keep more than 77,000 kids from ever smoking and more than 60,000 adults will stop smoking.  Raising the tax is part of Governor Quinn's plan to get Medicaid spending under control.  Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the tax increase.