Local News for Sunday, June 16

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Published on June 16 2013 6:39 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Happy Father's Day for 2013!

Lisa Madigan is seriously considering a run for governor, but she won't say when she plans on making a final decision.  She says right now, she's focusing on her long list of duties as the Attorney General.  Madigan would face a primary battle against current Governor Quinn and former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley next March if she decides to get in the race.  On the Republican side, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner have already announced their plans to run.

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Smokers wanting a job at a hospital in Coles County will have to kick the habit before applying.  Come July 1st, the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center will be screening applicants and won't accept new hires that light up.  Officials say it’s all about promoting healthy communities and healthy living, while keeping the smell of smoke out of their facility.  But, the measure won't apply to current employees.

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There's a new wrinkle in the dispute between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton over how to achieve pension reform.  Madigan has filed an amendment to the Senate's reform bill, essentially grafting the language from the House version onto the Senate plan.  Madigan's plan saves more money, but cuts benefits for retirees and raises legal questions that Cullerton's plan doesn't.  This latest bill could be voted on Tuesday, the day before Governor Quinn has called a special legislative session to deal with pension reform.

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Lawmakers are trying to make it more appealing for Illinois students to stay in state for college.  A group of Republican state reps introduced the College Affordability plan, which would give families a one-thousand-dollar tax credit if their child or children attends a public university in Illinois.   They also want to create a new 529 savings plan which allows families to bank up to 10-thousand-dollars every year toward higher education.  House GOP Leader Tom Cross says the measures will help families deal with the rising costs of college.

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A Mattoon man is headed to jail for three years for skipping out on the tab a local restaurant.  Anthony Malabehar recently pleaded guilty to stealing from Alamo Steak House in Mattoon back on April 4th.  It was the second time in two months that he'd pleaded guilty to stealing food that way, but the first time was at a different restaurant.   Dining and dashing is usually a misdemeanor, but Melabehar was charged with a felony because of his extensive criminal history. 

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Commissioner Office Hours will be cancelled for tonight at Effingham City Hall since it's Father's Day.  The hours, 5 to 7pm in the Council Chambers, will resume next Sunday night.

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The first racers are expected through Effingham today on the Ride Across America.  It's a cross country bicycle endurance that began in Oceanside, California and concludes in Annapolis, Maryland.  Effingham maintains a time station at the entrance to Effingham High School along US Route 40.  Racers are expected through Effingham through Thursday or Friday.  Anyone in volunteering to serve as the time station can contact Karen Cheatum at 821-1766 or email k.cheatum@mchsi.com

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The Illinois Old-Time Fiddlers June Jam will be today from 2 to 5pm at the Lions Community Building in Forest Park in Shelbyville.  All ages of the public are welcome to play along, sing, dance or listen.  Take along a finger food to share.