10-09-2006

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SCIGA HEARS FROM WORKFORCE BOARD DIRECTOR

The South Central Illinois Growth Alliance heard a report last week during the monthly meeting on the employment picture for the future.  Jim McShane, director of the Crossroads Workforce Investment Board, said there will be plenty of jobs available in the future and that the country faces a challenge replacing 70-million retiring baby boomers with only 40-million new workers. 

McShane reported that businesses today are looking for more and more skills from their employees.  The workforce investment board has identified health care, agriculture, energy, and advanced manufacturing jobs as the areas with the most job growth potential in the region. 

He commended the work of Kaskaskia College in taking the lead in developing a One Stop Center for employment services in downtown Centralia.  The center is expected to be operational this winter.

Both the Salem and Centralia Economic Development Directors reiterated the need for the South Central Illinois Growth Alliance to seek out new business and industries.


TAYLOR SPRINGS SITE NAMED TO EPA WATCH LIST

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the ASARCO  Taylor Springs site in Montgomery County to the National Priorities List of Superfund hazardous waste sites. The 181-acre site was proposed for addition to the list in April 2006.  The property, which contained a zinc smelter and zinc oxide production facility, is owned by ASARCO.  Previously, the zinc oxide facility was operated by American Zinc Lead and Smelting Company and more recently by Midwest Zinc.  Pollution on the property, including contaminated soil and two production waste slag piles, dates to 1911.  Some waste materials were also used as fill dirt in the neighborhood near the site. 

Since 1994, ASARCO has performed several site investigations under the supervision of Illinois EPA.  Currently, the EPA is evaluating whether any action will be required to address lead contamination at some nearby residential properties.  A community information session will be scheduled by the EPA in October.


AMTRAK SALUKI TO START RUNNING IN LATE OCTOBER

Beginning October 30th Illinois’ partnership with Amtrak will more than double state-sponsored passenger rail service downstate.  State-supported roundtrips will increase from the three daily roundtrips to seven daily roundtrips between Chicago and downstate destinations. The expanded service comes after news that all state-sponsored Amtrak routes posted record ridership levels for Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2006; the expansion includes an additional round-trip on the Chicago-Carbondale line.

This spring, the Illinois General Assembly increased state funding for passenger rail service by Amtrak from $12.1 million to $24 million.

The Illinois Department of Transportation, which is the partnering agency with Amtrak, has chosen the Saluki as the name of the new Chicago-Carbondale train. The Illini will continue to operate on its current schedule on the route.  Combined with the City of New Orleans, another train that is part of the national Amtrak network, three daily round-trips will be available between Chicago and Carbondale.

Daily train service between Chicago and St. Louis will increase from three roundtrips to five roundtrips.


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SECOND ILLINOIS CASE OF E. COLI RELATED TO BAGGED SPINACH

An elderly woman from the Metro East area of Illinois is the second person in the state whose E.Coli isolate matches the national outbreak associated with spinach consumption.  The woman reported eating fresh, bagged spinach at a local grocery store before September 14.  She was hospitalized, but did not experience kidney failure.  The spinach was not available for testing. 

Last month, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, warned about the outbreak of E.Coli associated with the consumption of bagged Spinach.  Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association called on grocery stores to pull spinach and spinach related products from shelves.  The FDA has determined that the spinach implicated in the outbreak was grown in three counties in California.  Dr. Whitaker advised that spinach sold in local farm markets from local growers is safe to eat and is not part of the national outbreak.


SAW STOLEN FROM BUSINESS

An employee of True Value reported to Greenville police Thursday afternoon that a concrete chop saw was stolen from inside the store.  The person walked out of the business and drove away with the saw which was valued at $800.

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WHITE AWARDS $3.4 MILLION IN LSTA GRANTS TO LIBRARIES

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded FY07 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants totaling $3.4 million to 500 libraries, library systems and museums containing libraries in Illinois.  White says that with librarians always looking for new ways to serve their patrons, LSTA grants help provide financial resources to keep libraries our state's most reliable source of information.  This year's LSTA grants were awarded in six categories.  Bond County Community Unit 2 received $7,658, and Central Community High School in Breese received $12,614 under the Emerging Technologies & Methodologies grant.  Kaskaskia College received $2,000 and Centralia Regional Library District received $4,500 under the Bring in a Trainer grant.  Mater Dei High School in Breese, Carlyle Jr. High School, Vandalia Elementary School, Vandalia High School, and Jefferson Primary School in Vandalia each recieved $3,000 under the Bridging the Gap Between Community and Collection grant.  The other grants categories are Digital Imaging, Demonstration of Public Library Services and Developing a Statewide Technology Toolkit.


LORETTA LYNN WINNER INFO

Congratulations to Julie Elam…our winner of the Hidden Valley Inn getaway including two tickets to see country legend Loretta Lynn in concert.  Julie will be traveling to historic Brown County Indiana courtesy of WGEL and Nicole Group, your premium home builder throughout the Metro East. 

WGEL and Nicole Group thanks everyone who registered for our contest.


MONDAY SPORTS

HS FOOTBALL
The Varsity Comets are now 6-1 on the season after their 34-10 win over Staunton. 

In other scores:

Highland 22               Waterloo 7

Hillsboro 38                Litchfield 6

Vandalia 26                Pana 0

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The Panthers were 20-13 winners in overtime over Benedictine University.  GC is now 3-2 on the year.  Bryson Taylor and Dominic Kegel scored touchdowns and Kyle Sanniec kicked two field goals. 

JR HIGH GIRLS BASKETBALL
In a score from Thursday, the 7th grade Lady Bluejays lost 31-13 to Hillsboro.  Kelley Faulkner had 5 points. 

OBITUARIES

RUBY VOTRUBA WACHTER

Ruby Votruba Wachter, age 93, of Mulberry Grove passed away Friday (10/6) at Fair Oaks Nursing Home.  Funeral Services for 93 year-old Ruby Votruba Wachter will be held today at 11:30 AM at the First Baptist Church in Mulberry Grove.  Interment in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  Friends may call Monday at 10:30 AM until service time at the church.  Memorials may be made to the Mulberry Grove First Baptist Church or Fair Oaks Nursing Home.

MELFORD F. CUSICK

Melford F. Cusick, age 94 of Greenville, passed away Sunday evening at Cardinal Hill Nursing Home. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at the Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home in Greenville.


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