Sunday Local News for September 30

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Published on September 30 2012 6:54 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Students at the University of Illinois are upset over its decision not to offer refunds for school fees. 

University officials say beginning this fall, the school lumped together nine student-initiated fees into one non-refundable fee.  In the past, students from out-of-state who didn't use all the services that fees pay for could request a refund of around 70 dollars.  Students say the decision should have been put to a student body vote.

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Illinois fishermen are ready for the opening of the state's fall trout season on October 20.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says nearly 40 ponds and lakes around the state will be stocked with tens of thousands of trout before the season officially begins.

Fishermen need to have a license and an inland trout stamp that can be found at bait shops and sporting goods stores.

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White wants to crack down on distracted drivers who kill someone in a crash.  Those drivers are currently allowed to get court supervision after the incident, which means it never goes on their driving record.  White wants to change that.  He says taking away the driver's right to court supervision will help improve safety on Illinois roads. 

Any changes would have to be cleared through the state legislature.

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A dentist from Mt. Vernon has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud.  Walter Dawkins admitted to writing prescriptions for a narcotic pain reliever outside of his professional practice.  He faces up to 20 years behind bars plus fines and probation.  Dawkins is scheduled to be sentenced on December 21.

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Circuit courts in nine southern Illinois counties are getting the green light to allow cameras and microphones in the courtrooms.  Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride says things are going well with the pilot program that began this year, aimed at increasing accessibility within the legal system.  Courts in Alexander, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union and Williamson counties have all asked to be included in the program.  That means circuit courts in 23 of Illinois' 102 counties will now allow cameras in courtrooms.  Kilbride says more counties will be approved in the future.

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Over 100 economic developers and community leaders met in Decatur recently to discuss ways to support elected officials with grassroots efforts to make Illinois more competitive.

Newly-appointed Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director David Vaught was the keynote speaker and shared his thoughts on economic development in the state.

This was the second Downstate Economic Development Summit, the first of which was hosted in Effingham by East Central Illinois Development Corporation.

Speakers at an expert branding panel discussion at the event included Mike Kirchoff of Champaign Economic Development and an Effingham native who shared an example branding campaign used by Kansas City.

Afternoon sessions focused on TIF and Enterprise Zone legislation updates and relevent initiatives such as the "Vision for Illinois Agriculture" and the Edgar Fellowship program.

The Downstate Voice steering committee will be holding two followup teleconferences on October 30 and 31 at 10am to continue the work developed at the conference.

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The Art Program at ARC Community Support Systems' Developmental Training Center provides opportunities for ARC consumers to create works of art.

Art instructors Becky Marcussen and Jan VonBokel, both local artists, teach weekly art lessons to 34 consumers at the DT Center.  The class is taking part in the Cultivating Creativity Exhibit sponsored by the EIU Tarble Arts Center at the Helen Matthes Library in Effingham.

ARC Consumers' artwork will be on display Monday, October 22 through Friday, November 16 during regular library hours.

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Illinois per-student funding for its major public research universities declined by an inflation-adjusted 37% between 2002 and 2010, the fourth-largest cut in the nation.  The amount it spent at the institutions per student, $7,566 in the 2009-10 school year, was the 28th highest in the nation.

The data are part of a new report released by the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation.

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said that Illinois sports teams' series motorcycle license plates are now available to the public for purchase.  25 dollars from each motorycle license plate will support the Professional Sports Teams Education Fund with proceeds going to the common school fund in State.

Go to www.cyberdriveillinois.com.  Fans can order random number, personalized or vanity plates.  The cost to purchase a random number plate for a currently-titled motorcycle with valid Illinois registration is 66 dollars.  Pricing varies for vanity and personalized license plates.

Currently, Sports Series license plates available to the motoring public include the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.  In less than two years, more than 18,000 sports series license plates have been sold to automobile owners, generating over $800,000 in revenue for public schools.

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The band "Beaucoup Creek" will perform tonight at Louisville Christian Church at 245 Broadway in Louisville at 6pm. 

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The Wheeler School Reunion will be today at the Kluthe Civic Center in Dieterich.  Anyone that ever attended school in Wheeler is encouraged to attend.  Registration begins at noon and a meal will be served by Wagon Wheel Cafe at 12:30pm.  If you didn't send in a lunch reservation, you're asked to contact Sandra Cleland at 343-9313, or feel free to just stop by before 3pm to visit.

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A giant garage sale designed to benefit the Effingham County Humane Society wraps up today from 1 to 3pm at the Humane Society headquarters in the former Funkhouser School building along the Funkhouser Road.  It's bag sale day today.  Items include green glass, antiques, children's clothing, toys and Christmas items.

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The Harvest Festival and Corn Maze is on today at St. Paul Lutheran Church, located three miles north of Dieterich.  Hours today are 2 to 6pm.  Admission is $3.  Activities, games and concessions will be available.

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Joey's Ride and Benefit will be held today, starting with registration for a poker ride at 11:30am at the Cross at the Crossroads in Effingham.  The final card will be drawn at the Teutopolis Knights of Columbus Hall Pavilion.  If not interested in the ride, you're invited to join them for food, beverages, a 50/50 raffle, over $1,600 in items on the silent auction, and a bucket raffle.

All proceeds will go to the Joey Dyer family for medical and travel expenses due to Joey's cancer.