Local News for Sunday, May 20

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Published on May 20 2012 5:50 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Saturday's dedication of the renovated and expanded Veterans Memorial in downtown Effingham began a series of Memorial Day week activities in the area.

Memorial services are planned this morning at Green Creek Cemetery.  The service will begin at 11am.

Memorial services are also scheduled today at Loy Chapel at Heartville, beginning at 1pm.

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The Class of 2012 at Effingham High School will graduate today.

The ceremony will begin at 1pm in the big gym at EHS.  It will mark the final graduation ceremony overseen by longtime EHS Principal Mike McCollum, who plans to retire in June.

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National Safe Boating Week is underway this weekend, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are reminding the public to "Wear It!" in conjunction with the North American Safe Boating Campaign.

Statistics show that there were 103 reportable boating accidents in 2011, resulting in 70 injuries and 21 fatalities. 

Illinois Conservation Police are responsible for patrolling public waters of the state and will be on the water checking for sobriety by boat operators and compliance with boating laws in Illinois.

Illinois law also requires that personal flotation devices...life jackets or life vests...must be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft.  State law also requires anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length anytime the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or if the boat is operating on private property.  Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a personal flotation device while operating a personal watercraft or jet ski.

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Most of the students injured when their school bus slammed into a semi are being released from the hospital, but two remain hospitalized with broken bones, after the accident that left parents...and kids...shaken.  The accident happened Monday on I-55 near Litchfield.  Troopers say a school bus carrying a group of sixth graders from the Highland School District, returning from a field trip to Springfield, crashed into the back of a semi.

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Several current and former Alorton, Illinois, elected officials have been charged with violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act.  The group reportedly met in private to discuss former mayor Randy McCallum's resignation.  Prosecutors allege that McCallum and other village leaders met at a private residence in January to discuss the impending resignation and the selection of a new mayor.

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The final planning meeting for the Altamont Alumni and Faculty Meeting will be held today at 5pm at Altamont Park.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, at the Effingham County Fairgrounds at Altamont.

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One of the state's top Democrats wants to establish Illinois as a major online gambling hub.  Senate President John Cullerton said creating a "Division of Online Gambling" within the lottery system could boost the state's treasury by hundreds of millions of dollars.  Cullerton wants to move quickly on the proposal in order to get a head start on other states.  Part of the plan is to organize the first major poker pool that reaches people on a national and international level.  If enacted, the state's iGaming Division could be up and running within the next year.

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"Singing Strings" and Richard Tucker will perform today at Dexter Methodist Church.  The program will begin at 2pm.  The church building is located four miles east of Altamont on US 40, and then a half-mile north.  A group of local musicians and gospel singers will provide an afternoon of music.  Instruments will include fiddle, dulcimer, auto harp, hammer dulcimer, guitar and piano.  A free will offering will be taken for the church's building fund.

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"Homecoming 31" will be celebrated today at Crossroads Free Will Baptist Church of Effingham at 10:15am.  The Wanda Mountain Boys from Wood River will be singing and founding pastor John Hollis will be preaching.  A fellowship lunch will follow.  The church is located along Illinois 32/33 at the north city limits.  For more information, phone 342-3602.

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Drivers and passengers may want to remember to buckle up when they're riding inside a car.  That's because police are increasing enforcement between now and Memorial Day weekend, adding hundreds more seat belt enforcement zones across the state.  They're also encouraging people to find a designated driver before getting behind the wheel if they've consumed alcohol.  Officials say their number one goal is to save lives on Illinois roads.

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A "Change the World Fun Day" hosted by Neoga Grace United Methodist Church is planned today from 3-5pm in Jennings Park in Neoga.  Music is planned along with games, a bounce house, food and drink.  Everyone is invited to attend.

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The John H. and Frances C. Schultz Foundation has announced the winner of the 41st annual Joseph M. Schultz Memorial Scholarship.

Andrew Vahling from Teutopolis Community High School was selected as this year's recipient of the $2,000 cash award.

The scholarship was created in 1972 to commemorate the life and spirit of Joseph Schultz, a Teutopolis High School junior who lost a three-year battle with cancer.  Since inception, the scholarship has been awarded to seniors from Dieterich, Teutopolis and St. Anthony high schools.  The winner is selected on the basis of scholastic aptitude and determination.

Andrew is the son of Ben and Mona Vahling of Teutopolis.

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The First State Bank of Beecher City Relay for Life Team is having a basket binga today, at the Beecher City Kluthe Center from 1pm until all of the baskets are won.  There will be hot dogs, chips, drinks, cookies and popcorn for sale, along with binga daubers and binga sheets.  All proceeds will benefit Effingham County Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.  Children accompanied with an adult and teenagers are welcome to attend.  You do not need to be 18 to play.

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Eastern Illinois University's School of Continuing Education has planned some summer programs for kids age 5 through 18.

The programs vary from one-day workshops to weeklong camps, including Career Camp--a residential camp through EIU Career Services.  Other programs from past years include the LEGO engineering and robotics camps, theatre boot camp, kids cooking cafe and many more.

Registration for these events is available online, by mail, phone or fax.  For more information about the summer programming schedule, check out the online program descriptions at www.eiu.edu/adulted/kids.php or contact EIU's School of Continuing Education at 581-5114 or email learn@eiu.edu.

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The next Illinois Old-Time Fiddlers Jam Session will be today, from 2-5pm at the Lions Community Building in Forest Park in Shelbyville.  They invite all ages of fiddle players and accompanists to join them.  Each player will get to lead a song or two.  There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.  Take along some finger foods.