State/Local News Roundup for Sunday, February 17

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Published on February 17 2013 11:20 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

For the second time in as many weeks, celebrations are planned in area communities due to the success of their junior high boys basketball teams.

A reception for the Altamont Wildcats 8th grade team that finished second in the 2-A State Tournament Thursday night is planned from 2 to 4pm today at the Altmaont Grade School.  This was the first time in school history that an 8th grade team advanced to the state championship game.

Altamont team members are Dylan Miller, Josh Miller, Kyle Betts, Wyatt Stone, Ryan Armstrong, Sam Childerson, Jacob Crow, Nick Bowlin, D.J. Jenkins, Toby Slingerland, Evan Cornett, Dakota Shepard and Jacob Finn.  Mike Dokey is the coach of the Altamont 8th graders.  Altamont finished 24-3 on the season.

A Welcome Home reception is also planned today in Teutopolis for the Wooden Shoes team that finished second in the 8-3A State Tournament.  A fire truck ride and parade through Teutopolis at 1:45pm will be followed by a brief ceremony at the junior high at 2:15pm and a cake and punch reception at 2:40pm.

Teutopolis team members are Carson Hartke, Jason Kenter, Caleb Ordner, Brayden Bushue, Dylan Bloemer, Blake Mette, Kyle McMahon, Devin Mette, Chris Ungrund, Mitch Hardiek, Matt Goedde, Lane Belleville and Lucas Deters.  Kent Niebrugge is the coach of the Teutopolis 8th graders.  Teutopolis finished 22-7 on the season.

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Five-year-olds in Illinois would be required to go to school under a proposed bill.  Currently the compulsory school age is seven.  Some state lawmakers say lowering it to five would instill good habits in kids earlier, and help reduce truancy and absenteeism in elementary schools.

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A new poll shows that should she run in a three-way Democratic primary for governor, Attorney General Lisa Madigan would win.  Madigan is considering a run, and a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University gives Madigan 32-percent of the vote.  Twenty-three-percent would vote for Governor Quinn and 12-percent would choose former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.  About 28-percent of the 600 registered voters polled said they were undecided. 

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A man accused of attacking a female student on the campus of Illinois State University is facing charges.  Police say the man was visiting a friend Tuesday afternoon when he assualted the woman with a weapon.  Several buildings were briefly locked down until the man was arrested while trying to get on an Amtrack train about an hour later.

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Less tackling in high school football seems almost impossible to regulate.  But one Illinois lawmaker is trying to make it a reality.  State Rep Carol Sente says students should only be allowed to tackle during one practice a week.  She says doing so would protect athletes from having brain damage from repeated hits. 

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Rental assistance will soon be available for low-income people with disabilities.  The state received a 12-million dollar grant from the federal government to help with about 825 rental subsidies.  Governor Quinn says the money helps support his mission of moving more people into community care settings, where they can live independently.  The Illinois Housing Development Authority will begin accepting applications from low-income people with disabilities later this year at IDHA.org. 

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Video gambling hinders Illinois casinos.  The "Belleville News Democrat" reports casino revenue across the state was down last month.  Stand alone machines or video gambling, found in many of the state's bars and truck stops, took in nearly $10-million in January. 

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The Obama Administration has approved Illinois' plans for creating a health insurance exchange where thousands of state residents will be able to shop for coverage plans.  The approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services comes with six conditions.  The federal government still wants to know how the state will monitor health plans sold on the exchange and how the state will make consumers aware of the exchange.  The exchange is expected to be in operation October 1st. 

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License fees for doctors appear to be heading up.  A Senate committee approved a bill that will boost fees from 300 dollars every three years to 700 dollars through June of 2018, when the fee would drop to 500 bucks.  The state would allow the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to borrow more than six and a half million dollars from the local government taxes account.  The IDFR says the money will help them hire people to process licenses for doctors.  Proponents say Illinois is losing doctors to other states because it's taking too long for them to be licensed here.  

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Sheriffs around Illinois are banding together in opposing President Obama's plan to ban assault weapons.  The Illinois Sheriff's Association -- a group that represents law enforcement officials all over the state -- says the debate over gun violence needs to focus on the real issue: mental health.  One Illinois Sheriff tells WSIL-TV banning assault weapons won't prevent tragedies like the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  The association is pitching other ideas to reduce gun violence that include taking a harder look at violence in video games, better enforcement of existing gun laws and improved access to mental health records by law enforcement officials.

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The Illinois Department of Employment Security is looking to recover 226-million dollars from 71-thousand people who defrauded the unemployment system.  IDES Director Jay Howell says they're seeking criminal charges against the individuals who collected benefits when they weren't eligible.  Some of the money will be recovered when the IDES garnishes people's income tax returns.  Last year the IDES collected 44-million dollars from people who had cheated the system. 

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St. Clare Catholic Church in Altamont is hosting an all you can eat whole hog sausage breakfast until noon today in the church basement.  The price is $6 for adults, $4 for those ages six to 12, and free for those five and younger.  The church is located at 216 North 9th Street in Altamont.

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The Illinois Old-Time Fiddlers Jam Session will be held today at the Lions Community Building in Forest Park in Shelbyville.  The event will run from 2 to 5pm and is open to the public.  Anyone who plays a fiddle or an acoustic instrument is welcome to join in.  There is plenty of room for listeners and dancing.  Take a finger food to share and enjoy some old-time music.  This month after the jam, they'll be electing officers.  All members who would like to participate are asked to stay after today's event.