Local News for Sunday, May 19

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Published on May 19 2013 6:17 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham High School Class of 2013 will graduate today.

The ceremony will begin at 1:30pm in the large gym at EHS.  Music will be presented by the EHS Band.  Mallory Becker will offer the invocation and Dylan Jackson will deliver the benediction.  Senior speakers will include Class President Taylor Willis and Co-Valedictorians Elizabeth Anderson, Jessica Bowlin, Kaitlyn Gurley, Evan Jennings, Jeffrey Keitel, Kallie Koester, Kelli Utz and Kourtney Utz.  EHS Principal Jason Fox will present the class to Unit 40 School Board President Delbert Soltwedel.

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A reminder that City Commissioner Brian Milleville will be holding Commissioner Office Hours tonight at Effingham City Hall.  The Office Hours will run from 5-7pm in the Council Chambers.  City Commissioner Matt Hirtzel will join Commissioner Milleville tonight.  Everyone wanting to discuss city issues is invited to stop by.

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Illinois State Troopers have begun their Click It or Ticket Campaign that will run through the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The initiative will include Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols and Seatbelt Enforcement Zones through District 12 counties.  In addition, District 12 troopers will be conducting a Special Traffic Enforcement Patrol that involves a combination of increased enforcement and public information designed to raise the awareness and compliance of all traffic laws.  Troopers will also enforce the Fatal Four traffic violations most associated with fatal traffic crashes: speeding, DUI, failure to wear a seat belt and distracted driving.

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Troy Payne, one of the attorneys with LeFevre, Oldfield, Myers, Apke and Payne Law Group, participated in a five-day divorce mediation training.  The divorce mediation training addressed custody, visitation and family matters with a goal of resolving the conflict.  The training also addressed the issues of custody and visitation between parents who have never married.

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The Effingham Art Guild has announced the winners of the annual Fine Art Show.  Here's the rundown: FACE Best of Show Award--Jan Kappes of Arcola...Oltman People's Choice Award--John Gabb...Walter Chandlee Memorial Award--Marie Moore...Linda Suzanne Clineff Memorial Award--Betsy Bevalacque...Jacky Jordan Anderson Memorial Award--Roger Balcer...Judy Poynter Memorial Award--Rebecca Marcussen...Geraldine Hecht Memorial Award--Barbara Brummer...J.L. Schultz First Place Professional Award--John Gabb...Broom's Second Place Professional Award--Lynn Reznick...Huels Third Place Professional Award--Julia London-Meddles...Taylor Law First Place Amateur Award--Dr. James Graham...Geraldine Hecht Memorial Second Place Amateur Award--Barbara Brummer...Swanson Third Place Amateur Award--Sue Hammond...4X4 Headquarters First Place Photo Award--Harry Orr...Graham Second Place Photo Award--William Snyder...Effingham Art Guild Third Place Photo Award--Donna Goff.  Merit Awards were presented to Stephen O. Griffith, Cathy White, Nick Walk, Michael Delaney, Jan Von Bokel-Tucker, Deb Sanders, Jann Rhodes, Annabelle Miles-Black, Douglas Brackney and Carolyn Lambert.  Merit Award sponsors are Brush Hill Studio and Gallery, Dr. Ruben and Emily Boyajian, Creative Designs and Signs, Stanfeld Chiropractic Center, Home Accents and Custom Framing, Konrad Automotive Repair Service, Dr. PDL Nayak, Power Therapeutic Massage, Village Wine Shop and Gifts.

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The National Transportation Safety Board wants to lower the legal blood alcohol level from point-oh-eight to point-oh-five, but officials with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office say it's too soon to say if they support the idea.  They point out that Illinois has been making major strides in getting drunk drivers off the road.  In fact, MADD recently gave Illinois a top rating for a program that requires drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device on their car and blow into it before starting up.  Drunk driving in Illinois has dropped by 22-percent since the program was implemented in 2009.

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A gruesome piece of Southern Illinois history is headed for a museum in Benton.  It's the gallows from which bootlegging gangster Charlie Birger was hanged in 1928.  A family found the wood and rebar pieces in a barn in Grand Tower and notified the administrators of the Franklin County Jail Museum.  Birger was the last person to be publicly hanged in the state when he was executed for the murder of the mayor of West City.  The gallows will replace the replica in the museum's collection that already includes Birger's machine guns and bulletproof vest. 

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State lawmakers are trying to lower the voting age.  They've passed a bill that would allow 17 year olds to vote in the primary.  Only those who would turn 18 by the November General Election would be eligible.  Supporters say the teens are well informed and should be involved in the political process.  The bill now heads to Governor Quinn. 

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People who drive on a suspended license could soon find themselves in the big house.  Lawmakers have passed a bill that would up the penalty from Class A misdemeanor to Class Four felony.  That means the drivers could face up to three years in jail and dish out a 25-thousand dollar fine.  The bill is headed to Governor Quinn's desk and if he signs it, it'll take effect in January. 

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Six of the state's most popular historic sites will be open seven days a week this spring and summer.  Tourists will be able to visit the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln Tomb and War Memorials in Springfield every day.  They'll also be able to visit Lincoln's New Salem, the Lewis and Clark site in Hartford and the Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville every day.  All these sites are free, though they do accept donations.  

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Income tax collections in Illinois see an increase of more than 30-percent in April.  The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting said the state's haul last month from income taxes topped three-point-one-billion-dollars.  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said the money will be used to pay down the state's largest debt.

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Bob and Marlene Smith are opening Smith Mill to the public today.  The mill is located five miles south of Flora on the Blue Mound Road, known as County Highway 1.  There is no charge for seeing the mill and no donations will be accepted.  The 18-foot water wheel will be running and the "Smithsonlyone" museum of tools and farm machinery will be open.

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St. John's Lutheran Church on West Jefferson in Effingham will hold a cookout today, but the food will be served in the church's fellowship hall.  Items on the menu from 10am to 12:30pm today include pork loin sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and brats.  There will be various sides including dessert and drink.  Proceeds will benefit Hope Lutheran Church in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.