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CHICAGO (AP) - State officials are officially seeking a new private manager for the Illinois Lottery after moving to terminate Northstar Lottery Group's contract last year.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the release Thursday of a request for proposal on a 10-year $300 million contract. He says proposed contract changes eliminate past problems. 

Illinois awarded Chicago-based Northstar a contract in 2010. The company was criticized about its management style and not meeting revenue goals. Under September's termination agreement, Northstar continues operations until 2017. 

Lottery officials say it took months to seek a new manager because of a complex agreement and state law. 

Rauner also floated a "public benefit corporation" similar to Georgia and Tennessee's lotteries. The Republican says he'll consider that if appropriate bids don't come in. Any changes require the Democrat-controlled Legislature's approval.


The YMCA has announced an initiative designed to help provide local students and schools with the necessary supplies for the upcoming school year.

The "Stuff the Bus" initiative is ongoing with collection locations at the Salem Walmart, Dollar General, Salem Township Hospital, IGA, and Salem City Hall.

Encouraged donations include the following items...

Student Supplies: Backpacks, pencils, colored pencils, pens, pencil boxes, scissors, basic and scientific calculators, notebooks, composition notebooks, crayons, washable markers, folders, glue, highlighters, and erasers.

School Supplies: Sticky notes, sharpies, glue sticks, colored pens, binder clips, card stock, smelly and dry erase markers, tape, staples, paperclips, rubber bands, stickers, construction paper, 3 ring binders, and Kleenex.

Those who bring a school supply to Dollar Day on August 13th at the Salem Family Aquatic Center will also receive a free hot dog.


Unemployment in Marion County in June was at 6.3-percent, down from 6.5-percent in May and three-tenths of a percent lower than last June.

The IDES report states that employment advances in transportation and health have been made throughout the year in South Central Illinois. Spring employment expansion in construction, agriculture, hospitality, and recreation were also reported.

Statewide, the number of nonfarm jobs in Illinois increased by 39,700 over last year. The majority of which were reported in the Chicago Metro Division.

Washington County continues to hold the lowest unemployment rate at 3.7-percent, down from May by two-tenths of a percent, but up one-tenth of a percent from last year. Clinton County unemployment is 4.2-percent, down one-tenth of a percent from last year while Fayette County unemployment sits at 6.3-percent, up three-tenths of a percent from last year. Jefferson County unemployment remains steady at 6.4-percent, down slightly from last month's report of 6.5-percent, but down significantly from last year by four-tenths of a percent. Wayne County continues to see high unemployment at 8.4-percent, up 1.3-percent from last year.

Illinois statewide unemployment remains at 6.0-percent, the same rate as last year.


Two people were charged in Marion County Court Thursday morning in the aftermath of a lengthy Wednesday morning high speed chase that began near Salem and ended in Centralia.  A Marion County sheriff’s deputy was reportedly struck by the chase vehicle, but was not hurt.

Bond was set at $100,000 for the driver, Ian Meredith of South College in Salem.   He was formally charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, two counts of unlawful use of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated possession of 2 to 5 stolen firearms, possession of a stolen license plate, aggravated fleeing and eluding with violation of two or more traffic control devices, and driving under the influence of drugs.

A passenger, Melanie Scurba of James Street in Wamac, had bond set at $1,500 after being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Initial information indicates the chase that reached speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour wound from near Salem to the east side of Centralia, where Centralia Police joined the pursuit.  The chase then continued through downtown and eventually ended near the Lincoln and Rhodes Street intersection. 

The sheriff’s department has not released any additional details on the chase itself.



A 48-year-old Centralia man who had been serving an 86-year prison sentence is back in Marion County following the Illinois Appeals Court reversing his conviction and ordering a new trial.

Odey Wright received his 86-year sentence in 2012. According to WJBD News archives, Wright was charged with armed robberies on consecutive nights in August 2011 at the Caddy Shack and the Huck's convenience Store.  Wright had been arrested after video from the Huck's hold up matched his clothing and hair that was visible under the mask he was wearing.

The Illinois Appeals Court found that Wright had not received a reading of his Miranda rights before making statements while he was in the squad car after his arrest.  Wright's defense counsel at the time objected to the use of statements being permitted in court. The prosecution argued Miranda was not required because the arresting officer didn’t interrogate the defendant in the car and Wright had volunteered the information.

Judge Michael McHaney sided with the defense and allowed the statements to be used during the trial.  

State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach says while the Appellate Court agreed that the officer didn’t really question Wright, they found the officer’s ‘conduct’ was designed to elicit an incriminating response and as a result Miranda warnings were required. 

The prosecution will not be allowed to introduce those statements during the new trial.  

Wright was transferred back to the Marion County Jail from the Illinois Department of Corrections on Wednesday. His original $500,000 bond was reinstated as he awaits his new trial.

Craig Griffin was appointed as his attorney for the new trial. He is scheduled to make an appearance with counsel on August 4th.




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