• CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Tourism officials in southern Illinois say about 200,000 people traveled to the 16-county region to watch the total solar eclipse.

    Carbondale officials estimate that the recent solar eclipse attracted up to 50,000 people to the city. Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe says visitor spending in Carbondale is estimated to be $7 million.

    Southern Illinois University Carbondale spokeswoman Rae Morrow Goldsmith says an estimated 30,000 people gathered on campus to watch the eclipse, including 14,000 at the stadium.

    City Manager Gary Williams say he hopes the success of the city's largest event in years can serve as "a launching pad to do bigger and better things."

    Event planners say the event went well, but that there were major traffic jams on highways out of southern Illinois following the eclipse.

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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) - Three people are recovering from injuries after strong turbulence forced a regional airline plane to divert to St. Louis.

    Officials with SkyWest Airlines say Flight 3167, operating under American Eagle, was traveling from Atlanta to Chicago on Tuesday evening when it hit severe turbulence, forcing a landing at Lambert Airport.

    SkyWest said in a statement that a flight attendant and two passengers were taken to a hospital for evaluation. It wasn't clear if they were admitted to the hospital.

    The airline didn't immediately respond to an emailed message seeking comment Wednesday.

  • State Representative John Cavaletto

    Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill that allows for the testing of all infectious diseases when a first responder or law enforcement personnel is accidentally exposed to a suspect's bodily fluids through being spit upon or stuck by a suspected drug needle.

    State Representative John Cavaletto sponsored the legislation at the request of the Marion County Sheriff's office as a result of multiple incidents where law enforcement personnel were accidentally exposed from drug needle sticks while arresting people. Until now, the Illinois law only allowed for testing a suspect for HIV which causes AIDS and not other infectious diseases like hepatitis. Cavaletto says the new law will help protect first responders as well as their spouses and children from unknowingly being exposed to life-threatening and life-altering diseases.

    The incident to bring urgency to this infectious disease testing initiative involved a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who was assisting local law enforcement on serving a warrant and making an arrest. That officer was stuck by a needle while searching the premises of the arrest and only because the suspect eventually voluntarily agreed to have their blood tested, that it was discovered they carried a contagious virus other than HIV. However, by that time the spouse and children of the US Marshall had already been exposed.

    There was no opposition to the proposal when it came up for hearing at the State Capitol.

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  • U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

    Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in on President Trump's announcement he plans to give the Pentagon the power to ramp up troop levels in Afghanistan.

    The second ranking Democrat tweeted "This Administration has taken America's longest war and continued it indefinitely. That's a recipe for another military quagmire. We needed to hear from the President a justification for risking more American lives and spending countless more dollars. We didn't. "

  • Ariane Souder

    Clay County Hospital has a new Chief of Clinic Operations.

    Ariane Souder has been an employee of Clay County Hospital since 2013, and has been involved with many aspects of clinic practices. The most recent position Souder has held is Clinic Business Office Manager.

    In her new role, Souder will be responsible for strategic planning, financial and non-financial performance, and management of the daily operations of the Clay County Medical Clinics.

    Hospital CEO Chris Hunt says Ariane is a diligent and hard working employee with comprehensive knowledge regarding the operations of the Clay County Hospital clinics. He adds her years of experience have led her to this role.

    Souder is a life long resident of Clay County, and currently resides in Flora with her husband and four children.