• A 35-year-old Salem woman escaped injury when her car ran off the 58-hundred block of Kinoka Road in rural Kinmundy early Sunday morning and struck a tree.

    Emily Collier of North Ohio Street told Marion County Sheriff's Deputies she blacked out before the crash occurred. She was out of the vehicle upon arrival of Kinmundy-Alma Fire and Ambulance personnel. Collier declined hospital treatment.

    Collier was ticketed for operating a motor vehicle when registration was suspended for no insurance as well as no insurance and improper lane usage.

    The crash occurred at 2:24 Sunday morning.

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  • Americana has expanded some of its operations into a second building in Salem's west side industrial park.

    The industry has added a fabrication shop into the production area of the building at 7 Carpenter Drive, just across the street from their main facility.

    Project Manager Les Zahn says the shop is making items Americana had to purchase already partially made in the past.

    "Primarily, for the PW line we are making all three sizes of park style BBQ grills and most of their shelter fab worker from cutting the plate to welding the tubes," said Zahn. "We then send everything over to powder coat."

    Five people are currently working in the fabrication shop. Zahn says a building expansion and additional workers are planned in the future, but no timetable has yet been set.

    The office portion of Seven Carpenter Drive has been leased out to Rhutasal and Associates Engineers.

  • Pictured are Dr. Greg Labyak, Vice President of Instruction; Susan Batchelor, Vice President of Student Services; Professor Mark Kohnen; George Evans, Dean of Career and Technical Education; and Accreditors James Crisp and Steve Allen.

    Kaskaskia College has announced it's Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Program has been recommended for six-year national accreditation from the most reputable HVAC accrediting body in North America.

    HVAC Excellence completed their on-site observation of KC's HVAC classroom and labs, as well as interviews with students and KC instructors and administrators on Tuesday, March 14. Prior to leaving the reviewers informed the college they would be recommending KC receive the organization's six-year accreditation, its highest possible.

    The reviewers added this was the first time they have experienced a program that didn't require some tweaks or recommendations for improvement before accreditation was granted, highlighting KC's commitment that students are receiving the quality training required for success in the HVAC industry.

    Accreditation from HVAC Excellence provides a number of benefits for program graduates. It assures employers that KC's graduates have received the best training in residential, and commercial heating and cooling and refrigeration equipment, and are ready to enter the workforce. Currently, the job market for HVAC mechanics and installers is very active with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting job growth at more than 14% over the next ten years, with a median income of $45,000. The accreditation also helps graduates in transferring credits if they choose to further their education beyond KC.

    George Evans, Dean of Career and Technical Education says, "HVAC Excellence is the gold standard of the HVAC industry and to achieve a recommendation such as this is a pure testimony to Professor Kohnen's commitment to his craft and to Kaskaskia College as a whole. He is a true asset, now it is up to us to approach prospective students and the high schools to let them know how lucrative the job opportunities and pay are for the HVAC industry. With this gold stamp of approval, our graduates will be incredibly marketable in the HVAC industry."

    HVAC Excellence is an independent, third party review of higher education heating and cooling programs. Accreditation from this organization validates that an HVAC program is meeting established standards of excellence in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry. Accreditation standards require a thorough examination of program mission, administrative responsibilities, finances and funds, student services, instruction design and program elements, physical facilities, equipment and tools, cooperative training and instructor qualifications.

    KC Professor Mark Kohnen feels that "The Accreditation Process is the best way of ensuring students that the Kaskaskia College HVAC Program has all the skills to allow them to succeed. It also ensures the employer that the student has excelled in many areas of the industry. This accomplishment of Accreditation is great for everyone involved in the Kaskaskia College Program".

    To learn more about KC's HVAC program contact Assistant Professor Mark Kohnen at 618-545-3414 or email mkohnen@kaskaskia.edu.

  • Centralia High Superintendent Chuck Lane

    The Centralia High School Board has gone on record on how they will utilize a one-cent sales tax for infrastructure improvements if it is approved by voters on April 4th.

    Superintendent Chuck Lane says their goal is to assure property tax relief.

    "65-percent of the money will be either be used to abate taxes or pay down debt, which is a pretty good percentage. The resolution guarantees the first 25-percent of any new monies that we generate from that will go towards paying down the bonds we have on our school," said Lane. "That's not a lot of money, but it is every year and that is guaranteed. If you start looking at maybe an individual that has a student that goes to Central City and one that goes to the High School and we are both doing that, which we are, then that has a chance to really lower your taxes."

    Lane says the 35-percent for new projects will give the board more flexibility when making future improvements. He also feels the sales tax is a fairer tax than the property tax.

    The only no vote came from board member D.K. Klien. He says he favors the sales tax, but feels the board's resolution on how the money will be spent needs to be more specific.

    Lane and Superintendents from the feeder grade schools will all be at Centralia High School at six Tuesday night for a forum to answer questions on the proposed penny sales tax.

    The board voted to upgrade the 60 existing security cameras around the campus to HD quality and add an additional 20 cameras. The cost will be $51,000. The cameras are both inside and outside the school building.

    The board set high school graduation for Sunday, May 21st at two pm.

    The first day for students in the fall with be August 16th. Classes could be out as soon as May 22nd next year if no snow days are used.

    The board approved sending a student who had marijuana on school property to attend the Alternative Learning Academy.

    The board accepted with regret the retirement of Kirby Albers, who has been the long-time Secretary to the Superintendent. The board also accepted the resignation of annex aide Lisa Gutherie at the end of the school year.

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  • CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Police dogs hurt on the job in the Champaign area will soon be able to get an ambulance ride to a hospital along with emergency care on the way there.

    The News-Gazette reports that Arrow Ambulance and the University of Illinois are teaming up to provide the ambulance ride to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

    Dr. Michael Smith, medical director of Carle Regional EMS and Arrow Ambulance, says University of Illinois veterinarian will train Arrow Ambulance crew members in the basics of dog emergency medical response next month. Arrow Ambulance will then offer care and transport of dogs for free.

    Chief Deputy Allen Jones at the Champaign County Sheriff's office says police dogs in the area are probably injured about as often as police officers.

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