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A number of area educators have been honored at the Kaskaskia Region of the Illinois Principal Association for contributing greatly to the IPA and school districts within the region.   

Raccoon Grade School Superintendent Matt Renaud received the Outstanding Superintendent Award.  The Outstanding Athletic Director Award was presented to Lora Lee Pearce of Patoka.  The region's Community Service Award went to Terry Heern of Salem Elementary School.  Lynette Dye of Salem Elementary received the Kaskaskia Region James Rupert Lifetime Achievement Award.   

The Kaskaskia Region Director Award was presented to Joe Wilkerson of Carlyle High School.  The Outstanding Board of Education Member Award was presented to Dr. Edmar Schreiber of the Bond County School District.  The Innovative Education Award was presented to JJ Kolesar and Steve Eisenbarth of Staunton.   The Friend of Education Award was presented to Jeffrey Mavrogeorge of the New Baden Police Department.  

The Horace Mann Reaching Out and Building Bridges award was presented to Schmidt Ford of Salem and Mike Russell.  

Other awards presented at the ceremony this week include the National Association of Secondary School Principal Awards to Tron Young of Centralia Junior High as Middle School Principal of the Year and Wendy Porter of Bond County Schools as High School Principal of the Year.  The National Association of Elementary School Principal Award for Elementary Principal of the Year went to Angela Woll of Trenton Wesclin.      

The award ceremony was held Wednesday night at Bretz Winery in Carlyle.  The Kaskaskia Region consists of principals from Bond, Clinton, Fayette, Macoupin, Marion and Montgomery Counties.

The Effingham man heading the state's new private economic development organization told Centralia business leaders Thursday the state is worth defending and has fallen onto hard times because of lack of good management.

Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Jim Schultz says the state can't keep doing what it has been doing that has resulted in it being 48 out of 50 states for job creation according to Chief Executive Magazine and getting an 'F' for job creation and economic development from Thumbtack.com.   

Schultz notes Illinois has the five 'R's' rails, roads, runways, rivers, and routers to drive economic development along with a work force that Schultz said would earn the gold, silver and bronze if there was an Olympics for quality of work force.   He notes without knowing the state's problems, those he has met on foreign trade missions feel they need to be in Illinois because of the state's location and resources.   

Schultz says the new private economic development corporation that was formed in January has five pillars to what they want to accomplish.  They are job creation retention, re-branding the State, innovation, minority entrepreneurship and a one-stop shop. Schultz says the one stop shop would work with employers to resolve issues with state government.   

Schultz also noted the importance of the Governor's turnaround agenda, in-particular in the area of worker's compensation which is making the state noncompetitive.

"If someone goes home tonight and plays soccer with their son or daughter and sprains their ankle, goes to work tomorrow, steps up on a ladder and steps down and aggravates it by another 5%, the employer is liable for 100% of it.  That's not right," said Schultz.  "So the governor is fighting for the right reasons, he's not fighting for an agenda that's not for the best interest of all Illinoisans. If we can fix these things, I think we have a better chance of accelerating the job growth."

Schultz cited as an example the difference in workers compensation costs.  He says the average cost of a claim in Illinois is $30,000 compared to $16,000 in normally high cost of doing business state California to a low of $2,000 per claim in Georgia.

As far as the end of the budget stalemate is concerned, Schultz says there has been a lot of talk of a grand bargain being reached on the budget and turnaround agenda before the end of May.

Mayor Tom Ashby pushed Schultz to tell the Governor the importance of getting the four lane U.S. 51 completed from Pana to Centralia.  Ashby feels it is the key to the city's future growth.  

A 40-year-old Centralia man who was one of four men arrested when a meth lab was discovered at a Centralia home in December was sentenced Thursday in Marion County Court for unlawful possession of under five grams of methamphetamine.   

Mark Smith of South Cherry had pleaded guilty last month to unlawful possession of under five grams of methamphetamine.  He was placed on two years felony probation, given credit for 130 days served in jail, ordered to work full time and pay court costs.

Charges of participation in meth manufacturing under 15 grams and unlawful possession of meth manufacturing were dropped earlier as part of the plea.  

Smith was arrested at the home of 57-year-old Bruce Reynolds of South Elm in Centralia after deputies discovered a fire damaged one pot meth lab that is believed to have caught fire earlier in the bathroom.  

The search came as deputies were looking for 38-year-old Seth Lambert of Vernon on charges related to an injury hit and run accident and possession of methamphetamine. Lambert was later located and sentenced to six years in prison for fleeing and eluding police. 

A 42-year-old Wamac man is being charged in Marion County Court with felony domestic battery.   

Larry Yarbrough of James Street was arrested by Wamac Police Thursday night following an altercation with Laycee Yarbrough.  

The charge is a felony because Larry Yarbrough has a prior domestic battery conviction in Jefferson County.  

The Salem Family Aquatic Center ticketing window will be open Saturday for booking pool parties, swim lessons, and the purchase of season passes.  The hours will be from 10 am to 2 pm.  The ticketing window will be open again for pre-season purchases on May 14th and 21st as well.   

Opening day at the Aquatic Center will be Saturday, May 28th, from noon to 6 pm.  

There is no change in cost for the season passes.  They are $95 for an individual and $195 for a family up to four.  However, Assistant Public Works Director Annette Brushwitz says they are adding a new season pass this year for early morning swim only.  It will cost $70.   

Brushwitz says early morning swim is being expanded this year to six days a week, with the pool open for the early swim from six to eight Monday through Saturday morning.  An 8 Saturday morning water aerobics class has also been added.   Brushwitz says for the first time water aerobics will be held at the same time as swim lessons, to give parents and guardians a pool activity while their children are taking the swim lessons.   

The cost of pool parties will be $200 for a one and a half hour evening session or $350 for three hours.   

More details will be available during the open hours at the ticketing window the next three Saturdays.

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