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Rural Odin Home Destroyed by Fire

A rural Odin house was completely destroyed during at late Thursday morning fire.

Odin fire officials aren't sure what caused the fire at the Norma Marcum residence at 2619 Folsom Road in the Royal Lakes Neighborhood Southwest of Odin. Firefighters report that the structure was fully engulfed in flames upon their arrival, shortly before noon on Thursday.

Marcum was not at home during the fire and there were no injuries. Marcum lost all of her possessions.

The fire was reported by a neighbor.

Salem Firemen responded with automatic mutal aid. Sandoval Firemen were called in to assist due to the extreme heat and humidity and a Marion County EMS Ambulance was on standby in case of heat-related injuries.

Lightning Hits Centralia Home

A lightning strike is blamed for a fire that caused minor damage to a Centralia Home Thursday night.  

Centralia City Firemen say lightning apparently struck the dryer vent on the roof of the Greg Caudell home at 315 East Sixth Street.   The resulting fire burned down the dryer vent, scorched the inside wall of a utility closet and caused damage to the dryer.  

Firemen say there were still some flames in the vent when they arrived that were quickly knocked down.  They also helped remove smoke from the home.  The home owner was already removing some of the vent and taking it outside when firemen arrived.  There were no injuries.

Centralia firemen were also called to handled a downed power line at 15-10  West McCord.  The line was brought down by a fallen tree limb.

The latest thunderstorms to cross the region brought 1.3 inches of rain to the Centralia Water Treatment Plant for the 24 hour period ending at seven Friday morning.  The two day rain total is 4.2 inches.  

Salem has escaped a large part of the storm activity, with 46-hundredths of an inch of rain for the 24 hour period ending at seven Friday morning and a two day total of 87-hundredths of an inch.

Salem Township Hospital President Stephanie Hilton Siebert says the future of the type of health care the hospital can provide is directly tied to being able to relocate Broughton Street behind the hospital.  She told the hospital board Wednesday afternoon some specialty clinic physicians won't come and other services cannot be offered without removal of steps and the need for patients to cross the road.  

"We have the opportunity to offer even more services here. The relocation of the road is a huge part of that. And if it doesn't happen, we won't be able to offer those services. We aren't going to be able to add those jobs. It will be more challenging to remain viable in the healthcare industry" said Hilton-Siebert.

Hilton-Siebert thinks the choice is pretty simple.

"We're looking at a 15 second bypass. People will have to travel 15 seconds differently. We're talking about adding services that people currently have to drive two hours away for. If it something you're needing that's life threatening. It will be nice to have that here at the hospital" Hilton-Siebert told WJBD.

Hilton-Siebert says 'time is very tight' on getting a decision on the road relocation.  She notes the Phase II building that will be modified if the road is moved is scheduled for completion in late January or February.   Hilton-Siebert says the contractor has been very flexible to work around the issue.  

Building Committee Chair Marvin Jenkins said he was 'discouraged' with the first meeting with city officials over possible relocation of Broughton Road.  The first meeting with HMG Engineers, who the city hired to review traffic options around the hospital, was suppossed to occur Wednesday but was postponed by the company.   

The long vacant Salem National and First Bank building in the 200 block of West Main in downtown Salem will be the new home of the Salem Banking Center and Iuka State Bank.  President and CEO Mark Gibson says the new headquarters location will open next Tuesday, with an open house for everyone to see the renovated facility from eleven to two Saturday.

"The move was necessitated by the growth of the bank...we had so many customers and so many employees, we couldn't house them anymore" said Gibson.

Gibson says there has been extensive renovations made over the past year.

"What used to be the Salem National Bank Building was built in 1965 and had weathered the storms fairly well but had fallen into disrepair in the past several years. We basically gutted it, started over and rebuilt most of what's in it" said Gibson

Gibson says they are currently only using 6,000 square feet on the main floor, but have installed an elevator to the basement to allow it to be utilized at a future date.  Another addition at the rear of the bank building will also not be used initially.   Both the Iuka State Bank and the Salem IGA drive through facility will remain open.  Gibson notes the number of employees at the bank have grown from six four years ago to the current 24.  The hours of the new headquarters bank will be nine to five Monday through Friday.     

Marion County Board Finance Committee Chair Terry Johnston fears the county may not be able to afford to comply with the Affordable Care Act.  

The act requires large employers to provide insurance coverage for full time employees by January first.  Marion County doesn't provide insurance to most employees now, with many receiving a $300 a month stipend in lieu of insurance.   

The committee was told Wednesday night the cost per month for insurance may be in the area of $500 a month.  Johnston says there's no way the county can afford that and keep a balance budget.

"It's devastating to the country budget because it could cost us something in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. Where we're going to get that money...I'm not sure" said Johnston.

Johnston is also concerned if all employees would want health insurance, instead of the $300 payment.  Even before now, the county board has been concerned about having to eat into past reserves due to inadequate revenue.   

The county's insurance agent, Tom Champion, will try and get a better cost estimate for the group.  The committee will then meet with its labor attorney and accountants to decide how to proceed.  Johnston says the county's only option may be to pay the $100,000 a year penalty for not providing insurance coverage.  

The conversation about the Affordable Health Care Act came as the finance committee begins preparing the county's budget for the fiscal year beginning December first.

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