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Odin Firemen with a boat from the Centralia City Fire Department work to make their way to three men stranded in a car that ran into the floodwaters of Crooked Creek Saturday night. Photo by Mitchell Schultheis.

Three people were removed from a car that plunged into high water early Saturday night on Westline Road in the Crooked Creek Bottoms south of Odin.  

Odin Fire Chief Greg Smith says the driver apparently didn't see the water on the road until it was too late after coming over the bridge.     

The driver, Chris Wessling of Taylorville, and passengers Devin Stokes and Kyle Moore of Sandoval, all climbed out of the car onto the window sills and eventually onto the roof as the water level rose.  

Odin Firemen borrowed a boat from the Centralia City Fire Department and were able to get the boat near the car where the two passengers were brought back to dry land.  Wessling ended up walking through the knee deep water to the dry pavement.   All three refused medical treatment from EMT's on the scene.   

The car was towed out of the water.  

Water levels are over the roads in the Crooked Creek Bottoms and on Brickhill Road below the Raccoon Lake dam following heavy rains on Friday.   

The Centralia Water Plant recorded 2.36 inches of rain from the storm, with one gate open 4 and a half feet on Saturday to get rid of excess water as the lake level rose to two inches below the spillway by Saturday morning.  The Salem Water Plant recorded 2.27 inches of rain.  The Alma Weather Station recorded 2.19 inches of rain.   

Waiting to Get Rescued. Three occupants of a car that plunged into Crooked Creek flood waters on Westline Road Saturday night wait for help to reach them. Photo by Mitchell Schultheis.

A 23-year-old Mt. Vernon man has died in a single vehicle crash late Thursday night in rural McLeansboro.    

The Hamilton County Coroner's office reports Zachery Tomshack was westbound on Illinois Route 142 when he ran off the right side of the road, overcorrected, came back onto the highway and then skidded sideways and overturned.   Tomshack was pronounced dead on the scene.  

Two passengers in the vehicle, a male and female, were both taken to Hamilton County Memorial Hospital for treatment.  Their names have not been released.  

Police reports on the crash are incomplete.  

The crash occurred at 10:30 Thursday night.  

Salem firemen say a fire in the oven at the Blake Smith home at 400 North College was out on their arrival early Saturday afternoon.

Firemen ejected smoke from the residence.  They report no permanent smoke damage.

CHICAGO (AP) - The concept of free community college has been touted by President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidates, and some Republicans.

The idea is to curb student debt and boost employment by removing cost from the equation. However, some educators are concerned the push could divert students and scholarships away from four-year schools and still create student debt.

And some of the proposals could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

Thousands of high school graduates have just started community college for free, with the first batch enrolled in independent first-year programs in Tennessee, Chicago and soon Oregon doing so under different price tags and philosophies.

That offers templates of what a federal program might look like and where the glitches could be. Other states are watching and considering their own programs.

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - A central Illinois community college plans to increase its recruitment of higher-paying international students.

Rick Pearce is vice president for learning and student success at Heartland Community College in Normal. He says the school plans to add to existing efforts to draw international students.

According to The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Heartland has had a number of international programs over the years but draws only a handful of students.

School trustees have talked recently about adding to staff to help with foreign recruiting. The school also plans to consult with foreign recruiters.

Pearce points out that international students pay about $10,000 in annual tuition. That's about three times what local students pay.

Colleges and universities across the country have looked to international students to increase revenue in recent years.

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