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  • Task Force Proposes Service Project Requirement For Graduation

    Illinois middle and high school students could be required to put in service hours as a condition of graduation… under a recommendation being put forward by a state task force. 


    The panel also wants to beef up social studies requirements and discussion of current events in schools… all with the goal of making those students into more responsible, productive citizens as adults. 


    The task force says its ideas could be paid for by reallocating school funds away from electives.  It will hold a public hearing on its ideas Tuesday from 4-6pm at Lanphier High School.

  • New Patient Safety Organization Seeks To Address Medical Errors

    A new organization dedicated to improving patient safety is said to be the first of its kind in Downstate Illinois. 


    The Quality Alliance Patient Safety Organization has received federal certification.  The organization is run by an official with Memorial Health System… who says it will seek to bring hospitals, health-care workers, paramedics and others together to find ways to reduce medical errors that can harm patients. 


    It will encourage voluntary reporting of incidents so that trends can be documented and addressed.

  • Memorial Medical Center Says It Has Protective Gear Beyond CDC Guidelines

    The chief medical officer for Memorial Medical Center says the medical staff there has a supply of protective gear that goes beyond current CDC guidelines.  But the standards being set forth are continuing to evolve as the nation grapples with its first cases of Ebola.


    Dr. Rajesh Govindaiah says Memorial is a “resource hospital” for other smaller hospitals in the area and so it has plenty of personal protective gear on hand in the unlikely event it’s needed.


  • Springfield's Cheddar's Restaurant Closes

    Another Springfield restaurant closes its doors. 


    A person answering the phone at Cheddar’s on Horizon Drive, just off of South Dirksen Parkway, confirms that the restaurant is closed as of today, and says the closure is permanent. 


    That person did not offer a reason for the shutdown… and a message left with the Cheddar’s chain has not yet been returned.


  • Private Groups To Stage Mayor's Prayer Breakfast Again This Year

    For the second year in a row, four local groups are organizing the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Springfield. 


    The groups, including Faith Coalition for the Common Good, the Ministerial Alliance, and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, took over last year after an anti-religion group threatened to sue if the city continued to put it on. 


    The breakfast will be held November 18th at the Hilton downtown.  A keynote speaker has been selected but has not been announced yet.

  • Skating Business Owner Sues City Over Zoning Dispute

    The owner of an indoor skating business in Springfield is suing the city over a zoning decision that allows a halfway house for parolees to keep operating near his facility. 


    The State Journal-Register reports Skank Skates owner George Sinclair wants the zoning reclassification thrown out because it is “unreasonable” and incompatible with his and other nearby businesses in the vicinity of 11th and South Grand.

  • State Establishes Ebola Task Force

    The State of Illinois has created an Ebola task force to make sure hospitals and first responders are prepared if a patient with the deadly virus shows up in Illinois. 


    The task force will include medical professionals, law enforcement, and state officials. 


    One immediate job is to make sure that police and fire departments around the state have an adequate supply of the proper protective gear to guard against catching the disease.


  • Sun-Times Decides To Resume Political Endorsements In Time To Back Rauner For Governor

    One of the state’s biggest newspapers is back in the endorsement business. 


    The Chicago Sun-Times stopped making political endorsements back in 2012… but is now picking Bruce Rauner in the race for governor. 


    Its endorsement notes that Rauner is a former major investor in the Sun-Times’ parent company.

  • Springfield Clinic Flatly Rejects St. John's Buyout Offer

    No means no. 


    Springfield Clinic says it is unequivocally NOT interested in a purchase offer from Hospital Sisters Health System.  The parent of St. John’s Hospital had made an offer to enter into talks to buy the physician-owned for-profit clinic, but at a special meeting of the clinic’s board, its members reaffirmed an earlier decision not to pursue the deal.

  • Workers Hurt When Building Trusses Topple On Springfield's West Side

    Two workers are expected to recover from the injuries they suffered when a building under construction in Springfield partially collapsed. 


    Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin says workers were putting up roof trusses for the structure on West Wabash when a gust of wind caused them to topple, which also partially knocked over a wall.  The two workers were taken to the hospital. 


    Fustin says the contractor is adding extra supports to prevent any further collapse.



  • Oak Ridge Still Needs City Help, Despite Success Of Pre-Need Sales Calls

    Despite a better than expected performance from a contractor working for Oak Ridge Cemetery, Mayor Mike Houston says the cemetery is still likely to require the same amount of financial support from the city’s general fund. 


    Houston anticipates including $400,000 in next year’s city budget to underwrite operations at the cemetery, the same as in the current fiscal year. 


    That’s despite the performance of the contractor, who will rake in commissions beyond what was originally budgeted for his cold calls selling pre-need burial plans at Oak Ridge.


  • Big Ticket Items On City Council Agenda

    Some significant spending proposals go before Springfield aldermen next week. 


    Among the ordinances on first reading Tuesday are a proposal to direct a million dollars in unappropriated city funds to police and fire pensions. 


    Aldermen are also being asked to approve $1.3 million to purchase 40 new police squad cars… and $150,000 for construction of a new playground at Center Park on Lake Springfield.

  • Local Officials Putting Plans In Place In Case Of Ebola-Related Quarantines

    Sangamon County public health officials are still looking for more information on what authority they will have to enforce isolation orders and quarantines… if suspected Ebola cases turn up locally. 


    Even though that is seen as a remote possibility, public health director Jim Stone says he wants to be prepared for every contingency.  Stone has the authority to order someone into isolation or quarantine if they’ve been exposed to the deadly virus.


    Local police would have the job of enforcing that order, but it’s still unclear how much force they would be allowed to use if someone resists.

  • International Armored Combat Competition Comes To Springfield This Weekend

    Russia and Ukraine may be enemies in real life… but Russian and Ukrainian fighters in Springfield this weekend are brothers in arms. 


    They are part of the first international armored combat competition on U.S. soil, to take place Saturday at the state fairgrounds.  Previously, only American fighters had competed in Springfield, but this year, combatants from six nations will take part. 


    The doors of the fairgrounds livestock center open Saturday at 11, and the event starts at noon.


  • Illinois Jobless Rate Falls For Seventh Straight Month

    Illinois’s unemployment rate has inched down again. 


    The September jobless rate fell to 6.6 percent, on the strength of 19,000 new jobs last month, according to the state Department of Employment Security. 


    It’s the seventh straight decline in the rate, and the best showing since June of 2008. At this time one year ago, unemployment in Illinois was still above nine-percent.

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