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Headlines for Saturday, March 30, 2013

54-year-old Walter Lawson of Creal Springs, IL was hurt Friday morning in an accident in rural Wayne County.  State police said Lawson was northbound on county highway 13 just north of county road 200N, when for unknown reasons he drove his 1997 International Straight Truck off the roadway, hit a ditch embankment and overturned.  Lawson was taken to Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro for treatment of his injuries.  A passenger, 34-year-old Joseph D. Lawson of Creal Springs was not hurt.  Walter Lawson was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Wayne County’s unemployment rate for February was 10.9 percent, according to numbers released this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  The rate for February of last year was 9.7 percent.  Edwards County’s unemployment rate for February was 11 percent, up from 9.7 percent in February of last year.  The IDES said bad weather delayed construction activity, and that government payrolls “remained on a steady downward trend” in February.  Most southern Illinois counties reported higher unemployment for February compared to a year ago.

The city of Harrisburg will be receiving over $1.6 million in federal disaster assistance to help them recover from flooding in 2011 and last year’s Leap Year Day tornado.  The U. S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s award was announced by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Thursday.  He had advocated for Harrisburg after it was originally denied disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency last year.  The money will be used to help protect the community from future flooding.

Illinois lawmakers are considering increasing the state’s speed limit to 70 miles per hour.  Major divided highways currently have a 65 mph speed limit.  One senator said the increase was being considered to make Illinois’ speed limit more in line with other states.

A bill is being considered in the Illinois General Assembly that would make it illegal for people to drive with a pet on their lap.  An exception would apply for commercial or agricultural motor vehicles.  Police would not be able to stop a car simply for having a pet on the driver’s lap, but would be able to ticket the driver if they were stopped for another violation.  The fine for violations would be $25.

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