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Headlines for Sunday, January 26, 2014

After temperatures climbed to near 60 Sunday afternoon, a sharp cold front will sweep Arctic air back into the region by Monday morning.  Overnight lows will dip to 7 degrees with wind chill values as low as -15. Bitterly cold weather will be around through at least Wednesday.

The founder and owner of Withers Broadcasting, 76-year-old W. Russell “Russ” Withers, died at his home in Mt. Vernon, IL Friday night.  Withers owned and operated WROY/WRUL in Carmi, WEBQ in Harrisburg, IL, WMCL in McLeansboro, WREZ in Metropolis, IL, WYNG in Mt. Carmel, IL, WMIX in Mt. Vernon, IL and WISH in Galatia, along with several television stations in Michigan and West Virginia.  He began his career in broadcasting as an announcer/salesman in 1961, and served as chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association Foundation and was a trustee of the National Association of Broadcasters Political Action Committee at the time of his death.

The Fairfield City Council meets Tuesday night at 6 p.m.  The council is expected to address the possibility of allowing Sunday liquor sales, and discuss the Smoke Free Public Places initiative for the city.  Also on the agenda is a funding request from the Retail Merchants for activities and city maps, and a proposal to pay for a Utility Loan.

The Allendale Rural Fire Protection District recently installed a new service to improve the rapid response and management of its firefighters.  The service is a firefighter response verification and fire department management system to complement existing 911 systems.  The technology uses several devices to help provide timely and accurate communication between firefighters when responding to a fire, and includes the use of computers, mobile smart phones, text messaging, GPS and the Internet.

Illinois’ unemployment rate for the month of December was at 8.6, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  They report the rate is the fourth straight month it has declined, and is the lowest level since December 2012.  They also report the state has added just over 62,000 jobs compared to a year ago, and said employers in December advertised online for over 215,000 individual job openings, of which 92 percent were for full-time work.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for the state’s Park and Recreational Facility Construction Grant Program.  The program provides grants to local governments for construction and improvements to parks and recreation sites in the state, with a maximum grant of $2.5 million for qualifying projects.  The applications will be accepted through March 10th.  More information is available at  www.dnr.illinois.gov/grants or by calling (217) 782-7481.

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