CHICAGO – Attorney General Kwame Raoul co-led a coalition of 20 states in urging the Biden administration to extend and expand temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program to provide borrowers with more opportunities to get closer to loan forgiveness faster. Under the PSLF Program, remaining balances on federal Direct Loans are forgiven after borrowers – dedicated public servants such as teachers, firefighters, nurses and police officers – make 120 qualifying payments while working full time for a qualifying employer. However, due to the PSLF Program’s complexity and poor management, millions of public service workers have been unable to access forgiveness, and the program’s denial rates have been as high as 99%. To restore the promise of PSLF, in October 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary “ Limited PSLF Waiver , ” which offers millions of qualifying public service workers the chance
PONTOON BEACH - In an effort to enhance bus service for passengers and to improve efficiencies throughout the system, Madison County Transit (MCT) will be implementing minor adjustments at the regularly scheduled August service change, which takes effect on August 14, 2022. The August service change includes time and routing adjustments to the #1 Riverbend and #15 East Collinsville Shuttle, shifting the routes of the #2 Granite City Shuttle and #4 Madison-Edwardsville, and adjusting evening times on the #5 Tri-City Regional. “MCT is always looking for ways to meet the transportation needs of our residents and do so in an efficient manner,” said MCT Managing Director SJ Morrison. “These are minor adjustments to the service, but they make a difference to the passengers. MCT ridership has steadily increased across all bus routes in the last year, and we continue to seek feedback from the passengers and from the public on how to make the service as user friendly as possible.”
SEE VIDEO: ALTON - Alton Athletic Association coordinated an event to remember Saturday with the first annual Redbird Amazing Race. The event began and ended at Piasa Motor Fuels Field. Madeline Eades, president of the Alton Athletic Association, said the event was great fun for the youth. “We thought it would be good for some of our businesses to meet our athletes and students and we wanted to create a fun event for the kids,” Eades said. “We wanted to engage the athletes and students in a fun activity. I think they had a great time and we appreciate the businesses stepping up. We plan to expand the event next year and make it even better.” Teams of Alton athletes visited 10 locations around town and completed a task at each one. Everything started and ended at Piasa Motor Fuels Field, the soccer/baseball complex behind Alton High School. Amy Lombardi, of the Alton Athletic Association, described the event as less of a race ad more of a scavenger hunt.
ALTON - Illinois American Water on Monday provided another update on the work to separate the Alton combined sewer system and install new sanitary sewers. Below is information about road closures: August 1, 2022, Piasa Valley Area: 9th Street is still closed from Alton Street east to George Street. U.S. Route 67 (Piasa Street) will be opening late afternoon/early evening on August 1. Traffic signals at 20th Street/College Avenue will still be on flashing red. This should be treated as a 4-way stop. Road Closures 9th Street will remain closed to all traffic east of U.S. 67 (Piasa Street) to Market Street. This closure will remain in place for several weeks. Project Background Work kicked off on these Alton projects in February 2021 and will continue to progress until 2023. Work includes over six miles of sanitary sewer main being installed in the Turner Tract, Shields Valley, and Piasa Valley areas of Alton. When Illinois American Water acquired the Alton Regional Wastewater
ALTON - Pride, Inc., has encouraged residents to mark their calendars and sign up for the Annual Fall Cleanup In Alton on Saturday, September 10, 2022. "It’s hard to believe how the summer is flying by, and that our Fall Clean-Up date is quickly approaching," Pride, Inc., Executive Director Pat Stewart said. "It was exciting to see the participation we received for the spring efforts, and hope that you will be just as eager to come out and join us in September. "Once again, we are asking for the support of community organizations, business associates, local youth groups, and all concerned and willing residents. We’re hoping for your participation by putting together a team to help man a zone in this beautification effort. Beautifying our neighborhoods not only boosts commerce but helps to instill a sense of civic pride among our residents that will last for generations. More information will follow as we move forward in the planning stages." "I will be reaching back out
ST. LOUIS — United Way of Greater St. Louis has launched a Flood Relief Fund to support residents across the bi-state region who were impacted by the recent flash flooding. The Regional Business Council made a $100,000 contribution to the fund to support the immediate and long-term recovery efforts as well as local agencies that are equipped and trained to respond in times of disaster. “This fund will provide necessary resources to engage and equip disaster-experienced nonprofits in partnership with local volunteers and government agencies working to assist and restore flood victims as quickly as possible,” said Michelle Tucker, president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “Collaborations and partnerships remain imperative in the deployment of our proven disaster relief approaches. Thank you to the local businesses, donors and volunteers who have stepped up to help many of our neighbors in need during this time.” One hundred percent of the
Attorney General Raoul Announces Settlement With U.S. Postal Service To Curb Illegal Cigarette Shipments
CHICAGO – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced a settlement with the United States Postal Service that implements robust measures to end the unlawful practice of foreign shippers mailing cigarettes into the United States. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by Raoul’s office, as well as the city of New York and three state attorneys general alleging the Postal Service transported cigarettes in violation of a 2010 federal law. “Cigarette usage causes significant health concerns and kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. We must use every legal tool at our disposal to protect our residents from addiction to cigarettes, which includes ensuring the Postal Service follows federal law preventing sellers from using the mail system to ship cigarettes,” Raoul said. “I will continue to collaborate across jurisdictions and state lines on actions that help reduce usage of and addiction to cigarettes.” Enacted by Congress in 2010,
GRANITE CITY – Granite City Community Unit School District #9 Superintendent Stephanie M. Cann announced dates and times for Meet the Teacher Nights for the upcoming 2022-23 school year. Prather Kindergarten and PreK Parents will be notified through a letter in the mail informing them of their orientation time, teacher assignment, and Kindergarten bus number. Maryville and Wilson - 1st & 2nd Grade Date: Tuesday, August 16 Time: 5-6 p.m. Frohardt and Mitchell - 3rd & 4th Grade Date: Tuesday, August 16 Time: 6-7 p.m. Grigsby Intermediate School - 5th & 6th Grade Date: Monday, August 15 Time: 5-6 p.m. (6th); 6-7 p.m. (5th) Coolidge Junior High - 7th & 8th Grade Date: Monday, August 15 Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m. (7th); 6:30-7:30 p.m. (8th) Granite City High School - 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th Grade Freshman/New Student Orientation Date: Monday, August 15 Time: 6:30-9 p.m. Lake Educational Support Services Center (ESSC) Date: Tuesday,
ST. LOUIS - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has now entered the flood recovery situation around the St. Louis area with other agencies to meet with flood victims in St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County, Mo., residents. Community outreach and support to flood victims by City of St. Louis agencies and partners continue to expand in response to this past week’s storms that caused two flash flooding events throughout the city. Earlier this afternoon, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones joined staff members of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis at the 1408 N. Kingshighway resource center, which is assisting residents by accepting donations Monday through Friday and coordinating efforts to three mobile command centers throughout the city. Those mobile command centers are in the Ellendale neighborhood (2732 McCausland Court), Kingsway West (Intersection of Ashland and Norwood Avenue), and a new location in Walnut Park West at 6085 W. Florissant Avenue. “City
BELLEVILLE – This summer kicked off the 28th Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois House Raffle, offering participants a chance to win 46 cash prizes with the the grand prize of a Fulford Homes “Whitney Farmhouse” style home valued at $305,644 or $250,000 in cash. The $100 raffle certificate purchase not only provides the chance to win a new home or any of the other 46 cash prizes, but it also gives participants the opportunity to directly support one-to-one mentoring of youth in the community. President & CEO, Heather Freed stated, “We are on a mission to ensure that every child in our community graduates from high school with a plan for their future and a mentor whose impact lasts a lifetime. Now more than ever our kids need the support of positive adults to defend their potential.” This year’s grand prize is a beautiful 1,518 square-foot farmhouse with a superbly appointed exterior finish. The three bedroom, two full bath home
ALTON – OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton is continuing its commitment to high-quality urology care through the addition of Uwais Zaid, MD. “OSF Saint Anthony’s has a phenomenal group of providers,” said Dr. Zaid. “I am very excited to join the team and am looking forward to providing compassionate care alongside the team’s other well-trained doctors. The Riverbend is a wonderful area to practice in and be able to call home.” Dr. Zaid is from Fresno, California, attended medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed his residency at University of California, San Francisco. He completed his fellowship at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “I am extremely passionate about reconstructive urology and helping people get their bodies back to normal after experiencing any urologic surgery or treatment,” said Dr. Zaid. “I feel very strongly about helping patients achieve
Illinois EPA Grants Operating Permit to Texas Corporation to Build $1 Billion Polluting Gas Plant in Central Illinois
PAWNEE, IL - Today, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) granted a construction permit to the Texas-based company EmberClear to build the Lincoln Land Energy Center—a massive, polluting gas plant—next to people’s homes and a school in Pawnee, Illinois. The permit granted by the IEPA does not do enough to protect local residents or the environment from the dangers of methane gas, nor does it provide tangible, timely relief to Illinoisans struggling as a result of surging energy prices. While states like New York have denied permits that erode state climate commitments, the IEPA has instead granted a permit with inadequate emissions standards for the construction of the Lincoln Land Energy Center. The gas plant will run on methane, a greenhouse gas that traps over 70 times more heat than carbon dioxide, and the permit allows the plant to emit up to 3.5 million tons of dangerous carbon emissions annually. In addition, Sierra Club estimates that “upstream”
BUNKER HILL - The IL Bunker Hill Area Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of newly elected President Lisa Webb, produced a Director’s Letter for potential new residents, potential residents, and the surrounding communities to read and understand what living in Bunker Hill and within the ZIP code of 62014 is like. It reads: "Area community service groups actively donate time and money to many good causes as they deliver Meals on Wheels, provide free assistive devices, beautify the town, provide community activities, provide grants to BHHS graduates, and beautify two parks; one of which sports a large pond and a recent donation of grills. Thanks to local businesses and volunteers, every year there are giant fireworks displays. If you attend the annual Fall Festival, you will enjoy music, a variety of foods, vendors, activities for the young, a huge car show with a burnout contest, and as a bonus, one of the two fireworks displays. Beginning in 2021, the festival hosted
BETHALTO – Annual music festival, Amare’s Rockin’ for Recovery Presented by Bickle Electric Contracting Co. will help raise awareness and celebrate individuals and families recovering from and impacted by substance use. Riverbend area non-profit, Amare, has scheduled the event for Saturday, September 17 th from 4-10 pm at the Bethalto Central Park fair grounds. The event is in honor of National Recovery Month, which is held every year in September to educate the public about treatment services, recovery, and resources to help those in or seeking recovery from a substance use disorder or co-occurring disorder. Amare, a nonprofit based out of Wood River, Illinois serves the Illinois riverbend and metro-east area, working to help those recovering from substance use dependency work toward sustainability through recovery support services like recovery coaching, family recovery coaching, treatment and detox navigation with a warm handoff, and more. The event is free
GRANITE CITY – Granite City Community Unit School District #9 is hosting a Back to School Celebration on Wednesday, August 3 from 3-6 p.m. at Worthen Park in Granite City. Students will have the opportunity to meet their principal, in addition to free school supplies, free refreshments, touch-a-truck, games, prizes, a photo booth, school registration, and more. The first day of school for the 2022-23 school year is set for Wednesday, August 17. For more information about Granite City School District #9, visit www.gcsd9.net .
EDWARDSVILLE — With an air of celebration, courtroom 351 held a different group of attendees on the evening of July 28, 2022. Seven local juveniles accepted their graduation certificates after hearing presentations from local supporters and volunteers of the Juvenile Diversion Program. This was no small accomplishment for these seven young men and women. Rather than face a court-ordered consequence, they chose to give the six-month commitment to the program and follow a different path. Their parents and the program volunteers applauded each one as they accepted their certificates signed by Madison County State's Attorney Tom Haine, Circuit Judge Amy Maher, and Pastor Greg Morrison. “Second chances matter, especially for juveniles who want to get their lives back on track,” said Haine. “These diversion programs provide a great service, leading these young people towards happy, productive, law-abiding lives and careers. Congratulations to these graduates, and
MACOUPIN COUNTY - Newly elected Macoupin County Democratic Party precinct committee members met in Reno's Pizzeria & Ristorante at 130 N Broad St, Carlinville, IL, Wednesday, July 27, to elect a party chair and determine officers. Community activist, and current MCDP Chair Pam Monetti, was unanimously re-elected. In addition, Brian Zilm was appointed to serve as 1st vice chair, London Simmons as 2nd vice chair, Bev Beyer as secretary and current Treasurer Ken Clark agreed to continue serving in their current positions. Monetti has a 30-year-plus history of political activity and community activism. Among her many activities: Monetti began the Bunker Hill Independence Day Parade which continues today, served as president of the Bunker Hill District #8 school board, serves on the Bunker Hill School District Educational Foundation, and is the labor liaison for the Southwest Illinois Division of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, served as the downstate staff assistant to former Democratic
SOUTH ROXANA - South Roxana Police Officer Charlie O'Dell was involved in a vehicle chase around 3:21 p.m. on Friday, July 29, after she noticed a car driving recklessly on Madison Avenue in South Roxana. She attempted to initiate a traffic stop for a suspected vehicle for multiple traffic violations. The car refused to stop and turned onto Interstate-255 and was reported to exceed speeds of 21 mph over the speed limit. Officer O'Dell was patient with the situation and finally, the vehicle pulled over on I-255 near the 162 exit. South Roxana Police Chief Bob Coles said the subject was taken into custody without incident for Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding and transported to the police department for booking. Chief Coles praised Officer O'Dell for her tenacity in bringing in the man on the multiple traffic violations. The subject’s name is being withheld at this time until the case can be presented to the Madison County State's Attorney's Office for review of criminal charges.
ALTON - The Great Rivers Choral Society (GRCS), an adult choir of mixed voices serving the Riverbend area of Southern Illinois, is pleased to announce the kickoff of the 2022-23 season. The concert series begins in the fall (November 11 and 13th) with “To Life and Liberty” Music Director Raynard Brown suggests the musical selections will “resonate with the emotions of all people, in all of its forms and celebrations. The music in this concert will inspire, inform, and invoke dreams or memories of a better time, a better place, a better world.” This will be the fourth season for GRCS under the leadership of Brown, who is excited to continue the work that began in 2019. GRCS is looking for additional singers. Please contact Raynard Brown at 618-604-1319 for information. Rehearsals begin August 16, 2022. Raynard Brown’s extensive experience in conducting has confirmed in him the belief that choral music, like all human endeavors, is “rooted in the
EDWARDSVILLE - This is the 3rd Annual Kicks On 66 Car (& motorcycle) Show. Unlike many other events, their mission is to embrace the wide spectrum of vehicle interests representing all eras and types of cars motorcycles, trucks, and race cars with Antiques, Classics, pre-war, post-war, sports cars, exotics, American muscle, and much more. Everyone has their favorites and frequently that encompasses more than just one narrow interest. For their inaugural year, they had 300 cars and motorcycles on the show field and an estimated 1,500 people. Now for their third year, they are expecting 500 or more vehicles and 2,500 people. Entries in the show are FREE. Public Admission is also FREE. The event is held at the On the Hill Golf Ctheirse & Lounge, American Legion Post #199 in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Legion turns over the complete 9-hole golf course for the event to ensure everyone is displayed on the grass. The event is also referred to as the Randy Gori Memorial Show. This is the