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Road crews: Highways should be in good shape Tuesday following snow; caution still urged on back roads

CARBONDALE — Despite extra snow and bitter cold temperatures, interstates and state highways should be in good shape for Tuesday morning commutes.

After between 1 and 3 inches of snow fell in the region Monday, Illinois Department of Transportation road crews worked to clear away any snow on state and intestate roadways and Keith Miley, operations engineer for the IDOT, said the southeastern portion of the state along the Ohio River was the only portion still giving them trouble. At 3:30 p.m. Monday, Miley said snow was still falling on that part of the state and his crews would keep working into the evening to clear away any more snow.

Even with clear highways, Illinois State Police Trooper Joey Watson said drivers still need to be cautious. 

"Motorists should watch for isolated slick spots as drifting snow from the windy conditions could come back onto plowed roadways and refreeze causing black ice," Watson said in a written statement.

As the region found itself under more snowfall, Watson asked people to use the same caution they did late last week as wintry precipitation including ice and sleet fell around the Southern Illinois.

Watson said despite the serious conditions posed by last week’s winter weather — ice and snow created a lot of work for road crews throughout the region — people on the roads did a "pretty good job” heeding warnings. He said they kept their distance and took other precautions that minimized the damage that could have been seen with such an event.

According to a snow cover map from Illinois Department of Transportation's gettingaroundillinois.com, parts of Southern Illinois were at least partly covered with snow and/or ice; the interactive map updates regularly. According to the National Weather Service office in Paducah, snow was expected to taper off around 6 p.m. Monday.

According to NWS, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills between 5 below and 15 below zero would follow the snow.

Watson said on its own, this isn’t much to worry about, but compounded with last week’s remaining ice and snow, it could be a problem for some drivers.

“On your secondaries and your back roads that got less attention or no attention (from road crews) … this is creating an additional (hazard),” Watson said. He noted, however, that the Illinois Department of Transportation did a great job of keeping up with accumulation.

Watson said Monday morning there had been minimal crashes as a result of the snow falling during morning commute hours. He said as of Monday morning, there had been no injuries related to crashes reported to ISP as a result of the weather.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, Miley said the roadways in Southern Illinois were about 50 percent clear and would improve throughout the day.

Like Watson, Miley said the non-highway roads were expected to be most impacted by Monday’s snow showers.

“The complications with this event are primarily going to affect the local routes,” he said, adding that he knew some were still covered with remaining ice from Friday’s winter storm.

He said the same guidelines still apply with this weather system as they did for last week's storm — drivers should give themselves more time to get from Point A to Point B and should put more distance between their vehicles and the ones in front of them.


Marion
top story
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
'What are you doing for others?': Martin Luther King's legacy lives on at Marion celebration

MARION — “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1957.

Dr. Gwendolyn Diggs, executive director of educational operations at Jennings School District in Missouri, told those gathered at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Marion that King’s question is still relevant today.

She challenged those attending to donate one hour per month to Boyton Street Community Center, the sponsor of the event. She even challenged business owners to allow employees time to volunteer, too.

“If you give one hour per month, by the end of the year you will have given 12 hours of quality time,” Diggs said.

Diggs grew up in Memphis, and was 7 years old in 1968, the year King was assassinated. On March 16, 1968, King marched in support of sanitation works in Memphis.

She said although her parents could see the chaos in the city, Dr. King's presence gave them hope. 

On April 3, he delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. The speech urges nonviolence in the strike of Memphis sanitation workers.

On April 4, King was assassinated six miles from Diggs’ home.

On April 8, Coretta Scott King marched with 50,000 people in Memphis just as Dr. King had planned.

On April 9, Dr. King’s funeral was held in Atlanta.

Diggs said within months, Coretta Scott King founded the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolence and Social Change in the basement of their Atlanta home.

Diggs remembered laying on the floor in the middle of their home (a spot her parents thought was safest) listening to people run through their yard and try to get into their home.

For Diggs, King’s legacy lives on through the idea that together we win with love for humanity, which was the theme for the event.

She said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the third Monday in January, was a day meant to honor the life and power and activism of Dr. King and to encourage Americans of all ages, races and backgrounds to join together  

“What will happen if we do not stop to help the people who need help? What will happen if we don’t show love for humanity?” Diggs asked.

During the celebration, Ron Ferguson, chairman of Boyton Street Community Center board, recognized community service award recipients, Dorothy Carter, who will celebrate her 100th birthday Jan. 21, and Marion Mayor Robert Butler, who Ferguson called “a key contributor to what we do” at Boyton Street Community Center.

He also recognized recipients of the Kathleen Pape Scholarship, Tori Holst, a freshman at North Central College in Naperville, and Alexis Hart, a junior at Maryville University in St. Louis. Donations were accepted during the celebration for the scholarship fund.

The program for the celebration included music and readings from Boyton Street Community Center’s Afterschool All Stars and music from Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ and the Women’s Ensemble from St. Paul’s Chapel.

The event ended with a luncheon.

Boyton Street Community Center in located at 501 W. Boyton St. in Marion. For more information call 618-997-1113.


Siu
alerttop story
SIU cheerleaders who took a knee during anthem honored at NAACP MLK Breakfast

CARBONDALE — Three Southern Illinois University cheerleaders who took a knee during the national anthem at Saluki games were honored by the Carbondale Branch NAACP on Monday morning at this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast.

Alaysia Brandy, Ariahn Hunt and Czarina Tinker, all sophomores, first began kneeling in protest of police brutality in September and subsequently faced death threats over social media. A change to pregame protocol later in the season has kept SIU’s Spirit Squad off the field and court during the anthem.

At the 36th annual memorial breakfast, Carbondale Branch NAACP President Linda Flowers presented the cheerleaders with awards recognizing their courage.

“In the spirit of Dr. King, we the Carbondale Branch NAACP would like to recognize three young women, college students, whose courage — similar to that of Dr. King — transcends cheerleading, who have risked their safety and, dare I say, their cheerleading career, to protest violence and injustices to African-Americans. … What an example of courage and dedication to a cause these three young ladies have set for us older people,” Flowers said.

Hunt thanked the community for its support.

“We do it for the people. We are going to keep doing what we believe in, taking a stand for what we believe in and nobody can ever change that from us,” Hunt said.

The theme of this year’s breakfast was “Hidden Figures: Women Behind the Movement.”

Guest speaker Peggy F. Bradford, who became president of Shawnee Community College in June, spoke about the future of African-American women in education and about racism on college campuses.

“Amazingly, it has been 50-some years since Dr. King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, and sadly, we in America still face many of the same racially charged issues that Dr. King fought against,” Bradford said.

Provided by Shawnee Community College  

Bradford

Bradford, who is Shawnee Community College’s first female president and first African-American president, detailed several racially charged incidents that have occurred recently on college campuses, including one involving a racist note left on a student’s door at SIU Edwardsville.

“This is not racist KKK, this is not skinheads, this is not somebody in the backwoods of Mississippi. This is what is happening on our college campuses, where we are truly supposed to be educating a person completely. I say to you that the journey to the Promised Land is still far off,” Bradford said.

Bradford said racism is thriving at institutions of higher education.

“I’ve spent my career at both universities and community colleges and have found that remaining silent is not the answer, and that if you want to continue that, you rob us as Americans of talented individuals who elect to not enroll or elect to not re-enroll in your institutions of higher learning,” Bradford said.

SIU MEDIA SERVICES 

Stettler

Lori Stettler, vice chancellor for student affairs at SIUC, spoke on behalf of the administration at the event, noting that Chancellor Carlo Montemagno was out fundraising for the university and thus unable to attend.

“Our chancellor wanted me to share with you what his vision for SIU is and that he wants to ensure that every single student who graduates from this university graduates with the cultural competency to understand what it means to live and work in a multicultural, global society. He is also very much committed to the mission, our longstanding mission here at the university, for access, opportunity and inclusive excellence,” Stettler said.

Stettler said her job involves making sure students have the resources they need to be successful on campus. Student Affairs will kick off the school year with a new program called “Salukis in Unity.”

“We also want students to learn to respect and value the similarities as well as the differences that we see in our world and our campus. If you think about our campus, it really is a microcosm of what’s going on in the world today, and so those are very important qualities,” Stettler said.

 

Henry

In his introductory remarks, Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry said that Carbondale’s diversity is one of its greatest assets and that groups like the Carbondale Branch NAACP, the Racial Justice Coalition, the Community of Faith Advisory Council, the Human Relations Commission, Women for Change and others are working for positive social change in Carbondale.

100 Black Men, a civic organization with chapters in cities all over the world, plans to establish a chapter in Carbondale, Henry said.

Henry highlighted several of the city’s recent programs and initiatives to regrow SIUC’s enrollment and bring jobs to the area. He said the city’s chronic nuisance ordinance and foot patrols have helped decrease crime, and called on members of the audience to report crime anonymously to the Carbondale Police Department.

“We are not asking for names. We just need to know about the activity so we can keep an eye on it, and eventually get these criminals run out of our neighborhoods. Working together, we are making Carbondale the place that you and I, our children and our grandchildren are proud to call home,” Henry said.

Stephens

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens also delivered opening remarks at the start of the program. Stephens said he had recently read “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.” and was struck by the fact that King had several job offers in the Northeast and one in Montgomery, Alabama, upon graduating from Boston University’s School of Theology in 1954.

“I had always naively thought that Dr. King spent his whole life in the South and was forced into his role, in a certain way, by circumstance. But that’s not the case. He had a choice. He could have escaped the burdens of the civil rights movement, but he decided to march straight into the fire, and he followed his moral compass,” Stephens said.

The Rev. Sidney A. Logwood served as emcee at the event.

The winners of this year’s King essay contest were Robert Wigfall, a fifth-grader at Lewis Elementary School; Adah Mays, an eighth-grader at Carbondale Middle School; Tiana Coleman, an eighth-grader at Carbondale Middle School; and Rose Kippenbrock, a 10th-grader at Carbondale Community High School.


Govt-and-politics
Illinois lawmakers form subcommittee for digital currency

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers have formed a subcommittee to explore state policies over decentralized digital currencies like bitcoin.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation doesn't consider digital currencies valid. But some lawmakers believe digital currencies and blockchain technology may have benefits that could make state government more efficient.

Rep. Mike Zalewski of Riverside will chair the House subcommittee. Zalewski told the State Journal-Register that his goal is to understand whether a digital currency would be a worthy investment or a risky gamble.

"As lawmakers, we all want government to run more efficiently and transparently," Zalewski said. "Distributed ledger technology has the promise to do just that — replace old antiquated systems with a modern approach to serving citizens' needs."

He said he hopes the subcommittee can create a policy that puts consumers first.

Digital currencies like bitcoin have gained popularity in the past decade. Digital currency is unlike traditional currency because it's created and exchanged independent of banks or governments. Instead, they rely on peer-to-peer transactions that are recorded in an online ledger.

Blockchain is a database that can be used to record digital transactions and avoid duplication.

State Rep. Jaime Andrade of Chicago is chairman of the Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT committee. He said the aim of the subcommittee is to create an environment that "allows and fosters this technology."

Andrade said a report will be released soon from the task force that was created last year to study how and if state, county and municipal governments can benefit from record keeping and service delivery based on a blockchain system.

No hearings have been scheduled yet for the new subcommittee.