Peoria museum to preserve Illinois tornado stories
PEORIA | The November storm that sent about two dozen tornadoes ripping across Illinois left behind destruction and many harrowing tales.
A museum in central Illinois wants to be sure the stories of those who lived through the Nov. 17 storm aren't forgotten.
The Peoria Riverfront Museum is inviting those whose lives were affected, including residents and first responders, to come to the museum Monday from 4-7 p.m. to share their stories with one another and have them recorded.
"We're not like the Red Cross, but there is a role for museums," museum President and Chief Executive Sam Gappmayer said Friday. "Stories are central to history, and history is central to what we do.
Participants in Monday's program can take turns recording five-minute oral histories in an audio booth and take part in recorded sessions for families and small groups with no time limits.
Others can talk in a group setting, where their remarks will not be recorded but where they can share their thoughts with people who went through similar experiences.
Photos and videos will also be accepted.
Hand-held cell ban a boon for Illinois retailers
FORSYTH | Retailers in Illinois are getting a boost from the state's new ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving.
Stores are reporting a jump in sales of hands-free devices such as ear pieces and microphone visor clips.
Sarah Given is assistant manager at a Verizon Wireless store in the village of Forsyth in central Illinois.
She said that in anticipation of the Jan. 1 law, they began talking to customers in early December. She estimates they've sold around 900 hands-free devices since then and occasionally run out of them for several days at a time.
Northern Illinois University: Apply for student aid soon
DEKALB | Northern Illinois University officials are urging students who will be enrolled in school this fall to begin applying for student aid now.
NIU officials say seven in 10 students in the 2012-13 academic year received need-based financial aid from state, federal and university sources.
But they say hundreds lost out because they didn't complete the required Free Application for Federal Student Aid quickly enough.
The U.S. Education Department has begun accepting FAFSA forms for the 2014-15 school year.
The form is available online as well as in paper form and can be completed in Spanish.
Completing a FAFSA makes students eligible for more than $13,000 in federal and state financial aid, depending on financial circumstances.
The form is also required to borrow student-loan funds.
New Illinois law will help rural ambulance crews
SPRINGFIELD | Emergency medical technicians in Illinois can now provide advanced life support even if they're assigned to ambulance services designated for basic levels of care.
The change is part of a new law meant to improve medical care in rural areas. It took effect Dec. 27.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon was among its backers and said Friday it will ensure EMTs can use all their skills to save lives.
Previously, emergency responders were only permitted to provide services at their assigned ambulance level even if they had training to provide more advanced care.
Ambulance services are offered at levels ranging from basic life support to advanced life support and specialty care.
Woman accused of neglecting her elderly mother
EDWARDSVILLE | A Godfrey woman has been charged with criminal neglect of an elderly person after the woman's mother was found dead in her home on New Year's Day.
Madison County Circuit Judge Kyle Napp on Friday ordered Marjorie E. Phillips held in lieu of $250,000 in connection with the living conditions in which the body of 71-year-old Marjorie B. Phillips was found.
Authorities say the deputies responded to a 911 call on Wednesday reporting the death of the elderly woman. The Alton Telegraph reports deputies found food, dirty dishes, debris and household goods in piles throughout the home.
In announcing the charges against the 47-year-old Phillips, Madison County Sheriff Robert J. Hertz said evidence of neglect was turned up in an autopsy performed Thursday on the elderly woman.